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Brainless Text Culture and Mickey Mouse Science
Review of Stefan Weber, Das Google-Copy-Paste-Syndrome: Wie Netzplagiate Ausbildung und Wissen gefährden. Heise Verlag, Hannover: 2009.
The Google-Copy-Paste-Syndrome: How Web-Plagiarism endangers Education and Knowledge, written by Stefan Weber, deals with the influence of the ever-increasing internet use on the prevalent culture of knowledge. Austrian media scholar Weber states that the soaring spread of the new media results in a “text culture without brains.” Stefan Weber decided to become a plagiarism-scientist after he discovered that a theologian from Tübingen has written off 90 sites of his own dissertation. Since that he has collected 14 folders with over 60 cases of plagiarism which build the base of his work. Internet enhances plagiarism in schools, journalism, the arts and especially at universities. Weber criticizes current media and cultural studies programs which ignore the augmented emergence of plagiarism due to an exaggerated optimism towards new media, thereby enhancing the problem by spreading their infinitely technophile theories.
To Place Oneself Within a 'We'
Review of John Moore and Spencer Sunshine, ed. I Am Not a Man, I am Dynamite: Friedrich Nietzsche and the Anarchist Tradition. Brooklyn: Autonomedia 2004. 147 pages. ISBN 1-57027-121-6 (pbk.)
From Theory & Event Volume 11, Issue 4, 2008
Like that of many of the other French thinkers who question the late modern principium individuationis, Foucault's thought has proven over the decades to be particularly prone to divergent interpretations of how it might be put to political use. Ranging, for instance, from the "post-Marxism" of Ernesto Laclau, to the "radical liberalism" of William Connolly, to the "post-anarchism" of Todd May, it has been repeatedly claimed as the basis for quite distinct ends. And yet, in classic Nietzschean fashion, he himself argued explicitly against the reduction of critical thought as such to the "we" of any exclusive, pre-formed ideologico-political orientation.1 Instead, Foucault's more Dionysian, transversally-oriented disposition lead him to proclaim that "the [real] problem is, precisely, to decide if it is actually suitable to place oneself within a 'we' in order to assert the principles one recognizes and the values one accepts; or if it is not, rather, necessary to make the future formation of a 'we' possible by elaborating the question. Because it seems to me that the 'we' must not be previous to the question; it can only be the result - and the necessarily temporary result - of the question as it is posed in the new terms in which one formulates it".2 Like many of his post-Nietzschean contemporaries in the Francophone world who were also more interested in "self-overcoming" than in staticizing political identities, Foucault distrusted categorically-driven polemics because of the Manichean reifications and instrumentalizations of thought that they tended to inspire. By defining a constitutive outside he seemed to suggest, one often sets up an arbitrarily-defined political symptomatology, in which "symptoms are named, renamed and grouped in various ways",3 and which thereby tend to disenable an ethos of agonistic respect. And yet, if the purpose of critical political thinking today is, in the terms employed by Gilles Deleuze, "contributing to the invention of a people"4 (rather than "representing" one that already is) then instrumentalizations of a thinker's work are unavoidable, including those motivated by an anti-systemic sensibility.
He’s Not Beyond Good and Evil
Paolo Virno's latest book contends that the question of human nature – good or evil? – is suddenly topical, thanks to ‘immaterial labour'. But, if true, how useful is this insight?, asks Nina Power
FARE STRIKE! San Francisco 2005: First-Hand Accounts
Reviewed by Kevin Keating
A critical examination of the leftist recuperator's version of events...one of a number of revolutionary extremist docs from Kevin Keating's 'Love and Treason' web page.
‘FARE STRIKE! 2005: First-Hand Accounts’ is a collection of first-person stories from nine members of a group called Muni Fare Strike, which was involved in an attempt to get together a city-wide transit system fare strike in San Francisco in the summer and fall of 2005. ‘FARE STRIKE!’ begins by misrepresenting the politics that the pamphlet’s authors asserted in the attempted fare strike, trying to make their conventional leftist efforts sound implacably anti-capitalist and revolutionary. However, ‘FARE STRIKE!’ quickly shifts tone and, perhaps unintentionally, gives a more honest and accurate picture of the nine participants’ individual and collective befuddlement in the way they organized their efforts, in their admitted inability to effectively communicate their goals to transit system riders in the immediate context of the fare strike, and in their lack of a larger coherent anti-capitalist vision.
Essential Science Fiction and Fantasy for Libertarians
Dan Clore, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
Many works of science fiction and fantasy portray libertarian societies or otherwise bear relevance to libertarianism; this list names some that I consider the most essential reading for anarchists, anti-authoritarians, libertarians, and whatnot.
