February Links

February 20, 2015

It’s that time of year when I’m busy busy with all sorts of things. Combined with the miserable weather (it got down to -11° Fahrenheit in Pittsburgh last night), some links have been piling up.


Environment, Science, International, Disaster

Rebecca Solnit, “The Age of Capitalism Is Over.”

Noam Chomsky, “The World of Our Grandchildren.”

Graeme Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants.”

Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, “Climate Hacking Is Barking Mad.”

Sam Kriss, “Manifesto of the Committee to Abolish Outer Space.”

Cari Romm, “How Three People Can Make a Baby.”

Alan Taylor, “What Record-Breaking Snow Really Looks Like.”



Conor Friedersdorf, “The NSA’s Director of Civil Liberties Renounces Secret Law.”

Julie Beck, “Losing the Internet You Grew Up With.”

Manuel Correa, “The Philosophical Origins of Digitality,” an interview with Alexander R. Galloway.

Jonathan Goodwin, “Is the Network a Brain?” a review of The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future by Andrew Pickering.

Gavin Mueller, “Trickster Makes This Web: The Ambiguous Politics of Anonymous,” a review of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, Gabriella Coleman.

Adam Chandler, “A Warehouse Fire of Digital Memories.”

Preserved 1956 kitchen.


Literature and Culture

“Evening Will Come,” The Volta Tribute to  Tomaž Šalamun.

Stephen Maher, “The Lost Counterculture: Inherent Vice Brilliantly Depicts How Neoliberalism Co-Opted the Counterculture.”

Megan Garber, “Harper Lee: The Sadness of a Sequel.”

Jessa Crispin, “Don’t Do It Harper Lee.”

Zadie Smith, “Brother From Another Mother: Key and Peele’s Chameleon Comedy.”

Adam Kotsko, “Nice to Meat You.”

Janet Maslin, “In Layered Fiction and Wry Notes to Mom, a Cosmic Genius Distilled,” a review of The David Foster Wallace Reader: A Compilation.

Parul Seghal, “Fresh Terrain in Huck Finn’s Adventure,” a review of Huck Finn’s America: Mark Twain and the Era That Shaped His Masterpiece, by Andrew Levy.

Matt Taibbi, American Sniper Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize.”

Carolyn Kellogg, “With Holy Cow, David Duchovny Is Finally, Officially a Novelist.” (An interview with Duchovny.)

A very interesting sounding new collection of essays, Postmodern Literature and Race, edited by Len Platt and Sara Upstone, and including an esssay by Samuel Cohen, “The Whiteness of David Foster Wallace.” (Read a bit here.)

Stephen Squibb, “The Last Days of Football.”

Rudi Batzell, “Socialize Football.”

Adam Chandler, “America’s Ugly Super Bowl.”

Adam Chandler, “Exit Jon Stewart.”

David Sims, “Jon Stewart Is Going Out On Top.”

Amy Poehler should take over for Jon Stewart. Just saying.

Juliet Lapidos, “Wait, What, I’m a Millennial?” (I knew it.)

Alexander Tucker, “Video Games: Offered by Universities?”

David Sims, “Could The Legend of Zelda Really Work on Television?”

Melody Nixon, “Topical Poetry: An Interview with Jonathan Moody.”

Cassette Gods, review of NAH, Otheration.

Steph Roman, Shadow of the Colossus: Boss Fight Ecology.”

Dan Kubis, “The Shrinking Power of Punk.”

Nathan Grayson, “A Game About Taking Selfies as a Skeleton. That’s It.”

Peter Schultz, “Artistic Movements’ Favorite Drinking Games.”

And The Raphael Parable:


Humanities and Higher Education

Sydni Dunn, “Where Do English PhDs Get Jobs? It Depends on Where They Studied.” (Indeed.)

Colleen Flaherty, “Closed Networks.”

Michael Mirer, “Scott Walker Thinks My University Has Fat to Trim, Yet My Department Is Barely Scraping By.”

Claudia Klein Felske, “An Open Letter to Government Walker.”

Conor Friedersdorf, “What HBO Can Teach Colleges About ‘Trigger Warnings.”

Early 2015 Links

January 15, 2015

A new semester has begun and I have a lot of exciting projects for 2015 that I am eager about, some of which I hope to report soon. But in the meantime, here are some links that have accumulated while the semester was beginning, while I was in Vancouver for MLA, and since. (Also, in mini-hyperarchival news, I just received in the mail today a 32 gigabyte USB drive to replace my almost full 4 GB drive. It feels good to be moving up in the world with regard to how much textual data I have/can produced/store.)



