elizabeth lane lawley
michael "OC" clarke
e v h e a d
sweet fancy moses
wood s lot
m. melting object
Thursday, February 28, 2002
What did Cluetrain actually say?
Most of the most rabid criticism of The Cluetrain Manifesto has been written by people who clearly never read the book. Dozens of posts to Slashdot, for instance, argued -- using the title alone as "evidence" -- about whether the authors (of whom I am one, in case that might be unclear) were in fact Communists. (Uh, no.) And John Dvorak's latest diatribe hardly rises above the level of the Slashdot-posterboy rhetoric, if I can call it that without impugning my own craft. (In contrast to Dvorak, the actual Slashdot reviews by hemos and Jason Bennet were models of critical intelligence.)
Roughly half of these sorts of attacks accused us of being excessively harsh to business. Well, yeah, of course we were. How many manifestos treat their subjects with kid gloves? Oddly, the other half accused us of pandering to the very same audience -- as if the book constituted an underhanded program intended to aid business in its nefarious plans for the stealth penetration of virgin "new economy" markets.
I have put the full text of the entire book online, so you can decide for yourself which of these wild-ass guesses were more true. However, this clip from my chapter titled Internet Apocalypso may be all you need to make up your own mind whether we were being: a) unforgivably rude or b) cynically manipulative. fwiw.
To find anything that isn't overtly complicit with the Great Technology Sitcom, you have to dig down to the underbelly of the Web. You have to get past the sites with commercial pretensions that are slicing and dicing you, counting the legs and dividing by four, bringing in the sheep. You are being incorporated into their demographic surveys. And, predictably, the lowest common denominator is getting all the juice. You are being packaged for advertisers by some of the hippest hucksters on the planet.
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