Veteran’s microphone cut off when he discusses Black people’s role in establishing Memorial Day

Who is this nobody Memorial Day keynote speaker who dared to make white patriots feel discomfort by bringing up facts that trigger their racism?  It’s not history unless it affirms my world view, right? Where does the lying America-hating fake news media come up with these stories? There so bias!! A ceremony organizer turned off a microphone when a retired Army lieutenant colonel began sharing a story about freed Black slaves honoring deceased soldiers shortly after the end of the Civil War. —Stars and Stripes

‘Belonging Is Stronger Than Facts’: The Age of Misinformation

As much as we like to think of ourselves as rational beings who put truth-seeking above all else, we are social animals wired for survival. In times of perceived conflict or social change, we seek security in groups. And that makes us eager to consume information, true or not, that lets us see the world as a conflict putting our righteous ingroup against a nefarious outgroup. […] Framing everything as a grand conflict against scheming enemies can feel enormously reassuring. And that’s why perhaps the greatest culprit of our era of misinformation may be, more than any one particular misinformer,…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

For the record, if I should happen to be murdered by someone with a gun…

For the record, if I should happen to be murdered by someone with a gun, I grant all supporters of sensible gun control legislation full permission to politicize my death — as quickly as they like.   I reject any notion that the months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes after a violent firearm incident are “not the time for political debate.”   It’s everyone’s First Amendment right to criticize the way some Americans interpret the Second Amendment’s support for a “well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State.”   It will in no way dishonor my…

Bottled Authors: the predigital dream of the audiobook

There was no way to preserve sounds before the nineteenth century. Speeches, songs, and soliloquies all vanished moments after leaving the lips. That situation changed in 1877, when Thomas Edison began working on a machine that could mechanically reproduce the human voice. Edison’s team successfully assembled a device on which Edison recorded “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” a nursery rhyme that would become the first words ever spoken by the phonograph.2 Depending on how you define the term, Edison’s inaugural recording of verse might be considered the world’s first audiobook.. –Matthew Rubery, Cabinet Magazine

Texas lawyer trapped by cat filter on Zoom call, informs judge he is not a cat

A Texas lawyer accidentally left a kitten filter on during a video conference call with a judge and was unable to change it, eventually responding to a judge’s query about why he was being addressed by a digital feline by saying: “I’m here live. I am not a cat.” Later, the judge wrote: “These fun moments are a byproduct of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!” —Guardian

I’m just getting around to watching this speech from Arnold Schwarzenegger. Impressive!

I really never paid much attention to Schwarzenegger’s time as governor of California, but because I was in living in Wisconsin during part of former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura’s time as governor of Minnesota, I guess I expected bluster and bravado. Yes, waving the Conan sword certainly provided manly spectacle for the groundlings, but the sword was an opportunity to introduce a metaphor — he put it down with a nice audible clump and carried on with his message; he talked about the fantasy sword as a symbol, not about using it to strike down his enemies. His audience includes…

McCain’s 2008 Concession Speech: Republicans interrupt their candidate’s concession speech to cheer about what the election of his opponent says about the USA

That moment during McCain’s concession speech in 2008, when he mentions Obama, and a ripple of boos begin. McCain, his face showing disapproval, holds up his hands palms down — a controlling gesture, but a calming one. He says the simple word, “Please,” and patiently waits until his audience settles down. He says he just called Obama “to congratulate him on being elected president of the country we both love.” There are some more boos. He puts up one hand, palm down, and again his face shows disapproval. McCain then goes on to touch on values central to his Republican…

Video Tips for Students: Don’t do what I’m doing!  You can’t see my eyes, the background is distracting, you’re looking up my nose and the lighting is awful.

