Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quick Hits

  • Clay Shirky, writing for the always excellent Crooked Timber, on Idealism, Realism and Social Media. The post is particularly interesting to read in light of Malcolm Gladwell's pre-Tunisia, pre-Egypt piece in the New Yorker, The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted. From the Shirky post: "The North African revolutions and remind us that citizens aren’t so much political or apolitical as they are politicized or unpoliticized at any given moment; even people who don’t like discussing politics in their spare time can turn out in the Tahrir Square when the serious business starts." This is an important distinction to make, and one that is too often lost in the dystopian/utopian arguments that regularly dominate discussions of the effect of the Internet on politics.
  • In the Chronicle of Higher Education, a piece about Lisa Nakamura's recent work on racism in gaming. Examining interaction in Lineage II, Nakamura found that female dwarf characters were popular in-game targets. The reason? Female dwarves avatars are popular among Chinese gold farmers, and those players killing them would often type anti-Chinese slurs into the public chat at the same time. "What happened was that female dwarfs become an unplayable race" in the game, Nakamura said. "They basically became a racial minority," she added, "with the same status as immigrant workers—they become a race, which is an interesting thing."
  • Chally has an interesting conversation going on over at Feministe about the ever present "where are you from" question. Starting with an exploration of the idea of 'fromness' (for lack of a better term), she moves into the more critical question of who is mostly likely to be asked where they're from, as well as who's answers are least likely to be taken seriously (hint: it's not white people).
  • S.E. Smith at Bitch Magazine wants you to think about the -isms in your feminism, particularly in relation to feminist icons. Also from Smith: why she's leaving mainstream feminism (but not the fight for women's rights), and an exploration of television before and after Sept 11.
  • From Geekosystem: the Social Science Research Council has released a study that argues digital piracy is better understood as a global pricing problem. It's nice to see a study that takes seriously the connections between economic well-being and access to software, particularly in an international way.

Finally, Textual Relations now has a Facebook page! 'Like' it to get notifications when the blog is updated, as well as other interesting tidbits from around the web.

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