Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

Bizarre internet shit-storms near you

There was an article in The New Yorker about Stafford Beer and Cybersyn http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/13/planning-machine by Evgeny Morozov.
There appears to be an internet shit-storm about this being at worst plagiarised and at best inadequately paying debt to Eden Medina's book on Beer and Cybersyn
The article is here https://lee-vinsel.squarespace.com/blog/2014/10/11/an-unresolved-issue-evgeny-morozov-the-new-yorker-and-the-perils-of-highbrow-journalism
Eden Medina's book details here http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/cybernetic-revolutionaries
I became aware of the shit-storm via a locked Twitter account, but the person being retweeted was going OMG PLAGIARISM!!11!! based on the illustration in the New Yorker article resembling the cover of Eden Medina's book - I suggested that them both having the picture of the Cybersyn control room being a sign of plagiarism was akin to someone going OMG PLAGIARISM!!11!! based on two things about Paris both being illustrated with the Eiffel Tower.

Personally, I thought the article in the New Yorker fell well within accepted 'if you draw on more than 2 works it's research not plagiarism' bounds. I have, to be honest, only skimmed it, though.

I think it is telling that the article about Morozov mentions a possible debt in connection to the correspondence between Beer and Brian Eno to the book by Andrew Pickering (who has 2 Ph.Ds) and not to the earlier book by David Whittaker (who doesn't).

I feel there is some sort of subtext here I am not getting.

The surprising thing about this is that anyone cares, I would have imagined that I am one of the 20 people in the world who care most about about this stuff, and I don't care very much.

Eden Medina's book is very good, though. Firstly, because she can write well. Secondly, because she has actually, gasp, gone to Chile and talked to people in Spanish. Things in technology that happen outside the Anglophone world often sink without trace unreported.

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