Is the Media Free?

Much public discussion today includes concerns about the freedom of the press. People fear that some politicians and businesses exert pressure to cover them favorably, especially as some have denounced the mainstream media. We can consider, however, whether the media of any form is really free.

Pierre Bourdieu in a 1996 series of essays entitled On Television (English translation by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson published in 1998) wrote: Continue reading “Is the Media Free?”

Marketable Misogyny

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In the ever-growing torrent of op-eds about Donald Trump, the subject of the candidate’s misogyny has increasingly become a topic of interest and focus. Most recently, I came across this New York Times piece by conservative columnist David Brooks. In it, Brooks bemoans Trump’s bombastic misogyny that seems predicated upon competitive alpha male one-upmanship. Continue reading “Marketable Misogyny”

Creating History

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This is the second of two posts from the Edge on what is currently happening in Baltimore…

History-making involves the creation of connections between events that generate meaning and order. It is really the same as any storytelling, where the creator of the (hi)story decides what characters, actions, and elements fit together to construct a meaningful narrative. These storytellers, whether historians, journalists, or novelists, have significant power to construct the narrative of events in ways that reinforce preferred ideologies, assumptions, and stereotypes. Continue reading “Creating History”

It (Wasn’t) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

pottery barn catalogI always breathe a sigh of relief when Christmas is over. Don’t get me wrong – I like Christmas carols, watching my kids open gifts, and the smell of Christmas trees, so I’m not a total Scrooge about the affair. But the logistics of travel, the cost of those gifts, the “We put up the decorations; We take down the decorations!” cycle is enough to leave me eager for January.

From a pop culture perspective this rather common feeling is particularly ironic, since most forms of holiday media already sent the very clear message that all of these things that generated such stress for many of us were, in fact, also supposed to be the source of our greatest happiness. Take, for instance, another sign of the season: the retail catalog. For those of us who were barraged by them (and I’ll choose Pottery Barn’s catalog for the sake of a specific example), the messages within unequivocally communicated that, with the proper décor accessories, one’s home can become the most idyllic, cozy shelter ever, capable of withstanding almost any sort of stress that either the holidays or the coldest assaults of winter might bring. Continue reading “It (Wasn’t) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

Filters, Filters Everywhere

Indigo_Bunting_maleMy family is a family of identifiers. Whether it is a bird, tree, or salamander, we are often dissatisfied until we know which species it is. Thus we have binoculars and a whole shelf of Field Guides for identifying much of the flora and fauna. While others can certainly dissect the psychological interests behind the desire to know these names, the process of observation intrigues me. Continue reading “Filters, Filters Everywhere”

Why Am I Cheering for My Team?

Picture 1While I admit to having issues with the sort of individual, rational thinker that Chomsky presupposes when he’s making his critiques of the (often unseen) politics of dominant institutions, his thoughts on identification practices via sports (the clip is from the 1992 documentary, “Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media”) are worth posting, I think — what with the U.S. national championship in College football just having passed by (Roll Tide), the Superbowl coming up in a few weeks, and also the Winter Olympics in Russia, and all the media hype that comes with each of those. Continue reading “Why Am I Cheering for My Team?”

Framing a Shrine

Yasukuni_JinjaOur reactions to events are products, in many ways, of the ways the information about the event has been framed. Despite rhetoric of individual freedom, those who produce information have a huge influence. Continue reading “Framing a Shrine”