While the myth of the "Old Shanghai" is more a narrative cultivated by a few foreigners than a living point of reference for the Shanghaiers, Shanghai has an instinctive passion for the newness and the promise of each day.
Perhaps in embracing mysticism, irrational thought, the Antipodes of the mind -- the creative brain -- we are not in fact denying reality: we are simply -- and very deliberately -- escaping it. An eyes-wide-open embrace of the unconscious.
Obama's point IT's ability to distract us isn't that new technology allows for too many divergent views. It's that the internet narrows opinion to a few fairly predictable and easily reproducible one-liners.