Update: Some asked for a fuller response. It is here: http://bit.ly/AnsweringMrGrumpy
The thrashing my book and I just received from Evgeny Morozov was as preordained as the last election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Months ago, he bragged that he had me in his crosshairs, assigned to review Public Parts
-- even before I had finished writing the book. The New Republic assigned him with the sure expectation he would do this, for Morozov reliably dislikes me, just as he dislikes people I quote, whom he lists: +Clay Shirky
, Don Tapscott, +Jay Rosen
, +Arianna Huffington
, +John Perry Barlow
, Steven Johnson, +Robert Scoble
, +Seth Godin
, +Nick Denton
, +Umair Haque
, +Doc Searls
. We are, in his view, "comrades in the Cyber-Uptopian International." Good company in my view.
I wish Morozov had tackled issues and ideas to show how it's done. He wants an intellectual examination of the topic -- accusing me of not providing it -- but then he doesn't offer one himself. Instead, he only writes a personal attack. It has the air of history's longest troll's comment. I could choose to feed him and reply to his complaints -- his mischaracterizations (I imagine no "privacy police") and his hysterics (he finds Streetview to be a case of Germans "tyrannized by an American company") and his amusing overreaches (he complains about the names Habermas and Oprah appearing in the same book). And I could point out that he omits my agreement with and praise of him (putting him in bad company, to be sure) . But in the end, such a discussion would end up looking like this... Me: "You don't like me." Him: "No, I don't." So what? One price of publicness is haters. He fulfills that role for the people listed above and more.
Of course, I am linking to Morozov's piece. I worship at the altar of the link, remember. "Geek religion," he calls my faith. I trust that you'll make your own judgments -- because, you see, I am a utopian and a populist and fool enough to trust a public empowered by these new tools, which I hope to see us all protect. But then, that's what my book is really
about. You wouldn't know it on the other side of this link.
(By the way, you'll find you'll have to read this very, very long screed in very small type on a printer-only page -- the link Morozov provided -- because that gets around his publication's pay wall.)
[Later: On Twitter, Morozov says TNR wasn't the publication that assigned him back in June. It "grew" to a publication that could afford the paper to print it. I did try to report the point and asked him more than once who assigned him at the time but he coyly would not say.]
[Later still: Morozov says he doesn't say technology is neutral. This is a semantic disagreement, I believe. I heard him speak at SXSW and used his example of security forces crowdsourcing protestors' photos in my book. I say that technology can be used for good or bad and it is that sense I say it is neutral.]