Friday, July 30, 2010

2 reasons I keep up with Lawrence Lessig

UPDATE (8/6/10) on Lessig's video:
On the morning of August 6, I (and a zillion others) got a tweet from Lawrence Lessig saying he has pulled his "Of/By/4" video due to a probable misquote of Lincoln in the video. Read more about it here:

When there's more I will post it separately. Meanwhile, let's all aspire to half as much integrity as Lessig showed. No whining, no excuses, just the correction. Now go enjoy some other Lessig videos.

-----update ends-----

I first stumbled upon Lawrence Lessig while investigating better ways for my students to do presentations besides "standard" PowerPoint slide drone-o-rama. Turns out that beyond the technology, his ideas on intellectual freedom mesh rather well with mine, and can inform my thinking & writing whether I believe it happens or not. He's on hiatus from the blogosphere but remains quite active on Twitter and elsewhere.

(1) I like the Lessig method of presentation and wish I had enough TA support to do more of it myself. He hasn't broken anyone's PowerPoint addiction, a pet peeve I tackle with my students in my academic life, but he's managed to work with and build around the core software, and he keeps his talks moving visually so you don't care that they're based in PowerPoint. You learn not to blink much.

(2) He makes sense. We need more "angry white men" who channel it this way. In the below TEDx talk titled "of/by/4" he quotes many people-- yes, his share of "dead white males" and a few live ones (including David Byrne, one of my creative faves who also knows how to liven up PowerPoint) but I admire his selective skills and the lack of women&minorities does not offend. He frames this talk with a pertinent quote from Thoreau:

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

Therefore, I dedicate this post to all the progressives who are running around in circles, independently making sense, yet rarely converging to actually bring "progress" writ large. So carve out 18 minutes, not necessarily all at once but it helps. Watch and learn. When done, check out his other presentations at

1 comment:

Techno-Hpaq-er said...

A pleasure to read and hear the speech from Lawrence Lessig. Your points are well taken about the formation and delivery of his talk.