Posted in: Technology

Meritocracy Part 2: the remnant cultural elite

We covered Jeff Jarvis’ excellent post on meritocracy online this morning, but one of the responses to the piece is so staggering it’s worth repeating, if only so we can identify the cultural elite the online world is facing. Serious trolling from Broadband Politics:

Most people are stupid, and the Googlenet hasn’t changed that. The wisdom of crowds isn’t wise, it tends to the lowest common denominator. You don’t get popularity in the Googlenet by saying things that are intelligent or insightful, you do by showing naked women in various states of compromise and by inflaming the emotions in other equally manipulative ways. So this commentary simply ignores these truths of human nature. The link economy isn’t about “merit;” people link indiscriminately to things that made them laugh, get sexually aroused, pissed off, or confused.

If you want a culture that rewards excellence, you aren’t going to get it by ranking pages by the number of morons who saw fit to link to them, you rank them by the number of intelligent people who found them valuable. And that evidence shows up in the real world, not on the Googlenet.

Don’t think that is a view held by few as it’s a common view among significant portions of the self appointed cultural elite globally.

That some people are stupid may be a given, but who defines who is stupid or not? Who gave that right to the cultural elite, people who have gained their positions not through skill nor talent alone, but often through money and birth.

That naked women or humor ranks highly online does not mean that they live in a vacuum of higher knowledge, it simply means that sometimes the cultural elite focus on them via the media, after all what better way to denigrate the internet then to suggest it is dangerous, full or porn or any other negative angle you can think of. And who are we to say that some of the humor online today may not be considered fine art by future generations?

How do we define who is intelligence when the constructs of the high priests of culture restrict access to all but a few, a system that has denied knowledge to others by limiting its distribution? It’s the ultimate closed shop, one rife with cronyism and corruption by money. That the intelligent should select the intelligent is a form of cultural eugenics.

The internet may not be perfect, but Jarvis sums it up nicely:

The internet doesn’t make us more creative, I don’t think. But it does enable what we create to be seen, heard, and used. It enables every creator to find a public, the public he or she merits. And that takes creation out of the proprietary hands of the supposed creative class.

We have already seen some of the backlash, and as the world changes expect to see more elitist rubbish such as this.

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