About a thousand years after everyone else, I came across Feminist Ryan Gosling, and despite having seen only one Ryan Gosling movie—Drive, in which he “Hey’s” nary a girl, but does assault someone with a hammer—I enjoyed reading through the entries. But I knew I was late to the party when… Continue reading
For my third soundbite-related post, I’d like to talk some pedagogy. This semester I’m teaching a course on copia, which in some ways would seem to be the opposite of sound-biting.
Copia is about abundance, variety, superfluity, excess, accumulation—words not normally associated with soundbite culture. The latter conjures very different terms: truncation, abbreviation, superficiality, redundancy, speed, spin. Continue reading
For my second soundbite-focused post, I’m already deviating from the original plan by covering not so much a soundbite as the name of an entire movement. I’ve been wondering lately about the awkward resonance of “Occupy Wall Street,” the way that first word “Occupy” provokes so many distinctive interpretations: it can suggest invasion, colonization, aggressive seizure of territory; less aggressively, it can simply mean occupying a position, both in the sense of physical space and a mental perspective; and of course it echoes occupation as work, employment, along with the work we do at work (on our best days), when we are intensely engaged in (occupied with) a task.
So what does it really mean to “Occupy Wall Street?” For a variety of reasons (all of them lame), I have yet to attend an OWS event in Atlanta, and certainly not in New York. I have occupied neither park nor street nor quad nor sidewalk, which makes me wonder if I can really say that I’m part of the movement, and not just an observer of its viral video. Continue reading
I hope this will be the first of a series of posts on a running theme: the unintentional eloquence of soundbite culture. For several years now I’ve been interested in the communicative potential of inarticulate speech and writing. It’s part guilty pleasure (I look for Sarah Palin in the news for nearly the same reasons I watch America’s Next Top Model); but a hopefully bigger part of my interest derives from a genuine fascination with the ways in which gaffes can be translated into eloquence, gibberish into poetry, nonsense into social commentary.
Such translations are already easy to find in the form of parody: here are William Shatner reading a Palin speech as beat poetry, John Lithgow performing a Newt Gingrich press release, Obama supporters combining hyperbole and understatement via a Joe Biden gaffe, and my personal favorite Twitter meme, ShakesPalin. Continue reading