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How Facebook is killing comedy (and other indie content creators)

Facebook has monetized access to online content. The mobile apps make it difficult for you to actually leave Facebook to follow a link, which means Facebook is increasingly showing other people’s content, bypassing the creator’s own ads (and their “subscribe” and “comment” and “contact us” and “archive” buttons). As Internet comedy writer Matt Klinman puts it: The problem is that Facebook is our editor and our boss. They decide what…

Apology of Socrates, By Plato

Aristotle classified Plato’s work, representing Socrates’s defense against charges that he corrupted the youth of Athens, as a fiction. But what words! What a defense! (“Greatest mind of history / Solving life’s sweet mystery.” —Schwartz) For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons and your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of…

Certainty vs. uncertainty: “In which are we more likely to be deceived, and in which has rhetoric the greater power?”

I’ve taught Plato’s Phaedrus before, but in the past I have mostly focused on brief passages in which the characters discuss writing, which is really just a side issue. The purpose of today is mostly just to accustom my “History and Future of the Book” students to oral classical culture, in the hopes they’ll get more out of their exposure to Plato’s Apology of Socrates (which is on the syllabus…

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Prosecutor praises newspaper that exposed doctor’s abuse

Isn’t the news pointless and boring? Haven’t powerful people who have no personal stake in the matter and obviously have nothing whatsoever to hide called the lying fake mainstream news media the enemy of the American people?Why would anyone want to study journalism? Oh, wait… Former sports doctor Larry Nassar likely still would be sexually assaulting girls if not for the work of an Indiana newspaper that helped to expose…

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Don’t patronize older adults by calling them ‘the elderly’

In English grammar, we use the definite article in front of a noun when we believe the listener knows exactly what we are referring to. Further, use of the word “the” suggests singular, as in The Pope. When you meet The Pope, then you’ve met The Pope. When you meet “the elderly” you’ve really only met one person who also happens to be older. | Use of the word “the” becomes…