A Research Site Devoted to the Past and Future of Found Footage Film and Video


"The Literary and Artistic heritage of humanity should be used for partisan propaganda purposes." - Gil J. Wolman
“A lot of people who call themselves artists now are cultural critics who are using instruments other than just written language or spoken language to communicate their critical perspective.”
-Leslie Thornton

Monday, October 29, 2007

Andrew Keen's dissapointing self-reflexivity

I picked up Andrew Keen's "Cult of the Amateur: How Todays Internet is Killing Our Culture" in hopes of finding a thinker who could articulate some of my own anxieties about the subject. I may blog, study internet video appropriation at a graduate level, sing the praises of Lawrence Lessig, etc, etc...but I am aware of serious problems facilitated by the wonderful contributions of the internet. Unfortunately, Keen's work is not the place to find insight. In fact his work seems to suffer from the problems he derides so often. Keen loves to make sweeping generalizations and outrageous claims without evidence. Furthermore his lack of reason and logic is puzzling at times. He blames the blogosphere for Wendy's restaurant's plummeting stock after the "severed finger in the chili" farce, but fails to mention that THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA wasn't skeptical of the event either. He sets out to deride the amateur but spends much of his time attacking the ease by which corporations can moonlight as anonymous amateurs to build product loyalty. Ultimately, he is guilty of what many people in the establishment who didn't grow up in the computer age are; He doesn't realize that internet users are savvy enough to know that everything they read isn't the truth. His major critique of blogs is that they aren't peer reviewed or published and don't face the quality control that authors do. However a myriad of opponents to his ideas (far more than followers of his skepticism) are published authors who've gone through this very process. Lets not forget how much misinformation, plagiarism and forgery occurs even in publishing. Keen has done one good thing--he brought this conversation out into the open in a way it hasn't before. Unfortunately, this serious conversation, which should be dialectical in nature and not a screaming match, has been completely undermined by Keen's amateurish, illogical, unreasoned and ill-researched arguments. Please see the video below celebrating everything Keen hates:

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