Andrew Keen’s new book, The Cult of the Amateur, attacks the rise of the “amateur” amid various Internet and Web 2.0 phenomena, and outlines the various harms — economic, social, cultural and political — these amateurs will inevitably cause. I haven’t had the chance to read the book yet, but its been getting a lot of attention already, much of it negative.
Perhaps the best critique I’ve come across comes from Larry Lessig. I’ve found useful ideas is some of Keen’s other writings, but Prof. Lessig’s reaction gives me pause regarding the value of Keen’s latest rant.
My view of Andrew Keen is that’s he’s working the routine of being the mirror-image of the Web 2.0 hucksters. Whatever they assert, in overblown, exaggerated, florid terms, he simply asserts the reverse, in EQUALLY overblown, exaggerated, florid terms. Careful intellectual critiques don’t get nearly as much attention as screaming “COMMIE!”.
So it’s almost a case of real live classic _ad-hominem_ – the ideas are no less true for being said by an attention-baiter, but also what he’s saying is not focused on good ideas, so much as accidentally being true because he’s just saying the reverse of bad ideas.