May 4, 2010 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Assimilate book-ism to webism and the book looks like nothing so much as an unreadably long, out of date, & non-interactive blog post. . . Web 2.0 has been revelatory in lots of ways—user-generated naked photos, for one—but the torrent of writing from ordinary folks has certainly been one of the most transfixing. Over the past five years the great American public has blogged and Tweeted and commented up a storm and fulfilled a great modernist dream: the inclusion, the reproduction, the self-representation of the masses.
posted by four panels (15 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Man, that is one unreadably long, out of date & non-interactive blog post. I think I'll stick to my books.

Sorry, couldn't resist :)
posted by No Robots at 11:01 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

That article is really all over the place. Did it run short and they had to tack some entirely separate article about video games onto the end of it?
posted by enn at 11:04 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


not enough user-generated naked photos to keep my interest
posted by briank at 11:06 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Could someone read this for me and then complain about wanting back the amount of time it took to read it? I'm busy.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:16 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I kept waiting for some kind of point to materialize and it never happened.
posted by amethysts at 11:18 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a semicolon being shoved in the midst of tldr--forever.
posted by kipmanley at 11:46 AM on May 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

"The Intellectual Situation" is a bunch of different, smaller articles anonymously penned by the editors of the literary/political magazine n+1, with little storied interludes. It's not meant to be read as one big essay (I think), more like a fragmented prologue to the rest of the issue - yes that is an entirely different article on computer games at the end. This is much more obvious in the printed mag, less so in the newly revamped website (I'm an out-of-his-depth subscriber).
posted by doobiedoo at 11:48 AM on May 4, 2010

They had me at the line:
Lawrence Lessig passes by on a float drawn by free-range chickens.
Although I do take issue with a few parts of the essay. The claim that the Internet is essentially a "California idea" only makes sense if you don't know much about the development of the Internet, which was driven in large part by people steeped in the MIT hacker culture and the companies that it spawned along Rt. 128. The first generation of we now regard as 'Internet culture' was born in the minicomputer era.

I'm not sure why the author finds this so hard to believe:
This seems implausible: could perpetually rationalizing, efficiency-maximizing capitalism really have misjudged the efficacy of print advertising for more than a century?
The problem was that, pre-Internet, pre-demographic targeting, context-sensitive ad placements, advertising just wasn't that good. Although you could be a little selective through your choice of publication (the Times, SI, and Glamour have always had very different ads), at the end of the day it was mostly about putting it in front of a lot of eyeballs and hoping it had an effect. It sucked, but it was the best there was. It shouldn't come as much surprise that as technology has allowed advertising to become more effective, more highly targeted, and more measurable in terms of its effect, that the collapse of old business models has been precipitous.

Also, the word "webism" makes me a bit stabby.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:48 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Somehow, I'm thinking that blog post to be the new poster child for Irony.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:51 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's pretty good, and worth a read. Definitely more-so now that I know it's a few different articles punctuated by the story elements (the video game stuff comes out of left field, to say the least).
posted by codacorolla at 12:14 PM on May 4, 2010

"...the perpetually crisis-ridden, terminally confused literature departments"...

Please see my blog post response at
posted by illovich at 12:29 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

Almost all the great computer companies and innovations have come from a very small stretch of California known as Silicon Valley, which is essentially an extension of Stanford University.


Sorta like Manhattan is essentially an extension of Columbia and NYU, right?
posted by blucevalo at 1:22 PM on May 4, 2010

Dear Editors of N+1,

Shut up your faces full of fuck!


posted by turgid dahlia at 2:10 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Article says: "There is no game, at least not yet, in which you accomplish the mission only to learn you’ve been torturing an innocent man, or get passed over for promotion."

I didn't think people were allowed to write pretentiously about games without having at least read a synopsis of Shadow of the Collosus.
posted by IjonTichy at 5:26 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

It did read thrown-together, not connected, overly long. I was waiting for it to come together at the end, but no joy. I think as long as people have narrative hope-- which I believe to be as long as we are human-- we will want this, and therefore, there will be room for books.
posted by Maias at 1:21 PM on May 5, 2010

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