Columnist, Vanity Fair; Author, Autumn of the Moguls

The Joys Of Failing Enterprises

The good news where I come from, as a prisoner here in the American media business, is all about entropy. The massive and ridiculous systems that we've built to control and market expression and culture, with their dissipations of so many people's energy, are deteriorating and coming apart. Everyday the media—a much more vexing monolith than religion and God—takes another transforming step from consolidation and uniformity toward uncertainty and chaos. This is not just because new technologies are revolutionizing production and distribution—though that's no small part of this creative destruction—but as much because of the inevitable disorder and randomness of closed systems. What's optimistic is that so many strategists and consultants and bureaucrats and moguls have not been able to maintain control and have been shown to be as clueless as everybody else (this is true, come to think of it, not just at Time Warner and Viacom, but at the Pentagon). Breakdown can be a positive development.