You might have been asked to submit a short video assignment. Don’t do what I’m doing! You can’t see my eyes, the background is distracting, you’re looking up my nose and the lighting is awful.  This short video demonstrates some quick tips that will greatly improve a video submission assignment. Your instructor and your classmates won’t really care if your phone beeps or you lose your place in your notes while you’re recording, but your well-lit face and clear voice will be much more engaging than something that looks like security camera footage. See also “Oral Presentations: Tips on How…

No, Trump’s tweet about “Heritage, History, and Greatness” is not a quote from a speech Hitler gave in 1939

Trump really did tweet “This is a battle to save the Heritage, History, and Greatness of our Country!” Plugging those words into Google Translate yields “Dies ist ein Kampf um die Rettung des Erbes, der Geschichte und der Größe unseres Landes!” I could be wrong, but I think Größe in German just means “physical size,” or “dimensions” rather than “greatness” in the sense of “having achieved many great things.” Hitler really gave a speech on Jan 30 1939. I haven’t been able to find the full German text of that speech but presumably Trump would have been drawing on an…

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Ménage à Troi (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 24) Lwaxana, Ferengi, Chess, and Poetry

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. The teaser features Picard fibbing awkwardly to evade Troi’s mother Lwaxana, nicely setting up a later scene when he woos her with snatches of Shakespeare and Tennyson — first clumsily, then enthusiastically, as part of a ruse designed to… oh, nevermind why. Seeing Picard save the day with love poetry is well worth the cringeworthy setup. (And the scene also provides the visual for the popular “Picard wtf” meme.) An amorous Ferengi abductor intends to use Lwaxana’s telepathic abilities to give him an edge in business negotiations. He nabs Riker and Troi too, because apparently…

When is Donald Trump kidding? When is he being sarcastic? When is he being serious? Who gets to decide?

Earlier today a reporter, following her journalism training, asked Trump, “Were you just kidding, or do you have a plan to slow down testing?” His response: “I don’t kid, let me just tell you.” At this weekend’s Tulsa rally, the president had said, referring to the US response to the coronavirus pandemic, “I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.” Monday his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president was speaking “in jest,” and other aides and supporters have explained the comment in similar terms. So the president’s response, which contradicts what his own aides have said in…

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In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure

Since new technical skills are always in high demand, young college graduates who have them earn a short-run salary premium. Yet when the job changes, these now experienced workers must learn new technical skills to keep up with fresh college graduates and a constant stream of talent from abroad. The result is slower salary growth and high exit rates from the STEM work force. Between the ages of 25 and 40, the share of STEM majors working in STEM jobs falls from 65 percent to 48 percent. Many of them shift into managerial positions, which pay well but do not…

Minneapolis Police Injure, Arrest Journalists Covering Protests

Throughout the protests over the death of George Floyd, journalists have been injured and arrested covering the unrest. That trend continued Saturday and there were examples across the country but journalists on the ground in Minneapolis expressed dismay at how law enforcement officials seemed to be targeting members of the media. In the Friday night protests, Linda Tirado, was shot in the left eye while covering the protests in Minneapolis. Tirado, who believes she was shot with a rubber bullet, said she has permanently lost vision in her left eye. “Starting to see a pattern of police targeting the media in…

Now Is the Perfect Time to Memorize a Poem

Powerful writing, by Matthew Schneier. Most of the essay is on the power of poetry as an oral art form. (See also Poetry is for the Ear and Poetry Writing Hacks: Top 10 Tips.) But I blogged it because of the paragraphs about the author’s father. Right now, a machine is breathing for my father, buying time in a ward I can neither visit nor see. The doctors talk a lot about time: How fast or slow he breathes — COVID comes for your breath — and how quick or sluggish his blood pressure, the beat of his heart. There…

College student makes masks for the deaf & hard of hearing

Other than one trip to the grocery store, I haven’t been in public since March 13, so I haven’t noticed if people in my community have started wearing masks. But I’ve wondered how I’ll be able to respond to people’s voices when I can’t see their mouths.   In the past few years, I have noticed I have trouble following what a person is saying if I can’t see their mouth. If my wife talks to me from the next room while the dishwasher is going, or if two people are talking at the same time from different rooms, my…

The Nightingale (WAOB Audio Theatre)

I haven’t done any audio theatre recordings in a while (thanks, coronavirus) and I miss it. Here’s my interpretation (recorded some time ago) of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Nightingale.” The nightingale is considered the most beautiful thing in the kingdom… until a mechanical nightingale wins over the citizens, and the true nightingale is banished. But how will the mechanical nightingale fare — when Death arrives in the kingdom? Hans Christian Andersen affirms the necessity of art and natural beauty in this exciting and moving tale. The exceptional Dennis Jerz narrates and voices every character, accompanied by an original music composition…