Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Blogger's Manifesto: A new book and the interesting story of Eric Ringmar

This post is about Eric Ringmar and an excellent little book about blogging, Universities and Free Speech that is on sale as of today:

Eric Ringmar: A Blogger's Manifesto - Free Speech and Censorship in the Age of the Internet. ISBN-10: 1843312883. The book is available at Amazon (Amazon USA, Amazon UK). You can also download it, but I would encourage that you read part of it today, and then buy it.

The book is great. What happened to Eric is important and infuriating.

Eric is a Swede, and was up until recently a Senior Lecturer in Government studies at the London School of Economics (LSE). He writes complicated and interesting-looking books about political history (like this one or this). He spent 20 years at prestigious universities, first Yale and then the LSE. Now he is at a "non-prestigious" one : National Chiao Tung University.

Eric resigned from the LSE on the 1st of February 2007. His resignation letter is here. It reads simply:

"Freedom of speech is important to scholarship. It is also important to me. I cannot go on working at an educational institution which does not protect and share this value."

Now read Chapter 3 of Eric's book. It describes what happened to him (For press coverage see Guardian, THES).

To enhance the sense of incredulity while reading, it will help to look at the open day speech he gave to prospective students at the LSE before the trouble started, and the blog that infuriated the LSE. For a rapid tour, some posts are gagging orders, should you do a PhD in the UK, English Professors, Potentially defamatory blogs, and the Muslim Danish Cartoons

Then read Chapter 8: The bloggers manifesto, peruse the other chapters here, and buy it.

I give it 9 out of 10 for insight and amusement.

Previous book reviews on this blog:
  • Shuchman, Miriam. the Drug Trial: Review| Rating 0/10
  • Shuchman, Miriam. the Drug Trial: Review| Rating 0/10
  • Washburn, Jennifer. University, Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of American Higher Education: Review| Rating 10/10
  • Rivlin, Solomon. Scientific Misconduct And Its Cover-up: Review| Rating 7/10
  • Ringmar, Eric. A Blogger's Manifesto - Free Speech and Censorship in the Age of the Internet: Review| Rating 9/10
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1 comment:

Radagast said...

How embarassing... It's difficult to imagine the level of fear that must be required to generate this type of censhorship.

Of course, we've both experienced it, in our workplaces. Interesting that an almost identical modus operandi is pursued, in all instances - if one was paranoid one would begin to imagine that these various parties were acting in concert, and yet it seems more likely that human ingenuity has a limited number of responses to what it perceives to be damaging commentary, true or otherwise.

Oh, to be at the top of the hierarchy, and have the power to dictate what is true!