Thesis 1: Markets are Conversations

Levine, Locke, Searles & Weinberger begin The Cluetrain Manifesto’s “95 Theses” with what sets the initial move of their work, that “markets are conversations.” Now I would be lying if I said @sargoth didn’t explain this well enough, and I don’t think it helps for me to work on defining what that means to me. Instead, I think we’ll do a little meta-exploration, and I’ll take her up in conversation.

Hello @sargoth,

For a year now, we have shared conversation on many topics; most of them, I would say working through the art of what we are doing here in a fashion: subversion. All that glorious play without any of the work. Yet, things still get done. Only our shared followers may know to what I am referring.

But, they will see that you and I have a good deal in common. Our education, our love for directions, our appreciation of music, and the ways we see in the world, we share them. Not to mention a very important similarity.

We teach.

Teaching isn’t the same thing for us as I think many others like to think of it as a practice. In fact, I would say what you are saying of teaching shows that what we do is praxis. Teaching, another form of seeing.

Yet, here we are discussing markets as conversations. What in the world can teaching tell us of either. I think you articulate this perfectly:

The way I will go about it from here on out I the same way I go about it with my non-students. Indirect. Going through the motions of how humans learn about things: by spending time in proximity to the ideas in question and questioning the ideas in proximity.

When we see our students as [non students], we are subverting the market of academia through inserting into the conversation. (That is what is so great about this thesis.) Normally, as a corporate institution—at least in my country—the University functions as a way of integrating a capitalist agenda onto learning. The view is that students are consumers, and must be treated as such.

However, you and I both know that when we look at things just a little differently, we can see into how the conversation overlies and becomes the textual fabric of our collective, individual humanity (to share a phrase I share with @jopauca).

The tautology “markets are conversations” is a symbol of a true act of rhetoric. (*syntax winks*) You mentioned teaching Foucault, and the more than lovely mr. f and I are great friends. I like to teach these typically vilified-as-too-difficult theorists as if they were friends joining us in our class, speaking beside us.

For far too long, we have thought of these great men/thinkers as academic household names. Their commodified ideas nearly becoming ideology, save for the grace that we have been told often enough that they are too convoluted to read, and that they never make a point.

Last I checked, should we not always ask: does conversation have to have a point?

I am being a little tongue-in-cheeky (I do that, you know), but I want to unmake a point.

Never have I agreed with these status quoisms. I have not agreed because I am aware of my market status and appropriation. This self-awareness is what makes for really good conversation that doesn’t have to have a point. Because if it has a point, it can be marketed, then sold.

And, then, I would have to take the point and turn it: are markets only more intelligent than their corporate counterparts because they know the worth of a good pointlessness?

Until tomorrow, and on, my dearest,

Les

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