Monday, February 28, 2005

Til Tuesday

(How depressing is it that I'm probably the only reader of this blog playing out the "Voices Carry" video in my head now...) Okay, all, for tomorrow we are talking about William Mitchell's short piece "Replacing Place" -- but be sure to read Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky)'s Material Memories as well, and to bring along your Lev Manovich from last week, too. There will be a couple of in-class presentations tomorrow.

Also, I mean to force you to talk about your papers in class since you aren't doing it here for the most part. Come prepared to tell me which essay you are writing about and have a nice short clear thesis statement in mind you might want to argue for (fear commitment? don't worry, I won't hold you to anything -- but you need a point of departure and that's that). Attendance isn't optional, and having something in hand to work with for the paper is also non-optional. The paper's due a week from tomorrow and I want everybody to do well. Please come in a talkin' mood, even if you need to be juiced to get there.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Political Blogs As News Source

Interesting tracking of political blogs by Chris Bowers over at MyDD:
Using the blogad traffic rankings as my source (since these involve money, as far as I am concerned no other ranking system matters), I have produced a list of the fifty most trafficked partisan, political blogs that can be considered part of a larger leftist or rightist network…. As a whole, these blogs receive more traffic than the websites of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News combined. By the 2008 election, blogs might become the number one online source of news for Americans. The rankings are in the extended entry.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Hell's Bells

Where is everybody this week?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Upcoming Papers

So, has anybody decided yet which of the essays they mean to write their papers on from The Digital Dialectic? Are people leaning toward essays we've already covered in class or essays we haven't gotten around to yet? Anybody thinking yet what sort of thesis they may want to support in their papers? Anybody have questions about what I mean by a "thesis"? Remember to click on the Four Habits for Argumentative Writing link for more of a sense of what I am looking for in general terms from a paper. Don't hesitate to work through your papers on the blog together -- we don't meet often enough in a weekly class for me to give you useful detailed feedback over the whole writing process. Some of that has to happen here or via e-mail.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Up Next

For tomorrow, don't forget to read the Erkki Huhtamo essay from the Digital Dialectic, and the Lev Manovich piece available online here. L'Affaire Propagannon continues to rage on, and so we can talk some more about blogracking if you like, but I'd also be interested to hear what else you may have stumbled onto in the blogosphere this week. If there is time I would like to return briefly to the Katherine Hayles piece as well -- so if you have comments or questions that weren't addressed last week, you may have another shot at it. See you tomorrow morning.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Ted Hitler Weighs in on Propagannon and Blogracking

[via Crooks and Liars]Scroll down to "Gannon/Guckert on the Daily Show." So good and so good for you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Creative Commons

Well, we've talked about it for so long now it's started to seem like the comedy of the commons. I'm satisfied at last that everybody's had a chance to figure out the issues and express their preferences, and so I've added a CC License to our blog. Yesterday, there were five votes each for a License insisting on attribution and noncommercial use for any works based on original material created by us here. There was one vote for a License insisting that derivative works also have a License permitting the same terms as our own, and there were no votes at all for restricting derivative works to verbatim copies. In the spirit of democracy, then, the License I tacked onto the blog insists just on the first two and that's that. Click on the icon to see the License itself.

Monday, February 14, 2005

"Recent Comments"

Since it is easy to lose track of ongoing conversational threads, as new posts scroll older stuff off the screen rather quickly with a team as big as ours (even with so few of you actually posting -- hint hint) I'd really like to have some kind of indication of "Recent Comments" visible high up in the sidebar so you can see who is responding to what as it happens. But I can't figure out how to do it. Does anybody have the skills for that? Help me out.


For tomorrow: Brook is, if I remember correctly, going to give the first of our in-class presentations on an essay by Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron called "The California Ideology." It is available in more than one version online, but here's a link to one of the versions in case you haven't looked it over already and want to find it. I can't guarantee that this is the same version Brook will be taking as his point of departure. Since we're going to devote some of the class to a discussion of the piece everybody should at least give the thing a looksee.

