svetlana null null null on Thu, 9 Oct 2003 04:53:09 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> : Re: New Media Education and Its Discontent

Nato Thompson wrote:


>"Intellectuals" (and I don't have nearly as much antipathy for them as
>Mr. Flagan) could really use a PR team. But what would that require?
>Possibly having things to say that are important to everyday people.
>Maybe having a visible platform to discuss ideas (Possessing some aspect
>of popular media might be nice.) Maybe being relevant and possessing
I wonder -
what would this discussion look like if instead of "intellectuals" it 
were to analyse say "specialists " and/or "professionals".

Who do you (plural) regard as "intellectuals" anyway?

It seems such a vague term, and the definition of the group it actually 
refers to may vary much on the point of view and value system one choses 
to apply.

But if we talk about "professionals" and/or "specialists" I may discuss 
the language they use, the auto-referenciality, the group dynamics, the 
mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion, and other topics possibly 
relative to how "professionals" and "specialists" operate and how they 
relate to the world.

And that might actually result in one possible response to "why do the 
so called people and masses distrust and misunderstand the "specialists" 
and the "professionals" (and vice versa, why do the "professionals" and 
"specialists" distrust the masses)."

I also wonder...

"Are" politicians really "intellectuals" and/or "professionals" and/or 
"specialists" ?
"Are" highschool teachers "intellectuals" and/or "professionals" and/or 
"specialists" ?
"Are" lobbyists "intellectuals" and/or "professionals" and/or 
"specialists" (or non or all)?
Does it depend on their motivation?
Does it depend on their sincerity?
Does it depend on the fact they do or not write their own speaches?
Can persons who don`t write a single word they say in public be 
considered "intellectuals" or "professionals" or "specialists" (or non 
or all)?
Can a public image possess humility?
Who "is" everyday people?

>Looking into Alexis De-Tocqueville in his Democracy in America, you find
>a clear analysis of this dilemna. And I feel it is a dilemna. Currently,
>we are witness to the incredible advantage the right wing has in
>positioning themselves as the "everyday people's" party. It is used over
>and over again. "Contract with America??????" 
>I don't particularly think those weened on October magazine and Critical
>Inquiry have even conceived of themselves as bowing down to a people's
>critical theory but it would be nice. Or not. I am not sure. Ok. Some
>intellectuals might be a waste of time. But for those that are not,
>alas, new strategies are in order! Generally I find the likes of Michael
>Moore who manages to popularly voice critique a signpost for radical
>strategies. For intellectuals. I suspect this issue is larger than the
So the discussion of "intellectuals" "is" about "left wing 
intellectuals", or am I missing something?
So the right wing persons "are not" "intellectuals", or am I missing 

As a student I see very little point in striving to become an 
"intellectual", but I also see as little point in the so called 
anti-intellectualism. For, as I said, it is a term so highly sensitive 
to the value system and the point of view and even moods of the person 
who uses it, that it seems to me irrelevant.

Yes, I understand the need to always sharpen ones skills (intellectual, 
emotional, artistic, scientific, ecc.) so that one can better understand 
the situations, act in relation to them and communicate to others. But 
the ways to do that are so varied in todays society of numerous 
specializations, instrumentalisations and commercializations that I 
prefere to see my own self-improvement or education or whetever you may 
call it as an open ended and continuous rather then goal-oriented 
research. It is not about convincing anyone I am or am not an 
"intellectual", it is not about who I am, it is what am I considered, it 
is about what I learn, understand, and do each day that counts, in 
itself, to me.

How I make money will probably be something apart from that and only in 
some way connected.

Now that I look back at my teachers I realise at best they were links 
and linkers. And that is the most a teacher as far as I am concerned 
should strive for - to offer many and various links to information, to 
offer many and various possible interpretations of information, and 
tools for interpretation, and questions, and doubts, and a place 
(classroom) where all that and more can be tested and confronted. The 
teacher should, IMO, in a way, maybe, be just an older student, who has 
spent more time on a project and so can help along someone who is only 

This is an attitude I sometimes encountered amongst SOME OF the people 
who study and develop information (and other) technologies (certainly 
not all).

Thank you for your attention.

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