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:
May 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
Today kicks off the one-month countdown until my final book manuscript is due to MIT Press. My brilliant plan of finishing the formatting early so I can focus on the revisions themselves has hit a slight hiccup in the form of having to start some things over from scratch, for example my references, which means the walls are closing in on me you guys! So, please consider this my email autoresponse apologizing for being slow at email.
So! Off I go. See you on the other side kids!
February 28, 2014 § 1 Comment
I’m so bummed I wasn’t able to submit to this special issue on trolling (I was in the middle of book stuff, didn’t want to convert an existing chapter because I’d already done that with two other chapters, and knew I wouldn’t have time to start a new project from scratch), but have really enjoyed reading the issue as bystander. Nice work and congrats, Tero and company!
The much needed and much awaited Fibreculture Journal special issue on trolls and online trolling is out. Trolling is a phenomenon that has been around since the beginning of our current digital network culture. It is a particular mode of using and being a user of social media; it brings us to the limits of rules and regulations of these platforms but also opens up the logic of how these platforms operate. The special issue has a wide range of interesting articles that open up different angles of approach to trolls and trolling and try to map their distinguishing features.
I am happy that this special issue also includes my article ‘Change name to No One. Like people’s status’ Facebook trolling and managing online personas, which tries to map the epistemology of Facebook trolling through the ideas and conceptual frameworks of affect, affectivity and algorithmic control.
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February 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
It is difficult for me to express just how awesome this woman (and her whole family) is. I could not have asked for a more badass PhD advisor.
So I was driving Tony home from school this afternoon when we noticed three white supremacists standing on a busy corner near his high school. Here’s one of their signs.
Tony insisted that we go back and bring our own posters. His first idea was an “I’m with stupid” poster, but then he just wrote “ignorant” and decided to leave it at that:
We just stood there for a few minutes, since I told Tony I thought these people were batshit crazy (a couple and their thirty-something son who ranted on about how white people were being deprived of their land) and that it would be a waste of time to talk to them.
But then the most amazing thing happened. A man with a gold tooth and awesome tattoos and a fricking Muhammad Ali sweatshirt (floats like a butterfly stings like a bee) walks up to the people holding…
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January 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
And/or personality test. And why not, it only takes 5 seconds, plus the Lorde video below has already been deleted due to copyright infringement, which it isn’t but ok!
December 23, 2013 § 3 Comments
I can’t remember how Katie came across that first copy of Jack Frost. I can’t even remember the year. Were we in high school? Community college? If it was community college, she would have been working at this truck stop video store just off the 5 in beautiful Castaic, California, which in addition to having the funniest selection of porn I have ever seen (it had me at “Anal Princesses”), is likely where the mutant killer snowman first caught her eye. If however it happened in high school, I have no idea. I do remember watching the VHS tape in my childhood home, so taking into account the film’s release date, our first viewing could have been anytime between 1996 and 2001, when my mom remarried and we moved from Awesometown to a still-rural part of Castaic, just a few miles up the freeway. Not very helpful. Then again, I like that those details escape me. I quite literally cannot remember my life before Jack Frost, lending a cool time immemorial quality to our fandom.
Which is to say — our fandom isn’t just about the movie itself. Don’t get me wrong, the movie itself is a cinematic achievement, as the following clips will attest:
But beyond the razor-sharp dialogue, terrifying special effects, and salacious sex scenes (“looks like Christmas came early this year!”), Jack Frost is special because Katie is special, because I have laughed more with her over the years (decades, actually) than I have with anyone. I’ve written some about our longstanding Martha Stewart fandom (fandom which precipitated my exploration, and ultimate rejection, of the term “anti-fan”) in this post, an edited version of a much longer essay written as Katie’s engagement present. The longer version is more personal, and places our Martha obsession in the appropriate context — we were taking many of the same community college classes, ran together on the cross country team, and spent much of our free time giggling about our various classroom nemeses, including one million year-old, shark-eyed, predatory English professor who had, let’s say, taken an interest in me. This last thing was actually pretty traumatic, but that just made our jokes about him funnier. Somehow references to Martha Stewart Living got woven into these proceedings, and when things got really creepy with the Dark Lord (as Katie and I half-jokingly called him), Martha’s star text functioned as an odd sort of lifeline. It gave us something to latch onto and laugh about. What can I say, Martha just fit in, which is an inside joke you probably won’t recognize (oh fine, here).
