2 July 2006


Two articles via Arts & Letters Daily. First, "Goodbye, Blog: The friend of information but the enemy of thought." from Christianity Today, which accuses the obvious. The author closes with a C. S. Lewis quote (naturally) that blames the Reformation on that evil of quotidian thought: the printing press. No mention is made of a corrupt church and an empowered populace. Oddly, the article praises the time-honored magazine practice of sponsored dialog as a more scholarly approach to debate. I guess that depends on whether you have pre- or post-printing-press magazines and on just who is sponsoring that debate. I ended up not really sure if the author was, as he says of blogs that he has encountered, morally compromised, or invincibly ignorant.

Second, "Professors of Paranoia? Academics give a scholarly stamp to 9/11 conspiracy theories" from The Chronicle of Higher Education. This provides an iconic, non-blog example of what the CT author selectively and salaciously blames on blogs. The author of a 9/11 conspiracy book is asked about a web site that refutes his assertions:

911myths.com, a Web site run by a software developer in England, is one of the few venues that offers a running scrutiny of the various claims and arguments coming out of the 9/11 Truth movement. Mr. [James H.] Fetzer [the co-chairman of Scholars for 9/11 Truth] has heard of 911myths .com, but he has never visited the site.

"I have been dealing with disinformation and phony stories about the death of JFK for all these years. There's a huge amount of phoniness out there," he says. "You have to be very selective in how you approach these things."

"I can assure you the things I'm telling you about 9/11 have objective scientific status," he says. 911myths.com, he says, "is going to be built on either fabricated evidence, or disregard of the real evidence, or violations of the principles of scientific reasoning."

"They cannot be right," he says.

As Ira Flatow said recently, some people will simply ignore inconvenient facts. Web publishing comes in many forms with many and different intentions. Don't expect it to manifest as something greater than its authors and certainly don't try to blame the model for flawed content.

[ posted by sstrader on 2 July 2006 at 6:22:41 PM in Culture & Society ]