Here’s the thing: we live in an era of imbecility. Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Scott Morrison have encouraged wilfully ignorant, aggressively stupid people to vigorously push cretinous ideas and propositions, demanding for them some kind of equivalence with facts, reasoned argument, and rationality.
Ugh! What a repugnant achievement.
In itself that wouldn’t be so bad. But since the late 1990s, our universities have no longer taught critical thinking. Not even in the humanities, which used to exist principally to teach critical analysis of information about our history, politics, philosophy, literature, and other arts. To create the intellectual engagement necessary to maintain liberal democracies, free from the depredations ushered in by the Trump-Johnson-Morrison imbeciles.
… what the Internet and its cult of anonymity do is to provide a blanket sort of immunity for anybody who wants to say anything about anybody else, and it would be difficult in this sense to think of a more morally deformed exploitation of the concept of free speech.
― Richard Bernstein, New York Times, 27 August 2008.
Why write about Wikipedia again? Because I had more feedback on my last post than on any ten others in the past year… and all of it anonymous. Only one of these already anonymous interlocutors wrote publicly. The rest contacted me ‘below the line’.
It was like being admonished by phantoms. Not really what I’d call stalking, but a backdrop of disembodied voices, with the more menacing ones almost drowning out some other, more nuanced tones.
Most of what the ‘ghosts’ had to say was just pure bile. No problem. I won’t repeat it here. But some of it seemed genuinely outraged. Shame these ghosts weren’t prepared to say what they had to say publicly.
Final reflections on INN533 journal activities and the unit as a whole.
A common thread running through the INN533 journal activities is the concept of ‘users’, whose needs, we are told, should supersede all other considerations (see, for example, Batley, 2005, p. 24). However, my week two and four journal activities, featuring the New York Museum of Modern Art and various city councils around Australia, seemed to suggest these institutions completely ignored the user mantra. They structured access to their online data in ways that pre-supposed expertise in art, or knowledge of council administrative and revenue-raising priorities.