Also, we will be discussing the Katherine Hayles essay from The Digital Dialectic. I think it's an important essay, so I'm looking forward to hearing your comments on it.

I'd also like to take a vote on the issue of which Creative Commons license we want to tack onto our blog -- if any (here's a link to a page that summarizes the options).

In our blog roundup early on I'll be interested to hear what you guys think of the Blogracking issue, how it relates to Folksonomy and some of the other topics we raised last time round, and I wouldn't mind getting your impressions of this piece I found on Social Design Notes, about online activism.

Many of you still haven't posted anything to the blog at all, by the way. What's up with that? See you tomorrow.

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Interesting post over on kos this afternoon, inspired by l'Affaire Propagannon, about how blogging might transform muckracking investigative journalism -- and there's even a lovely neologism, blogracking, to describe the new phenomenon.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Next Up

For tomorrow be sure to have read Carol Giglliotti's short essay, “The Ethical Life of the Digital Aesthetic,” from The Digital Dialectic. Also, we should return to the Benjamin a bit, and tease at some of the stuff that has been coming up here in the blog. I'll also want to talk about the things you've found in your surfing... Is anybody following the folksonomy discussion on Many2Many, for example?

I'm very happy to see blog participation rising here, but many of you are still shying away from posting. Don't put it to the last minute, let's see some more aphorisms and discussions. Also, everybody should be thinking a bit about the general subject area and time frame when they'll want to do their in-class presentations. Browse the titles in the Virtual Reader from the Syllabus, or talk to me about your interests and we'll come up with something that works. Definitely, I'd like to see some presentations happening over the next few weeks, otherwise I'll get nervous we won't be able to fit everybody in. See you all tomorrow.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Another Log on the Fire

While we're tossing out tidbits of Benjamin, I'll toss this one out too, in the hopes that people will think about it more closely for some more discussion Tuesday as well...

With [the work of the photographer] Atget, photographs become standard evidence for historical occurences, and acquire a hidden political significance. They demand a special kind of approach; free-floating contemplation is not appropriate to them. They stir the viewer; he feels challenged by them in a new way. At the same time picture magazines begin to put up signposts for him, right ones and wrong ones, no matter. For the first time, captions have become obligatory. And it is clear that they have an altogether different character than the title of a painting. The directives which captions give to those looking at pictures in illustrated magazines soon become even more explicit and imperative in the film where the meaning of each single picture appears to be prescribed by the sequence of all preceding ones.

Now, there are many immediate perplexities that this passage calls to my mind. Why suggest that the political significance of evidenciary photography is "hidden"? Isn't it quite obvious and palpable actually? What is the force of the imagery of "free-floating" contemplation, which to me seems to call up the same immateriality of the imagery of the aura? Why doesn't it "matter" whether the "sign-posts" proposed by picture magazines are right or wrong? Why focus attention there if it doesn't matter?

But delving deeper, clearly there is some very contemporary sounding media criticism coming out of this comment on sign-posting and captions and images. The conjunction of image and text here is a multimedia insight, and the point about sign-posting makes me think of media criticism that distinguishes the manipulation of a "broadcast model" of content distribution from various networked, peer-to-peer models. It's easy to see how hypertext and open source break down what Foucault calls the "author-function" produced by traditional print publication, and then we have peer-to-peer breaking down *author*ized distributions of information... Does Benjamin's thesis about aura cast light on these developments? His final point that the actual "sequence" of frames that produces the illusion/representation of a moving image is itself an expression of the *same* kind of textual signposting that would direct our interpretations of "static" images blows my mind a bit, and I still don't know what to do with that idea. Are hypertext and tagging and wikis disintegrating or expressing this sign-posting function of textuality? I'd be interested to hear more from you on Tuesday.

In the meantime, get some aphorisms up folks. And remember to check out the sites on our blogroll and to link to interest things you find in them and elsewhere, and to blog about your impressions. I want to see more life in this space.