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Smolin portrays string theorists as tending toward arrogance, insularity, and groupthink; they value technical ability over original thought, follow faddishly the ideas of a few top physicists, and look down on adherents of other theories.
With a rising generation so mercurial, one wonders whether even the notion of "branding," i.e., the building of long-term reputations, which has remained the watchword among our corporations for more than a decade, will itself come to lose its luster; whether the triumph of Internet commerce, the widening readership of online news and blogs (with the concomitant narrowing of the news cycle, such that stories are often considered stale by the time a newspaper can print them), and the proliferation of cable television channels (many of which are devoted either explicitly to shopping or effectively to product placement) will swing tastes so faddishly that rather than courting consumers for life, the corporation will be content merely to hitch itself to a succession of their whims.
Are fanciers of Skinny Carb Bar vanilla caramel pecan ice cream (with only three net carbs per serving) faddishly enjoying a flavor of the month?