The Bank Dick

the-bank-dickI was visiting Lehigh University not long ago and bought my wife a little something while I was there. It wasn’t elaborate, just a little necklace to surprise her when I got back. But that evening, back at my hotel, just before leaving for my final dinner, I got a phone call from home: my wife was wanting to confirm whether I’d made a purchase earlier that day, since the service our credit union uses had contacted her about an unusual purchase.

She knew the amount because they knew the amount and they knew the amount because I’d never before spend X number of dollars in Bethlehem PA. That’s why the automated fraud protection levers were pulled and my card was yanked.

So much for the surprise. Continue reading “The Bank Dick”

Mythologies

mythologiesThere are few more relevant books for those interested in how systems of representation — in the most mundane and thus often unnoticed places — enable historical happenstance to be portrayed/perceived as timeless necessity than Roland Barthes‘s (d. 1980) classic collection, Mythologies. Originally published in the newspaper as brief commentaries on popular French culture, the short chapters have appended to them a lenghty theoretical essay, “Myth Today,” in which Barthes explains his approach to studying the multi-layered semiotic systems that we routinely see in daily life. In many ways, Mythologies, and the companion collection, The Eiffel Tower, model in their brevity but theoretical consequence what blog posts such as this site aspire to.