the things we forget

Reposted from Inside Higher Ed; photo of a protest, 1970, courtesy of the Library of Congress via Washington Area Spark. We’ve been watching the new documentary series on the Vietnam War, which is excellent but also exhausting and upsetting and full of sparks of memory: Oh, that guy! I remember him. Wait, this thing is about to…

fahrenheit 404

Battle For The Net Video Bumper from FFTF on Vimeo. This essay is reprinted from Inside Higher Ed. We have always been at war with the Internet. No, I’m not talking about trolls or flamewars but efforts to keep this globally interconnected digital space a place where freedom can thrive. What that freedom looks like,…

how not to fight terrorism

Reposted from Inside Higher Ed. Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Fairchild I suppose it’s inevitable, given that information-driven tech-centered global corporations dominate the list of Big Rich Companies, that information systems play a significant role in 21st century terrorism. ISIS has famously made effective use of social media platforms for recruitment purposes. So have white nationalists…

practicing freedom for the post-truth era

This is the text of a talk I gave at the University of New Mexico last week sponsored by the Marjorie Whetstone Ashton endowment and the university library instruction team. Thanks, team! A PDF version can be downloaded from my library’s institutional repository or from Humanities Commons. Abstract: Why do we encourage students to read…

a reminder . . .

Milo lost his gig at CPAC. He was forced to resign from Breitbart. He lost his book deal and probably a lot of the speaking gigs that would have come with it. This is not censorship. To put it in classic XKCD terms:

matter of facts

Reposted from Inside Higher Ed; image courtesy of Martin Sommer Remember “truthiness”? Stephen Cobert, in his parodic role of a brash conservative talk show personality, coined it in 2005 and it seemed to nail a fact of political life: politicians often said things that seemed true, that felt true, that appealed to an audience as…

a Woody Guthrie moment

photo by Al Aumuller, courtesy of Wikimedia and the Library of Congress. Woody Guthrie famously had a sign on his guitar: THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS. I’ve been thinking about that line a lot in the past week, this strange new world in which a man-child signs orders written by a nihilistic Nazi, throwing the world…

burning Issues for Operation 451

Reposted from Inside Higher Ed. A lot of people were disgusted when they heard Simon & Schuster will publish a book by Milo Yiannopoulos, a notorious right-wing troll who makes a career of offending people and hounding his chosen enemies through mass intimidation. He has even been banned from Twitter, which is incredibly difficult to…

make America [fill in the blank]

Reposted from Inside Higher Ed; photo courtesy of Jasperdo I’ve been giving a lot of my Twitter feed a raised eyebrow lately. No, it’s not at all likely that electors will denounce Trump and vote differently. Huh, that must-read thread seems kind of dumb. No, I don’t think calling for recounts is a great idea…