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-utopian ((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.) )) 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.