Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lots of food for thought in K-punk's Towards a New Orthodoxy post

Which is the lastest instalment of Mark's fasc-i-nat-ing web-demonology-in-progress of "grey vampires" and "trolls", as developed with this chap Graham Harman who cogently expresses the Problem with Comments Boxes here

As Graham outlines so sharply, there is something structural about the channels through which net-discourse organises itself that makes the web into a training ground for world-class nitpickers... the people who thrive there, who become stars, are the rapid-response units whose self-worth is bound up with their ability to spot holes and weaknesses rather than respond productively to wholes and strengths (c.f. those book reviewers, rife in academia, who spend the whole review listing the things omitted or not covered, rather than grappling with the actual argument and substance of the book)... People who find it humiliating--even disturbing--should they ever happen to find themselves in agreement with someone else's position...

(Thinking of a recent, rather fierce discussion I got embroiled in, you really get the sense, after a while, that there are certain individuals so desperate not to be seen to be, or feel inside like they are, in accord with A.N. Other's Truth, that they'd actually rather embrace untruth)

But part of the point of reading, surely, is the possibility that you might actually have your mind changed?

Might there even be an ethic of reading to be found here: the good reader as someone who--rather than approach the text in a defensive crouch of wary vigilance--comes to it open to persuasion...