Trent Moore, “This Is the Final Video CNN Plans To Air When the Apocalypse Eventually Arrives.”

Out of the Woods, “Klein vs. Klein.”

Rebecca Solnit, “Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart.”

Emily Atkin, “A Nuclear Plant Leaked Oil into Lake Michigan for Two Months Straight.”


National Security State

Hugh Eakin interviews Mark Danner, “Our New Politics of Torture.”

Erika Eichelberger and A. J. Vicens, “The Cost of US Wars Since 9/11: $1.6 Trillion.”


Black Lives Matter

Teju Cole, “Unmournable Bodies.”

George Yancy and Judith Butler, “What’s Wrong with ‘All Lives Matter’?”



Richard Seymour, “On Charlie Hedbo.”

Dashiell Bennett, Charlie Hedbo‘s Brazen Defence.”

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, “Anonymous Claims Its First Victim in ‘Operation Charlie Hedbo.'”

Keely Lockhart, “‘Hacktivist’ Group Anonymous Says It Will Avenge Charlie Hedbo Attacks by Shutting Down Jihadist Websites.”



William Davies, “The Data Sublime.”

Insurance Archives of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library.

Gabrielle Karampelas, “Stanford University Press Awarded $1.2 Million for the Publishing of Interactive Scholarly Works.”


Literature and Culture

SJ Fowler, “Dinner with Tomaž: Remembering Tomaž Šalamun 1941-2014.”

Jeffrey J. Williams, “The New Modesty in Literary Criticism.”

Joshua Rothkopf, “Sex, Drugs, and the Postal Service: Thomas Pynchon, a Beginner’s Guide.”

Anna Shechtman, “Too Faithful to Succeed: On Inherent Vice.” 

Evan Kindley, “The One that Got Away: On Inherent Vice.”

Paul Auster, “How I Became a Writer.”

Charles Bernstein, “Letter from Warsaw.”

Cory Doctorow, “Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States Graphic Novel.”

David A. Bell, “On The New Republic.”

The Nostalgia Trap, “Punk Rock and Shitty Jobs.”

Greg Barnhisel reviews “Literchoor Is My Beat”: A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions by Ian S. MacNiven.

Sam Barsanti, “Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville Is Getting a Remake.”

Mark Harris, “The Birdcage.”

Alex McCown, “Yes, Scarlett Johansson Will Star in the Ghost in the Shell Movie.”

Scott Mendelson, “For Universal Pictures, Zero Blockbusters Equals Record Profits.”

Alison Flood, “David Mitchell to Publish New Novel Slade House this Autumn.”

Paul Rosenberg, “God Is on the Ropes.”

Derek Thompson, “The Shameful Triumph of Football.”

Rachel Zarrell, “Over 2,400 MS-DOS Games–like Oregon Trail–Can Now Be Played Online.”

Charlie Jane Anders, “67 Science Fiction And Fantasy Movies To Watch Out For In 2015.”

Um, Lincoln Michel, “Mark Zuckerberg Aims to Start World’s Largest Bookclub on Facebook.”

North Pole Labor Study Group, “The Class Struggle at the North Pole.”

And an old student of mine, Mary Pappalardo, just started a new blog, Infinite Organs.


Humanities and Higher Education

Alyssa Christensen, “A 7-Step Guide to Your Final Semester as an English Major.”

Spring Semester 2015

December 31, 2014

I am looking forward to a fun, productive, and challenging spring semester at the University of Pittsburgh. I’ll be teaching three classes: two sections of Narrative and Technology (ENGLIT 0399; class blog here) and a course that is being offered for the first time, Interactive Literature (ENGLIT 1001; class blog here). I owe Mark Best considerable credit for Interactive Literature as I drew many ideas about organizing the course from the design of his initial proposal.

Some End of 2014 Links

December 23, 2014


Matthew L.Wald, “Betting on the Need, Scientists Work on Lighter, Cleaner Nuclear Energy.”


US National and International

Patrick L. Smith, “We Are Fucking Sadists: We Are Not Decent, and We Are Not a Democracy.”

Moisés Naím, “The Cuba Deal: Why Now?”

Dan Froomkin, “Billion Dollar Surveillance Blimp to Launch over Maryland.”



David Golumbia, “Tor Is Not a ‘Fundamental Law of the Universe.'”

Alexander R. Galloway, “The Reticular Fallacy.”


Literature and Culture

Eileen Jones, “Thinking Serious Thoughts.”

Adrian Hong, “North Korea: Not Funny.”

Matthew Buckley Smith, “Why Poems Don’t Make Sense.”

Jason Bailey, “How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA.”

