POST: On the Origin of “Hack” and “Yack”

Bethany Nowviskie has written a post outlining the history of the familiar digital humanities phrase, “more hack; less yack.” She provides essential context behind the much-debated term:

In other words, isn’t “more hack; less yack” really just a strawman? I only find it being used in earnest beyond the academic DH community—and, when pressed, even critics who continue to offer it up for ridicule are becoming more quick to modulate, clarify, and step away. Maybe it’s satire, now. In my view, to pretend or believe that “more hack; less yack” represents a fundamental opposition in thinking between humanities theorists and deliberately anti-theoretical DH “builders” is to ignore the specific history and different resonances of the phrase, and to fall into precisely the sort of zero-sum logic it seems to imply.  Humanities disciplines and methods themselves are not either/or affairs. The humanities is both/and. We require fewer slogans – and more talk and grok, hack and yack.

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Julie Adamo, Emory Johnson, Chelcie Rowell, and Krista White (Editors-at-large for the week), Caro Pinto (Editor for the week), and Zach Coble and Roxanne Shirazi (dh+lib Review Editors).