Because I was vaguely entertaining notions of going back to graduate school. I paid the money for The Hedgehog Review, which is one of those academic journals that isn't as heavy as say, Political Theory, and that can probably be vaguely categorized in the area of "public intellectual" writing.
But then, THEN, I read sentences like, "We could use another value-soaked word to understand what Burckhardt was getting at: society becomes more primitive, the more people see themselves categorically, in terms of fixed identities (Sennett, 28)." The point being that technology segments us, and as a result, we become more primitive and just resemble the bunch of talking heads on faux news.
This is all in the spirit of defending humanism, the project of which Sennett describes thusly, "Humanism's emphasis on life-narratives, on the enriching experience of difference, and on evaluating tools in terms of human rather than mechanical complexity are all living values -- and more, I would say, these are critical measures for judging the state of modern society (30)."
This is all because Sennett had the misfortune to experience Google Wave. It apparently did not allow him to collaborate in the way he would like. And honestly, I'm just annoyed at this. Google Wave was a product NO ONE liked. Google discontinued it because it sucked, not because it wasn't "humanist" enough.
It irritates me when academics are so afraid of us on the internet talking about intellectual things. I spend a lot of time on tumblr (my tumblr name is one I will take to my grave, but if you are an old reader of lady blog you may guess it based on an inside joke about a certain legume, and if you can guess it, you're in the club, baby). Tumblr, is for me, one of the most intellectually stimulating places to be. I have met plenty of IRL friends there and have had so many stimulating and inspiring intellectual conversations, I couldn't count all of them on my two hands and feet. What Sennett doesn't understand is that technology is never measured by mechanical complexity - it is measured by our ability to connect.
But then, I understand how media works. In my day job, I am a marketer. I spend time in the social channels talking about things I really have little interest in, but I get how this shit works. I'm tired of these academics who haven't really made an attempt at social media and the wonders it provides.
I'm reminded here of William Connolly, who remarks regarding Sheldon Wolin, who thinks democracy needs slow, non-technological time to succeeds, "...I also think it is wise today for democrats to be wary of nostalgia for a world of long, slow time and a circumscribed politics of place. The politics of local place (valorized by Wolin) and the state (valorized by others) are both pertinent to democratic action in the contemporary period. But they are insufficient to it (142)."
Duh. Time moves quickly in the social media world (though as FB daily reminds us, we are not allowed to forget). It is undemocratic to assume that slower time is better because most of us? We move at that pace and these slow, plodding writers ought to think of the rest of us, speeding ahead.
But that's not all. I've said before in my post on No B.S. Discourse - this shit? It really is pretentious. It assumes that a certain group of brainy people are better than another group of brainy people. Really, come to tumblr. We'll school you.
Things I read while writing this:
Neuropolitics by William E. Connolly
"Humanism" by Richard Sennett in The Hedgehog Review. Summer, 2011.