Once upon a time, for some reason, I reckoned that the meaning of the phrase "crib from this" would be self-explanatory. It isn't, though, and now I realize that. So here's my attempt to clarify what this is trying to be all about.
ImpetusThe 'Web log' Crib From This was conceived originally as a framework within which to inquire into the relation between knowledge and information.
Now. In case that sounds a little dull, navel-gaze-y or anesthetic, I should clarify that the modes of inquiry were to have been historical and sociological. I was never interested in waxing philosophical about what "the relation between knowledge and information, in its pure/ideal form, truly/immutably is..." etc. Rather, I intended to make observations or suggest hypotheses about the ways in which our assumptions about this relation might have grown obsolete.
Why bother?That's easy: these assumptions have not served us well lately. Certainly not since the mind-bendingly tragic events of September 11th, 2001 ushered in a new brand of political and cultural demagogy.
Our assumptions about the aforementioned relation appear to be ill-equipped to aid our attempts to describe—much less to comprehend—how humanity learns and communicates, remembers, valuates and asks questions amidst our present technological and political constellations. They have failed to give us the tools we need to get democratic discourse off of life-support.
For whom?But who, you might ask, is the "us" to which I refer? The short answer is everyone. I believe that the United States Constitution—which is to say: the rights, principles and values enshrined in it, the compromises and workarounds embedded in it, the things said and left unsaid, the amendments made and the amendments still to come—remains the closest thing humanity has to a lifeline.
The longer answer is: anyone reading. Not just (nor primarily, nor necessarily) this, but anyone reading anything. It's our responsibility to fix what's broken, to preserve the rights, freedoms and ideals embodied in the Constitution against the doublespeak, brinkmanship and nihilism of the far-Right, as well as against the operational rationality—which is really a kind of pseudo-rationality (or a rationality suited to machines)—of technocracy.
But, aren't you being an elitist?Depends upon how you define it. It's reassuring to some—and useful to others—to think of education, communication and the asking of questions as 'elitist'. Who am I to sit in judgment of such people? We all have our illusions; we're all guilty, at one time or another, of mistaking something that's useful or reassuring for something that's true.
'Knowledge’ vs. ‘Information’Technology is making the latter available to millions; it is no longer exclusively the property of elites. The value of the former, however, seems to be skyrocketing.
The new difficulty posed by information is not its scarcity, but its overabundance. When information is at its least expensive and easiest to obtain, knowledge—the ability to select, classify and deploy information—is indispensable.
So, the phrase 'Crib From This'means just that. As a title, it was intended to be somewhat over-the-top or...I don't know...funny. But it's also meant earnestly, as a justification for the existence of yet another blog, which, obviously, the world has enough of. But, the idea is: crib from this, crib from that, let's share and compare notes ('crib sheets', if you will) with one another. As blog apologetics go, it still seems like a fairly good idea for how to go about things.
Too bad this blog turned out, after all, to mostly just be the same as most other lame, boring political blogs: a place in which to rant about boring political minutia from the day-to-day 'news cycle' that is almost entirely gestural and/or theatrical and—as a young Bob Dylan memorably put it—ain't got nuthin' to do with nuthin'. I've been trying—in my spare time, mind you!...it's not like I'm losing sleep over this—to find ways of putting into practice some of the blog's original ideas and intentions. Maybe one of these days...