Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New media, old class

One of the things I've written least about is that I'm brutally conservative. As in, I don't think things have changed all that much the last decades. Or, rather, things have not changed as much as they'd seem when looking at what people have said about how much things have changed.

Let's take an example: crowdfunding.

Now, I'm the first to say that it's all well and good that people can create alternative ways of financially supporting good things. There are too many good ideas not realized due to the lack of funding, and too many ideas are subverted by crony corporate funding. Getting away from that is unequivocally a good thing.

However. There's a distribution as to which things gets funded and which does not. And this distribution has striking similarities to old lines of class, gender, ethnicity and all that jazz.

The net result is not the abolition of these factors, as some cyberutopians have suggested, but rather a slight shift as to the conditions under which they operate. Which is visible not least in the case of Sarkeesian, who indeed got funding, but also a whole slew of other things to go along with it. Things that are not explained (away) by the net, nor caused by it. Merely amplified by it, moving along the path of same old same old.

We might also assume that not everyone will get a $55k potato salad.

Now, to reiterate: it is a good thing that crowdfunding exists. But there's virtue in not overselling just how much of a difference it will make. The new world is still the old world in many respects, and even more so in its lack of respects. -

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