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Culture & Theory

Kudos for Phoenix Creatives

on June 10 in Arts & Letters, Culture & Theory, Local Phoenix | 0 comments

I am loving this new list of Phoenix’s top 100 Creatives by the bloggers at Jackalope Ranch, the space dubbed as The New Times’ “artsy sibling.”  One of my fav Valley artists, Mary Shindell, just made the list so I’m even more excited to share the news.  It’s also a great way to discover the talent we have here locally–and challenge the naysayers about culture in Phoenix.  What did you think of the coverage overall?  Any particular...

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Between the Ivory Tower and ROFLCon II

on May 13 in Culture & Theory, Tech | 0 comments

It’s been over a week since ROFLCon II and while I wasn’t there, I have a favorite panel based on the agenda and transcripts.  It’s called  “i can haz dream?”  and it seeks to address the important issue of race on the internet. The topic is introduced as follows: The internet is often painted as white and nerdy, but that’s just not the case. This panel will discuss the history, current status, and future of race on the internet. How is race signified online? Is the internet segregated? How are we doing on that digital divide? Why do black people take over Twitter at night? What DO white people like? Can non-Asians laugh at “My Mom is a Fob”? Will it ever be possible to have a rational discussion about race online?? First, Some History ROFLCon was founded by Harvard students Tim Hwang and Christina Xu, who I imagine sought to host an intelligent yet accurate alternative to ivory tower conferences on internet culture.  As Xu tells reporter Benjamen Walker for NPR:  “what we found repeatedly was that, as someone from the internet generation, we constantly were kind of wincing [at academic conferences] and being like, ooh, it’s not quite right, you know, they’re not quite getting – it.” The result?  An annual conference of “internet celebrities“–people who create the content that goes viral–with a name that comes from the culture itself: “Rolling on the Floor Laughing” (ROFL, pronounced like “rah-full”).  My Take on the Panel As is, I was entertained and surprised at some of the discoveries reported by the panelists, but left feeling a bit empty.  On the other hand, I know of no other space as accessible where the issue of race is being explored and discussed.  For me, the problem is that the topic of race online is so broad and a whole discussion could have been focused around any one of the questions introduced for the panel.   If even one of the more serious questions–How is race signified online?, Is the internet segregated?, or Will it ever be possible to have a rational discussion about race online?–had been addressed by all panelists, I could have benefitted from clear takeaways or hypotheses, as I might at an academic panel.  As is, I was entertained by...

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