Sprezzatura

Ari Melber has a withering review of the internet’s most famous culprit of sock puppetry, Lee Siegel. This passage stands out as an apt summation of Melber’s whole piece.

By combining the fact-free observations of a futurist pundit and the hypocritical tirades of a sinful preacher, Siegel’s book is as unreliable as it is insufferable. Ironically, he sounds like the caricature of bloggers he denounces: uninformed, shrill, defensive, and self-obsessed. The nascent web culture does have problems, which fine thinkers have tackled before (Cass Sunstein and Yochai Benkler, for example). But Against the Machine fails to support its antiweb hostility, let alone offer specific reforms, because it’s too busy ranting in the mirror.

Shorter Ari Melber: This book would have undoubtedly been better if its author wasn’t a bad faith actor with a well-earned fear of research and an ax to grind.

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