It was with great amusement that I watched a CNN interview with Andrew Keen, author of “The Cult of the Amateur”. The author puts forth the argument that Web 2.0 activities – and he apparently feels music piracy belongs on that list – is putting professionals out of jobs and confusing young people. Entertainment, news, encyclopedias – even opinions – should be left to the experts. Newspapers, magazines, tv news and the poor music industry are dying and it’s all YOUR fault. Plus Wikipedia is awful. He also puts forth the argument that anonymity leads to a lack of civility, a careless disregard for factual accuracy and danger. Oh, did he mention that Wikipedia is dreadful and that teachers are rightfully teaching that students should only rely upon printed encyclopedias? Keen also went on to say that it is far easier to spout forth one’s own opinion than listen to the informed one of a “professional”. This nearly made me choke on my coffee. Has he ever really watched Fox News or CNN or the other so called “professional” news outlets? I think it is a helluva lot more engaging to do one’s own research and come to an informed opinion on one’s own than accept the rubbish doled out by the person who may look better on camera but who is there by the grace of the commercial advertisers – or because he/she and the editor of the product puts forward the opinion of the right-wing, 70-something year old owner of the network. As for YouTube entertainment being crap — does this guy ever look at the TV guide? If the so-called “professional entertainment” industry continues to cynically create half hour commercials and call them cartoons; continues to crank out formulaic dramas where murder and deviancy are just plot points; continues to put idiots and trollops on pedestals and produces talk shows where unqualified people spout forth psycho-babble — it deserves to die. I did agree with one thing he said. Keen made the point that students need to be taught information literacy. But at the risk of publishing an opinion outside the mainstream media — Andrew, consider this: Just because it’s in print – or on television – or the radio it doesn’t mean it is quality information. It just means that someone somewhere thought it would sell cars, snack foods, beverages, hygiene products or drugs — or would make a few million for the publishing house. Let us make sure you include that information in whatever course on information literacy you feel should be designed to teach our children.

2 Comments

  1. I can’t believe the amount of mainstream media attention Andrew Keen and his desperate ramblings are still getting.

    Actually, I’ve linked to the Comedy Central video of his appearance on the Colbert Show in my blog [URL below]. Very entertaining to watch!

    http://nishadherath.com/2007/08/28/go-colbert/

    I’ve also directed a couple of questions to Andrew Keen here:

    http://nishadherath.com/2007/08/17/sir-elton-vs-the-internet/

    But of course, I don’t expect our self proclaimed culture guru to answer the questions from a lowly blogger. Besides, I’m not sure if I want his answers anyway because there’s a very good chance the answers would be utter nonsense, like most of his theories.