Willie Osterweil, “Weight Gains.”

The New York Review of Video Games.

Chris Suellentrop, “Game Theory: A Golden Era for Criticism.”

Ian Bogost, “Winning Isn’t Everything.”

Alexander R. Galloway, “Counter-gaming.”

Wesley Morris, “Beyond the Edge of Tomorrow: The Year the Blockbuster Was Busted.”

And the end of everything: tl;dr;lit is a “bot that takes works of literature and algorithmically summarizes them, a chapter at a time, to 1% of their original length.” I mean, finally!



Michael Mau, “An Open Letter to America From a Public School Teacher.”


Reflections on 2014

“The Year of Outrage.”

“20 [Experimental] Games You Shouldn’t Miss in 2014.”

End of the Semester Links, Fall 2014

December 7, 2014

I have been understandably busy with the end of a fun and challenging semester. So there are quite a few links that have built up.


Nuclear and Environment

William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, “US Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms.”

Robert Burns, “Air Force: Hagel Departure Won’t Slow Nuke Reforms.”

Mark Memmot, “Nun Who Broke Into Nuclear Complex Gets 35-Month Jail Term.”

Barbara Starr, “Navy Investigation Under Way after Female Officers Filmed.”

Eric Holthaus, “Seventy–Seven Zero–Inches of Snow for Buffalo as Winter Overpowers America.”



Michael Kimmelman, “The Berlin Wall: A Microcosm of the World’s Chaotic Change.”

Arif Dirlik responds to Susan Buck-Morss’s “Democracy: An Unfinished Project” in “Twin Offspring of Empire, Neoliberalism and Neotraditionalism: Thoughts on Susan Buck-Morss, ‘Democracy: An Unfinished Project'” (excerpts).


US, Ferguson, Race

Eyder Peralta and Bill Chappell, “Ferguson Jury: No Charges for Officer in Michael Brown’s Death.”

Carly Schwartz and Christopher Mathias, “Protesters Shut Down Three New York City Bridges in Reaction to Ferguson Decision.”

John Cassidy, “Ferguson: An American Dilemma” and “New York’s Verdict: We Can’t Breathe.”

Cornel West, “The State of Black America in the Age of Obama Has Been One of Desperation, Confusion, and Capitulation.”

Susan Kruth, “Chris Rock Explains Why He Doesn’t Want to Perform on College Campuses.”

Frank Rich, “In Conversation with Chris Rock.”

The Editorial Board of The New York Times, “A Search for Justice in the Eric Garner Case.”

Nicholas St. Fleur, “They Shouted ‘I Can’t Breathe.'”



Ewen MacAskill, “Edward Snowden Wins Swedish Human Rights Award for NSA Revelations.”

David A. Banks on Anonymous, “Naming Nameless.”

David J. Gunkel and Billy Cripe, “Apocalypse Not, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Machine.”

Verso Books and Triple Canopy’s Encryption Workshop.

Timothy B. Lee, “American Broadband Is Better Than You Think.”


Literature and Culture

Rachel Arons, “‘We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom': Ursula K. Le Guin and Last Night’s NBAs.”

Michael Erard, “The New Work of Words.”

An interview with Hillary Chute and Patrick Jagoda on their recent co-edited issue of Critical Inquiry on comics and media.

Ewan Morrison, “YA Dystopias Teach Children to Submit to the Free Market, Not Fight Authority.”

David Denby reviews Rosewater and Happy Valley, “No Laughing Matter.”

Nathan Altice, “The Lenses of Failure,” on Dark Souls II and Jesper Juul’s The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Videogames (2013).

Richard Hill, “‘Internet Freedom': Digital Empire?” a review of Dan Schiller, Digital Depression: Information Technology and Economic Crisis (2014).

David Haglund, “Jonathan Franzen’s Next Novel Is Called Purity.” Uh oh.

Sarah Gray, “Toni Morrison Completely Schools Stephen Colbert on the Topic of Racism.”

Aaron Bady, “‘As an American Writer’ (Toni Morrison on Colbert).”

Andrea Battleground, “New Novel from Toni Morrison Coming in April.”

Rob Horning, “Selfies without the Self.”

Luke Karmali, “Gorgeous Non-Combat MMO Wander Coming to PS4 and PC.”

Philip Maciak, “Is Beyoncé the Future of Digital Cinema?”

Isha Aran, “Video Game Reviewer Is Contacting the Mothers of Her Online Harassers.”

Tom Boggioni, “Game Reviewer Strikes Back at Male Stalkers with a Brilliant New Ploy: Telling Their Moms.”

