About a year after a poorly researched piece by Tara Parker-Pope on Internet Addiction in the Science Times section of the NY Times, a more perceptive and better researched piece by Virginia Heffernan appeared in the Opinion Pages today.
Heffernan quickly identifies Kimberly Young as what sociologists would call a “Moral Entrepreneur” only slightly removed from con man Harold Hill of the Music Man. Hill sells his 76 trombone remedy to River City as a cure all but in particular a cure for the folk devil — pool (We got trouble right here in River City). Then Heffernan points out the differences between passions, interests, habits and addictions through the story of steampunk Gabriela.
About a year ago, I did a talk not unlike Heffernan’s for the Morehead Science Center (slides below). We covered much of the same ground but some of you may appreciate the pictures of various “addictions” that I dug up and the references to serious studies of addiction claims, happiness or alienation claims and the aspects of Moral Panics, Folk Devils and Moral Entrepreneurs.