The Internet is killing the two cultural exports that most define America: music and movies, Elizabeth Lee Wurtzel writes in the Wall Street Journal. Gone are the days of the old-fashioned rock star and the seminal album, replaced by one-hit wonders and an iTunes audience that craves singles. Gone, too, are the days when—Harry Potter notwithstanding—lines would snake around the block to see Star Wars or similar fare. Blame downloading for much of it. "Our movies and music are America," Wurtzel warns. "And the day the music dies, the party's over."
"Entertainment is such a crucial part of the American way of life—because of the jobs it generates, the fun it engenders, the goodwill it creates worldwide—that the potential for its undoing is a national emergency that ought to at least merit a congressional panel or governmental alarm. The US was meant to be a nation of commercial creativity. It is our birthright. It's what we do."