By Lee Siegel
From the writer hailed by way of the New York occasions booklet evaluate for his “drive-by brilliance” and dubbed through the New York Times Magazine as “one of the country’s such a lot eloquent and acid-tongued critics” comes a ruthless problem to the traditional knowledge concerning the so much consequential cultural improvement of our time: the net.
Of path the web isn't something or one other; if whatever, its boosters declare, the internet is every thing instantaneously. It’s develop into not just our basic medium for verbal exchange and knowledge but in addition where we visit store, to play, to discuss, to discover love. Lee Siegel argues that our ever-deepening immersion in life on-line doesn’t simply reshape the normal rhythms of our days; it additionally reshapes our minds and tradition, in methods with which we haven’t but reckoned. the internet and its cultural correlatives and by-products—such because the dominance of truth tv and the increase of the “bourgeois bohemian”—have became privateness into functionality, play into trade, and burdened “self-expression” with paintings. or even as know-how specialists ply their alternate using the language of freedom and democracy, we cede an increasing number of keep watch over of our freedom and individuality to the wishes of the machine—that confluence of commercial and expertise whose barriers now stretch to surround just about all human job.
Siegel’s argument isn’t a Luddite intervention opposed to the web itself yet quite a bracing attraction for us to take care of how it is reworking us all. Dazzlingly erudite, jam-packed with startlingly unique insights, and buoyed by means of sharp wit, Against the Machine will strength you to work out our culture—for higher and worse—in a completely new way.
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Extra resources for Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob
People will always find new things to want. n+1: But you don’t think this is a real, systemic problem we’ve run into, finally? HFM: Is it new? Here’s what I believe. I believe when you’re looking at economies, because I do emerging economies, this is a pretty important part of emerging economies. You have to be epistemologically modest. People say—let me give you a sort of analogy—when emerging markets were doing well, say in 2005 to 2006, people were saying: “Emerging economies, they’ve emerged.
The guy who worked at the saw mill. It means the steel company that created the steel for the nails. It means the mortgage broker who sold the mortgage. It means the physicists who decided instead of doing physics they should work on Wall Street to create the asset-backed security that helped to fund the mortgages that the mortgage broker was originating. All of these people were doing things that turned out not to be productive. The loser was whoever turned out to be the investor at the end of the chain.
The rest of the crew went hot air ballooning this morning, and as we gathered in the driveway just before dawn, the sky in the east beginning to illuminate the pink cottonball clouds, I quietly told them I wouldn’t be going along. “Come on, we could use an extra hand,” Aunt Ellen said. No, I said, but thank you. Uncle Robert was incredulous. ” I explained that my lasting memory of my brother is a vision of him outlined against the blue sky, standing tall in the basket of that balloon as we drifted over the desert.