[Humanist] 26.155 should I quit

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Jul 12 22:37:59 CEST 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 155.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2012 17:15:26 +0200
        From: "Dr. Hartmut Krech" <kr538 at zfn.uni-bremen.de>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 26.148 should I quit
        In-Reply-To: <20120711204242.AC0E52848B6 at woodward.joyent.us>

Not as a reply or a commentary, but rather as a side note,
it may perhaps be permitted to quote an anecdote about Guy 
Debord (1931-1994), that early critic of the "global 
theater" (Marshall McLuhan) and founder of the Situationist 
International in 1957 "out of the fusion of two and a half 
existing groups, the Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus, the 
Lettrist International, and the London Psychogeographical 
Association (the last was represented by its only member, 
Ralph Rumney)":

"Deadlines, delays, and debts. These are the three 
inevitable topics around which Debord's letters circle. 
[...] Late in life he was to say: "I have been a good 
professional — but of what?" While the question was meant to 
be rhetorical, one not entirely implausible answer would be, 

When he wrote the first letter in this volume, Debord had 
[...] drawn around himself the motley collection of drunks, 
drifters, and geniuses known as the Letterist International. 
He had painted its slogan by the banks of the river Seine: 
"Never work!" And had done his best to live up to that 
injunction. He was coming to realize that it implied 
another, and even harder discipline, the unwritten slogan: 
"Make no art!" (McKenzie Wark, in: Guy Debord 
Correspondence. The Foundation of the Situationist 
international (June 1957-August 1960). Los Angeles, CA: 
Semiotext(e), 2009, 5).

Of course, such a view will not pay anybody's bills. But 
what may be meant here, is a very meaningful distinction 
between work as an individual's achievement and work as a 
mere contribution to the "society of the spectacular" to 
uphold the stage scenes among which we move. With the means 
to produce and acquire knowledge having become ubiquitous 
after the digital divide, it is perhaps both possible and 
necesssary to redistribute public recognition of scholarly 
work, at least in the humanities that lack the laboratory 
infrastructure of the natural sciences. Crowd sourcing, 
crowd authoring, crowd curating, crowd revising, etc. are 
intelligent replies to those shifts between the groups of 
"professional" and "amateur" scholars and scientists. But we 
must never forget that even digital humanists are not 
digital at all, but humans with basic needs as to be able to 
live from what they have invested into their skills and 

Best regards, Hartmut

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