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Sure, i mean all of these things are about the process which produces stuff. So i mean the institution of the book. For example, that the majority of academic publishing be measured in books (some fields definitely do this). Or that the "great" works of literature are inaccessible to the vast majority of the public and that there are more worthwhile things that could be done with one's time than reading "War and Peace".

That is not to say that reading "War and Peace" is wrong, or that it has no value, but that we should reassess whether reading "War and Peace" is somehow a metric of serious thought. This is the same sort of bullshit that people doing pop culture research have had to deal with for years. Whether it's research into comic art (and yes there are research libraries for cartoons – i spent 3 years working in one), contemporary art, or journalists using twitter, their existence is not (inherently) a zero-sum game with the old order. It is a threat to orthodoxy, but it is not a threat to academic inquiry or knowledge.

It'd be like claiming that Martin Luther was a great threat to religion and faith, because he sparked the reformation.




I don't think reading "War and Peace" is in itself a metric of serious thought so much as it is a test of literacy and of attention span.

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Or sheer bloody mindedness. If you read "War and Peace" to improve your mind, more power to you. If you read it because you think it will make you better that someone else, you're just engaging in more social signaling.

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I don't think people ever do that. Not with War and Peace, anyhows.

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