Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture






1-16 pp.


This project stems from two intersecting strands. The statement, "I can always find out," neatly summarizes the intersection. Not surprisingly, it has two distinct but simultaneous meanings. The first, in which "always" means "every time," considers the ways in which the ability to find knowledge has become synonymous with expertise and examines the elements that have fostered this situation. In this regard, factors such as the range of software and hardware-from Wikipedia and FAQs to cellphones and Ipods-which anticipate or "think" for the user but also require constant updating are both rationale and outcome for their youthful consumers. When combined with the downloading and broadening of elementary and secondary curriculum at an ever-increasing rate, the range of everyday devices which involve "looking up" information the results in technocrats whose expertise is searching. Thus, the second version, in which "always" means the lexical case, "as a last resort." This produces an atmosphere in which the reaction to new material occurs in the following rapid progression: the assumption "I can always find out" becomes the conclusion "I don't need to know because I can find out if I must" and in turn, the resignation of "I don't need to know."


© Marc Ouellette. Posted with permission of the author.

Original Publication Citation

Ouellette, M. A. (2010). Veni, vidi, wiki: Expertise as knowledge and a technocratic generation. Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 10(2).