Shock/Fear rhetoric

I opened this video thinking I was going to watch a creative mash-up debate between the wiki and the blog – and while that is SORT OF what I saw, I was simultaneously shocked rhetoric used in this short film.


The debate is between Kennedy and Nixon, with Kennedy defending the wiki and Nixon the blog. The language, however, is all about control and ‘freedom of speech’. And even a little ‘protect your kids from lurking pedophiles thrown in’ for good measure.

Some excerpts:

Blogs allow you to control content and ‘keep away internet predators‘, something that wikis do not do… you can tell who said what without compromising the integrity of the content. Comments can be screened by the blog facilitator- comment by Mashup Nixon

…editing the text that is viewed by the children of this generation… –comment by Mashup Nixon

Blogs are ‘unconstitutional‘ – the true freedom of speech can be found in a wiki. The voice of the people should not be suppressed… ‘Not only are blogs unconstitutional, but they do not allow for the freedom of speech. –comment by Mashup Kennedy

Do you want what is posted on your wiki to be representative of your thoughts and beliefs. Do you want your content to be at the mercy of the (slight echo effect) critical masses? –comment by Mashup Nixon

Mashup Kennedy rebuttal, ‘Now we know what you think of the American people, Mr. Nixon’… ‘I want the people of this nation to know that with a wiki your voice will be heard…’

As someone who researches blogging culture – or even just as someone who has used both tools, I find this argument unfounded (both tools allow for a measure of ‘freedom’ or control’ and it is really the user who determines how it is used) and slightly incendiary. I hope those who watch it enjoy it for it’s comedic value (it is a cute mashup idea, after all), but not as having any authority on the culture of blogging and wikis.

This entry was posted in rhetoric, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Shock/Fear rhetoric

  1. Ele says:

    I thought this was quite a good conversation starter about the differences between blogs and wiki’s and the utopian rhetoric they both claim! Arguably blogs are an extension of conventional ‘authored’ publishing into the personal arena, enabling many people to publish to many people, and add comments. Whilst wiki’s utilise the many:many network potential of the internet for collaborative authorship, as well as’posting’. However, in my experience, wiki’s tend to be used by specialist communities of interest who are working together, sharing and editing (often longer) texts. Whilst blogs are usually more individual and publish (shorter texts and news) to a wider or more general audience. In this mash up Kennedy pledges everyone access to all wikis. But surely the wiki admin can over-write just as easily as a blog-admin. So the ability to be the ‘powers that be’, to control and manipulate information, can be exercised by anyone of us! Now that’s a ‘Reds under the Beds scare!’

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hej Ele, I agree that it makes for a good conversation starter, not just about blogs and wikis, but I would love to use it in a high school journalism course about propaganda/rhetoric. I also think you make a good point about the way that blogs and wikis are used. Blogs tend to be author-centric. I know of several that are co-authored, but not that many tend to do well over time – of course, it would be interesting to compare their longevity to single-authored blogs longevity. I find that wikis are also used in relation to specific projects, not only specific groups.

    I think that what I objected to most in this video is the strong dichotomy – blogs are all about keeping the power, while wikis are all about freedom of information. If anything, I would consider blogs to be very much about freedom to spread information. When I think about people like Hoder, who is currently being detained in Iran for the activist nature of his blog, or about Dan Rather loosing his job after blogs echochambered his ‘mistake’ until the larger news sources re-broke the story, I would say that the real difference between a blog and a wiki is not so much about the power or control in the spread of information, rather the ‘objectivity’ behind the information. Blogs tend to be very personal – even those porting the news, where wikis tend to report without an obvious personal bias – whether it is about news, or educational/knowledge.

    But you are right, the video is a good conversation starter :-)!

Comments are closed.