Joho the Blog » Occult of the Amateur

Occult of the Amateur

No, the title of this post makes no sense. But it sounds clever, and that’s what counts, right?

Anyway, Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur , and I have been debating, once at WSJ.com and once at Supernova. But neither of those have been posted yet. But the Supernova after-debate debate is available now. It’s less structured than the actual Supernova on-stage conversation, and is less detailed than our rather long WSJ.com exchange (which the WSJ is editing down). I think it’s the weakest of the three encounters — we had just come off the stage — but at least it’s up. (The on-stage debate should be up soon.) [Tags: ]

2 Responses to “Occult of the Amateur”

  1. David, thanks for posting the after-debate debate link. It’s invigorating to see this discussion continue, and it’s intriguing to hear Keen defend his position. He poses some serious, interesting points, but he does seem to oversimplify the situation. As the other gentleman posing a question (didn’t catch his name) pointed out, “transition is difficult” and we really do seem to be in a period of great transition.

  2. (I got about halfway through the video; then I’d had enough. You were good though!)

    I think Keen’s dichotomy is pretty bogus, e.g., pairing the NYT best seller list vs a popular blog list ignores the deeper issue that both are products of cultures / communities / systems that are extremely limited and isolated compared with the whole of human expression.

    A more fair comparison might be between the Grammy Awards and who’s popular on MySpace. But, that should just highlight how much both measures, if that’s all we had to choose from, would fail to represent the majority of the world’s great music.

    What’s interesting is what’s really out there, and the web helps because there’s so much out there that physical / analog space and time gets in the way sometimes.

    I do feel, however, that Keen’s ideas are a natural extension of web 2.0 zealotry. I mean, web 2.0 is, in some ways, represenative of a very small culture / community / system of people on the web who sometimes assert the same dichotomy as Keen’s, albeit from the other side of the argument.

    For example, when Cory Doctorow describes your book as being about “how the Web destroys categories, disciplines and hierarchies,” it basically making the exact opposite of Keen’s argument, and thereby asserting the same bogus dichotomy.

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