Sunday, May 06, 2007

I suppose I should be proud ...

To be a "digital narcissist". Some pompous cretin has just been on Radio 4 denouncing blogging as the end of culture and destroying the economy because we have the temerity not to be paid for it. Or for the few of us who are, not very much.

I believe this flag waver of the fossilised pre-digital arena blogs here. I mean, we all know that Americans stereo-typically don't get irony but you do have to laugh.

Apparently, the mere existence of blogs and other self generated content is killing book publishing, Hollywood, newspapers, the music industry and baby seals. (Yes, I made the last one up.) This, as well as because we don't demand a wage, is because most of us aren't actually too good at writing and are "unable to devote our full resources to it." Seeing the quality of output (whether you agree with the world view or not) of some of the blogs I read on a daily basis, I wonder what we would actually be able to achieve if it was our full-time job and we were paid. Or looking at this, maybe I shouldn't.

However, if his point is that the general mass of the kultural output of what laughingly passes for American civilisation is so superior to the content of blogs generic, he clearly hasn't been checking much of what is popular. Britney Spears, "gangsta" (c)rap, most movies, etc, etc. I suspect it is a truism that the vast majority of cultural output of any generation will be consigned to be comprehensively ignored by the future well before even the oldest of that generation descends into the pit of Alzheimer's. Most of what is and always has been churned out is bland and eminently forgettable puerile entertainment. We remember Mozart, Bach, Turner and Michelangelo. We don't remember most of their contemporaries. How many of these will still be being read in 10 years, never mind 100? (Although, at the time I checked the link, the 2nd best selling hardback book in America is written by a guy who has been dead for 34 years. I like Tolkien's work and appreciate the presentation work by Christopher but what does that say regarding the quality of the tens of thousands of published living authors? Given my previous comment disparaging the link between achievement and popularity, probably nothing at all.)

The radio commentator then went on to discuss (approvingly) the Tim O'Really blog fascist censorship scandal, introducing it as all Jimmy Wales' idea and him as the "co-founder" of Wikipedia. We, of course, know that, at least in Jimmy's mind, he is the founder of Wikipedia:
((jwales)) So, I am publicly on record as stating, and I am willing to defend and explain at length why, here or elsewhere, that Wikipedia does not have any "co-founder"
((jwales)) Wikipedia has a sole founder

((jwales)) and a disgruntled former employee building himself a nice career on this lie

Which brings me back to irony:

Note the quote from the "disgruntled former employee". (Ed notes: Yes, S-E, being British, was aware that linking to the Wikipedia article about Larry is ironic. It was meant to be. If you are interested in sniggering at self-righteous morons, he also suggests you read this, for example:
19:19, 1 May 2007 D. Vater-Luxembourg (Talk | contribs) (26,532 bytes) (Removing false claim. Jimbo Wales clearly stated he is not "co-founder". Please respect that!) )

Oh, and if somebody sensible like Tim or Fabian is reading, can you have a go at the economics?

Update - from Tim, doing the economist thing:
He is indeed committing a grievous fallacy. Just because we use GDP (which measures paid activity only) as a measure of the economy (principally because it's easy to calculate) no one should be stupid enough to use it as the only measure of either the economy or economic wealth.

Look at his statement the other way around. Consumers now get (some portion) of their media consumption for free, something they previously had to pay for. This makes consumers richer.

Update 2: Fabian now has his own post on Mr Keen's economics.


PS. I would suggest to Mr Keen that he stays away from London. There are a few people who might be interested in having a less-than-distinguishedly-academic discussion with him about some of his sporting opinions:
"Arsenal is a minor soccer team based in a particularly undistinguished part of North London"

"Arsenal football club -- a subject which is of no interest to the civilized world"

"Like Arsenal football club and its supporters, Arseblog is fuckin' awful."

That is not safe talk, even from California :)

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