Regarding Slenderman

June 11, 2014 § Leave a comment


For those of you who haven’t heard from The Media, the internet is currently being stalked –STALKED!– by a mythological creature with origins dating as far back as ancient Egypt (i.e. 2009 on the Something Awful forums), who has already claimed…well one victim for sure, but maybe two depending on whether or not this mother is correct in assuming that the reason her daughter tried to stab her was because of something the daughter read about on the internet and which the mother then read about on the internet, thus putting the pieces together.

There have been some interesting takes on the story, like this Slate piece in which journalist Katy Wladman frames Slenderman as the perfect metaphor for how we describe (and -erroneously- decry as aberrant) acts of violence, and I like certain sections of this Verge article as well, particularly the bits where author Adrianne Jeffries debunks the idea that there’s such an easy relationship between people who do crazy things and their media engagement practices (although it also does what most of the articles on the subject do and speak of the Slenderman character as if it has its own agency, which is weird because it’s a meme).

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3 Birthdays in 1, Plus Teaching News

June 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Birthday boy!!

Birthday boy!!

Chris turns 30 today, and tomorrow I turn 31; today is essentially our joint 30th, after which point I once again become the scoreboard leader in years accrued. It’s also Nathan’s estimated birthday, so although we might be + or – a week or so, we’re treating today like the Triple Crown of Phillips-Menning spawnage. I’ve never really been much of a birthday celebration person, so it’s not like we’re doing summersaults and smashing our faces into rainbow cupcakes, but I am very much enjoying the prospect of my 31st year — not only will the book be out of my hair very very soon (not soon enough, obviously, but that’s been true for the last six years), but beginning in the Fall term I’ll be a full time Lecturer in Humboldt State’s Communication Department. The ultimate, long-term goal is to secure a Tenure Track position at HSU in Comm or English or elsewhere, and I’ll get there eventually — but one does not simply hail mary to one’s favorite university and immediately get the big prize. These things take time and patience and various intermediary steps, and I’ve been doing just fine with that, thanks.

And so, onwards! It’s a beautiful day, and I’m an excellent age. I think I’ll go buy myself a Japanese teacup & then watch some X-Files. Perfection!

Today’s Travels: Book Madness Edition

June 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Things have been raaaather hectic of late, what with final book details and etc etc, plus other simmering projects like fact-checking campus rape statistics for a sexual assault data representation project forthcoming from Fembot, a feminist media and tech collective. More on that later this week when the thing goes live but boy howdy, are those some grim statistics. Because of that I’ve just not really been “paying attention to anything,” as they say in the business.

But! Here’s what Chris sent me when I told him “I need you to send me something funny or cute.” He said these pictures, apparently of Kirsten Dunst “and that guy who looks like Toby Maguire” were so NOT cute they were funny, which is good enough for me.

In that same vein, here’s a video I clicked on because the headline read “You Can’t Punch People Because You Want Pancakes,” which is a lie.

Another thing I liked this morning was teens reacting to an old internet instructional dealie; as a general rule, “The 90s” plus “The Internet” is always going to be pretty funny. Money quote: “Their clothes and their computer…it’s just so OLD.” You bet your cybernet they are! Also, apparently the source of this magical gif:

something ducks walk on


That’s all I got you guys, God bless you all.


May 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Yas, yas, YAS! Dogs need to get pumped too you know. I’M GETTING PUMPED JUST THINKING ABOUT IT. They should make one of these for editing books!!!

via What’s trending

I’ve got nothing.

May 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

What do you even say about Saturday’s horrific display of violence and misogyny and male privilege gone berserk. That’s not even a question, it’s an assertion. And there’s no response, other than to say —– when, WHEN can we stop having this conversation. A few links, because I don’t know how to commentary:

These shootings have as much to do with toxic ideology as guns and mental health

The mainstream conversations these shootings won’t inspire

Solipsistic white nerd rage amplified by ten thousand 

“So Bad It’s Funny: Ambiguous Fan Engagement as an Expression of Cultural Literacy” — Presentation for 2014’s International Communications Association Meeting in Seattle, WA

May 23, 2014 § 1 Comment

Actual first slide

Actual first slide

 From the panel “How Memes Matter: Probing New Modes of Popular Participation and Exclusion,” May 24, 2014.

Today I’m going to be talking about online content that is so bad, or so weird, or so broken, or so dated, that it’s great.

Although English lacks a quick and easy way of describing such content, the Japanese and Chinese-speaking webs have it covered: kuso (“e gao” in Mandarin), literally translated from Japanese as “shitty.”

In Japan, “kuso” is a basic and highly versatile adjective—not unlike shitty in English. In the context of bad video games (Kuso-ge) and other amusingly sub-par content, however, the term takes on more nuanced meaning, something to the effect of “this is so bad and stupid and terribly designed, I LOVE IT!!!”

That’s the basic overview of what this talk will cover. Here are two things I will not be addressing:

Another actual slide -- notice a theme?

Another actual slide — notice a theme?

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ICA Presentation to Follow!

May 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

i can't feel

Hey there strangers! Today I was supposed to drive up to Seattle for 2014’s International Communications Association meeting, however the fates intervened by sending a minor medical emergency Chris’ way. Meaning no Seattle for this guy (Chris will be fine but now is not the time for travel). I might be Skyping into our panel tomorrow morning, some brave soul might present as my proxy, or they may just tweet the thing out & call it a day. In case they go with the third option, I’ll be posting the transcript of (what would have been) my talk in a subsequent post.

In other news, revisions continue to be made, and all that. June 1 is quickly approaching, there’s miles to go before I sleep, etc!


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