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Echoes and Mirrors » media

Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Composing the Body – Some Thoughts on a Punk Rock Approach

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

I’m not a rhetoric and composition scholar, but I’ve been wading knee-deep in it as a TA for the last two years – and teaching a smidge of it, as far as I can – and every now and then, I see something that is just so applicable that I can’t let it go. I’ve used movies to teach composition in the past, notably Adaptation and the documentary Derrida.

Most recently, I watched The Punk Singer, a documentary about Kathleen Hanna, the founder and lead singer of Bikini Kill (a band I listened to whenever I developed a punk-rock sensibility during the late 90s). A lot of the curriculum at Ohio (where I’ve taught composition during my Master’s program) is based on identity composition – feminism, queer, race, discourse communities, etc. – and I’ve been immersed in much of these discussions for so long that much of the feminist rhetoric discussed in the film wasn’t terribly shocking or new to me (I was aware of the riot grrl thing then as much as I am now, as well). But I realized that it was being presented in a really unique and, dare I say, hip way. It was accessible in a way that was interesting.



I’ve been slack haven’t I? Oh bother.

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Yes, yes, I know that nobody reads my drivel anyway, but I still feel sort of bad about not having posted anything since mid-December (is that right? I didn’t even look to see when my last real post was.). I’ve been awfully busy with schoolwork. With luck I’ll actually manage to keep some kind of schedule for posting again. I need to start taking notes of shit I’d like to rant about. It’ll be rad if I can manage that. My coursework is a little lighter than it was last semester. It’s still pretty heavy though.

In the mean time, I’ll just drop off a couple things I’ve found really interesting. Well, I had more things to talk about — Wisconsin, in particular — but I sort of got frustrated with it and gave up. There’s revolution going on everywhere but here. We need some good old-fashioned late-90’s Seattle anarchist-style protests. People smashing up a Starbucks or something, you know? I digress.

This is pretty rad. I think I’m actually going to buy it. Because I’m not nerdy enough, as it is.

There is a flash doohicky of the LROC WAC mosaic of the lunar nearside. It’s like google-maps satellite view for the moon. M-O-O-N that spells fucking awesome. Yeah, so it’s just a ball of rock that creates tides, looks pretty in the sky, avoids attempts to be lassoed, was once confused with a god, and shelters moon-men who plot to take over once we’ve killed ourselves off one day, but it’s still pretty awesome. The moon doesn’t get enough credit for causing lunacy anymore, in my opinion.

I might be alone in this, but Charlie Sheen is my fucking hero. Now, I don’t have predilections towards mountains of cocaine and hookers per se, but I’ll be damned if that lifestyle doesn’t have at least a slight bit of appeal. I’m a bit envious, honestly. I know a lot of people are giving him a lot of flack for his recent shenanigans but that’s just kinda sad, really. He says, “I’m winning” and I look at it and say, “yup.” Why? He’s doing shit we all wish we could and being unapologetic for it. I’m not saying he’s doing the specific things we want to do, but he’s doing what he wants to do and not backing down. So when he called into the Alex Jones radio program and ranted for 18 minutes, it was pure gold. He does not give a flying fuck what we think. Which is sort of admirable. Oh, and don’t do cocaine. It makes you all wacky. If you don’t believe me, follow the link and listen.

The revolutions in the middle-east are going well I guess. I’m sort of interested in seeing how it all pans out. The US’s involvement and interests can only muck things up, but hopefully our el presidente has a decent head on his shoulders and won’t send the CIA in to work their nastiness. It’s never really seemed to work out for us. That whole Taliban thing sure bit us in the ass. So did a few others, I guess. These revolutions and their decision to be democratic could possible end with them simply choosing a new dictator, but I’d like to believe that wouldn’t happen. And just because a certain cretin will be favorable to us in the short-run doesn’t mean we need to help them into power. If we do something like that again, I think Canada should wait until we revolt and install a leader of their choosing into the position of US President. Maybe then we can get some decent hockey coverage on broadcast television.

I have no comment on the Wisconsin Teacher’s union business. I’m a product of Wisconsin’s public education system and it was top-notch while I attended school there (for a public system, it’s fantastic).

