What's the Matter with the Internet?
Author: Mark Poster
Publisher: Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2001
Review Published: March 2002
Given the constraints of time, I cannot respond to these thoughtful and interesting reviews of my book in the manner they deserve. I would say only that the reviewers concur with my view of my work that it attempts to speculate and theorize about possible directions for a critical view of new media. There are a couple of specific points I would like briefly to comment upon. I agree with Kathleen Fitzpatrick that my chapter on Virtual Ethnicities does not benefit from an understanding of critical race theory. For this I make no excuse. It reflects my ignorance which I am currently attempting to correct. I have one problem with the Rune Dalgaard review. By pointing out that mp3 files are not changed by their downloaders, Dalgaard does not refute my argument that digital cultural objects are inherently fluid and changeable. My distributed, collective games are revised by users. Text files are routinely cut and past. In the area of music, Bjork has encouraged users to alter digital files of her music, repost and distribute them. It should not be surprising that after generations of consuming fixed cultural objects, users would not take full advantage of the digital format for altering objects in their reception. I endorse the spirit of a work-in-progress that Slavka Antonova attributes to my work. Given the rapidly changing nature of the Internet and digital media in general, a sense of caution and tentative character are necessary in discussing them.
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