A brilliant deconstruction of the Keen argument

One of the great things about the Web is the immediate access to knowledge and information, something about which I’ve written here often. All of the institutions of colonial modernism are under attack, in part, because their place in the culture — their authority, if you will — is granted by access to protected knowledge. This culture clash is uncomfortable for those whose position is being picked apart, and so they’re fighting back with arguments that are often specious, at best.

One such argument has been thoroughly dissected here, that of terrified elitist Andrew Keen and his assertion that amateurs will surely destroy the world. This meme — this attack on everyday people with access to knowledge — has been picked up by others with something to lose in the culture clash and is now rather widespread among all elites.

And it’s absolutely wonderful to find the occasional person who kicks back against this crap, and I was introduced to a spectacular example today in the form of Mike Caulfield, his blog and an entry titled If a Columnist Calls a Tail a Leg…

In this outstanding piece of work, Caulfield elegantly deconstructs a Keenish form of argument by Monica Hesse in, of all places, The Washington Post. Her column is provocatively called “Truth: Can You Handle It?” She attacks what she pejoratively calls the “wiki-world” and uses what she feels is a false quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln to make her point.

Unfortunately for Ms. Hesse, HER Lincoln reference is the one that’s wrong (Oops!), and Caulfield’s legwork on the matter is worthy of any journalism award.

Go read the whole thing. You’ll thank me later on.

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