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“The next big thing is always beneath contempt”

25 May 2012

Derek Thomson

Said in relation to Job’s ‘prophecy’ that desktop computers will soon be dead to the mainstream:

I picked up a phrase some time ago that I think applies: “The next big thing is always beneath contempt.” Implication being that it is, of course, until it isn’t. Until it’s too big to ignore. This has happened over and over again in our society. In the middle ages, people assumed that no serious discussion could happen in anything but Latin — the so-called “vulgar” languages had no merit. And writers assumed that nothing interesting or lasting would come from this new medium of television. And, I think, people assume right now that nothing important will be created from a 10” touch screen without a keyboard (let alone a tiny 3.5” screen).


Consider this article – which points out the problems with arguing that the sustainability agenda is self-perpetuating (which it is, but only to a degree) – with this ‘beneath contempt’ notion and the perceptions of sustainable development that existed 15 or so years ago in mind, and you have to wonder just what the next big thing will be.  Something that we currently view with distain, perhaps.  I wonder if it will be the rebirth of the trades?  After all, we have a youth unemployment problem and up-front payment now makes university an unattractive option to many…

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