Menu Home

“I was being a complete asshole to people for nothing more than scoring points to look good inside an echo chamber”

A really fascinating discussion between Kristi Winters and The Wooly Bumblebee (HT Philip Moriarty). The latter’s experience could be seen as a model for de-radicalisation in the more toxic spaces within social media. An important reminder that platform incentives might encourage this behaviour but they don’t necessitate it. Furthermore, just because someone has come […]

The Polysemic University

From Making Sociology Public, by Lambros Fatsis, pg 240: Having already introduced Cardinal Newman’s ivory tower conception of the university, and Minister Humboldt’s equally idealistic depiction of it as a hub of culture and academic freedom, Barnett’s (2013) anthology of epithets, each of which furnishes 240 a different vision of […]

Fuck virality, I want my ideas to be radioactive

There’s a fascinating footnote in Radio Benjamin, loc 395-410, discussing Adorno’s description of Benjamin’s ideas as ‘radioactive’: The full sentence reads, “Everything which fell under the scrutiny of his words was transformed, as though it had become radioactive,” … Although Adorno’s metaphor uses a different register of boundary crossing, the […]

Defensive Elites

This New Yorker feature on Robert Mercer is a fascinating insight into what I’m come to think of as defensive elites: self-congratulatory yet paranoid billionaires who are prepared to use their wealth to stave off what they see as unwarranted social attack. The analysis offered by David Magerman, formerly a senior manager at […]

Marketing the Digital University

In the excellent Lower Ed, Tressie McMillan Cottom reflects on the market-orientation of for-profit colleges, tending to seek a continual growth in student numbers. This growth imperative can manifest itself in marketing and recruitment outstripping teaching in institutional spending. From pg 20: If budgets are moral documents, the fact that some […]

What is compound distraction?

I’m not a fan of The End of Absence by Michael Harris but I love this term. From pg 216: The experience of one person’s distraction compounding another’s. Julie kept texting while I was talking about my cat, so I started texting, too. Existing in two varietals: “limited compound distraction” refers […]