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<nettime> New Media Education and Its Discontent
Brandon Brown on Sat, 11 Oct 2003 15:19:04 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> New Media Education and Its Discontent

Daniel Perlin writes
>To 'know what you are doing' seems to signify the 'skills 
>machines' which have always been capital's desired rolesfor 
>the student in the information age. Useless knowledge is a 
>beautiful thing. 
I agree.  The key to the space of possibility is shaped like a 
question mark.  However, risk-taking, and amateurism can 
benefit from practical knowledge as much as professionalism 
can, maybe more.  Why not learn how to code and then write 
subversive-perhaps useless-software?  Why not build robust 
applications that serve amateur purposes?  What is anti-
intellectual about good code or well designed  interfaces?  A 
critcal architect designing an unbuildable building will likely 
use the same idiom as the architect who cares about nothing 
but highstakes commissions. 
However, I do not agree  with this statement by Kieth Hart
>Whatever we thin of the country's present government, it has 
>a lot to do with the fact that America is the world's most 
>advanced experiment in democracy. To call such a society 
>anti-intellectual is  perverse.
I think the spirit of the claim about American anti-
intellectualism can be found in the general critique of  modern 
capitalism.  Just because something works (American higher 
education) doesn't make that thing worth doing.  Higher 
education in America is an industry.  Should we be proud or 
grateful that millions of people feel that their is no other way 
to become a fully functional subject of American culture than 
to spend thousands of dollars and four years at university?  As 
a culture we have allowed university to take the place of 
personal growth and maturity.  Beer guzzling, football games, 
and one-night stands have replaced the visionquest.  The 
medieval journeyman worked as an aprentice until the 
creation of his masterpiece qualified him in the eyes of his 
master.  The American masterpiece is the 4.0 GPA.  We also 
do not have the traditon of the tutor, who meets privately with 
the scholar to engage in intellectual play, but rather we have 
the classroom, where students come to perform the many 
roles that await them within the coventional social hierarchy. 
Universal education is wonderful, when the aim is to support 
individual growth.  However, in the US, there is no time for 
that.  You cannot escape the message of our current executive 
government officials.  In the US- parodoxically- it is much 
better to be rich than it is to be wise. 

Brandon Brown

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