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we become habituated to viewing all information — literature, science, journalism, scholarship, whatever — as something to be “strip-mined [for] relevant content” (p. 164), and rather than thereby supposedly refining our ability to recognize (in classic marketplace of ideas fashion) good information from bad, in fact our capacity to make learned judgments is physically undermined.
From time to time, I too want to throw the book at the internet (so to speak). Yet “strip-mining content” reminds me of nothing so much as the strategy of “gutting books” — a venerable act of analog violence — that a graduate student must adopt in order to finish in less than 10 years. Of course, a whole country of people who think and read like graduate students would be a dystopia unlike any other. But when it comes to the uses and abuses of crafted knowledge, some things never change.
Hat tip: the one and only Alan Jacobs.