Articles Archive for December 2011

Reviews, Videos »

December 20th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Category: Reviews, Videos
Return to Cinder: <em>Supergods</em> and the Apocalypse

Grant Morrison describes his growing up through comics books as a Manichean affair: “It was an all-or-nothing choice between the A-Bomb and the Spaceship. I had already picked sides, but the Cold War tension between Apocalypse and Utopia was becoming almost unbearable” (p. xiv). Morrison’s first non-comic book, Supergods (Spiegel & Grau, 2011), is one-half personal statement, one-half art history. It’s an autobiography told through comic books and a history of superheroes disguised as a memoir. His early history of superhero comics is quite good, but it gets really, really …

Reviews »

December 14th, 2011 | One Comment | Category: Reviews
Maps for a Few Territories: Guides to Gibson

Any web wanderer worth her bookmarks knows that William Gibson coined the term for the spaces and places that we all explore online. So strong was the word that one large software company attempted to trademark it for their own purposes (Woolley, 1992). So many such ideas have been co-opted by others that Gibson has jokingly referred to himself as “the unpaid Bill” (Henthorne, p. 39). We have recently been called “people of the screen” by some other big-name dude, but this idea was evident in Gibson’s early work some …

Reviews, Videos »

December 14th, 2011 | One Comment | Category: Reviews, Videos
Cyberpunk’s Not Dead: Rucker’s <em>Nested Scrolls</em>

Like birthdays, the end of the year always brings about a recounting of the previous twelve months. We reassess our existence every year, every ten years, every one hundred… Human and technological movements are cyclical. Heraclitus once posited that generational cycles turn over every thirty years. By that metric, the personal computer revolution has run its course, and with it, the cyberpunk genre. Running its course doesn’t mean it’s over. It means it has been assimilated into the larger culture. What was once weird and wild is now a normal part …

Reviews, Videos »

December 11th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Category: Reviews, Videos
2011: Are You Going to Eat That?

It’s December and time to reassess the year, and 2011 is a joy to revisit. It was easily my best year ever personally. I signed a book deal, spoke at several conferences with some of my best friends, got engaged to a wonderful woman, built some new bikes, redesigned my website (finally), and finished coursework and comprehensive exams on my way to a Ph.D., among other things.
This year was crazy, from the death of Steve Jobs and Occupy Wall Street to the ramping up of some sort of political …

Essays »

December 09th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Category: Essays
Sharing Music: Kick Out the Spam…

I spent my undergraduate years working at record stores. Not surprisingly, the lulls behind the counter were largely spent talking about and sharing music. We’d all bring in our small CD cases, each stocked with a dozen or so discs for the shift. There was a lot of judging and clowning, but even more sharing and putting each other on to new sounds.
When I first got an iPod in 2003, I thought the practice would continue. Around the time that I procured my refurbished player, my friend Chang came out …

Essays »

December 06th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Category: Essays
Headroom for Headlines: News in the Now

It might be un-American to admit it, but I think the funniest thing about The Onion is the headlines. No offense to the rest of that great publication, but I rarely read past the blurb at the top. I’m not alone in this practice. When it comes to an information diet, our news is largely a headline-driven enterprise.
In 2006 Jakob Neilson found that browsers of online content read pages in an F-shape, conceding that they don’t read your website at all. They scan it. That means that most people who …

Interviews, Videos »

December 05th, 2011 | No Comment | Category: Interviews, Videos
Sam Seidel: You Must Learn

Sam Seidel is a progressive pedagogue. He chronicles his forays into education reform on The Husslington Post. In his new book, Hip-Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education (Rowman and Littlefield, 2011), he drops science on the High School of Recording Arts, where he’s implemented many aspects of the four elements in the classroom. In what follows, we discuss the book, the classroom, and how Hip-hop can help education come correct in the twenty first.

Roy Christopher: Most would agree that modern education needs an upgrade. How can Hip-hop help in this …