July 18th, 2018 | Category: Essays, Headline
Burn the Script: We Need More Voices

After a successful run of movies in the 1980s, Spike Lee used to say “Make Black Film” like a mantra, and we saw it in the 1990s with Matty Rich, the Hughes Brothers, John Singleton, and Lee himself. It looks like it’s in effect again with boundary-bombing work by Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Arthur Jafa, Donald Glover, Jordan Peele, and Boots Riley. The latter’s Sorry to Bother You is not just the movie of the moment, it’s a statement, a stance, and a hopeful catalyst for change.
Like any worthwhile project, …

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June 22nd, 2018 | Category: Reading Lists
Summer Reading List, 2018

There has never been a better time to get off-line, soothe your spirit, and build your brain with a stack of books. We’re back again with reading recommendations for just that. This year, our 15th, we have ideas from newcomers Nisi Shawl, Veronica Fitzpatrick, and Penni Jones, as well as the return of Rick Moody, Douglas Rushkoff, Cynthia Connolly, André Carrington, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Zizi Papacharissi, Jussi Parikka, Peter Lunenfeld, Joseph Nechvatal, Lily Brewer, Dominic Pettman, Paul Levinson, Brian Tunney, Mike Daily, Paul D. Miller, Alex Burns, and myself. We know what you’ll …

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May 05th, 2018 | Category: 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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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