Niceness Epidemic in On-Line Book Culture

Here’s a link to a good piece at Slate by Jacob Silverman about the utter banality of on-line book culture:

The only fault I find is that it’s hardly limited to on-line book culture. Universities have been caught in the death grip of Absolute Nice for years.

I think I first noticed it about four years ago at a conference. No one wanted to hear any criticism of the papers offered at…a conference. Duh? The point of reading a paper at an academic conference is to get feedback; and you’re there to get the negative kind because it’s mostly from the same people likely to criticize your paper in print. It’s only intensified since then—so much so, in fact, that I refuse to attend such lectures in principle.

It’s sad, really, and I’m not helping anything by staying away. But who needs the flack? I mean the eye-rolling, the groans, the sighs—the usual social signs telling you to shut up and be…nice.


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