Somos químicos, ou seja, caçadores: «as duas experiências da vida adulta» de que falava Pavese são nossas, o êxito e o fracasso, matar a baleia branca ou quebrar o navio. Não devemos render-nos à matéria incompreensível, não devemos ficar sentados. Estamos aqui para isto, para errar e para nos corrigirmos, para dar e receber pancadas.
Primo Levi, O Sistema Periódico.
We can rightly judge a society by how it treats its eccentrics and deviant geniuses—and by that measure, we have utterly failed. (...)Like Henry David Thoreau, (Aaon Swartz) chased his own dreams, and he was willing to disobey laws he considered unjust. (...) Swartz thought information should be free. It wasn’t a major coup, but it counts as a defiant act—and one that made its point, for it was, and remains, absurdly hard for the public to gain access to what academics supposedly write for it. (...) Today, prosecutors feel they have license to treat leakers of information like crime lords or terrorists. In an age when our frontiers are digital, the criminal system threatens something intangible but incredibly valuable. It threatens youthful vigor, difference in outlook, the freedom to break some rules and not be condemned or ruined for the rest of your life. Swartz was a passionate eccentric who could have been one of the great innovators and creators of our future. Now we will never know.
Tim Wu, The newyorker.
Na trágica morte de Aaron Swartz - entre esta vergonhosa demonstração de cobardia política e ressentimento filisteu, e esta excelente abordagem ao problema fundamental do nosso tempo - convém recordar que o que aqui me mantém comprometido com o que muitos continuam a julgar um desperdício do meu precioso tempo, antes da extinção final e irredutível, é não só o adestramento das minhas capacidades de combate, expressão, aprendizagem, comunicação, sofrimento, alegria, como a investigação de uma provável harmonização dos meios de comunicação com a invenção de uma nova organização política.
Se há combate ainda justo sobre as ruínas da democracia ocidental é precisamente o que nos une contra os burros dos jornalistas objectivos que são em primeira instância os mais perniciosos aliados da falácia representativa. Não há liberdade de expressão sem meios de comunicação manipuláveis a baixo custo, com acesso diversificado e o reforço de regras de competição que obriguem constantemente a refazer as posições dos jogadores e os resultados do próprio jogo.
When our country was founded, newspapers were not neutral, non-partisan outlets, but the products of particular political parties. The Whigs had their paper, the Tories theirs, and both of which attacked their political opponents with slurs that would make even the most foul-mouthed bloggers blush. This behavior wasn’t just permitted — it was encouraged.
In 1794, newspapers made up 70% of post office traffic and the big debate in Congress was not over whether the government should pay for their delivery, but how much of it to pay for. James Madison attacked the idea that newspaper publishers should have to pay even a token fee to get the government to deliver their publications, calling it “an insidious forerunner of something worse.” By 1832, newspaper traffic had risen to make up 90% of all mail.
The entire foundation of press criticism was rebuilt. Now, instead of criticizing papers for the bias of their owners, press critics had to focus on the professional obligations of their writers. Bias wasn’t about the slant of a paper’s focus, but about any slanting put in by a reporter. So that was the line of attack the house press critics took when the world of weblogs brought back the vibrant political debates of our country’s founding. “These guys are biased! Irresponsible! They get their facts wrong! They’re unprofessional!” they squeal. Look, guys. Tell that to James Madison.
Aaron Swartz no seu excelente The Invention of Objectivity.