WORDISM: WRITING IN THE GOOGLE AGE | nationalsalvation.net
In his Foreword to my last book, Joe Sobran praised it but also said "It's not really a book."
By training, Joe was a Shakespearian scholar, and a set of opinions and deductions like mine is not a book. He said it could use more citations and statistics.
My first book was subject to the same sort of criticism, though it was critically acclaimed by the most amazing people. But it was written to explain the point of view of Southern and "ethnic" working people, and it only included factual information they were likely to know.
My first book was dedicated to the proposition that you don't have to be a Rhodes Scholar to know you are getting screwed, though the self-style "intellectuals" thought working folks hadn't figured them out.
And my bona fides for representing this point of view in 1976 were unique: I had been writing for working people's protests and had a list of groups that wanted me to do it for them that was as long as your arm.
Who said I could speak for them?
THEY did, and were pissed off when I couldn't.
You must suit your book to your message. My last book was written in 2004. My book was aimed at a whole generation which had lots of experience looking up things their professors wanted them do, but no experience at all in THINKING about the information they had.
You can lie every bit as effectively with a list of selected references as you can with no references. You can prevent someone from shoving THINKING on you by disputing and editorializing on each reference they make.
My book was NOT devoted to the idea that they had the wrong facts, but that they had been training to warp their THINKING about the facts they did know.
In the days when books were hand copied citation was the essence of scholarship. As a result, the entire body of people I wrote the book about. Our Academic Priesthood, has perfected the technique of lying by selected references and shouting down all dissident thought about those references.
The usual answer to this is to write a book with different references.
In Medieval times, you would write a book only after you had read the entire literature on a subject, all ten books of it, and then quote it heavily. Doing that today makes you look smart, because that is what people USED to do.
But a new information age should produce a new genre from the Middle Ages model. If I cite what I think is a fact, somebody will tell me I'm wrong. Why keep thinking what you always thought when thousands of people can shake your most deeply-held illusions by Googling it?
The problem with old scholarship is that people don't say what they REALLY base their opinions on. Most of our society is run on assumptions that a scholar wouldn't actually state.
Most people would be petrified if they had over 3,000 articles in print, as I do in BUGS. Where I proceeded to state what I was thinking without cleaning it all up. But in the Google Age, that is a new way to get your reality straight.
For twelve years I have done this and while a scholar would be embarrassed to death at having as many errors as I have exposed, it has done me nothing but good.
Your computer can deliver information no ten thousands scholars could deliver, but it can't THINK for you. So I admit my inferiority on the scholar front and devote myself to what only the human brain can deliver.