Thanksgiving, 2017

We have officially entered the “Holiday Season.” I started writing this post on Thanksgiving, which will be followed by Christmas and the start of the New Year. These are supposed to be joyous times. At this point, I have seen a lot of Thanksgivings come and go. For most of my life, it was easy to think of things for which I could truly feel grateful. This year, that’s not the case. Of course, there are things for which I am grateful, but my concerns about the state of our nation have put a damper on my gratitude. This is, . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving, 2017

The Fire This Time

With apologies to James Baldwin for appropriating his title: If people could actually “spin in their graves,” my guess is that he would be doing a very rapid rotation at this time, as would, I think, Abraham Lincoln and many others who have done their best to make the United States a better country than it has been in the past. We have taken at least one big step backwards with the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. I am both angry and sad that “white nationalism” is on the march, and that the Ku Klux Klan is crawling out from . . . → Read More: The Fire This Time

A Media Star Is Born

Given the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election, everyone needs read Neil Postman’s 1982 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Reading it won’t change the outcome of the election, of course, but it will provide understanding for how and why it happened the way it did. Postman’s main point is that print encourages logic and reflection. Visual media, and television in particular, encourage the feelings of the moment. To be taken seriously and believed, written documents need to be logical and coherent. To be successful, visual media need to influence feelings. We . . . → Read More: A Media Star Is Born

Paying Attention

My last blog post was about the so-called ancient Chinese curse of “living in interesting times.” All the problems I cited in that post are not only still with us, but also have been amplified. Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the US. Although the nominee for the Democrats has not been finally decided yet, Hilary Clinton is the likely candidate. Although I am still paying attention to US politics, I am doing so with an increasingly heavy heart. Even so, some other things have caught my attention, including website advertising, LGBT concerns and legislation, . . . → Read More: Paying Attention

The Left-Behinds

No, not the The Leftovers TV show…. The “left-behinds”—those who are failing to keep pace with the technological revolution. I am increasingly one of them.

At one time, I was among the “techno” leaders. I was one of the first academics to embrace email and did so at a time when most of my colleagues were rejecting email as a method of communication. I have previously mentioned secretaries I knew in days gone by who resisted having their typewriters replaced by computers and word processing programs. They were among the first left-behinds. At the time, I didn’t fully understand why . . . → Read More: The Left-Behinds