Michael Meyer has a loving and detailed portrait of Evgeny Morozov up at the Columbia Journalism Review. BTW, CJR has gotten AWFUL these days, just AWFUL (as I noted about Sarah Laskow's whitewash of hackers).
As I noted:
The CSJ's influential CJR is filled with shrill tendentious tripe these days on lots of topics http://t.co/sQeRfSrFMz Not even good oped— CatherineFitzpatrick (@catfitz) December 24, 2013
The signs were there, of course, when they ran the interview with Pixeleen Mistral (Mark McCahill).
People in colleges still think that if they want to sound cool and smart and critical, they need to be Marxist.
Why this musty and discredited ideology crafted in a German library more than 100 years ago should seem "new" and "edgy" is beyond me but we are still burdened with it everywhere as "criticism."
My comment, in case it is deleted:
Mike Meyer has produced here probably the best coverage of Morozov's early life in Belarus and Bulgaria for the record -- and also exposed some of his Soros influences/controls and given us more of Lenny Benardo than we have probably ever had in our lives, and ever will have, despite his outsize influence on Eurasian civil society. Good!
But he left out the point where one of two things likely happened. Either 1) the time where Evgeny's kurator in the KGB or FSB or GRU recruited him and deployed him particularly against US government Internet freedom programs, of which he was a high-profile and vociferous critic at the time of the Arab Spring -- and against the powerful Silicon Valley in general which is partly an enemy of Putin or 2) (what's more likely) the time when Evgeny got recruited to some Trotskyist sect, the kind Meyer or Benardo themselves admire or are even in themselves or were in their youth, which is seemingly against Soviet tyranny but in fact is so anti-capitalist and anti-Americanist that it winds up serving the Kremlin's agenda in the end. Or maybe Zhenya came to his sour Brezhnevian socialism all on his own, after one too many Zizek readings, and someday we can expect a book titled "Parting with My Illusions" like Vladimir Posner.
Or maybe he's just figured out, like the quintessential Eurasian *grantosos*, that his more permanent gig at a university will require him to sound if not like Noam Chomsky than at least like Peter Ludlow.
If you can't make out Morozov's technocommunism, you're not paying attention. Look in particular at the stuff published in the German press -- obsessive rants about "neo-liberalism" and "Snowden as commodification and monetarizing of information" blah blah. Then there's that state committee -- presumably run just by smart people like himself and his Soros friends or ex-friends -- that will determine if Apple's design is appropriate or not -- yes, he proposed that in a TNR article.
In 16,000 words on O'Reilly, Morozov never mentioned his outsized honoraria, and he never got to the point: which is that O'Reilly is all about "communism for thee and not for me" and for mechanizing civil society so that coders control it -- as I pointed out in 2010:
More criticism of Morozov's technocommunism:
Oh, I know a constituency that will bankroll Morozov's ideas --- Organizing for America, the left wing of the Democratic Party, and the Soros soft money in the NGOs in the Elizabeth Warren campaign. See you in 2016!
Now if you read my critique of O'Reilly, you might wonder, but catfitz, if you are criticizing the oligarchs of Silicon Valley for their greed, if you are
Well, the difference is that I am happy to have capitalism, corporations, small, medium and large business. And unlike John Young of Cryptome, let's say, I'm utterly unwilling to pretend that Constitutional law and the rule of law are some fictions or class-based superstructures or whatever this version of Marxism says they are. Sorry no sale.
I think that the answer to the greed of Facebook or the conniving manipulation of O'Reilly is more capitalism, not less, more democracy, not less -- and that's why I'm not an authoritarian Marxist like Morozov.
Here's my prediction -- and not for 2014, but 2016.
Morozov will be put in a position like Alec Ross had at the State Department, which will be his ultimately fantasy -- well not quite, because he's rather be in the National Security Council or some higher position where he can work on dismantling the American democratic state more furiously and effectively than he can as a twitterer and scholar giving lectures.