jnech on Mon, 27 Aug 2007 13:41:26 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> language virus

Hello Michael, et al

Your point about the bio virus as metaphor is well taken (I might
need to hear more about the "danger" however) but may I suggest that
you take a look at Jussi Parikka's new book: Digital Contagions:
A Media Archaeology of Computer Viruses, where he theorizes the
computer virus as a cultural phenomenon stemming from non-linier human

I am only a third of the way through it, but so far I find it rather
brilliant. It maps out the anomalies of network culture from the
angles of security, the biopolitics of digital systems, and the
aspirations for artificial life. If possible, I will post a full
review of it on my blog - and elsewhere - asap.

Best Regards,
Joseph Nechvatal

On samedi, août 25, 2007, at 08:56  pm, Michael H Goldhaber wrote:


In addition to my recently posted quibble about the phrase that
interested you, I have a more serious quibble about the concept of
a "language virus." This suggests a connection with two notions:
computer "viruses" and "memes." Both in turn have their rots in a
biological metaphor, and in my view have been accepted much too


Minds are not computers; neither are exactly like the contents
of petri dishes in which biological viruses (or virii) can be
grown. The primary things that pass from mind to mind are thoughts.
Analogizing thoughts as either computer programs or as independent
self-replicating forms of near-life (which are what biological viruses
are) belittles thought and human culture. I see this as dangerous.

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