Thursday, June 21, 2007

Barbarism 2.0

Lately, I find that my life is roughly divided between being at the library learning a great deal about French history, philosophy, religion, art, and films; and being at home on the Internet wasting time. I realize that there are very informative things on the net, but for reasons that I can't fully understand, I seem to be able to pick up nearly any journal at the library and find something more intelligent, thought-provoking, or just plain interesting than anything I find on the web. Even worse, I find that much of what is published on the Internet relates back to provincial net ''conversations'' that are roughly as sophisticated as a small-town gossip network.

More interestingly, I realized at some point that, while I read a lot of people's opinions about movies on the net, none of them possess the intelligence, wit, or erudition of Pauline Kael, who I read at the library. In other words, I find that the ''collective authority'' of the blogosphere is still far behind the actual authority of ''dead tree media'' after over a decade of overblown hype. Lastly, having taught roughly 1,000 young people who arrive at university with no idea what the difference is between knowledge and information, there are times when I wonder if this glorified television that I transmit my little program on isn't really at odds with the little world that I inhabit off-line. Am I sleeping with the enemy?

Luckily, Michael Gorman has been wondering the same things and more, and publishing a series of blog entries about it...

Web 2.0: The Sleep of Reason I
Web 2.0: The Sleep of Reason II
The Siren Song of the Internet I
The Siren Song of the Internet II

Predictably, there have been any number of people who have bashed him hyperbolically over these articles, and there are a few sections here that I disagree with strongly. But they're worth reading anyway because they're thought provoking. I'll say more later, but now I'm off to the library.

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