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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

When we look back at this time a few decades hence, what changes will we take the pandemic of 2020-21 to have ushered in? How will it have transformed work, recreation, travel and transportation, food, politics, and everything else? The following are some initial thoughts toward a hopeful eco-justice based perspective on how the world […]

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I don’t usually write about local politics on this blog. But why not? Here’s my prediction for next Tuesday’s Burlington,* Vermont, mayoral election. Let this be a test of how good, or bad, I’ve gotten at observing my city’s politics. (For outsiders: this is the city where Bernie Sanders cut his political chops as mayor […]

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Shoshana Zuboff’s analysis of “The Coup We Are Not Talking About,” published in today’s Sunday New York Times, is an essential follow-up to her book Surveillance Capitalism, applying that book’s analysis to the situation we are living through. This other coup is the “epistemic coup” which, she writes, “proceeds in four stages”:

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There’s a fairly straightforward narrative about media and cultural hegemony in the United States that most scholarly observers have come to largely agree on (with the usual spectrum of variations in emphasis), but that more of the public ought to be aware of. It accounts for how we got here, into this situation where media […]

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Two points of social media use call for more attention as we make sense of this week’s events at the U. S. Capitol. 1) Videos and selfies from Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rallies are circulating online and making it easier to identify those who participated in the attempted coup at the Capitol. Images created and […]

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I am an academic who researches, writes, and teaches about the human relationship with the ecological environment within which we live and on which we depend. I recognize that that relationship is deeply troubled, and I want to be working on untroubling it. Politics — the shaping and implementation of policy to steer collective and […]

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Conspiracy movements like QAnon are a kind of cultural virus that spreads rapidly and widely in the new global media environment. Like invasive species, they spread into diverse cultural ecosystems, colonizing them even as they take on new forms that mimic each environment’s original inhabitants. To understand how they do this, we need to understand […]

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Trump’s parting electoral tantrum puts the exclamation mark on the fundamental flaw of democracy that his presidency has revealed: that a poorly informed electorate can willingly choose its own demise (even as it recites platitudes to the contrary). Two institutions are most implicated in this flaw: public education and the mass media. In well functioning […]

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Cross-posted from e2mc. Note that this post takes the Stoic strategy of preparing for the worst, so as to be pleasantly surprised when the worst fails to come to pass. Deep breath, Americanos. Let’s brace ourselves for what may be the messiest, most litigious and disruptive Interregnum in U.S. history. (“Interregnum” = the 79 day interval between […]

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Rather like the Airborne Toxic Event in Don Delillo’s 1980s novel White Noise, these days seem, to many of us, suffused with a kind of Generalized Floating Dread. I’ve picked this sense up from students, from colleagues, from friends and neighbors. It is as if there is a cloud of dark matter around us, whose […]

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Last night’s presidential debate was, in many ways, superfluous: if a U.S. citizen had not already made up their mind who they will vote for (or not already voted), it’s because they haven’t been paying attention. But there is one factor pollsters and predictors of every stripe have not gotten good at accounting for, which […]

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See how far you follow my line of thinking here: (1) Democracy (institutional and not just majoritarian/representational) is better than the alternatives. Let’s live with it (and defend it). (2) Democracy as practiced in the U.S. today is partial, compromised, and somewhat muzzled, but still better than the alternatives. Let’s fix it up. (3) Democracy, […]

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