[Humanist] 27.256 reviewing?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Aug 1 22:24:55 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 256.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 01 Aug 2013 06:29:50 +1000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: reviewing

Like many, I suppose, I read reviews of computing devices both before buying
them and afterwards. It's the afters that I have often found the more
informative. But what I've been mostly informed about is the difficulty of
getting to the intention of a device's designers, of judging something on
its own merits. Most often I find that (as the hackers say) my mileage
differs, i.e. that the reviews are expressing little more than enthusiasms
and/or annoyances. A reviewer will like a device or not like it, and that's
about all one really learns.

Lest this be taken merely as annoyance at the annoyances or enthusiasms of
others, let's consider what's involved because of the complexity of these
devices. I'm not sure if it's any different from reviewing books, say: as
Lionel Trilling wrote in "On the teaching of modern literature", you may
have to do some growing up before a book likes you. That is, aren't our
devices becoming sufficiently complex as cultural expressions that the
question to ask might be one of being or becoming like the persona that the
device has been designed to match?


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
Humanities, University of Western Sydney

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