Monday, October 1, 2007

I'm making good on my commitment

I mentioned a while ago this book, The Cult of the Amateur, by Andrew Keen. I've not been writing much because I'm trying to burn through this thing so I can comment on should I describe it...provocative expose on how the digital age, Web 2.0, the internet are causing a process of cultural retardation.

The basic premise is that the nature of the internet is allowing people to dilute truth, and we are to blame for our own infatuation with ourselves, hence, the cult of the amateur. He raises some valid points about Wikipedia and its 'questionable' editing and (non-existent) vetting process, but then he states that Craigslist causes people to lose their job because of the fewer dollars spent on advertising.

My garage sale posting must've done horrible things for DoubleClick.

I'm withholding final judgment until I finish, but I find it difficult because as I find myself agreeing with some points, for the most part he sounds like an elitist who wields his research like a Protestant orator on the pulpit warning of the fires of hell that will consume non-believers. He delivers bitter tirades on bloggers and his generalist derisions liken them to negligent parents. In his eyes, every blog's link subsequently linked to another blog (aka: an unreliable source of information) muddies the water of truthery as the ensuing circle of misinformation threatens to drown us in confusion and mindless noise.

What's that, you ask? Does Andrew Keen have a blog? Why, yes he does! That magnanimous fellow conveys a upon himself a mantle of praise and humble awareness (he earned his stripes in Silicon Valley, and nonchalantly deemphasizes their significance while simultaneously giving a knowing wink as they offer credence to his tale), while providing links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble where you can buy his books. I think he's secretly jealous of the Daily Kos and is trying to generate swirl for himself.

It's an interesting read for certain, and he does circuitously make the point that you need to be careful about what you find as "fact" on the internets, but for the most part it's a hypocritical and somewhat myopic treatise with periodic nuggets of critical thought.

If you don't like what's out there in the ether, then stay out of those neighborhoods and stay abreast of events from reliable sources. It's like TV. Don't like it? Don't watch it, but stay aware of it...the whole "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" bit. Blurbs from Wikipedia should be taken with a grain of salt...of course you could always see who made the edits before you quote the site's articles in your term paper.

More later. Must finish reading tirade on the evils of YouTube and search engines and how horrible it is that Clear Channel or Viacom, two of the largest communication and media giants that control cultural mediums such as radio, cable stations, movie production houses, internet properties, and more have to "let go" of smaller underperforming stations. It's too bad that a handful of companies can't maintain a stronger grip on the vehicles by which we receive our news and entertainment. I'd prefer that one company have control over all my media because one opinion is better than a varying point of views.

Down J...must...reserve...judgement...only halfway through...maybe he'll start proposing solutions or alternatives as opposed to pointing fingers.

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