just finished …

Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob–Lee Siegel

I often tell my eighth graders that if they aren’t reading something that truly annoys and ticks them off at least once a week, they aren’t visiting sources that are offering alternative viewpoints often enough. This book is one of those pieces that annoyed and ticked me offl, but unfortunately, not is a worthwhile way. I like reading about viewpoints that represent those that I don’t hold, but in my humble opinion, Siegel does not present his contrarian view honestly.

In a short review on LibraryThing a member named mcur writes, “He writes about things like ‘participatory culture’ as though it is intrinsically bad, without really convincing me why. Derisive tone and some questionable assumptions make it an unpleasant, unconvincing read.” Mcur goes on to state that the final section of the book makes it a worthwhile read and rates it four-and-a-half stars. I, on the other hand didn’t see the redemptive part.

Siegel has some thought provoking ideas, but his dishoesty in presenting his evidence was too much for me to overcome. When he writes about Gladwell’s The Tipping Point for example he gives the reader the impression that all that Gladwell does is sell marketing which I don’t see as an honest representation of the book. I also found his analysis when writing about culture to be questionable and unconvincing. He uses the Lonelygirl15 phenomenon to illustrate how the web brings fame and opportunity simply based on marketing, but really, hasn’t that always been true? We flock, for example, to the museums of Europe to see the works of the great masters, but fail to recognizet that many of the “masters” were “made” through the shrewd marketing of the Medici’s.

So … What’s new?

Basically, it was an interesting read, but I still couldn’t recommend it to others interested in the topic.


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