“Farhad Manjoo and Evgeny Morozov debate Morozov’s new book on “the folly of technological solutionism,” over in Slate. Manjoo:
A few weeks ago, while traveling from my home in Palo Alto to the South by Southwest Interactive Festival—that is, between two of your favorite places in the world—I loaded up the Kindle app on my phone and began reading your new book, To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism. Since then I’ve cycled through a variety of devices and apps to read and jot down my reactions to your polemic against the tech industry and its windy boosters, and I’m thrilled to be chatting with you about it this week.
You and I have very different visceral reactions to technology. You keep your router and smartphone locked in a safe; I’ve quit reading books and magazines on paper. Still, I’ve long been an admirer of your work. You’re the most sensitive bullshit detector in tech punditry—when someone in this industry is talking out of his ass, I can count on you to take him down. Readers not familiar with your work should start with your masterful skewering of puffed-up blogger Jeff Jarvis, of whose book, Public Parts, you wrote: “This is a book that should have stayed a tweet.”
Not surprisingly, Jarvis is one of your main targets in To Save Everything, and what I like best about your book is that you’re still not pulling any punches. (Disclosure: You critically cite my own work in a couple of places, though, mercifully, I’m one of the few people you handle with kid gloves.) I enjoyed the many barbs you hurled at Jarvis and your other intellectual opponents, including the speculation that their ignorance stems from being “too young or inexperienced with books” and the claim that they possess a “knowledge of history … reduced to tweet-length CliffsNotes.” You’re one of those writers who likes to show off his superiority by quoting your opponents’ grammatical errors with an appended [sic]. In other words, you’re a fighter, Morozov—and it’s not without a bit of trepidation that I jump into the ring with you.