Is your generation too ironic?

I’m interested in this piece in today’s New York Times, because I too tend to see taking an ironic stance on things to be potentially quite soul-deadening.  I love humor, cynicism, and irony very much sometimes, but I also see earnestness—which we might say is the opposite of irony— as crucial to happiness.   Do you agree that people in your generation tend to shy away from being sincere and eager about things?  And do you agree with Wampole’s definition of “hipster”?

Posted in How we talk in the public sphere, Humor and Satire, Memes | 2 Comments

What makes people win elections in 2012 and beyond?

Data has a lot to do with it.  And it’s young people who are developing the skills to understand and use data to get people elected.  Does data help strategists learn about people as people and not numbers?  We’ll see.

Posted in How we talk in the public sphere | Leave a comment

What habitual gestures can mean

A propos of our conversation yesterday about things in a debate that people notice beyond what the candidates are actually saying, here’s an interesting use of technology from the NYT.  It’s an analysis of the candidates’ body language–you can click on the type of hand gesture, for example, “tilt and nod” or “waving a ball,” and see a video of the candidate doing it.  Then there’s a short explanation of what it all supposedly means.

Posted in How we talk in the public sphere, US Presidential Election | 1 Comment

Are they allowed to lie in campaign commercials?

Here are some facts about that.

Posted in Campaign Ads | Leave a comment

For Thursday, October 25

Continue researching and blogging!

Posted in Class Matters | Leave a comment

For your research,

here’s our course library page.

Posted in Class Matters, How we talk in the public sphere | Leave a comment

For Tuesday, October 23

1. Do some research.  Find at least 5 citations that support your topic, at least one or two from our databases, and read three of them.  If you are stuck, or even if you’re not, consider meeting with a librarian–they can always help you find interesting material.

2.  Write Short Paper 3 on your research:  A 1-2 page letter to Kaitlin and me about what you’ve found so far, with comments on each citation and what you have discovered about your topic.  Has your question changed as you’ve done the reading?  What is your plan now for further research?  Do you see a focus developing for your essay?  Print out your letter and bring it to class.

3.  The last presidential debate is Monday at 9PM.  Watch it if you want to.

Posted in Class Matters, US Presidential Election | Leave a comment

Local news

I’ve been reading about this debate going on in our local public sphere.  (4Legs is an online-only alternative to the Tripod, get it?)   It makes more sense if you begin by clicking on the letter that this post is a response to.  I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

Posted in Class Matters, Higher education in the US, How we talk in the public sphere | 1 Comment

For Thursday, October 18

1.  Watch at least some of the Presidential debate and the follow-up spin.  Post an observation as a comment to this post.

2.  PLEASE REMEMBER THAT WE ARE MEETING IN THE LIBRARY on Thursday the 18th at 1.30 to begin research.  We will assemble in front of the circulation desk, just inside the turnstile.  I sent Erin, our librarian, our list of questions.

Posted in Class Matters | 10 Comments

For Tuesday, October 16

1. Decide on a research question for your research paper, and email it to me by tomorrow–our library visit is Thursday.

2.  Read the following six stories about the campaign from today’s New York Times, and write a comment to this post with an observation or reaction to any of them.  Be prepared to discuss them all in class.

Here’s an article on Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager who’s often on television striving to control the stories–note her experience with the Swift Boaters in the Kerry campaign.  And here’s one about people trying to get college students to vote.  Speaking of trying to get people to vote, how about this one, from p. 1 of today’s paper, about using our internet searches?  And can you believe a politician’s pronunciation of a state’s name could have so much potential weight?  Is it because all politics is local, as the author points out at the end of this piece on Republicans in Ohio?  And Firstladybattle might be especially interested in this one about Ann Romney’s dresser:  is clothing a language in the public sphere?

Posted in Ann Romney, Campaign Ads, Class Matters, How we talk in the public sphere, Obama, Romney, US Presidential Election | 12 Comments