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Failing By Faction: How Diverse Are Internet Communities? For those who have about an hour to kill, the Dave Hickey lecture above is worth a gander both for his ideas on the development of art viewing, and his thoughts on the Internet.

Failing By Faction: How Diverse Are Internet Communities?

To begin, Hickey describes the American art discourse as informed by a conflict between ideas proffered by the 15th century church — that the existence of an image needed to be validated by god — and Paganism, which at its heart is about imbuing objects with power. As such, the prevailing belief in the US that works of art need to be validated finds its roots in religion. I’d suggest this is a simplification of America’s relationship with art though Hickey adds to a little to his thesis as he goes on. “Stupid money” — that which supports sameness and mediocrity because it knows no better — is a thorn in the side of the artist who wishes to challenge the status quo, he tells us.

We are at a point now where the primary benison of this democracy is being challenged. Twitter, Facebook, and social activism. At four-thirty in the afternoon on Monday, February 1, 1960, four college students sat down at the lunch counter at the Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina.

Twitter, Facebook, and social activism

They were freshmen at North Carolina A. & T., a black college a mile or so away. “I’d like a cup of coffee, please,” one of the four, Ezell Blair, said to the waitress. “We don’t serve Negroes here,” she replied. The Woolworth’s lunch counter was a long L-shaped bar that could seat sixty-six people, with a standup snack bar at one end. The seats were for whites. By next morning, the protest had grown to twenty-seven men and four women, most from the same dormitory as the original four. By the following Monday, sit-ins had spread to Winston-Salem, twenty-five miles away, and Durham, fifty miles away.

The world, we are told, is in the midst of a revolution. These are strong, and puzzling, claims. Some of this grandiosity is to be expected. What makes people capable of this kind of activism? Anil Dash. One of my recurrent ruminations of the last decade or so is a bit of reflection on my relationship with religion.

Anil Dash

To be clear: I don't have one. I know there are no gods, that the supernatural does not exist, and that we should not base morality on mythology. But I was raised Hindu, my family co-founded our local house of worship, and I was raised with a keen awareness of my family's work to protect religious minorities from oppression. So I was raised with a respect for faith and for religions. It' s a respect that, frankly, I seldom show. My reasons for being frustrated with, and unforgiving toward, organized religions are the obvious, even trite, ones. To be clear, I don't much distinguish between the relative "goodness" or "badness" of any of the major religions. Great, Another Annoying Atheist on the Internet None of this is so new; Finding an atheist being annoyed with religion on the Internet is as easy as finding cat pictures.

Reckoning What, then is my conclusion?