Are Surveillance Technologies Really So Bad?

In 7th grade, our English teacher read us a chapter from an anthology of science fiction stories entitled 2041: Twelve Stories About the Future. In the chapter, entitled “Lose Now, Pay Later,” two kids, Deb and Trinja, stumble upon a shop at their local mall that distributes a popular new dessert, called swoodie. While the…

Is the Culture of Control Getting Out of Control?

In his book Edited Clean Version, author Raiford Guins discusses the nature of control culture and the technologies used to enforce such ideologies. Similar to the construction of hyperlink pathways that shrouds pre-determined connections under the illusion of control, information superhighways create the perception of control. As Guins notes, “Control is enabled through the control…

9/11 and the Repurposing of The Pirate Bay Image

Last semester, I took an experimental English class with Professor Ben Lobpries that explored the genre of 9/11 literature and how such texts channel the values of a post-9/11 America. One of the books we read, Falling Man by Don DeLillo, follows the life of Keith Neudecker, a survivor of the terrorist attacks. In the…

“See What I Did There?”: LOST and the Appeal of Cult Classics

Cult movies are an essential development of the film industry. Packed with subtle allusions and layered with plot arcs and information, cult classics insert themselves into movie history through their appeal to fan culture. The key to this attraction lies in the collection of “secrets” that are woven throughout a film’s narrative. Henry Jenkins addresses…

The Fall (and Fetishization) of Loli-Chan

The widespread belief that virtual worlds like Second Life have no impact on the real-life behaviors of youth is dangerously inaccurate. If play is just another pedagogical tool through which lessons about everyday life can be projected, then immersive worlds like Second Life are just as influential on a child’s behavior as any book or…