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Current Affairs digital rhetoric

speech, freedom, and the crunchy frogs of social media platforms

The removal of Trump from various social media platforms has been big news, as is the de-platforming of Parler by Apple, Google, and Amazon. There’s a lot of conversation about this in relation to the first amendment. I’m not a constitutional law expert, so I’m not going to focus here on the strictly legal aspect. […]

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Current Affairs new materialism

the assemblage of white populations

As you probably learned in high school or college, the different races of humans with which we identify today have no biological basis but are social constructions. A brief refresher on the matter is here. Basically though there are few starting points for this construction. One occurs in the 17th century when American colonists decide […]

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Current Affairs electrate politics

the meager agency of human individuals

Our culture has a broad understanding of free will. It’s based upon religion, cultural values, and our lived experience of decision-making. At the same time, we all know that a newborn left alone in the wilderness cannot survive. A toddler cannot survive alone. Indeed so few of us can survive alone, even as adults, that […]

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Current Affairs electrate politics

ontological quagmires in American politics

[N.b., to be fair, these challenges do not apply solely to us, but that’s where my focus will be.] For Thanksgiving, David Brooks brought us a casserole dish on the “rotting of the Republican mind.” It put me in mind of another article I read recently on the relationship between evangelical Christians and conspiracy theories […]

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Current Affairs Higher Education Teaching

on the decision to teach online in the fall

In the end, when it came down to it, the decision to teach online in the fall was not hard. Many of my colleagues teach courses that cannot be successful without some in-person element (e.g. science labs, theater and dance, filmmaking, many others). Other classes may need to be in-person because they are important for […]

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Current Affairs digital rhetoric

what would valuable digital deliberation look like?

One of the subjects I (and many other digital rhetoricians and scholars in adjacent fields) write about is digital deliberation–that is, how does deliberation work (if at all) online, in social media for example? One of the concepts I’ve discussed in the past is “distributed deliberation,” which is a way of investigating how machines and […]

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Current Affairs Higher Education Teaching

getting on(line) with the tasks of teaching and learning

I know, as if the world needs another foray into this topic, but here goes. In the NY Times there’s an interesting piece that follows the deliberations at Kentucky about how/if to open the campus in the fall. We’re all in similar circumstances inasmuch as no one knows what the circumstances will be. We do […]

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Current Affairs electrate politics

electrate politics and Joe Biden

In the news today, via The Washington Post and GQ, is the story of a viral video of Biden. It’s a heavily-edited 19-second video that attempt to depict Biden as celebrating white nationalist values by ripping phrases and sentences out of context. This is a technique every first-year composition instructor has seen where students quote […]

Categories
Current Affairs digital rhetoric

why we can’t have nice things

It’s that old saying but one that might cut in two directions. Yes, “we” can’t have nice things because “you” are always ruining them with your irresponsible behavior, lack of class, etc. But possibly we also can’t have nice things because we’re always getting crap shoved in front of us. Or both. Facebook is case […]

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Current Affairs

civility: “You keep using that word…”

I don’t think it means what you think it means. The interesting thing about civility, even in its staid dictionary definition, is that there is this seemingly narrow crack that has become a gulf in American politics. One definition has to do with maintaining civil order and the other is the more familiar one having […]