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Spring Fever 2014: Bits & Pieces

The creation of this class of academic migrant workers — “paid an average of $2,000-$3,000 per class, with few to no benefits,” Arik Greenberg of PBS points out — profits the post-secondary education industry enormously, by making it a buyers’ market for teaching jobs as well as by ensuring that grateful, easily replaceable adjuncts aware of their precarious positions within that system will not likely rock the boat in any way. [...]

No End of “Innocence”

Apparently it’s a gift that keeps on giving. There’s simply no end to the Innocence of Muslims story. Now the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Google must remove from YouTube all versions of Mark Basseley Youssef’s anti-Islam provocation. [...]

Cabin Fever 2014: Bits & Pieces (1)

For years I’ve told people that those of my cohort don’t have memory problems or “senior moments” ― our models just come with smaller hard drives and less RAM. Seems some new evidence supports that proposition. [...]

Toward Knowledge-Based Criticism (1)

It may seem preposterous to have to advocate for and even defend “knowledge-based journalism” against ignorant or dumb opinionation. But we live amidst a growing faith in the reliability of what Jaron Lanier and others refer to as “hive mind,” the collective wisdom (and lack thereof) of whatever amorphous and usually anonymous aggregate one might encounter in an online forum or the listener base for a call-in talk show or the habitués of your neighborhood sports bar. [...]

Ring In the New: 2014

The dumbing down of our culture and its citizenry has achieved a momentum that seems inexorable and may prove irreversible. But some it happens deliberately, by choice. For example, the newly appointed editor at the website BuzzFeed, Isaac Fitzgerald, has actually banned negative book reviews. He expects contributors to “follow what he calls the ‘Bambi Rule’: ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.’” [...]