In 1959, three years after Columbia Records spent a fortune rolling out stereo recording, a senior A&R executive named Ward Botsman told the New York Times, “Let’s face it, the craze for stereo has not been as intense as expected,” writing off the format that would end up thriving for, as far as I can tell, forever.
It’s hard to tell a fad from a trend when you’re in the middle of it.
But often, that’s our job.
The easiest thing to do in the face of change (which brings fear) is to become cynical and to decide that the change you fear is nothing but a fad, soon to disappear.
But it’s also tempting to imagine that every fad is going to instantly and permanently change the systems of our culture.
Ward was paying attention to buzz instead of focusing on the structural changes that were moving in the other direction.
Cynicism is easy. And sometimes it pretends to be clear-eyed thinking.