Culture 2.0

Virtueel Platform’s Cultuur2.0-blog – – leads me to Andrew Keen, who blogs here:, is the author of The Cult of the Amateur, and responsible for a ‘flaming’ anti-web2.0-manifesto:

I start writing a short critique, but I find myself using the words “this is so stupid” too often, and stop. I find a good critique of Keen elsewhere:, and also comments are sometimes quite fine, like the one here, which made me smile:, and here:

Keen is just another one of “those authority types” who love Plato’s Republic and the conservative Orwell, who’d love to have authorities and the elite prescribe to us how we have to live and what is truth (just like… which politicians and statesmen?)

He has one really good point. He insists on the importance of language and good writing. He states: “How to resist digital utopianism? Orwell’s focus on language is the most effective antidote. The digital utopians needs to be fought word-for-word, phrase-by-phrase, delusion-by-delusion. As an opening gambit, let’s focus on the meaning of four key words in the digital utopian lexicon: a) author b) audience c) community d) elitism.” Exactly – and Keen’s view on what is an author, what is audience, what is community, and certainly his idea of the elite are completely different from mine. Especially his use of elite is very troubling (using Adorno in a way that makes one suspect that Adorno is an extreme right-wing authoritarian philosopher).

Just as troubling is the contradiction between point 4 and 2. Point 4 stating the good work that big media have done for culture. Point 2 insisting that good taste is a thing of the elite and is undemocratic by definition (Keen’s Adorno). Generally I would say that in the age of massmedia “big media” have not done anything for culture of ‘really good taste’ in the Adorno-sense. What have the big media done for Lawrence Butch Morris, for Henry Threadgill? Why are Sam Raimi’s earlier movies so much stronger than his later ones? Why’s Dan Brown selling so much more than Ben Marcus, or Don Delillo? (Not accidentaly Keen’s favorite Delillo is his White Noise — DeLillo’s most mainstream-novel. I’d prefer The Names, or Americana). (But well, here my elite-taste really differs from Keen’s mainstream-taste.) Keen is using Adorno but seemingly hasn’t read the big Horkheimer – Adorno book with their critique of the culture industry. I am of course referring to Dialektik der Aufklärung – btw I haven’t read that either, except for some excerpts – but Wikipedia (sic) learns at least this: “Ein Kernpunkt der Dialektik der Aufklärung ist die “Aufklärung als Massenbetrug”. Unter Kulturindustrie ist die kommerzielle Vermarktung von Kultur zu verstehen; der Industriezweig, der sich gezielt mit der Herstellung von Kultur beschäftigt. Im Gegensatz dazu steht die authentische Kultur.”. Usw. (ärung). That’s Adorno.

What in the end made me refrain from writing a critique is firstly that he has met critique already, and secondly, that – rereading – I discovered it not to be worthwhile to take part in this chatter. It is really too close to boring blogosphere ranting. The problem being that Keen’s “enemy” is made up by a pro-web2.0-ideology that is made up by marketing-texts and publicity-bullshit send out to the world by companies who are trying to get a share of the market. (Ranting now).

I know all that makes the world as it is. But I’d rather use my time for another target.

Neither am I so interested to get involved into a discussion about culture with a right-winger who champion’s Plato’s Republic and calls Marx an “intellectual Casanova”.

And well, I guess, in the end there’s a critique here. It bears the stamp of the blogosphere in all respects. That is not necessarily a good thing. I have another text to write…

Let me end then with a sigh that we need both better critics of the Web 2.0-hype as we need more intelligent texts explaining the importance of the shift we’re witnessing in the ‘making-things-public’ – arena.

And for the rest, the best thing we can do is keep referring to good texts, intelligent discussions, good news-sources, good music, good film-clips.

For instance: long-out-of-print seventies free improv and free jazz, ripped from second-hand LP’s: Nicra with the trombones of Nick Evans and Radu Malfatti, and Balance by a collective with Radu Malfatti and a certain Ian Brighton (who sounds a lot like Derek Bailey) are very beautiful.

And note that insisting on the importance of these blogs for a blossoming music culture (and I insist on that importance) doesn’t imply that I’m endorsing Rapidshare and those other “sharing”-servives that make use of the worst impulses of human beings (porn, gambling) in order to sell ads.

blogging,en | May 9, 2007 | 13:49 | Comments Off on Culture 2.0 |


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