Want to see a good example of the pro-corporate bias in the media?
Then consider this story from — of all places — National Public Radio, on different manufacturing and safety standards for automobiles, in different nations. Continue reading “The Rules Just “Happen” to be Different?”
National Public Radio’s “Code Switch” team has posted some pretty interesting stories, I think, but it nonetheless seems to perpetuate a notion of code switching as a very specific sort of move, the possession of just a select few strategic actors, rather than seeing it basically as synonymous with being any social actor. Continue reading “Not All of Us?”
When [Walter] Kirn was just starting his novel-writing career, he met a man who was a bold financier, an art collector, a fussy eccentric, a dog lover and a Rockefeller. They became friends.
But over the years Kirn began to learn that the man who called himself Clark Rockefeller was none of that — not even a dog lover. He was a psychopath and a killer.
How did Kirn fall for the fraud? Was Christian Karl Gerhartsriter — aka “Clark Rockefeller” — extraordinarily compelling? Or was the novelist, like a lot of other people drawn to the imposter, duped by his own desire to have an attachment to a famous name?
So opens a radio story on the curious case of Clark Rockefeller — or, might we say instead, the curious case of people, such as Kirn himself, who believed his friend to be the man he claimed to be. The difference between how we approach this story — is it about Rockefeller (pictured above) or Kirn? — tells us much about the social theory used to tell the tale. Continue reading “Everybody Plays the Fool”
One of my department’s grads recently posted this story from National Public Radio, on a book that discusses the early 20th century invention of the idea of the modern economy — one that we take for granted now but which is just as imagined as any other so-called social fact. Continue reading “The Leading Indicators”
“There’s an assumption … that a person’s race is fixed…” — so opens a report this morning, on National Public Radio, of controlled, empirical evidence to the contrary, indicating the manner in which social cues and assumptions of their significance (e.g., Have you been to prison? Did you die of liver failure due to alcohol?) prompt people to ascribe this or that identity, such as a race, to other people…, and even to themselves. Continue reading “Constitution by Description”
A news story not long ago, on poverty in the U.S., started out by saying that it is difficult to define poverty, and then went on to demonstrate what the interviewee characterized as the dated nature of contemporary understandings. Continue reading “Definitional Desires”
An interesting, though brief, story was on the radio this morning, concerning the September 1, 2010, ban on smoking in enclosed public places in Greece — a ban that I think it fair to say has only gradually gained some traction among the Greek public.
Give it a listen. Continue reading “But is That News?”
I caught a story this morning on the radio, concerning so-called contemporary Christian music. It was on Josh Garrels (above), whose music “wrestles with and celebrates the mystery of faith with authenticity and heart” (at least according to his web site).
What caught my ear was the following quote: Continue reading “Dulling a Critical Edge”
I caught an interview on the radio this morning with Jacqueline Jones, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of a new book on “the myth of race.”
Give it a listen. Continue reading “Reports of the Myth of Race are Greatly Exaggerated”
A recent story on the sounds of New York in the 1920s brings up a curious thing — whether the past is more real when listening to it (or seeing it, in old movies or photos, for example) rather than just reading about it (whether in so-called primary or secondary sources).
Is the past somehow closer to us in one case than another? Continue reading “Hearing is Believing?”