In our "Question of the Day" feature for this year's Ideas Special Report, our readers tackle some of the emerging issues that are defining our time.
Sheen was the spilled beaker in the laboratory who proved that in an age of racing connectivity, a cokehead can be a calming presence. His branching, dopamine-flooded neural pathways mirrored those of the Internet itself, and his lips moved at the speed of a Cisco router, creating a perfect merger of form and function. Trump, though his affect is slower and less sloppy, also showed mastery of the Networked Now by speaking chiefly in paranoid innuendo. The Web, after all, is not a web of truths; its very infrastructure is gossip-shaped. The genius of Sheen and Trump and other mediapaths (Michele Bachmann belongs on this list too) is that they seem to understand, intuitively, that the electronic brain of the new media has an affinity for suspicious minds.