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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 […]

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Current Affairs Higher Education

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 […]

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Assemblage Theory Current Affairs digital rhetoric

distributed deliberation and Cambridge Analytica

One of the major stories of the weekend has surrounded the interview with Christopher Wylie, former employer turned whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. Here’s that interview if you haven’t seen it. It’s good to see this story getting attention, but it’s also something we’ve basically know for a while, right? For example, here’s a NY Times op-ed from […]

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Current Affairs Uncategorized

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 […]

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Current Affairs Higher Education

“How Hard Do Professors Work?” Why do you want to know?

Variations of this question have become a genre unto themselves, as this recent article in The Atlantic exemplifies. The article takes the occasion of some “Twitter battle” to revisit this topic. But really, why do you want to know? Are you just curious? Is my job so very mysterious? maybe the high cost of college has led […]

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Current Affairs

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, […]

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Current Affairs digital rhetoric Web/Tech

Digital video, the index, and your own eyes

Perhaps you have seen recent stories about the developing technical ability to map one person’s face onto another person’s body in video. This article details the unsurprising result of people mapping celebrity faces onto porn videos. Apparently the capital of the porn industry is moving from San Fernando valley to the uncanny valley. I’m hoping […]

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Assemblage Theory Current Affairs digital rhetoric

An alternative to plumbing the depths of fascist souls

Many have noted their displeasure/anger with two recent NY Times pieces both by Richard Fauset: the first is a piece of reporting about a particular Nazi/white nationalist, Tony Hovater, and the second is what I think one would call a reflective op-ed follow up to that story. The displeasure/anger stems from the way in which the pieces […]

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Current Affairs digital rhetoric new materialism

partisan politics and the rhetorical capacities of media ecologies

Here’s an idea I’m thinking about developing into something article-length if I can find the right angle. It’s certainly been on my mind a fair bit. Basically it’s about the role of emerging media in the articulation of political identities and communities. At that level, it’s a longstanding topic. I mean we regularly talk about […]