May 05th, 2018 | Category: Headline, Interviews
Bob Stephenson: Bit by Bit

My favorite actors tend to be those just outside the spotlight. I like character actors and supporting roles. Nicky Katt, Max Perlich, Kevin Corrigan, Steven Weber, Bradley Whitford, Don McManus, and Daryl Mitchell are some of my favorites.
A little further afield, I’m always paying attention to the background. I love Norman Brenner, who was Michael Richards’ stand-in on all nine seasons Seinfeld, and popped up on camera as an extra in 29 episodes. Ruthie Cohen, who aside from the the four main characters, was in more episodes of that show …

Read on »



April 29th, 2018 | Category: Interviews
Pat Cadigan: Eyes on the Skies

Widely regarded as one of the original cyberpunks, Pat Cadigan’s science-fiction roots run deep. Two of her first three novels won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. She and Robert Heinlein were friends. She’s edited sci-fi and fantasy magazines all the way back to the late 1970s. She’s been thinking about the future of humans and technology longer than most of us have been around.
In Ted Mooney’s novel Easy Travel to Other Planets (FSG, 1981), he writes,
The best way to prepare for the future is to keep an eye on the sky. That’s where …

Read on »
April 23rd, 2018 | Category: Interviews
Dominic Pettman: Human Matters

I first came across Dominic Pettman’s work through his 2011 book, Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines (University of Minnesota Press), which I promptly wrote about because it connected so many things I am interested in. Not long after, he wrote a cultural history of my favorite animal, Look at the Bunny: Totem, Taboo, Technology (Zer0 Books, 2013). He had written several before, and he’s written several since. He is a professor at Eugene Lang College and also teaches in the Liberal Studies Program at the New School for Social Research. Pettman is …

Read on »
March 14th, 2018 | Category: Reviews
Intertextual Orientation: <em>The Pop Palimpsest</em>

During my undergraduate days, my friends and I used to play a silly game. Whenever a situation or topic came up and they pointed to me, I would attempt to recite a relevant rap lyric. Sometimes it was a stretch to get Ice-T or the Beastie Boys to fit a late-night Waffle House run, but I was rarely stumped.
As Gorham and Gilligan (2006) put it, “media allusions represent an important way in which audiences make use of the cultural products around them to form relationships with others and build community …

Read on »
February 17th, 2018 | Category: Reviews
Media Literacy: Curing the Common Code

“Media literacy” is as socially contested a term as they come. Its meaning of has been debated at least as far back as 1933 (see Tyner, 2010).It’s not difficult to make the case that Marshall McLuhan‘s work in the main was about media literacy. Not to mention Howard Rheingold‘s lengthy and thorough work on new media and social media literacy.

So much has changed and changed hands since McLuhan left us. The computer moved from business and industry to the home and finally to every place and pocket available. In Coding …

Read on »
February 02nd, 2018 | Category: Essays
The Ends Against the Middle

To point out changes in the media landscape is to recite clichés. Everything is different, and nothing has changed.
Those two forces are flipping our media environment inside out. On one end, broadcasting became narrowcasting, and has now become microcasting. Advertisers and politicians are able to send ever-more targeted messages to smaller and smaller groups, moving from the broadcast model of one-to-many to something ever-closer to one-to-one. This shift has allowed an entity to tell one person one thing and then next person something possibly contradictory and gain the support of …

Read on »