I have bumped my head against one of the glass ceilings of the Internet. Among the many conversations I have had with folks online and offline in email, I have gotten the distinct notion that a significant portion are unaware of the connections between Kwanzaa and the Black Arts, and other Black movements of the 60s. To many it sounds like an indistinguishable hodgepodge. I can almost predict that when I hear the earnest sentiments in introductions by folks when they joke about how 'white' they are. Well everybody's got to start somewhere.
What we have out here in the wild, wild web is essentially Google and Wikipedia. Google tells us what's hot, for better or worse, Wikipedia tells us what people can agree upon, generally speaking, to be factual. Both are very good for navigating the truth. Neither are good for determining the truth in context.
One of the things that I learned during the time I hung out with academics is about the power of narrative. Even as a writer up until that point I didn't recognize that power. Since then I have used it, especially in this blog. It is one of the reasons I personalize my experience with Kwanzaa, and one of the reasons I've begged off of doing the Wikipedia thing.
At any rate I still get upset that those artifacts of the net are insufficient to combat the onslaught of ignorant echoes of the propaganda started by several oxygen-sucking righty pundits, and I encourage folks who get paid by the footnote to take a battle of facts to Wikipedia. Fortunately, George Kelly, a journalist straddles the fence. Checking his blog took me to the Oxford African American Studies Center, and it reminded me immediately why many academics don't bother with the web.
I think it would be rather obvious that if the best syllabi and materials were freely available on the web and the pedagogy of linking and blogging were credential-worthy, a heck of a lot of smart people would be out of a job. That holds a lot less for the sciences I think and that is a good reason why MIT doesn't mind. So it comes as no surprise that those who are blessed with the gift for academic writing should make themselves scarce. Why give away to the world on the web what middle class Americans scrimp and save for - 200 bucks a unit. And so I take it as axiomatic that superior factually correct, contextually rich texts will not make much of a dent in the free internet, google be damned.
You could try
But you can only get so far.
I've had my issues with this state of affairs for some time now, and I cannot say that I am completely at ease with it. I will have to console myself with the faith that people who know what they are talking about will speak more freely when their knowledge is challenged by ignorance. It's something of a central theme in my writing, isn't it?
Well, I think there's a lending library workaround, and fair use is still fair play, so I'll do what I can to bring some of the better chunks of words that are salient to the discussions we have out here in the free world. In the meantime, there is some good background at the Oxford Center. Get what you can while you can.