Where good taste, clear and distinct ideas, and graceful modulations tend to be viewed with lowering suspicion.
There would be little use for large, subscription-based archives like JSTOR if scholarship and research is released online for free. link
Labels: break jstor wide open, closed systems, jstor, jstor syndrome, open access
posted by Tom Matrullo at Sunday, November 09, 2008
What's consistent is it's a template all the way through - get in between some natural consistent spontaneously occurring event's two end points, and use the active movement that joins them to power your dynamos.The pimp isn't dedicated to the propagation of his craft, he doesn't hold up the larger effort of his kind.It's about extracting a toll, paying the ones you have to, collecting a fee, charging for a service provided by someone else, getting in between someone and something they want and making them pay to get you out of the way.Passive extortion.Raising animals for their meat, or their fur or their skin or their labor, their natural processes interrupted, milk, veal, leather shoes, all things they did because it would help their specie interrupted, we get in between them, the calf and the udder, the corn and the flower, the independent film channel and the interested viewer. How much we take from that, how much we can get for getting out of the way, how much return we get on the investment in the case of cattle to feed and care for them to slaughtering age, how much we get from the industry's patrons in the case of the IFC and others, has nothing to do with what it costs us to deliver - only what the market demands, and allows.We being them, for rhetorical purposes.Whatever moral logic bans slavery and licenses factory meat farms is beyond reason. Is it the case that the non-rhetorical we tolerate these parasites because our energy budgets dictate? Because it's more comfortable to put up with the discomfort of parasitic bites and itches than it is to strip down and purify?Hard to find the edge of it, husbandry and slavery don't have a fixed boundary, we recognize their extremes but the transitional moment between the giant metal barn and its cells of suffering food and the slave-labor complex of the modern prison system - that's a moment like any other, indistinguishable from that on either side, and the shift isn't abrupt at all, it's smooth, it flows. Coming soon, next, any day: Ethical parasites.
Sometimes I wonder if Capitalism were not more accurately named "Middlemanism." In the US, with its rather shabby sense of communal ethics to begin with, the man in the middle has had a heyday exploiting producers (labor, growers, etc.) and defrauding consumers. There is another aspect, when we look at JSTOR: For many libraries and places of learning with lean budgets, JSTOR is coming to replace their entire journals room. That means that the available scholarship could in the future be limited to what JSTOR offers, rather than to the full spectrum of scholars and publications.That is, a field of sources is reduced to the middleman whose mission critical is not to capture the field, but to maintain a viable business model. Not everybody can afford all the trimmings.
And we can meditate on the invisible temptations that archivist/middleman confronts when it's time to be sensible about the volume of materials archived. What to bring and what to abandon.How many marginal characters squeaked through the long filters of monkish history, the scattering libraries of medieval Europe the dynastic convulsions the world gets itself into frinstance Alexandria weep for that without ever knowing what it was we lost there and yet there's these guys that any sensible archivist with a myopic mandate would have sensibly left behind and how many were?Various Greeks, various philosophers, poets, dithyrambic rhetoriticians, various iconoclasts and legal scholars...All you need is some power-wanker at JSTOR or its cultural analogs with a simmering agenda and the one true magic of the voluminating internet is undone, deflated, made bulimic.How much material isn't on wikipedia for those reasons we'll never know, but then their mandate isn't as nutritionally central as the archivists' should be.Similar, but not the same in crucial ways.It's the template we're fighting I think anyhow. Bob Dylan's father ran a hardware store. I imagine him with somewhat the character, providing an essential adaptable service, embedded in the local community responsive to its hardware needs. Hardware being massively central to rural experience in them days.The precise moral opposite, while indistinguishable superficially from, the artificial insertion of the middleman's valves and metrics into and onto a pipeline that would function just as well without them being there at all. Better. Much better without them at all.And then next we can meditate on how Wal-Mart removed the middlemen by essentially eating them in large handfuls, removed the little ones by metabolizing them and then became them tacking their skins to the outside of their blue-logo'd buildings, the fact of their metabolizing writ large against the low pressure sodium orangey sky and but thus having freed up the initial investment energy the consumer throws then at the megastore, cheaper prices more customers more customers cheaper prices slaves in China whoopee.Leading to a possible meditation point that merely casting off the grasp of the immediate middlemen won't do it. It is the nature of the crime that must be precisely rendered and denounced. As someone once must have had to do in regard to cannibalism. Which this topic bears some traces of in its subject targets' consumption of human things for the benefit of theirselves at the expense of undefended others and something higher and even more defenseless yet still mostly only potential.What that future kid might make hitting the archive unimpeded by commercial grasping can't be brought into the court, or the arena, because it hasn't been, isn't being allowed to happen, and thus has no substance, yet it's what matters most of all.So we can see this as a conflict between the needs of grasping middlemen to further their own squalid meaningless lives against the unimaginable outward movement of the living future our children's minds create, or will if we can free them in time.
The Ivy Leagued Caste is the primary benefactors of the current system. Knowledge is protected within their clubby social networks. These aristocrats may use mercantile methods to prevent knowledge from seeping down to the masses, but were it not available, they'd find an another Exclusorius. It's not Capitalism, it's Caste-ism. The gap between the Ivy Leaguers and Us Dullards is not going to be solved by the currently fashionable focus on coinage redistributional methods. JSTOR sits snugly behind our contemporary Codex Hammurabi while the Harvard Yale Plantations continue to harvest their King Cotton.
Leaving aside the who, the why, and the how...it's as plain as "Obama or McCain" -- more knowledge to more people is either a good thing, or it's not. Hmmm...
Obama is good. But, we all know that this JSTOR problem isn't going to go away in 4 or 8 years. His leagions of Ivy Leagued Internet Gurus -- experts at sucking trinkets away from us ignoramus slaves -- aren't going to dismanted the internet valves that keep the enlightened and JSTORied juices from flowing downhill.
On second thought -- I'm wrong. Not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that trite. Please accept apology.
This is probably not the ideal forum in which to apologize for not being sure what you are thinking. We sort of admire that here.
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