Cyber-rapture

Mark Dery in Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century:

The rhetoric of escape velocity crosses cyberpunk science fiction with the Pentacostal belief in an apocalyptic Rapture, in which history ends and the faithful are gathered up into the heavens. Visions of a cyber-Rapture are a fatal seduction, distracting us from the devastation of nature, the unraveling of the social fabric, and the widening chasm between the technocratic elite and the minimum-wage masses.

Shorter Dery: Go fuck yourself Ray Kurzweil.

1 comment to Cyber-rapture

  • I think that Alfred’s post and the work of Harrison on this topic have been ignored for too long. This lkeliy because it undercuts strongly held values within the academy. There are a number of reasons why overcoming such class bias might be good, but there are also reasons why it hasn’t been sufficiently addressed. On the good side, addressing class bias in law school hiring might result in faculties that actually look somewhat like America – and that is possibly one of the primary reasons why it is avoided. Power is not surrendered without a fight. People from higher class backgrounds have every reason to obfuscate this issue and divert attention to other forms of bias that don’t have the potential to have drastic impacts on power structures – remember, the majority of the country is not from the upper class (or even the upper-middle).To address your primary question – how do we design a workable affirmative action plan to address class bias – that is indeed a vexing problem – race and gender are much more easily identified. How does the offspring of two uneducated factory workers making well over 40k a year (combined) compare with the offspring of a literature professor and stay at home spouse making about the same amount? The offspring of Bill Gates will have a father without a college degree – does this make them non-elite? Not lkeliy. Perhaps a first step is to address the elitism in the law school hiring processes generally. Lower socio-economic class students do not dominate the halls of the 5-10 law schools whose grads make up the bulk of law professors in this country. True, some grads of these law schools come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, but they are certainly the exception than the rule. It would be dangerous to reason by anecdote and say that the everyone has an equal opportunity to attend such schools. In some ways these exceptions are a great danger to the viability of addressing class bias in academia (not their fault, of course!). Simply focusing on scholarship rather than pedigree (in assessing candidates) would go a long way toward addressing this problem – or at least it would be a reasonable start.

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