Talking Points Memo is an excellent source of current events reporting and policy analysis... its readers are also subjected regularly to facile futurological narratives (artificial intelligence around the corner! green cities around the corner!) and annoying indulgences in advertorial techno-fetishistic pseudo-reportage -- got yer kindle yet? bought yer iWhatev yet?I am sorry to say that this is getting worse and worse lately. Josh Marshall is posting one sentence snippets from hyperbolic press releases and sunny superficial glosses of lab results more and more regularly all the time, not to mention giving space to all sorts uncritical celebrations of "social media" as if these represent serious analyses of political events. This all reminds me of the irrationally exuberant digirati nonsense that sometimes suffused the privileged gizmo-fetishizing precincts of the left (and the libertopian right) in the 1990s, with its insufferable parade of white boys with shiny toys offering up endless neoliberal "Long Boom" platitudes and promising never-materializing technofizes to real social and environmental problems.
Obviously there is a place for serious analysis of global technodevelopmental quandaries, especially in an era of planetary networked political organizing, planetary environmental catastrophes, planetary economic collapse and fraud. But pom-pom squads attributing global resistance to the magic of twitter and facebook and promising that all our skyscrapers will soon be shellacked with solar-panels providing clean energy too cheap to meter and offering facile one-sentence fellations to what are in fact incredibly qualified preliminary brain scanning or genetic therapy research results under the portentious headline Wow does worse than a disservice to those of us who take technoscience issues and their politics seriously.
I don't know if these little bits of gizmo-promotional pseudo-reportage result from Josh Marshall's personal and lamentable vulnerability to techno-marketing and futurological flim-flammery or constitute instead some surreptitious effort at revenue enhancement via ad content sufficiently post-like to pass unnoticed by ad-filtering software, but whatever it is that is going on there is making me less and less likely to turn to TPM as a news source and I would hope that sensible people of the left -- especially the ones who take technoscience seriously -- would pay careful attention to this development as well.