And it’s the same with Jack Frost. Our giddy declarations that fucker’s a snowman, or that I only AXED you for a smoke, and jokes about antifreeze, Snowmonton, and State Execution Transport Vehicles are actually references, however indirect, to all the serious real-life shit Katie and I have navigated since first meeting in 1993. Like the time (one of the times, jesus christ) I got my heart broken in graduate school, and Katie hopped on the next plane to Eugene so we could laugh at old episodes of Dawson’s Creek (Dawson: “Dad, will you teach me to kiss?”) and Beverly Hills, 90210 (Kelly, smelling her mom’s newborn baby: “mmm, toast!”). Or the time she called while I was living in Boston and told me she’d just gotten engaged to her now-husband Brent — after which I happy-cried for like an hour. Or the time she IM’d when I was sitting in a coffee shop in Eugene and told me she was pregnant with her first baby — after which I happy-cried for like a day. Or the times I’ve sent her deeply disturbing Christmas presents designed to gross out her husband, for lulz (I do it because I like you, Brent). Or all the times I’ve emailed her about my most recent poor life choice(s), and she’s talked me off the ledge, usually by making a Jack Frost or Martha Stewart joke.
What I’m saying is, the sort of antagonistic, or at the very least highly ambivalent, laughter that accompanies these sorts of fandoms –any fandom, really, including/especially the ones that strike non-fans as weird– are actually quite sweet, in their own way. Because ultimately, they’re about connection, shared memories, even communitas if you want to be fancy. This is even true, or maybe even especially true, when the people engaging in this sort of laughter are separated by geography. The texts we engage with ground us, and make distances seem less far. So it makes perfect sense that this Christmas eve eve, Katie and I will be simultaneously streaming Jack Frost and ichatting that shit to shreds. Frankly I can’t think of much else I’d rather do this holiday season. Well except maybe cuddle up on a couch with my family and play Dirty Unwrapped (i.e. watch The Food Network’s Unwrapped, a show that goes inside America’s food and candy factories, and yell “lol he said X” whenever host Marc Summers makes a reference that could be interpreted as sexual and/or scatological). Try it out for yourself! Because candy cane “trees,” sure.
And with that, I bid you all a merry night before night before Christmas. Later this afternoon I shall prepare a pitcher of antifreeze (pumpkin liqueur mixed with bourbon; also spoiler alert), get Katie on the ichat, and cue up Jack Frost on Netflix. It might be weird, but it is going to be perfect.
September 24, 2013 § Leave a comment
Yesterday our internet was down, and other than needing to check my phone to see how much the 30 Rock seasons 1-7 box set would cost (if it would be possible to be best friends with a show, 30 Rock would be mine — sorry X-Files), I hardly noticed. Chris and I took the dog to the beach, got some very good news about a Special Project we’ve been noodling through, and went on an evening walk that culminated in the above photograph, which again was taken just up the trail from our house.
Thanks in part to all this walking around outside, I’ve had a chance to think, like really think, about my professional path(s), plural because for academics (and for everyone else, I’d imagine, but manifested in very specific ways within the academy) “professional path” often implies some unholy combination of “the path you’d like to take” and “the path you feel you SHOULD take, because that’s how things are done/because so many people have invested so much energy in your intellectual development and you wouldn’t want to disappoint them now would you/because of a deep sense of inferiority placated only, and only in part, by the achievement of specific benchmarks.” My path(s) have been in the process of diverging for several months, but my feelings about those paths –about which I will write in more detail soon– have been slower to catch up. But I’m getting there.
And now, some puppies frolicking around in a pumpkin patch.