Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wikipedia vs. research

You are reading

Given PRX, AIR, and other various unnamed platforms, how can we make
our stories better?

I've been thinking about this since this thread started. The comments on the lack of fact checking have truly chilled me.

30 years ago, back when I could afford school, I remember going to the UCLA research library to look up literary criticism on a play by Ianesco. Don't remember which one.

I remember the creepy, skin-tingling feeling of being in a library, surrounded not just by students (albiet wealthier: they were attending UCLA while I smuggled myself in from a community college in the Valley), but by actual literary critics, professors, theater reviewers, writers of plays, maybe even some journalists. I was in the Belly of the Beast, surrounded by Professions, seeking wisdom.It was humbling.

I don't feel that way when I rummage around in Google in my jammies with a cigarette and a cup of coffee with a cat on my lap

The work I'm doing is still earnest, still sincere, still research and still hard work. That hasn't changed.

The MEDIUM has changed. Basically, I'm looking at a TV screen in my living room, not a vast and serpentine labyrinth of the Knowledge of the Ages, spread out before me in bewildering solemnitude.

I'm alone; there are no colleagues, peers, experts, professionals or pompous gas bags around me, except me.

So, I'm sitting at a veritable TV, alone, casual as can be, in MY space, doing MY thing.

There's something about having to open a library door, carry a library card, take hand-written notes about a library book that made me feel part of the Search for Knowledge.

Now, I just feel like an anonymous cog in a gigantic database in the Collection of Information.

Are there any other old ferts here who grasp what I'm saying, who remember #2 lead pencils and little, spiral notebooks in shirt pockets, who kept boxes of 3x5 index cards?

I walked among tomes by philosophers and queens.

Now, I'm spammed by Viagra and Christian moms, earning $5,000 a month.

I think the main paradigm shift is from KNOWLEDGE and, perhaps, WISDOM to information and data.

How can we make it better? It's as old as Moses and as new as blogging: resist the machine that would have us be cogs. We HAVE to be humans.

We have to teach each other, remind each other, encourage each other toward passionate care of the craft, of ethics, personal responsibility and KNOWLEDGE.

I think they don't teach that so much anymore in universities. We have to do it for ourselves and our colleagues.

Once it's forgotten, the special interests and corporate lobbyists win -- if they haven't already.

Rupert Murdoch owns the Wall Street Journal. We're on the other side of the looking glass, Alice

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