Amateurs, Keen claims, devastate systems that are based on expertise and destroy the institutions of author and authorship, information (newspapers are slowly disappearing, blogs are taking over), education (Wikipedia, the work of anonymous amateurs, has replaced encyclopedias, the work of experts), and art and culture (amateurs create their own culture based on borrowing, expropriation, appropriation, intervention, recycling, and remaking; they are simultaneously the creators and consumers of this culture.)
Alan Kirby, an Oxford professor of literature, maintains that this new culture is in need of its own "ism," and as a provisional term suggests "pseudo-modernism." "this pseudo-modern world, so frightening and seemingly uncontrollable, inevitably feeds a desire to return to the infantile playing with toys which also characterizes the pseudo-modern cultural world. Here, the typical emotional state, radically superseding the hyper-consciousness of irony, is the trance – the state of being swallowed up by your activity. In place of the neurosis of modernism and the narcissism of postmodernism, pseudo-modernism takes the world away, by creating a new weightless nowhere of silent autism. You click, you punch the keys, you are 'involved,' engulfed, deciding. You are the text, there is no-one else, no 'author'; there is nowhere else, no other time or place. You are free; you are the text: the text is superceded."
There is a lot to digest in just those two paragraphs near the beginning of Ugresic's introductory essay. A lot of it rings true to me, but there are still places where I'm skeptical (perhaps the essays to follow will elaborate on this "karaoke culture," or "Generation Re-Run" as I like to think of recent trends to recycle and appropriate older narratives and symbols) of the extent to which this is happening/has happened. What about you? What are your immediate reactions to this quoted passage?