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Shakespeare Popularized Falconry Terms

English is full of figures of speech popularized by Shakespeare. Some of those terms Shakespeare’s interest in falconry. “Hold onto Lima,” Healy-Rennison commanded, as I tightly pinched the speckle-feathered bird’s jesses, or tethers, under my thumb. “Now she’s ‘under your thumb’,” Healy-Rennison explained with a smile. “Quite literally,” I replied, amused to learn the etymology of a phrase that I’ve used for most of my life. Only now I was…

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Topical Satire Is Not “Fake News.”

While I’ve been preparing to teach a class on memes and “fake news,” my complaints are all about propaganda that misleads in order to wield influence or make money. I am not talking about the “fake news” which is clever satire, such as these two posts which made me belly-laugh. The Sanders pic I found in my Facebook feed, where it had been posted on P-diddy’s page. The Obama pic is…

Little Things

I recently came across an abandoned stash of tiny doll shoes. When TeenGirl was little, she would take the tiny shoes off her tiny dolls, and if she momentarily lost one, she’d be distraught. My wife finally got all the shoes in one place, put them on a ledge, and we all forgot about them. This magazine article describes a subculture based on the aesthetic of miniatures, and the mastercrafting…

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An open letter to Trump from the US press corps

This is the message I’ve been waiting for. Perfect reading assignment to start off my journalism class next week. Blunt, insightful, scrappy, professional. No whining, finger-pointing, or distractions. We will set higher standards for ourselves than ever before. We credit you with highlighting serious and widespread distrust in the media across the political spectrum. Your campaign tapped into that, and it was a bracing wake-up call for us. We have to…

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Lie to Me: Fiction in the Post-Truth Era

I’m trying to remember what it was like, a few months ago when I was thinking about picking “fake news” as the topic for a media course, when I was briefly worried I wouldn’t be able to find enough background reading on the issue. I’m no longer worried about that. (I am, however, a lot more worried about fake news.) The problem with our “post-truth” politics is that a large…

Facebook Has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone But Facebook

Facebook has no financial incentive to care whether the links we click on point to quality journalism, a silly “Which pop culture figure are you” poll, a basically true story with a sensationalized or misleading headline, pictures from a friend’s vacation, or a completely fabricated work of propaganda. When I work with my handheld or tablet, it’s a pain to get the URL of a story I find on Facebook.…

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Contemptible and Exploitive “Share if You’re Not Ashamed of Me” Facebook Scams

Outline: Various Facebook posts that feature photographs of young people with disabilities beg you to share to prove that you are not ashamed of the pictured youngsters. Other versions claim that nobody likes the people depicted in the images because they are disabled and, therefore, nobody will share their posts. Brief Analysis: The posts are the work of callous and contemptible Facebook users that are simply trying to garner attention and promote themselves…