“seriously, the guy has a point” — on the Charging Bull and Fearless Girl Controversy

Art conveys significance; however, much of that significance is constructed by the receiver. That’s why I care less about what a work of art “means” and more about what it “does.” Understanding what a work of art does requires interpretation. The context of a work of art can contribute to the significance of the artwork in surprising ways. The reception of a work of art can change over time, which means the way…

How Facebook – the Wal-Mart of the internet – dismantled online subcultures

Facebook wants you to spend more time on Facebook, so why should they promote links pointing to content that exists outside of Facebook? Facebook’s approach to content control means that communities that use Facebook have to play by Facebook’s rules. Users have limited ability to communicate with Facebook’s administrators when there’s a problem, as we’ve seen when drag queens demanded changes to the “real name” policy, when nursing mothers rejected censorship…

Always Bet on Text

Graydon Hoare offers a rousing hymn to the virtues of text. Don’t get me wrong, I like me some illustrations, photos, movies and music. But text wins by a mile. Text is everything. My thoughts on this are quite absolute: text is the most powerful, useful, effective communication technology ever, period. Text is the oldest and most stable communication technology (assuming we treat speech/signing as natural phenomenon — there are…

As CRT Supplies Vanish the Classic Arcade Machine is Virtually Dead

If you understand the environment in which medieval scholars created and used books, you can better appreciate why medieval books look and function the way they do. Understanding the cultural impact of computers requires us to study the development of both hardware and technology. Playing a text adventure game on an iOS device is convenient, but does not capture the physicality of the original games, with their instruction manuals (often…

I touched up an intro to hypertext essays from 2000.

When I initially wrote this introduction to hypertext essays in 2000, my assumption was that readers would be experienced writers who already knew what an essay was, so that I could use that knowledge to differentiate between an ordinary essay and a hypertext essay. By 2017, we are teaching “multimodal composition” in our freshman writing classes. Some of the students come in with great writing skills (and I always tell them…