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Premature ESlashulation Small Pieces has

Premature ESlashulation

Small Pieces has been slashdotted. Jon Katz has written a goddamn strange review 2.5 months ahead of pub date. It seems to be based on the first 8 pages, although he never acknowledges that he hasn’t read the whole book … in which case: Tsk tsk.

While patting me on the head occasionally (“bright and observant,” “The things he sees are new, interesting and significant”) he puts the book into the Cyber BS category, that is, a book that thinks “that for the Net and the Web to be interesting, they must be portrayed as changing everything about everything”:

… his book also reminds us that this age of Cybertheorizing began to die with the demise of the original Wired. This is bad news for over-heated tech writers and academics feasting on cyber-culture courses. In case Weinberger hasn’t noticed — and he hasn’t, if the book is any indication — the Web these days is mostly about sex, free news, entertainment and retailing. For better or worse, we remain the same people we were.

Ok, that’s not an unreasonable point of view. I disagree with it, but what has me flummoxed is the following:

And he’s quite correct in suggesting that the hyperlinking era the Web begins is astounding, even revolutionary.

If the “hyperlinking era” is astounding and revolutionary, then what’s it changing? Katz seems to say that it’s not changing anything:

In the post dot-com era, we see that the Net and the Web aren’t changing everything about the world, just taking the things people have always liked to do — shop, read, yak, play, masturbate — and making them easier.

Doesn’t sound very astounding to me. My book, on the other hand, argues that the Web is in fact changing the building block concepts of our culture. The ordinary happens to be astonishing on the Web. We get inured to it, but it’s there, even in a simple bidding transaction at eBay.

Jon, Jon, where’s your sense of wonder gone?

[Here’s my reply to Katz at Slashdot.]

Thanks for the supportive blog, Doc.

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