[iDC] "for the purpose of inspiration, which is as much part of politics as critique."

Trebor Scholz trebor at thing.net
Wed Jun 24 14:25:59 UTC 2009

Biella, all,

Thanks so much for your courageous post.

>Trenchant critique of Netboosterism is so so important and many on this
>list do this exceedingly well. It is far to easy to collapse the
>differences that exist in the networked world and differences must be
>made clear. Punching holes in a frictionless narrative that places all
>to much faith and power in the capacity of media/technology (the
>³medial² as Dominic Boyer has theorized in a great little prickly pear
>pamphlet called A Philosophy of Media) must be debunked. And as I
>mentioned above, I would rather keep the baby in the bathwater as well
>when it makes sense to do so and the sense I refer to is for the purpose
>of inspiration, which is as much part of politics as critique.

The best kind of critique inspires to jointly work toward alternatives while
also acknowledging the sometimes distressing hybridities and lost battles.
A worthy critique encourages us to deviate from common life; life is not
about straightforwardly being "successful," being ³better² than others.
It means acting independently of demands and cultivating our ability to say
³no.² Leading an exemplary life is harder than anything and it starts with
skepticism and enthusiasm, and endless micro-decisions, which will rarely be

Why do so many people care more about digital rights management on iTunes,
intellectual property, and privacy on Facebook than about the suffering of
people in Rwanda or indeed Neda Soltani (or the other Iranian students whose
death was not recorded)? I shared a flat with Croatian and Serbs (!) in the
late 1990s in London and that surely brought these wars home for me, quite
literally. Consequently, I traveled to Kosova and Serbia to interview

Where do I start if I am serious about my own life, at least from time to
time, looking for concrete ways of politicizing my life project? Education,
support for non-commercial projects, peer initiatives, art, and businesses
who are not greed-driven (e.g., Craigslist, Etsy) -- these are but a few
humble but tangible entry points. I appreciate so many of you on this list
who wholeheartedly committed their life to a politics of inspiration that
moves us beyond our differences.


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