Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kairos 13.2--some notes

Just skimmed the Praxis article in the new issue of Kairos, "A Productive Mess." The article reports on an interesting classroom collaboration: four classes extended their f2f discussions not by going online in a discussion board, but by putting the four classes together in a drupal site. Smart. Students resist simply carrying conversation online when they talk to the same people all the time.

They authors also used a nifty schema to direct discussion: launch, query, extend, connect. I have tried a few different schemas for directing online discussion, but this one looks better than anything I have used. Of course, it also leads to stilted conversations and, as the authors report, it did not elimate "I agree" kinds of responses and it lead to one hostile exchange.

This article also reminded me that I could use the Virtual Peace Garden as a site for NDSU students to exchange ideas with students at the United States International University in Nairobi. That little project seems to be picking up a bit of steam.

"Rhetorical Velocity" by Ridolfo and de Voss has a nice paragraph on McLuhan; they also have an interesting press release assignment that makes the concept of rhetorical velocity a reality. Are rhetoricians ready to take over the PR world? I do think we have the potential to bring fresh insights and thoughtfulness into that realm.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins

I just learned about The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, a documentary that looks visually stunning and emotionally disturbing. A contemporary artist--part Mappelthorpe, part Pollock, but (post?) feminist--tries to make the first western adoption of two southern Sudanese Twins. She does all this in front of the camera--is it life or art? Is art anything you can get away with, Mr. McLuhan?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Who in the world is Tony Schwartz?

I came across Tony Schwartz in Arthur Berger's Seeing is Believing the other day; Berger referenced Schwartz's notion of "the responsive cord" to explain what McLuhan would call "media intensification." The responsive cord seems to be that "shock of recognition" that we get when we see intertextuality and allusions at work, when we see the revisionist history, the gender, race, or class revision. Schwartz, in other words, seemed to be getting credit for a McLuhanism--S.O.P in the media analysis world.

Then I stumbled across a Twitter feed that said something like "If you like Cluetrain Manifesto, you will love Media: the Second God by Tony Schwartz. That post was followed by "McLuhan called Schwartz the "electronic guru."

So obviously I need to find out more about Schwartz, and Wikipedia gives me a nice entry:

It also reveals why I haven't heard of him; he wasn't an academic, The Responsive Cord and Media: The Second God were his only two books, and those were published in 1973 and 1982. Undoubtedly gold mines of antienvironmental insight. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It's Official: I'm Rich!

Be sure to check out where you tank in the world. I wasn't surprised at all to find out that I am pretty darn rich compared to the rest of the globe, but I was surprised to find out that even with my modest salary, I am still in the top 1%.

How rich are you? >>

I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 57,087,865 richest person on earth!