And so follow the critiques of this utopia. Do liberation claims about hypertext echo liberation claims that accompanied broadcast television? Does this matter?
Mainstream hypertext theorists are post-structural, attempting to liken hypertext to a Derridean network or a Barthesian text. Embracing this representation allows us insight into the interconnectivity and contingency of subjects in the global village. Critics of this ‘first generation’ hypertext theory, like Barnet, call for a redefining of the term ‘hypertext’ to view it in functional terms (as a machine) to ask what it can produce. And certainly ‘what can it do?’ is a useful thing to ask. Barnet demands, ‘where are the points of intersection so we can muddle them?’ I am more curious, though, about what can be represented by hypertext. A perpetually dexterous assemblage of information, hypertext is a communication technology that stretches and nullifies interrelated. For knowledge production, ‘what seemingly disconnected things can be juxtaposed using this machine?’