And Gabino Iglesias reviews my friend David James Keaton’s new novel, The Last Projector (2014).


boundary 2 Conference on “Poetry and Poetics”

Jonathan Arac, “Emily Dickinson and the Liberal Imagination.”

Paul A. Bové, “Wallace Stevens and the Confidence of the Imagination.”

Colin Dayan, “The Dog of the Poem: On William Carlos Williams’s Paterson.”

Donald E. Pease, “Whitman’s Leaves and Embers.”

November Links

November 16, 2014

I have had a great couple days listening to the boundary 2 conference. And after a productive and interesting week teaching Dear Esther (2012), Gone Home (2013), and Jennifer Egan‘s Look at Me (2001), I’m going to take the day to deeply immerse myself in football. So, I have a bit of time for some links.


Science and Environment

Rob Nixon reviews Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything.

Margalit Fox, “Jonathan Schell, 70, Author on War in Vietnam and Nuclear Age, Dies.”

Mark Landler, “US and China Reach Climate Accord After Months of Talks.”

Geoff Brumfiel, “New Clock May End Time as We Know It.”

Annalee Newitz, “It’s Looking More and More Likely That We Live in a Multiverse.”

Don Koenig, “Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Caused by a Nuclear Explosion High Over the United States – Imminent danger to the U.S. # 1.”



(Wow. I must have been busy if I haven’t yet mentioned the 2014 midterm elections.)

Katrina vanden Heuvel, “The Democrats Lost Big Tonight. Why Obama Should Double Down.”

Michael Stratford, “What a GOP-Led Congress Means for Higher Ed.”

Scott Jaschik, “Governors and Higher Ed.”

Leigh Phillips, “The Solution Is Democracy.”

Andy Borowitz, “Exit Polls Indicate Nation Suffering From Severe Memory Loss.”

And Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, “College Athletes of the World, Unite.”



“Mandela’s Reflections: Meditations and Interventions from the boundary 2 Collective.”

Vijay Prashad, “Making Poverty History.”


Literature and Culture

McKenzie Wark reviews William Gibson’s The Peripheral.

Mitchell Kriegman reviews Reflections in a Black Mirror.

Kriston Capps, “Escape Claws: Why Wolverine Had to Die to for the Sake of Marvel Comics.”

After New Media, 2014-2015.

R. A. Judy, “The Poetic Socialities of Radical Humanism, or the Giving Blues.” 

Sherryl Vint on Science Fiction and Biopolitics.

Rob Horning, “Social Media Is Not Self-Expression.”

And Jeff Guo, “The Mathematician Who Proved Why Hipsters All Look Alike.”


Humanities and Higher Education

Paul A. Bové, “The Human in University Education.”

Gerry Canavan, “Meritocracy, Lottery, Game.”

Sonali Kohli, “What Happens to Test Scores When Teachers Are Paid $125,000 a Year?”



“Conflict Kitchen Closes After Death Threat.”

Conflict Kitchen’s Statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

And the Undergraduate Literature Conference at the University of Pittsburgh.

Immersive Pedagogy: Teaching Videogames In and Out of the Classroom

November 13, 2014


As part of the Digital Brown Bag Series, a series of talks on various ways one might incorporate digital tools into their teaching and scholarship, tomorrow, November 14, from 12:00 – 1:00, I am giving a presentation on “Immersive Pedagogy: Teaching Videogames In and Out of the Classroom” at the University of Pittsburgh in room 435 of the Cathedral of Learning. Here’s a brief description of what I will be addressing:

Teaching videogames present a number of pedagogical challenges and possibilities that are not involved with teaching more traditional media objects. Many things can go wrong when teaching videogames: they can (and do) frequently break down or are incompatible with certain machines; they are hardware dependent, thus limiting the games that can be included in a syllabus; they are actionable rather than passive—they need to be played—meaning that students with less familiarity or skill with videogames can struggle. But videogames also open up a number of pedagogical avenues that are unavailable to other media: they can be radically immersive, collective, and social, reconfiguring the classroom into a virtual space that can extend significantly beyond the physical boundaries of traditional instruction; they provide new ways of looking at and interacting with media objects in the classroom, promoting new pedagogical methods of critical engagement; and they are, inevitably, fun, inviting students to participate in what I call “critical play.” This presentation will discuss some of the logistical, critical, and theoretical challenges presented by teaching videogames, how these challenges might be addressed, and some exciting pedagogical possibilities that are opened up by bringing videogames into the classroom. The presentation will conclude with an interactive demonstration of how one particular videogame, The Stanley Parable (Galactic Café, 2013), might be taught. (This talk largely reflects my experiences teaching Narrative and Technology.)


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