I was supposed to meet with Andrew Keen last week, and before we spoke Mr. Keen asked that I read his book. No problem, it’s hardly Shogun, and the subject matter is pretty interesting.
The essential idea: The democratization of creativity is harmful to our culture, our society, and our economy. In essence, Web 2.0 is evil. It’s elevating opinion at the expense of verified fact in our news, crippling the ability of real artists to survive economically, and seducing already self-obsessed westerners with the idea that their stories / pictures / video is extraordinary even when it’s crap.
Mr. Keen is a smart man, and nobody loves a contrarian like me. While I resisted much of what he had so say for a few chapters, in the end I must admit he makes some important points about the nature of news, art and self indulgence.
Then I saw Larry Lessig’s TED speech on copyright law, which is characteristically brilliant, and understood what bothered my about Mr. Keen’s point of view.
Lessig himself was mixed on the book, his thoughts are here.
Full disclosure: Mr. Keen blew me off, I have neither met Mr. Lessig, nor been assigned homework by him.