Or maybe I’m not seriously paying attention anymore. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m starting to believe that anybody with any gravitas or voice in the media is simply trolling us now. Nobody can seriously believe half the stuff said on television. It’s just not possible. Bill O’Reilly is a prime example: he’s just fucking with us. Plain and simple. Or maybe not, at which point, I’ll go back to my book and pretend not to care some more.


Holographic Bullshit is Always Possible

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Wired.com, in an apparent bid for worst science article headline, put this up: Holographic Telecommuting May Soon Be Possible

Which, if by ‘soon’ you mean decades from now, then sure. The accompanying article is mostly blah blah blah about how the projector works (which is actually kind of neat) but says flat out that it cannot do the 30 fps that is needed for quality. Instead it does one frame every two seconds. That just doesn’t match the headline but the real pièce de résistance is the very first (sorta) paragraph:

A new holographic display can transmit three-dimensional movies from one location to another almost in real time. If Princess Leia had to send her “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope” message from Earth today, it would now be technologically possible.

Oh really? Well, look at the video of what they have developed:

And then compare it to R2D2 projecting the sexy, sexy Leia Organa in her plea for the former Jedi Master’s assistance:

Seriously, that’s just bullshit. The scientists get a pass on this one, but you science reporters (Lisa Grossman now represents all science reporters for the simplicity of me being snide) are now also ruining my expectations of the future by promising awesome technologies during my lifetime that I won’t see. Either go back to reporting on high school baseball games, or report this stuff without the fantastic hyperbole to inspire hope just to dash it by the end of the article (doing that is fine when reporting on sports, though).


Dear CNN, What the hell are you doing? Thanks, Me.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

CNN announces new show, Parker Spitzer:

CNN hosts-to-be Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer announced the name of their upcoming 8PM show on the network: “Parker Spitzer.”
The panel show will premiere October 4, and its name signifies that the show will be as much (if not more) about the lesser-known Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist as it will be about the former New York Governor.

Because Elliot Spitzer is qualified to judge, analyze and discuss the world of politics for the masses. With that I can somewhat agree – he was a career politician, knows about the issues, etc.. I could care less that he was seeing call girls. Anyone with money does that. Instead, I’m opposed to CNN giving the job to someone who has a black-socks-on-during-sex fetish.

They should have given the job to Larry Craig.


We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

The Huffington Post takes it out on the media that let this whole mess get out of control:

Yesterday afternoon, the leader of a microscopic cult of idiots who announced plans to stage an “international” day of Quran burning in Gainesville, Florida held a press conference, for a rapt media which decided that his moronic plans were the single most important thing going on in America. At that press conference, in front of “9/11 Truther” signs, this cult leader lied to everyone who was watching, telling them that he was going to call off his 9/11 book burning festival because he had successfully reached a deal with the people behind the Park51 community center in Lower Manhattan, in which they would move their facility away from the site of the World Trade Center.

Not a word of this was true, but it was amazing, all the same — at one fell swoop, we had finally knit up the strands of a season of irrationality into one big, shiny, synergized knot. This was supposed to be the end of Recovery Summer? More like Relapse Summer.

The media was culpable because nobody would have noticed if they had neglected to report on a bunch of nobodies doing something of little importance. They blew the whole story out of proportion. They reported a lot of opinions and hot air as fact. The whole ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ that never was, and so on. I hope what we’re seeing is the death rattles of contemporary news media, otherwise I think things are going to get far uglier than we can imagine before they get better.

PZ Meyers, of course, looks at it from a much different perspective:

So I’m looking at this recent episode with Terry Jones — a fellow I don’t like at all, and I think he’s a fanatical goofball — and I see that the serious problem here isn’t Jones at all…it’s all the lunatics who are insisting that burning the Koran is a major international catastrophe.

It’s just a frackin’ book, people.

From an Atheist perspective, burning a bible or a korrah or a koran are all the same. I don’t see a difference, either. Of course, being a lover of literature, I can’t condone burning books for their content, whether or not you disagree with it. All books hold some value, whether they be dissenting viewpoints, historical context, etc.,etc.. Try to figure out Renaissance literature without the bible as a reference and you’ll regret it. The same goes for other world literature.

But the media is using this as a way to remind us that there are Muslim boogeymen out there still. That is all. By saying “hey, don’t burn their book, they’re dangerous!” they’re asserting that Muslims are inherently dangerous fanatics. Which isn’t true. I’m sure there are some dangerous radicals out there, somewhere. But all religions have those, even the Christian denominations (they kill people for performing abortions, blow up federal buildings in Oklahoma, etc.).

