I'm delighted to welcome Mark Dery as our guestblogger for the next two weeks. Mark is a cultural critic and author whose work I've enjoyed for almost twenty years. In my library, his books share a shelf with the best nonfiction by Ballard, Burroughs, and Eco. As I've written on BB before, "Mark and I have overlapping interests in subjects that, as once defined by Mark Frauenfelder's young daughter Sarina, are 'creepy, interesting, and real.' Mark Dery's take on such matters is often filled with wonderfully obscure references to history, culture, and philosophy that, more often than not, are news to me. That's one of the reasons I like reading his essays and books so much. When I finish one, I always have a great list of links and juxtapositions to follow up on." Here's Mark's "official" bio:
Mark Dery is a cultural critic. Way back in the day, he edited Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture (1994), an academic anthology that kick-started scholarly interest in techno-feminism and black technoculture (through Dery's trailblazing essay "Black to the Future," in which he coined the term "Afrofuturism"). His 1993 pamphlet "Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of the Signs" popularized the term "culture jamming" and helped launch the movement of the same name. In 1996, Dery established himself, with Suck essays such as "Bit Rot," his point-by-point obliteration of Nicholas Negroponte's Being Digital, and his book Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century, as a passionate, progressive critic of libertarian cyberdrool. In 1999, he published The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, an analysis of the cultural psyche of millennial America as refracted through media figures such as the Unabomber, the Heaven's Gate cult, and right-wing survivalists like Timothy McVeigh, and emerging trends such as gated communities, "safe rooms," and Jerry Springer-style freaktalk---a zeitgeist whose economic instability, social pathologies, and media-fueled weirdness seem to be back with a bang. Until fall 2009, he taught media criticism and narrative nonfiction in the Department of Journalism at New York University. Since leaving NYU, he has been a freelance journalist, book author, and lecturer. In summer 2009, he was appointed visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome, where he researched his book-in-progress, The Pathological Sublime, a philosophical inquiry into the paradox of awful beauty (images whose retinal seductions are irresistible yet whose content is viscerally repulsive or morally obscene), an aesthetic conundrum that is particularly relevant to our Age of Unreason, with its viral videos, tabloid media, and gorenography.
In University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Jody Foster’s new book The Schmuck in My Office: How to Deal Effectively with Difficult People at Work, she shares sound advice on dealing with narcissistic co-workers. From an excerpt at Quartz: On a day-to-day basis, appealing to this person’s egocentricity can be very effective. The occasional recognition of the […]
Kory Stamper, author of the new book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries describes three criteria Merriam-Webster uses for inclusion of words like truther, binge-watch, photobomb and the 1,000 other words that make the cut in a typical year.
I read pretty much every Disneyland history and fact book I find. Chris Strodder’s The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom lives up to its massive title. A simple alphabetical listing of just about every First through Fifth order-of-interest […]
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]