Archive for the 'berkmania' Category

Aus

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Five blog posts,* then, one for each year worked at Berkman – though this blog wasn’t activated until about two years into my time [t]here, which was, all together, five years, two months, and two weeks, exactly. So.

A cranky dilettante, to judge from these meager posts, is a kind of not speaking; or, a muttering that never quite rises to the audible level of the blog named for it.

The initial impulse – hardly a flicker really, and decidedly lacking the dignity and pedigree of an Intention – was to provide myself with a space in which to share the notes I would scratch and scribble during the many Berkman Center events I attended over the years. But the (admittedly remote) possibility that even one person might come across these notes was enough to set off my Pathologically Time-Consuming Prose Revision Compulsion™. I simply edited everything out of existence. I am no blogger.

In point of fact, this post has taken me more than a month to write, and the occasion for its composition, my departure from the Center, is nine months behind us – though I feel, thanks to the second family I found in the Berkman staff, as though I’m simply on a very long vacation. Here is my “out of office forever” bounce message:

Thanks for your message.
As of August 2011, I am no longer at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

* If you’re a reporter, please resend your email to  press at cyber.law.harvard.edu.
* For other matters, please consult the staff list at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/staf… for the correct contact.
* If you’re unsure of the right person to contact, please send an email to  cyber at law.harvard.edu.

After a fuzz more than five years as a full-time staffer among the amazing folks who lead and support the Berkman Center, I am relocating to Europe for a couple of years — with huge gratitude to the many people inside and outside Berkman who have made my time here challenging, engaging, and fun.

Personal messages may be sent to my personal email address, or feel free to track me down via your favorite social network site.
See you on the Internet!

Best,
Seth

Five years is longer than I was in college, and it’s as long as I was in grad school before disappearing one day, without a word of farewell. Five years is almost a long time.

 

* Mm, except I deleted one.

seasickness

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

In futile symbolic protest of the new Facebook TOS, I’m deleting my one “Note” in Facebook and reposting it here.

March 15, 2008

Yesterday morning I read — mostly sympathetically — an opinion piece on Salon about youth and the Internet (http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/03/14/kids_and_internet). One bit of diction pricked me: “Teenagers today read and write for fun; it’s part of their social lives. We need to start celebrating this unprecedented surge, incorporating it as an educational tool instead of meeting it with punishing pop quizzes and suspicion” (emphasis added).

For the last year, since the so-called surge of occupation forces in Iraq, I’ve been taking note of the use of “surge” in the press, on- and off-line, and I believe that its use has increased. Admittedly it’s possible that endless prattle about the surge in Iraq has sensitized me to the word, permitting me to take note, whereas before the word would have slipped past, invisibly, as it were. But I don’t think so. I would contend that, now, everything can be a surge, is capable of surging: profits, hospital admissions, inflation, companies, support for presidential candidates, market demand, unemployment claims, liabilities, interest in an issue, crime, sports teams, prices, emotions, and so on; support for the troop surge itself, if there is any, can be said to surge. Now, “surge” has become so current as to be able to describe the increase in its use: a surge of writers using “surge.”

This is not to say that “surge,” deployed figuratively, cannot accommodate this broad range of uses. Rather, reflecting on the current context of this range, I want to ask to what extent the militarization of the U.S. is accompanied by, or bound up with, a rhetorical militarization. After all, I’ve just written “deployed” in connection with the use of a word.

A friend commented nearly a year later, writing:

Very astute. And not to have elicited a comment. Pearls before swine. I’d like to suggest “seiche” as a possible antidote to the overuse of “surge.” A seiche, I learned today, is a standing wave in an enclosed body of water that, due to its long wavelength, is often imperceptible to the eye  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seiche).

I’m thinking that “seiche” could be used to describe long, subtle trends, that go unnoticed to “observers in boats on the surface.” Say, ramping up of law enforcement surveillance after 9/11, or rising rents in NYC.

It is not a sexy, militarized word. The other problem is one of pronunciation. “Pronounced “/seɪʃ/, or approximately saysh)”, it does not rhyme with quiche. Please advise.