democratization of the *word* LO21927

sendil ~zen~ nathan (
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 15:02:41 -0700

Act I:
I was reading an newspaper article from June15 in Silicon Valley that the
Director of NIH [National Institute of Health] has a proposal to have all
research papers & articles available for free. I've been told that its
already true for other areas of science but they affect our lives far less
than medicine.

This eliminates millions of dollars of publishing revenue and market
capitalization revenues, should the publisher be publicly traded. Which
means, there will be millions of dollars worth of rhetoric to sustain
publishing organization's very existence & sustenance - appropriate or not.
Exactly like the music industry crisis from MP3 internet format.

NIH proposal is supposedly a 2 stage process. Firstly, everything but the
'atrocious' will be published prior to any review. I do have serious
trouble there, since the aesthetization of 'atrocious' is a
superior/editorial/capitalist/intelllectual peer-review process in itself.
Then comes the real review, whatever that is !

Given that most significant things are a product of heretical thinking, I
wonder if there should be a 3 level process instead of 2. But as you read
on you'll realize that am not recommending all this for NIH atall. [from
my other articles you should have guessed my trojan horse strategy !]

Level 1:
Anything gets posted. [by anything I don't mean a nuclear physics research
gets posted in elizabethan literature, unless someone is comparing the
two].The Joe Firmages of physicians must be allowed to present whatever they
have to say. If they are not allowed to, then they can certainly create a
website with the 'atrocious' for free in about a 1000s places I can think of
& reached thru search engines. So, why not allow it to happen gracefully ?
Are we intellectually strong enoug to let the heretics exist ?

Level 2:
Then comes the general 'crap detector' review - with complete revealation of
the intellectual & financial interests of the reviewer's private & public
life to expose any inherent bias and conflict of interest.
Afterall, our judges from lowest court to supreme court are subjected to
that high standard, so why shouldn't anyone in medicine who wants to wear
the white-wig be expected of that high esteem ?

Level 3:
Then comes the real final 'gem detector' review worthy of a supreme court
decision. Afterall, America's real brand is not Andy Wahrol's Cambell Soup
but the Constitution & the Bill of Right despite evidence to the contrary !

Act II, Scene I:
Which brings me to the purpose of this LO list and the proliferation of list
servers from companies like OneList, Topica, FastCompany to name a few,
where the innards of hosting & publishing is eliminated [tip/update to
Karash's web advice on List server hosting ], and the intellectual work can
focus on the author's content. So much is exchanged in this forum, that I am
tempted to use the very existing laws on intellectual property to this space
to dilute & shift the very existence of intellectual property from the
publishers stronghold to the content artist.

Is there anyone who wants to extend the 'mp3 vs. music industry' to the very
concept of *word* ?

Act II, Scene II:
Why should I give $35 to buy Karash's book when I can pay what he actually
is paid anyway by the publisher & their 50 page ridiculous legalese that
dictates what his property is & his chicken-feed share of the booty ? I can
get his wisdom [or his wisdom tooth, whichever my fetish is !] without the
intermediator - the so called 'crap detector & censor' for *free or a fee*.

Afterall, with the exception of a few who want to be seen in the latest
Nike or Versace, the bulk of the populace & products care less for the
latest brand. I don't recall looking for a brand when I last bought a bag
of potato. I do not even check if the apple is from Washington, USA or
Washington, China ! [so much for our stupid legislators we voted for]

Has knowledge been commoditized ? Can I pick it up from a local flea
market ? Or should I spend several years, several thousands of someone
else's money for a Stanford PhD education, a limited platinum card &
country club membership before I get invited to visit the little iron-clad
library store inside the pentagon before I can lay my hands on the holy
grails of knowledge ?

Can I, as Adam, pluck the apple from the tree & eat without a serpent to
tempt me nor an Eve to do it for ? Not to forget that Serpent only accepts
visa card for the expert advice and Eve prefers diamonds, before I even
get to the tree.

The answer is a resounding, "YES !"

Jumping from book publishers to universities... I am now wondering if the
very structure of that institution is also being eliminated since I can
listen to the very same Negroponte's lecture for *free or a fee* from home
or a coffee-shop as any gleemy-eyed genius in MIT can. Wither MediaLabs ?
Wither Harvard Business School ? Wither Yale law ?

I'm not talking of the destruction of the *institution* as a body of
knowledge, merely its physical rhetoric and the cost associated with
propping up the 'experience' at the London School of Disneyland.

What is the shape of things to come ? Has america reached the critical
mass of material aesthetization to implode into the abstract ? Is
organization itself commoditized ?

Last but not least, who in the list audience is going to plagiarize this
email & publish as their own for profit ? Is my thoughts, now,
commoditized ?

Act IV - Epilogue:
To put all this in 'Something about Mary'-style of uncouth post-modern
generation-XY-ism: is this the demo-crotch-ization of the *word* ?

Sendil ~zen~ Nathan
Information Architect


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