Tag Archives: culture

Jenna McWilliams: still not a seminal thinker

Almost three years ago I explained why I hate the words ‘seminal’ and ‘disseminate.’ Here’s the explanation, in brief:

Both words come from the latin root seminalis, or seed, from which we also get the word semen.

Now: seminal, disseminate, semen. All linked to the notion of the seed, the germination of all things that can grow: the sowing of ideas, of genes, of the next generation of people, texts, and theories. The terms, though we may not

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Sons of Anarchy returns Sept. 7

The FX series Sons of Anarchy is one of the best dramas on television right now. For reasons that are unclear to me, however, many people whose opinions I deeply respect do not watch this show. I want to make it clear that I believe this is a mistake.

Take Hamlet, Oedipus Rex, and Easy Rider and throw into a tumbler. Add Katey Sagal (Married with Children, Futurama), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Charley Hunnam (Queer as Read more

clinging to lampposts: a video remix project

A few weeks ago, as my colleague Christian Briggs and I were creating our poetry presentation for Ignite Bloomington, I got myself inspired by creating this remix project of some key figures in the literature and media studies movements.

Though I am not a constructionist, I do find that I can find great personal meaning by engaging with new technologies that allow me to work with, reflect on, and making public both wonderful and powerful ideas.

Here, I’m working … Read more

as goes Detroit…

file under: if you’re not mad, you’re not paying attention.

I knew the recession had hit Michigan, my home state, harder than it’s hit any other place in the country; I knew this because I’ve been following the news and because my family lives in Metropolitan Detroit. But my recent trip to Michigan reminded me of just how bad things have gotten.

This is not the Michigan I remember. It’s not just that some stores are boarded up and some … Read more

Blog for International Women’s Day: A call to end ‘horizontal violence’

This blog post is part of the call from Gender Across Borders for blog posts written in response to the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.

About a month ago, I posted a review of And Then Came Lola, a film that ran as part of my city’s LGBTQ film festival.

In my review, I criticized what I saw as a heteronormative portrayal of lesbian sexuality: to wit, the more traditionally feminine a character was, the more heroic … Read more

the sleeping alone review of films: And Then Came Lola

summary: I have a big problem with this movie.

I’ve been sitting on a review of And Then Came Lola (2010), described in press materials as a “time-bending, comedic and sexy lesbian romp-loosely inspired by the art house classic Run Lola Run,” since it showed at Bloomington’s Pride Film Festival last weekend. On the one hand, yay! This film presents a welcome antivenin to the cultural poison of heterosexual action-romances, romantic comedies, action-comedic romances, thriller-romances, romantic melodramas…you get the … Read more

I’m kind of appalled by Clay Shirky

You may have read Clay Shirky’s recent post, “a rant about women.” You may also have read, heard, or participated in the chaos and conversation that sprung up around it. And rightly so, given this representative chunk of Shirky’s post:

Remember David Hampton, the con artist immortalized in “Six Degrees of Separation”, who pretended he was Sydney Poitier’s son? He lied his way into restaurants and clubs, managed to borrow money, and crashed in celebrity guest rooms. He didn’t miss
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tattooed academics signal the decline of western civilization!

file under: time for the old guard to die out

I am alarmed by the elitism exhibited in a recent Chronicle of Higher Ed piece on scholars, tattoos, and piercings. The article, “The Candidate and His Earring” by Dennis M. Barden, frets over the future of academia–not because of a decline in access to or quality of post-graduate education, but because kids these days are getting their ears pierced.

Barden tells the story of a presidential search in which he … Read more

Lawrence Lessig’s Educause 2009 keynote

If you are an educator, new media activitist, or copyright law hobbyist and you plan to watch only one video this month, I’ve found the video for you. This is video from Lawrence Lessig’s keynote presentation at the Educause conference this month.

Lessig, a Harvard law professor and a founder of the Creative Commons Project, wonders why citizens treat the law with such reverence when even lawyers approach the law with deep skepticism. He argues that it’s time for citizens–especially … Read more

a note on critical computational literacy

In Changing Minds: Computers, Learning, and Literacy, Andrea DiSessa sets forth a definition of literacy that emphasizes the socially constructed nature of the term. He writes:

Literacy is a socially widespread patterned deployment of skills and capabilities in a context of material support (that is, an exercise of material intelligence) to achieve valued intellectual ends….

Although I wring just a bit more specificity out of our preliminary definition in a moment, there is a fundamental lesson here. We must

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