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... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

collapse porn: MLA edition

So two articles, one from MLA's Profession helpfully titled "The Sky is Falling" and another in The Atlantic that suggests "Here's How Higher Education Dies," perhaps from some kind of sky impact. Put together one might wonder if the MLA and its disciplines might manage to hold on long enough to die with the rest of higher education. This... Continue Reading →

the affects of gun control

Conversations in America about gun control, public space, and safety--which are related but not equivalent--are grounded in affect, cultural/ideological identity, and ontology. I'll swing around to the ontological element later, as that's what is most relevant for my work, but I'll stick with the more familiar elements first. Most strong opposition to gun control begins... Continue Reading →

tolerance, forbearance, and campus culture

Last week I read what I think is an excellent articulation of the current struggles of our republic. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt's "How Wobbly is our Democracy?" examines the underlying principles of tolerance and forbearance they suggest makes our democracy function. Tolerance and forbearance are not especially complicated concepts. As Levitsky and Ziblatt writes "When mutual toleration exists,... Continue Reading →


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