Frank Hartmann on Fri, 27 Aug 1999 02:50:10 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The quest for mediators

RE: Internet is not a Media, by Dominique Wolton

Redundance is the core of communication, therefore: 

Academic intellectuals have a great need for playing a key role,
especially in France, and since Descartes, they favor the role of a 'true'
mediator. But there is no such thing.  This is just a professor talking,
and to understand it you have to imagine the restrictive french
educational system where the professor is always right, no matter what. 

The attitude which comes to light in the remarks of Wolton is, besides
frustration, the typical academic defense for values which regulated the
community of those educated within a book-culture, that is a culture which
relies on certain educational restraints which are processed through the
higher educational institutions, for the last five hundred years. 

Is it not strange, by the way, that Geert in his remarkable essay on
Network Criticism asked for "the Beauvoirs, Sartres and Camus"  in this
context - all french 'brains'? My simple thesis is - from an extremely
hierarchical, institutionalized and centralized place like Paris you
cannot expect any inspiring philosophy concerning the net, which in itself
depotentializes that role of the intellectual.  Anyone remembers Geert's
essay on the virtual intellectual? 

And if the tiny group which is interested in reflecting the net would stop
the sickening quest for a 'genuius' or 'guru' or 'father' of this and
that, and maybe study the history of engineering of the last hundred
years, then it would come clear to them that there is no big man who gives
everybody else the right clue. No castings for any Sartre here. 

The point is that we should not ask if this or that is 'media' for true
(especially after McLuhan), because the question rather is which way
social information processing will take. And yes, I want to be my own
chief editor every morning, if I have a choice. 


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