[ih] New Republic Article - "How We Misremember the Internet’s Origins"
jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Fri Nov 1 17:08:30 PDT 2019
> From: Lori Emerson
> I can't imagine that veering into ad hominem attacks on the worth of her
> degree is considered part of productive discussion
Perhaps - but one of this things a holder of a liberal arts degree _ought_ to
be able to do is clearly explain what they are trying to say, and organize
their presentation to clearly back that up - and this article doesn't seem to
do that (witness all the discussion about what its point is).
I've read it numerous times over the day, trying to work it out, and I focus
on the last para, where she says:
"But even the most ad hoc of these events occurred in a particular
ideological context. What is the result of ignoring or blithely denying that
context? Lo and behold: It looks a lot like 2019"
which sounds like she's unhappy that we didn't think through how it would be
used, and do a better job to pre3vent, or at least influence, that. An earlier
para seems to agree with that:
"But perhaps the most enduring truth of the internet is that so many of its
foundational moments and decisive turning points emerged from ad hoc actions
and experiments undertaken with little sense of foresight or posterity."
But then there's this:
"But this is another recurring theme seen in the many moments of ad hoc
internet history: By emphasizing the technical innovations (and obsessive
dedication to them) as more important than the political and economic
contexts in which they were germinated, the graybeards of internet history
.. perpetuate the illusion that technology magically exists outside of
politics, rather than existing in a constant dialogue with it."
which sounds more like she's saying that contemporary politics played a large
role in making the Internet look like what it is.
If so, why couldn't she just start out by saying 'The Internet looks like what
it is today because of the political environment at the time it was created -
both in general, and around the people who created it.' Then she could go on
to explain how and why - lay out the detail in an organized way to back up her
(I'm leaving aside for now any comments on what seems to be her thesis. We can
take that up if we agree that's what she's trying to say.)
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