The Cult of the Amateur

I'm going to have to buy this book. I don't even know if the author is just noting the trend or deploring it or celebrating it. Here's my one-line bias: we're all amateurs -- it's just a matter of degree. The rhotoric training keeps me unable to draw that line between expert and know-nothing. In a deconstructionist way, it's the quest for expertise that itself creates the expert, the student who creates the teacher, just as the reader creates the text.

So, Wikipedia has always seemed to me to be a fine place to find a "fact." But that's because I don't actually believe that a "fact" can make it intact through its negotiation with language and all its variants, colors, and degrees of lister inattention. So, this current view of the demise of expertise has me puzzled -- did it ever really exist? Surely we've always needed to be careful not to be taken in by the plausible blowhard.

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