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The Left has a post-truth problem too. It’s called comedy.

As I gear up to teach about memes and fake news in a “Media Aesthetics” class, I am keeping track of good background articles so I can bring my students up to speed. Satire, like fake news, creates a sense of community through rejection. It delights in tearing down institutions but is useless at constructing them. Jonathan Swift said that satire was a mirror in which viewers discovered everybody’s face…

Fake News Is Not the Real Media Threat We’re Facing

Conservative talk radio predates the Internet as a populist alternative to the mainstream media. This article challenges the idea that “fake news” is a new, or even a significant problem, and instead explores how some celebrity conservatives (including radio host Rush Limbaugh) encourage their followers to mistrust traditional news outlets. Fake news has been around as long as real news, as any historian of early modern Europe can tell you (Renaissance…

A Merry Look at Journalism in “The Year Without a Santa Claus”

In the classic stop-action TV special “The Year Without a Santa Claus” (1974), newspaper headlines provide exposition and offer a low-budget way to depict widespread reaction to the events of the plot. Newspapers also introduce a plot hole that’s bothered me ever since I was a kid. When I watched the show again this year, I noticed some typographical oddities in the prop newspapers. First of all, the elves have…

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Imma Let You Integrate Quotations

In the poem “Imma Let You Integrate Quotations!” by Melvin Middleschool-Writer, it talks about a writing style that wastes words. “Those long quotations, dropping awkward into the essay / Hijack your thoughts / Like a Kanye who graciously accepts a microphone from Taylor Swift  / So he can confidently mansplain it all.” This quote means that students who interrupt their own essays  with a lengthy, not-contextualized quoted passage, and then follow that quote with a separate sentence…

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‘Arrival’ Is Smart, Stylish Sci-Fi About Language, Not Laser Beams

The premise sounds quite interesting. Realistically I doubt I’ll have the chance to see a movie until Christmas, but this is something to look forward to. So it’s time to move onto written language, and the most thrilling elements of the film are the geekiest ones: when Louise gets to explain what she’s trying to teach the aliens and why. To broach the essential topic (“What is your purpose on…