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RE: <nettime> New Media Education and Its Discontent
Nato Thompson on Thu, 9 Oct 2003 20:01:34 +0200 (CEST)


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RE: <nettime> New Media Education and Its Discontent


All these attacks on "intellectualism" seem to my partially valid, but
generally a little too easy. The same can be said for generalizations
about the American school system. The US higher education system is
extraordinarily vast and modulates depending on its structure. They are
not all "career-building machines" and they are not radical pedagogians.
But of course, we all know this deep down anyway.

I still would like to throw out there the hope that everyone isn't
absolutely cynical about the idea of the "public intellectual".  I guess
I could say "left intellectual" for the sake of argument (although it's
not exactly what I have in mind). On that tip, I would call Edward Said
(rest in peace) a public intellectual. I would call Gayatri Spivak a
public intellectual. I would call Coco Fusco a public intellectual.
Chomsky of course as well. And maybe even some of you on the list. And I
do believe that many of these folks provide a great service in producing
criticality and thoughtful reflection on contemporary issues. Some have
more visibility than others, and this interests me. These are not just
flurries of rhetoric. I believe Said's contribution to the situation in
Palestine has had legitimate material affects. I do believe that
developing critical constructive dialogue is a key component of radical
democracy and an important part of radical social movements. I don't
find it particularly painful, nor humiliating to believe in the thoughts
of people who have thought carefully about issues. In my experience, I
have grown from such things and I believe other people do as well.

In that vein, I am always keen on figuring out what are the spaces for
these type of folks? Where can this type of speech happen? What are the
infrastructures necessary to support them? What type of legitimation and
distribution is necessary for a type of speech to have strategic
potential? 

Please don't re-iterate that the "author is dead". That is just hogwash.
The author isn't dead. We can problematize it, sure. But lets not do so
at the point of negating a constructive discussion with material
consequences. These net inspired post modern desires have got to gain a
little pragmatism paleese! It isn't as though the Right wing believes in
such de-centered virtuosity. Folks like Clear Channel take a particular
interest in controlling the spaces for speech and are far more
successful.  

Chippy chip,
Nato

"Art and life have finally merged. The only problem is.... Life sucks."
-Gregory Sholette

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