Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, April 08, 2013

Some Questions for Caleb Garling…

…as he ponders whether or not Evgeny Morozov is "important."

Is the child who says the emperor is naked "important"? Is it "important" for ANYBODY not to be giving endless blowjobs to self-congratulatory technoblatherers? Is it not "to foster thought" that somebody points out techno-PR flacks claiming to foster thought aren't? Is it possible that what seems trollish to a fraud in the spotlight looks like the useful spotlighting of fraud to others? Is it more "important" to protect the fee fees and continued upward failing of tech apologists for corporate-militarism than telling inconvenient truths about them?

Writes Garling, "[I]f Morozov is going to be remembered as a real critic -- and not just an obnoxious cynic -- he’ll need to change the way he approaches his writings." It's hard to see what is cynical, particularly, about Morozov's writing -- his expectation that criticism couched in sophisticated observations, in words not all of which are to be found in People magazine, seems to me if anything a sign of earnest hopefulness about Americans. I suspect one finds more cynicism hobnobbing for five minutes among the grubby opportunists and seekers of venture capital at your average TED squawk than the five minutes it might take a twitter-addled brain to get through a paragraph penned by Morozov. What Garling really means with his pious little jab for more civility when Very Serious White Guys of The Future are being discussed is that if Morozov is to be remembered as more than obnoxious to his targets and those who prop them up, he will of course have to change the way he approaches his writing. Needless to say, Morozov is known to be a real critic by many of us only because of the way he approaches his writing -- you know, critically and stuff. Possibly few who feel this way will be deemed "important" by Caleb Garling, though it is an open question whether anybody on earth thinks that is particularly important.

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