Showing posts from October, 2010

Feed as an audiobook

Everybody told me.  But, until now, I didn't listen. Feed by M. T. Anderson is an incredible book, an utterly absorbing snarky sci-fi read about a future in which our brains are wired for digital communication from birth.  The upside is messaging each other with minds alone.  The downside is all the ads from the corporations who, collectively control the feed, and thereby also control our minds.  When Titus meets Violet, whose feed was installed later than his own, he learns all kinds of things that he hardly has space to absorb in his product-saturated existence, things about socioeconomic differences and how expensive it really is to go to the moon.  Which is where he met Violet, on spring break.  This book has possibly the best first line ever:  "We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck."  But now I'm listening, and I mean really listening, because I finally got (read:  broke down and bought from Feed as an audiob

"Keep Listening"

From the book The Ethnography of Reading, edited by Jonathan Boyarin (Univ. of California Press, 1992) comes a chapter titled "Keep Listening:  Ethnography and Reading" by Johannes Fabian .  The opening is interesting, walking through arguments about literate vs. oral cultures that have, in short, set them apart and given literate cultures advantages.  On p. 82, he makes an interesting argument.  Writing, Fabian argues, has been dematerialized.  We've paid for "theoretical progress" in our understanding of literacy and/in culture with "a dematerialization of the object of research."  Though he doesn't explore it, I'm curious about the ways that literacy and writing can be thought of as material culture.  If books/scrolls are cultural objects, then is the written page as well, not just its formalist properties, but also its content?  It's simple to say yes, but then again content prompts immaterial interpretation faster than the blink of an

what d&d character are you?

In my fantasy literature and media for youth class (LIS590VV) this week, there's a student group presentation on role playing games.  Did I mention lately that I love my job? According to this site: I Am A: Lawful Good Elf Ranger (6th Level) Ability Scores: Strength- 12 Dexterity- 12 Constitution- 12 Intelligence- 16 Wisdom- 16 Charisma- 17 Alignment: Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest. Race: Elves are known for their poetry, song, and

contradictions: DiMaggio and Caudill

Contradictions, but not paradoxes, at least not this time.  The two things I need to blog this time are at opposite ends of several spectra...  new and old, nonfiction and fiction, social theory and historical fiction... okay, those last two aren't even on a spectrum together, but you get the point. "The Iron Cage Revisited:  Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields" by Paul DiMaggio and Walter Powell My favorite theorist, from undergrad social theory class, was Max Weber whose talk about the Protestant Ethic and bureaucratization made sense, for me, out of hundreds of seemingly nonsensical bureaucratic experiences.  DiMaggio and Powell take Weber one step further, to discuss why organizations tend toward "isomorphism," or all having the same shape.  Or you could say, looking the same.  Or at least using the same rationale, like when libraries call their people "customers" and borrow from business models.  I lik