Of course, I can say that I was opposed to the whole idea of burning the books because they think their silly religion is better than the silly religion of the book they’re burning.

To sum up:

News Media: 0 , Religious Nutbags, Warmongers, Trolls: 1

I give up. It’s 9/11. Remember how religion killed a few thousand people that didn’t need to die. If you don’t consider the US to be a Christian Nation, this seems really, really sad. I’ll pour one out for my homies, and I’ll drink one for the brothers I have deployed right now, but I won’t admit that anyone has died for any noble purpose. They’ve died for the arrogance and stupidity of others. My sympathy to all.

From Wonkette:


They’re Not Artists, They’re Professionals In An Industry

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Where Have All the Mailers Gone? | The New York Observer.

Alas: The practice of fiction is no longer a vocation. It has become a profession, and professions are not characterized by creative mischief. Artistic vocations are about embracing more and more of the world with your will; professions are insular affairs that are all about the profession. The carefulness, the cautiousness, the professionalism that keeps contemporary fiction from being meaningful to the most intellectually engaged people is also what is stifling any kind of response to The New Yorker. After all, kick against The New Yorker‘s conventional taste and you might tread on some powerful person’s overlapping interest. You might anger Nicole Aragi, fiction super-agent. You might alienate a New Yorker editor! Literary triumph in Manhattan is now defined by publishing one or two pieces in The New Yorker each year. That is too narrow a definition of literary triumph.

Writing isn’t art, it’s an industry. An industry that makes Twilight and Harry Potter and… some other stuff. Profitable stuff!

While I loathe the self-publishing and POD elements that sprung up in the publishing world, I can see how they’re necessary to combat the make-the-New Yorker-happy mentality. But those people will probably never reach any real notoriety. Hell, most people who go the traditional publishing route still don’t. But it’s almost universally true that if one does, one is professional about it. And that sucks.

Could the very idea of “being professional” kill America? Maybe I’m biased from my experiences with “military professionalism”, which meant always putting up the illusion that everything is good. It was all about polishing turds. Didn’t matter what you had in your hand as long as somebody could see their reflection in it.

However, professionalism is necessary because it sets standards of courtesy and etiquette. The problem is that it can overshadow the work and its quirks and nuances are so complex that the only way to avoid catastrophic mistakes is money (one could argue that those with money simply move into a different rule set).

For about a million reasons, fiction has now become a museum-piece genre most of whose practitioners are more like cripplingly self-conscious curators or theoreticians than writers. For better or for worse, the greatest storytellers of our time are the nonfiction writers. The proof? No one would dare rank them, presume to categorize them by age or exploit them as a marketing tool. Their writing is too relevant and alive.

Fiction is not dead, sir. The business of selling real, heart-felt literary art in the grand arena of the major publishing houses may be dying, but fiction itself is not. There are more people writing simply for the sake of writing than ever, and they don’t care about professional rules or, consequently, about making money off it.

Trying to view books as a commodity is not right. Because one books sells more than another doesn’t really say much about its quality. Just because a non-fiction book  requires less critical thought to extract the hidden social observations than a novel does not make it more relevant. Sadly, the easier-to-read book is more likely to sell these days.


Adam Savage’s speech delivered to the Harvard Humanist Society

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

If Daniel Dennett is right— that there’s a human genetic need for religion— then I’d like to imagine that my atheism is proof of evolutionary biology in action.

Read it here.



Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Harry Markopolos
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Reform

Tips for writers…

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

10 tips on writing fiction from some big names in writing

The biggest one I took away from this is that I need to actually do the damn thing. Which is something I’ve been overlooking for too long now, aside from this bloggy-blog thing. I love writing and used to plop down and write a story (at least one) every day, whether it was good or not. Sometimes I’d also rewrite stories that I found lacking. Lately, though, I’ve just made a lot of excuses about being too busy. I don’t even remember what it really feels like.

Tomorrow is relatively open for me – I suppose I’ll sit down and write something.


I’m not surprised

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

<a href=”http://rightwingnews.com/2010/01/conservative-blogger-poll-the-2012-gop-primaries/”>But neither am I amused.</a>