Andreas Broeckmann on Thu, 26 Aug 1999 19:18:50 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fragments of Network Criticism

>> If democracy is both a practical obligation and an ideal, why not reject
>> the hierarchy of genius at least experimentally?  Which is to say, imagine
>> a history in which the great analyst is irrelevant.
>Yes, I think we can do away with the genius, this 19th century figure.
>Still, this is the age of the media, if you like it or not, and media are
>(re)producing the rich and famous. Internet is also based on a star
>system, closely related to the print industry, and the infotainment
>business. But I also imagine such an utopian situation, where we wake up
>from the nightmare called mass media. A victory of the Irrelavant!

geert, why be so defensive about the role of intellectuals? after all, the
question was where the Sartres, the de Beauvoirs and the Camus' of the
digital age are. this is not about empty 15-minute media-stardom, but
about people who are able to reflect about the present in a political and
historical perspective and who are able to communicate (write!) their
thoughts in a way that makes it possible for others to follow these
insights, have new and other ones, construct new political strategies,
people who can conduct or participate in a political debate and who will
not be afraid to have an influence on the course of history. 

the captains of industry rarely have any doubts about that, intellectuals
mostly do. and the above (i think: misplaced) critique of genius and
authority is another indication for the levelling of the potential for
political initiative that might flow from a debate/channel/circle like

so, quite to the contrary: the question should be raised again, maybe
extended: where are the CRL James' of the playstation, where are the
Foucaults of software power, and where are the Rosa Luxemburgs of the
political economy of the net? again, this is not about genius and stardom,
this is about brave, intelligent, creative, witty, committed people, often
working within groups and movements, who will help to formulate
politically effective positions. to give the position of the 'organic
intellectual' (Antonio Gramsci) up for the sake of late-anti-authoritarian
Kinderladen flatness which only serves to weaken the little political
weight that critical media circles might have, seems silly to me. 


ps: i think that we are probably not doing as badly on 'digital
intellectuals' as Geert suggests; this list has some, and if i look at my
bookshelves, i can see some others who are providing some help; rather
than horizontality, we might actually lack a sense of _profile_. 

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