Stewart Brand’s Dubious Futurism

Malcolm Harris in The Nation:

Stewart Brand is not a scientist. He’s not an artist, an engineer, or a programmer. Nor is he much of a writer or editor, though as the creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, that’s what he’s best known for. Brand, 83, is a huckster—one of the great hucksters in a time and place full of them. Over the course of his long life, Brand’s salesmanship has been so outstanding that scholars of the American 20th century have secured his place as a historical figure, picking out the blond son of Stanford from among his peers and seating him with inventors, activists, and politicians at the table of men to be remembered. But remembered for what, exactly?

Whole Earth: The Many Lives of Stewart Brand is the first full biographical consideration of a man who has already provided useful fodder for writers seeking to characterize the various social and intellectual movements that came out of California in the final third of the 20th century.

More here.