14 October 2011

A personal attack

Connoisseurs of the book review as magisterially persuasive demolition job ought right now to go and read Evgeny Morozov’s scintillating takedown of the new book by cyber-utopian1 Jeff Jarvis, because it contains, among many other excellent lines, the following glorious sentence:

This is how Sarah Palin would read Habermas if she could read Habermas.

Jarvis’s curious response to the review seems almost designed to confirm Morozov’s low opinion of his capacity for reasoning, as he complains that the review is “a personal attack”. Really, it isn’t. A “personal attack” on Jarvis would go something like: “Jarvis talks funny and looks like a clown.” What Morozov has done, by contrast, is quote extensively from what Jarvis has written in his book, and show it to be garbage. That is not a “personal attack” but an intellectual attack, and of course far more devastating.

Even more bizarre, perhaps, is Jarvis’s petulant complaint about the “very small type” in the webpage containing his review that Morozov linked to. An internet guru who has never heard of cmd-+ ? Strange indeed.

  1. Disclaimer: I have reviewed books by both Morozov (here) and another of the “Internet gurus” he names, Steven Johnson (here), and it is easy to see which I prefer. (I am also myself strangely misquoted in a book by Chris Anderson.)
  • Eric

    Also an “internet guru” should have known to include the word “privacy” somewhere in the confusing title of his book about privacy. That’s really the topic of the book. He’s using the silly concept of “publicness” to talk about privacy. But privacy is what people are interested in.

  • http://writerunderground.com TC/The Writer Underground

    My personal fave quote from the review was “This is a book that should have stayed a tweet.”

    Jarvis milked a dispute with Dell into his fifteen minutes, and now simply won’t go away.

    His profound take on the future of advertising in the digital was the nonsensical statement that advertising was simply proof of a failure in the relationship between the advertiser and its customers, as if everyone wants to have a “relationship” with their dishwashing soap manufacturer.