Authors: Tom van Nuenen and Inge van de Ven
Abstract: In the digital age, it is easier than ever to publish false information, which is quickly shared and taken to be true. Falsehoods and facts can be argued to spread the same way; too often, virality gets valued over truth, and form over content. In the face of these developments, practitioners of cultural and literary studies have an important role to play: that of engaging ourselves, and training our students, in reading strategies that can help us separate fact from fiction, truth from rumors, and data from knowledge. We propose the use of modes of reading that zoom in and out between different scales of text. Moving beyond the dichotomy between ‘close’ and ‘distant’ reading, we propose an alternative perspective that considers reading in terms of scale variance, of zooming in and out between part and whole, thus discovering the myriad shades of grey between close and distant. We call this approach Digital Hermeneutics and in this article we apply it to the dating discussion forum The Red Pill on web platform Reddit.
Keywords: close reading; distant reading; online culture; internet forum; hermeneutics