at The Evergreen State College

Proposed Winter Syllabus Talk

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Please post any media and/or suggestions you have for Winter quarter's shared seminar readings/viewings/listenings, hopefully to be hashed out and discussed further.

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media

I haven't read this myself, yet. My understanding is that it's a comic created by Josh Neufield and, more famously, Brooke Gladstone, who is a hugely successful press analyst (NPR, Wall Street Journal, etc.) that looks both at the history of how the news media has been developed and distributed before, and what the transition from a large, paper-based industry to a diffuse, scary Internet future might look like. This subject matter sounded right up our alley, and hey, it'd certainly be a change to read a graphic novel on the eReaders (this might quite possibly be a totally infuriating pain, for the record). - Trevor

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt

Also haven't read this one. It did just win the National Book Award for Best Non-Fiction 2011, though! Also, more importantly, it takes a similar approach, in a sense, as several of our books this quarter in looking through a historical lens at the ways in which we adapt/re-adapt our culture and thinking around media/cultural artifacts. The book apparently lays out how the Renaissance in Italy was partially provoked by this really old Roman text that suddenly re-emerged in vogue, and brought with it hugely "forward-thinking" theories like atomization. So, not sure, this could be a total drag and have nothing to do with anything we've talked about. But I'm under the impression we're brainstorming ideas still. - Trevor

Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology are Revolutionizing an Art Form, by Scott McCloud

If you've ever heard of "Understanding Comics", this is a spiritual sequel to that. This is a comic (what, I like comics, okay?!) about comics, and, more specifically, an author who's willing to be pretty bold with his predictions of how the web can change comics. It's great to see someone have gumption and stick with what might seem to be silly ideas at times, and have him actually do something with them that's impressive and influential. And he seriously does, and continues to. - Trevor

Lars and the Real Girl

Ryan Gosling is an amazingly stellar actor sometimes. This movie is at turns ragingly cis-sexist and patriarchal, totalizingly misanthropic, a sweet love story, a tale of mental illness that tries to keep within the bounds of sympathy and respect, a study in isolation and loneliness, about community, about family, and is a tale for what technology allows for, and what storytelling continues to. Anyway, it's about this guy (Ryan Gosling) who starts dating a blow-up doll and gets very convinced that she's alive and wants everyone around him to treat her as such. One of my favorite movies of 2007, and it has a lot to do with this class. I think. - Trevor

Nicki Minaj's Twitter

Only half-joking. Should keep track of a twitter or a blog next quarter and keep up with it. Nicki Minaj seemed like a good jumping-off point to suggest that. - Trevor