Category Archives: web

A tale of two elites

The Great Reaction America’s elites are a house divided.  Ranged on one side are the people who rule the mighty institutions of modern life:  I mean government, politics, bureaucracy, media, the university, the scientific establishment.  They represent the forces of … Continue reading

Posted in democracy, web | 11 Comments

The web as school of manners: a beatific vision

What is the school of manners of the rising generation?  There can be no doubt about that.  It’s the web.  Physically, we are still encased in the formalities of the industrial age.  But these are empty gestures:  meaningless rituals muttered … Continue reading

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The method and madness of the internet mob

Three Exemplary Tales ONE:  Your teenage son tells you he wants to become a woman.  You confront this parental nightmare with the usual mix of bravado and bewilderment.  You hope it’s a passing phase, and you send the kid to … Continue reading

Posted in cataclysm, democracy, web | 6 Comments

Trolls and the trolled

You enter a dark forest and encounter a stranger.  You both carry something of value.  Neither of you can appeal to the police for protection.  What happens in the dark forest stays in the dark forest, forever. How should you … Continue reading

Posted in new media, the public, web | 1 Comment

Journey to the center of the web

Come with me down the virtual crater of a digital volcano, located anywhere in the world – but for the sake of the story, let’s say Iceland.  We are about to embark on an inconceivable adventure:  an excursion to the … Continue reading

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Academia in the age of Skype

The American university is in truth a medieval institution reformed along German lines in the 19th century.  At that time, the university replaced the informal “republic of letters” as the arbiter of authority in published works.  The academic self-image resembles … Continue reading

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Politics and the culture of the web

The latest issue of The Economist carries a longish essay on “The new politics of the internet” – in essence suggesting that web activism today may be at a take-off point, comparable to the birth of the environmental movement after … Continue reading

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Marx and the Fifth Wave

Karl Marx was a creature of the industrial revolution.  Colossal productive forces were unleashed during his lifetime, which swept over and altered every form of human relations.  An irreparable breach opened like a wound between nineteenth-century Europe and its own … Continue reading

Posted in cataclysm, the public, web | 3 Comments

Unfriending the dead

Some months ago, a member of my family died who had an intermittent presence on Facebook.  At her husband’s request, the profile was taken down.  This made sense.  The deceased had left few traces of herself online, and bumping into … Continue reading

Posted in new media, web | 4 Comments

Libya the lab rat

If the Middle East has become a huge laboratory of information effects, Libya’s part in the experiment is the most difficult and uncertain:  that of control animal. From the perspective of information flows, Libya resembles Cuba more than Tunisia or … Continue reading

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