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Showing posts from March, 2010

The Onion's Approach on Truth

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Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening SomewhereWatch the above; be warned; language might be a bit offensive.

Beyond a doubt, the central criticism of this film has been done in myriad ways in a variety of different shows from Saturday Night Live to In Living Color, and other comedy skit shows.  But I still love how The Onion does it with such precision and execution. 

The overarching issue is the sense of conformity and construction of news.  News is a troubling word.  Its name indicates different; a rift in what was going on before and now.  But the form of delivery in all news media is standard and formulaic.  Newspaper articles are supposed to cover the 5W in the first paragraph or so, and news television has a certain amount of conventions as well.  The problem herein that this piece speaks to is the arbitrary manner in which the news seems to be constructed.  Who among the “common folk” do they choose to interview?  Which “professional” shall they go to and how will they qualify…

Fogged Visions

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The idea of vagueness is something that is particularly challenging for some.  Some people have trouble thinking beyond absolutes; that the world is ruled and maintained by clearly defined categories:  black/white, good/bad, strong/weak, masculine/feminine.  At times, we all feel threatened by vagueness or the need to cast solidity upon something that doesn’t quite fit for our individual or cultural comfort.  Whether it's someone who doesn't easily fit into a category (such as has been seen in the history of gender and sexuality), a foreign country we can't seem to fully understand as friend or foe (look at the debates around "France", particular with regards to Iraq), or anywhere we can’t seem to get a clear fix on the information we’re receiving, lack of category, that is, the “fuzzy” or the “gray” is discomforting.   
Therefore, I’m intrigued by this interview from New Scientist with Kees van Deemter, author of a new book (that I have yet to read but will defi…

Carding the Race Count

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This article starts with an initially interesting premise about the potential choices Tiger Woods has with regards to what to select when it comes to choosing his “race” on the 2010 census form.  Of course, the fact that "The Census Bureau explicitly defines “race’’ as “a self-identification data item in which respondents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify.’" means it is in effect meaningless in many ways or maybe more importantly a clear sign of the changes in identity over the last 200 years.  Here, citizens have the right to choose how they are represented/depicted rather than the long standing tradition where that choice is made for them. 

The discussion around "racial criteria" being "irrelevant" and no real need for it, especially in 2010 when we know there is no proven differences genetically speaking between the "races."  But to remove the question is to ignore history and I think that's something the artic…

The Big Bad World

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Maybe it’s because I’ve read a good share of horror or because I have a vivid imagination or because I’ve seen this play out in history time and again, but the Miller McCune’s “The Comforting Notion of an All-Powerful Enemy” seems like an article that just makes so much sense to me.

So often we define ourselves through others.  “Who are you?”  If the questioner is not asking for my name, but exactly “who” I am, I’m apt to respond in relational terms.  I’m a teacher; I’m a writer; I’m a comic book fan.  These are relational definitions within a cultural context.  I may also answer “human” but even that just connects me to the entire human race, instead of a specific group.  Other people and their roles help me to define myself.  This has a lot to do with both history and cultural identity.  Many cultures rely on enemies or the “Other” to help define their own roles and beliefs; what they are and what they aren’t.  History is chockfull of examples of “us vs. them” moments such as civili…

Finding the Point

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So as you can tell by my first two posts, I’ve been toiling away and thinking about what I’m going to do here in this ole blog of mine.  I had lots of trouble finding a focus and angle with which to engage in this form but I had the light-bulb flickering today of how to go about this.  I realized that the best way for me to organize or focus my thoughts within this blog would be to think about who would be served best with my ramblings.  Well, who has been served best (ok, that’s a big claim) by my ramblings in the past.  My students, of course.  That is, semester after semester there is ample material that I come across in which I think could be useful in any of the various courses that I teach and here would be an excellent opportunity to keep track of them and allow for asynchronous discussion from the different vantage points.

Here’s what I’m imagining; though have no clue if it will ever be this good.  As I come across articles, ideas, thoughts, and relevant material that I think …

Consumed by or Consumation of Choices

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Obviously, I like playful titles.  It's like the book's cover.  We're told not to judge by it, but ultimately, we do on some level; after all, it's what draws us in; otherwise, we would still be stuck in the "A's" section of any given library or music/book/video/comic store.  But as I do so well, I digress. 

One of the harder issues for me to resolve around composing and trying to continually update a blog is what to talk about.  What do I choose to talk about and what do I avoid.  How do I provide a subjective but not obnoxious point of view about things that are important.  While it's not hugely important that I don't come off as arrogant, obnoxious, or what have you, I would rather on the whole that I don't.  I want people to think about what I say, not dig in their heels in vehement opposition. That is, I want dialogue and discussion.  Too much of what I see in the blogosphere and beyond is yelling; either in chorus or in a cacophony agains…

Greetings and Salutations: Or, Why I Think the Slogan Works

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Welcome to this new blog.  I would love to have a solid and clear mission statement here that was inspiring and cause you, the dear reader, to be awed and moved and ready to RSS this thing in every way possible.  But it’s not likely.

The slogan I’ve come to decide upon with this blog is:
The Hitchhiking Adjunct:  Taking a ride into whatever direction opportunities and life takes me. I like it, because it accurately represents me in so many ways.  As a full-time adjunct, I am among the nomadic tribes of college educators who go everywhere but settle nowhere.  I say that not negatively, but rather compellingly because for me, that’s part of the beauty and reality of my life or just life in general.  Us, “humans” are a pesky lot that strive for permanence in a universe where no such thing exists.  To be in flux is what life is and being an adjunct, merely an accent upon it all.  I know, I’m probably a bit too philosophical about it, but it works for me.

The slogan seems also appropriate si…