Yes. We've come a long way. In 17 short years, we've gone from individual pages, university library searches, email and pictures hosts to...well, the same thing but with Google.
What strikes me as telling in this video is not so much the camp and quaintness of the Today show hosts not knowing what the @ symbol was, though I find this hard to believe as that symbol has been around for ages. Those working with quantities and prices (merchants, grocers, accountants) would use @ all the time to indicate how much something was given a certain quantity. Sandwich boards in front of small corner stores still say things like 10lbs @ $2/lb. It's not completely unreasonable that an intelligent person, apparently not a talk show host, would know what this meant.
No, what struck me was just how violently ignorant Bryant Gumbel was. I'm surprised he made it this far in the world of television sounding so dismissive, petty and snarky. This isn't the first time he's seen acting this way but if you search now for "gumbel snarky" all you find is this video. And it's like this with all talk shows. There's always a jerk on the show who is balanced by softer spoken, chipper but equally dim-witted co-hosts. Learning of new things and events on these shows is like learning about them from your grandparents. It's worthy of being noted, but it will be presented with scoff and maniacal-nostalgia.
So maybe we haven't come a long way after all.
at 10:53 AM