So many conversations that inform the content on this blog happen elsewhere, especially on Twitter. We’re going to better integrate Twitter and the Cybogology blog which will involve posting some of our personal tweets as well as conversations and debates with others here on the blog.
This past week I found a Noam Chomsky interview on a local “scene” blog here in DC. It was posted about seven months ago. In the interview, Chomsky talks about digital communication technologies and goes the route that so many older intellectuals do: electronic communications, be it texting, the internet or social media, are inherently “shallow.”
Here is the conversation on Twitter followed by a little more analysis that didn’t quite fit into 140 characters.
Here is the story that i was reading and pulled quotes from:
|The Secret of Noam: A Chomsky Interview
“Isn’t it interesting”, he pauses, reflecting, “that eating a banana is somehow comical”. Noam Chomsky says this to me with a semi-straight face. He understands the humor in the situation, yet to his mind the concept seems more of an intellectual observation than a funny moment.
Claiming certain styles of knowledge production as “shallow” or “not deep” is nothing new. It’s akin to those who claimed that graffiti isn’t art and rap isn’t music. In the realm of epistemology (the study of knowledge), there are great works by people like Foucault or Lyotard who look historically at what ways of knowing get disqualified or subjugated as less true, deep or important. Marxist, Feminist and Intersectional epistemologists, sociologists of knowledge and philosophers of science have long taught us to view these claims about knowledge as claims to power. Who benefits when digital communications are disqualified as less deep?
Does it matter that nonwhites are more likely to produce this knowledge in the U.S.? or that this is disproportionately a way of communicating and producing knowledge in the 3rd World? What does it mean to claim that long-form printed book writing is privileged as more deep and true? Chomsky makes these claims without any reference to the fact that these are also claims to power for a certain set of people with a certain standpoint.