Jonathan Chait describes the litigators methodology of Glenn Greenwald:
You take a side, assume the other side is lying, and prosecute your side full tilt. It’s not your job to account for evidence that undermines your case — it’s your adversary’s job to point that out.
Bingo. My own encounters with Greenwald, in the comments to various blogs about the likelihood of Julian Assange being extradited from Sweden, have seen him follow exactly the same pattern: simply ignore any point which refutes something you claim.
This legal adversarial model makes for good justice, but bad politics.
Claim chowder, special Nintendo edition:
“Nintendo president Satoru Iwata doesn’t mince his words; asked about Apple’s iPad launch this week, the outspoken executive has told reporters that the tablet ‘was a bigger iPod touch’, and that ‘there were no surprises for me’. “
Nintendo’s entire revenue for it’s most recent financial year? $6.39 bn.
Apple’s revenue for just the iPad in its most recent financial year? About $31 bn.
“Some will say this is just a small site bitching about a big site. Maybe. I believe there’s a larger issue here. The online publishing game is all about volume right now. It’s not about quality and originality. When volume is your organizing principle, you take shortcuts. Ripping off others’ work is simply the norm now. It is absolutely effective, and it is absolutely depressing.”
Sad but true. However, there are sites out there trying to do something different. It’s up to us to support them.
We are an opinionated age. We obsess over it. Who’s opinions you follow define who you are and – that perilous belonging – what tribe you are a part of. We defend our own, and attack those who disagree.
You might think that the world of technology was somewhere resistant to this cult of opinion. Technology, after all, is the product of reason. This iPad that I’m typing on is the joyous result of decades of refinement, polish, understanding, experiment, measurement, definition, enhancement and precision. It is science personified.
And yet all technology, like all products of the human mind, is also a product of choice. Reason forged the plough that opened the furrow which nurtured the crop and fed us; but it was someone’s choice to get up on a cold morning and push that plough to make that particular furrow. No choice, no ploughing – and similarly, no choice, no iPad.
Choice depends on rationality. But it also depends on emotion, on determination, on the will that is required to push an idea from the first concept into the light of existence. And those emotions, that determination, that will, all depend on an opinion: the opinion that the world is right for this, now. That another path, another product, would be wrong, now.
Opinion intrudes into the cold world of technology from the first moment that every product is conceived. Is it such a surprise that so much of what we write about it is also "mere" opinion?