Selections include these two Autonomedia titles:
P.M., bolo'bolo (1985). This is a full-length attempt to design a libertarian-socialist society with enough respect for the diversity of humanity's desires that a community of cyberpunks who live on-line might be placed next to a community made up of bands of primitivist hunter-gatherers. The book is frequently whimsical but it is well thought-out; it sometimes verges into semi-fictional form.
Rudy Rucker, Peter Lamborn Wilson, and Robert Anton Wilson, eds., Semiotext(e) SF (1985). Perhaps the greatest anthology of original SF ever published, the editors obtained first-rate contributions from a large number of the best SF writers working at the time, especially the cyberpunks. Writers were intentionally encouraged to ignore or violate the typical taboos, making the volume as groundbreaking as Dangerous Visions. As the editors were unable to obtain any works of "radical utopian vision" from their contributors, they reprinted "Visit Port Watson!" from a magazine called Libertarian Horizons: A Journal for the Free Traveler (this is probably a fanciful account; the real author is probably Peter Lamborn Wilson). This is a very entertaining fictional description of the (real) Pacific island Sonsorol, combining ideas from libertarian-socialism, libertarian-capitalism, and the marginals milieu.
Full review is here: http://www.nolanchart.com/article4700.html
Abstract Hacktivism: The Making of a Hacker Culture
Reviewed by Rob Myers, furtherfield
A book collecting two essays by Otto von Busch and Karl Palmas transforms the concept of "hacktivism" with well-argued historical analysis and a number of informative case studies.
Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority
Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland, eds.
Reviewed by Alan W. Moore
319 pp.; AK Press, Oakland and Edinburgh, 2007
The artist in capitalist society is necessarily a revolutionary. S/he is as well necessarily an entrepreneur. Between these two positions lies a wide gulf in understandings. The artist must strive to change society according to a vision, because s/he does not fit. Creativity is not an absolute good and value in this society, and the artist is absolutely committed to creativity. Still, the artist must survive, and so must do what that requires.
What is that? What is longed-for utopia and what is impinging reality? The divide between our dreams of a perfect world and the realities of our lives, between what is necessary and what is desired has shifted. The Wall is gone; new walls are a’building. The organizers of the Documenta 12 exhibition recently proffered the assertion, “Modernity is our antiquity.” In finding new coordinates for radical position-takings today, we are continuously picking through those ruins for stuff we can use.
On Mike Davis' "Planet of Slums"
Visions of the future, presented as aspiration or inevitability, exercise tremendous power over certain kinds of decision making in the present. In cities where local elites are able
to imagine a convivial future for themselves and where the economy is based on
consumption as well as production or extraction, the vision of the future is, above all, the
idea of a ‘World Class City’. This is the idea that guides and justifies the decisions of the
technocratic elites organized in ‘partnerships’ across governments, donor agencies,
NGOs, the academy and corporations. Their decisions produce broadly similar results
around the world – the exclusion and eviction of the poor, the commodification of public
space and public investment in projects for private profit such as conference centers,
casinos, hotels, shopping malls, golf course estates, major sports events and so on at the
direct expense of public investment in public housing, public facilities and public space.
Rem Koolhaas tells us that it is time to get real and the reality is that shopping is “the last
remaining form of public activity.”1
Nonfiction: Youthful Anarchy
by Jim Feast, The Brooklyn Rail http://www.brooklynrail.org/2008/04/books/nonfiction-youthful-anarchy
Reviewing Richard Kempton, Provo: Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt (Autonomedia, 2007)
In Provo: Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt, Richard Kempton has laid open one of
the most intriguing and unthinkable passages in recent European history.
Why unthinkable? Imagine this. In 1965, a group of disaffected Dutch youth, fed
up with their society’s englobed, smug dedication to consumerism, began
weekly performances around the base of an innocuous statue of a child, which
they periodically doused with gasoline and wreathed in flames. Aside from a
small coterie, nobody but the police paid much attention.
Nonetheless, the Provos, as they were called, persisted, fashioning a
philosophy and series of wacky proposals with the goal of forcing Amsterdam to
become a utopia. Their basic idea was: Since society was stifling all forms of
self-expression, “its members can only become creative, individual people
through anti-social conduct.”
I came across the Net Artwork Norwayweb whilst receiving my usual mass of e-mails. Even though I usually use filters, far too much spam still gets through. So, like so many other's around the world, I have the arduous process of picking out what is deemed worth keeping. Lost in despair, numerous individuals choose to delete everything rather than cyphering through an ever expansive junk mail infestation. In 2004 yahoo found in their research "that the average British PC has nine 'sick days' per year, two more than the average for workers.