30 June 2013

San Francisco as the Miner's Canary ~ And then the Rest of Us

"What do the U.S. government and Silicon Valley already have in common? Above all, they want to remain opaque while making the rest of us entirely transparent through the capture of our data. What is arising is simply a new form of government, involving vast entities with the reach and power of government and little accountability to anyone."
Rebecca Solnit, who as I have said here numerous times, is among our brightest, most insightful public intellectuals, has a new book.  You can find it here. This week I used my first trip to Literati, the new independent bookshop in Ann Arbor to pick up a copy. So, while I have the book, I've not read it yet. You can find an interview with Solnit here at NPR. And you can find an even more recent offering - an essay dissecting the insidious usurpations of high-tech corporations in Silicon Valley. For Solnit, San Francisco - the city were she lives -  is like the canary in the mine shaft. That said, her lament is not just for the ways money and privilege and cluelessness are undermining life in that city. At a more general level Solnit reminds us, as in the passage I lifted above, of Foucault's warning that visibility is a trap.

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