I’ll start … with the case against [basket-weaving]. Suppose you were exposed to that subject as a sub-cabalistic ritual of manipulating [toves] and magical [borogoves] according to rules justified (if at all) only by a transparently false origin myth — that is to say, you had to endure what is still an all-too-common sort of intro. [basket-weaving] class — or, perhaps worse, a “research methods” class whose content had fossilized before you were born. Suppose you then looked at the genuinely impressive things done by the best of those who call themselves “[trendy container architects]“. Well then, no wonder you think “This is something new and wonderful”; and I would not blame you in the least for not connecting it with [basket-weaving]. Perhaps you might find some faint resemblance, but it would be like comparing a child’s toy wagon to a Ducati.
Modern [basket-weaving] is not like that, and has not been for decades.
With thanks, and apologies, to this post of Cosma Shalizi, which is well worth reading.
update 2012-08-17: not so much a Rorschach test as a spam magnet, it would seem. Comments now off.