Empire of Signs: Ted Swedenburg on Hawgblawg takes a look at the Rhianna music video “Hard” and its glorification of U.S. militarism. Swedenburg cites the Rhianna video as an example of American hip hop’s embrace of U.S. neo-colonialism, which he sees as a shift away from an earlier tradition of hip hop artists’ critique of the state.
That Other Meeting in Philly: InsideHigherEd.com reports from the Modern Language Association (MLA) annual meeting this week. This article describes how foreign language departments are trying to rebrand themselves as secondary majors for science, business, and engineering students. In order to boost enrollment, many language departments are now promoting “world languages and cultures” programs for those students to get international experience.
‘Tis Better to Give: I listened to the Planet Money podcast by the economist who claimed that gift-giving was a wasteful economic enterprise with a mix of skepticism and sarcasm that didn’t smudge nicely into one word (skepticasm, if only). But I was happy to see Grant McCracken articulate some of the problems I had with this concept of wasteful gifting. Mostly that some gifts are supposed to be wasteful.
Beyond Access: danah boyd posted a draft of a new article she is writing on racial and economic diversity on facebook and myspace. In the post, she mentions new data facebook released on the racial composition of its members, and she argues that membership on the site (or access) doesn’t tell the whole story. Instead, she makes the sensible point that researchers need to look at the diverse (and often unequal) ways people participate in social networking sites.
And Finally, Joshua David Stein at the New York Times Magazine Blog reviewed what is bound to enter into pop-Americana lore. Of course, I’m talking about “Jersey Shore,” which Stein described as
resembles nothing more than American Kabuki theater, a refreshingly solipsistic aesthetic world, a temporary coastal community that’s a bulwark against normative American youth style. In short, it’s regionalism at its best.
Of course, the show has gotten a lot of criticism for what many call a disparaging portrayal of Italian Americans. According to Stein, these kids have reappropriated the ethnic epithet guido ‘Judith Butler style.’ (Thanks and congrats to Alex for sending this along).