Tag Archives: luddism

bloggers take a modernist stance


Cage: Prepared piano

Blogs can be experiments that disrupt because they stand apart from management culture. The din of the blog can disrupt, interrupt, the music of the management spheres. Does this sound too much like the Luddites facing off modernization-by-management? Cult whacks culture? From Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, by Geert Lovink

Of course blog culture is different from the entrepreneurial risk cult embodied by management gurus such as Tom Peters. Much like Ulrich Beck defined risk, bloggers deal with hazards and insecurities induced by never-ending waves of modernization. What is blogged is the relentless uncertainty of the everyday. Whereas entrepreneurs colonize the future, energized by collective hallucinations, bloggers expose the present in which they find themselves caught.

Not Luddism then. Perhaps “the relentless uncertainty” that Modernism embraced and shored against its ruins. Eliot created poetry from fragments. Pound intentionally mistranslated Chinese ideograms (Kenner, and Perloff). Picasso took to cubism. Duchamp created readymades ready made to whack the salon culture (still going on with Tracy Emin). V Wolfe freed the English narrator from narrating a material diegesis (Joyce ditto with the Irish narrator). Gertrude Stein sprung US syntax on everybody. Cage created music using prepared pianos. Uncertainty. Disharmony. Making noise. Making a kind of noise that makes a melody hard to discern until an ear is retuned. Rétoured. Noise fosters critics.

What about risks? Management culture talks about taking risks strategically. What does the blogger’s risk entail? Nihilism? Alienation? Is it a greater risk to act than not to? A greater risk to speak or stay silent? Bloggers don’t do risk assessment.

Bloggers disrupt the disrupters. They override the constant talk about change. It is remarkably easy to attack the post-modern corporation as it solely depends on a hollow public image, developed by third-party consultants. Online diaries, rants, and comments so easily defy the manufactured harmony at which community engineering aims.

As bloggers get louder, so do image-makers. As the scene gets noisier, less is hearable. The situation creates critics because more discernment is needed to hear, to catch, the signal in the noise. Modernism’s co-emergent dialectic was New Criticism. We might look to a revival to bring out the melody. Then there’s the risk of commitment. Public image is hollow because opportunistic, but the image-makers come in unending waves. If they’re going to disrupt (arms against a sea of), bloggers are in it for the long term.

Footnote: Ok, I agree that modernism can be cold. It is a logocentric noise that shouted out the more erotic programs and aesthetics of the 20s – 30s – 40s – 50s. The point here is that noise is //made//, like poetry, music, prose, sculpture, painting, code that runs software that runs our life. We’re never far from algorithms that generate fractals. Modernism is close at hand, but there are other schools within reach.