Brian Holmes on Mon, 12 May 2014 03:21:27 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> tensions within the bay area elites

On 05/11/2014 01:38 PM, Michael Weisman wrote:

I don't think this is a Bay Area thing.  Google, Schmidt, and even
Cory, operate at a supranational level, traveling from place to place
and speaking and working all over the globe, without any regard to
national borders or local cultures.

Yet there is a local effect. As Google and other major Silicon Valley companies have grown to become a global economic force, supplying information-processing capacities and managerial tools to the entire world, their local footprint has grown disproportionately. Their presence, buying power and influence in the Bay Area is palpable and increasing. A social class cannot simply remain invisible. And the sight of a superior class - arguably, a dominant class, a ruling class - is generally painful to the eyes of others. Thus the recent (and in my view, quite justified) attacks against Google techies/execs by Bay Area political countercultures.

Doctorow is a somewhat different story, no? He may get himself flown around the world to give talks, but he is not a full-fledged member of this newly dominant class - all the more so since he seems to identify himself at least partially with those on the outside of it. Both his politics and his own quest for attention-market share lead him to see, or at keast try to see, the new mangerialists as so many of his readers do, with ambivalent admixtures of envy, fear and class hatred.

These kinds of tensions within elites have often emerged in the capitalist democracies. They are a good sign. We need more of them, and not just within the elites themselves. It is healthy to lash out against those who rule you. Otherwise they do what they are doing right now. They just walk all over us. With pleasure and impunity.

best, Brian

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