Lead and Paradigm

if leaded gasoline changed cultural norms not only for crime, but for all behavior, then the “generational disconnect” observed between Boomers and adjacent generations could be partly explained by it.  With Millennials, it could be that a “mellow” generation is being judged harshly by older adults who have been neurologically affected by childhood lead exposure.…

Leaded Gasoline: Causality and the Unmeasurable

The study that correlated regional and national crime rates to the geographic distribution of leaded gasoline raises questions about whole generations of Anericans.  If lead instigated greater criminality, did it also change “noncriminal” behavior such as norms for sex, drinking, and drugs?  Could it have affected parenting norms, leading to increases in emotional abuse? Kevin…

Memory Keeping and Ideological Resistance: Constructing Intimate Social Narratives

Berlant’s intimate publics and Perreault’s autography can both be seen as stages of memory keeping.  But memories carry historical and ideological weight – thus, “memory” is inherently rhetorical and political.  Memories of the past are incorporated into the cultural metanarrative of group identity, and these memories shift with time as the metanarrative “recall” adapts the…

Hiroshima podcast on Public Radio

pri.org/hiroshima- a podcast addressing the trauma of the atomic bomb.  Also addresses the mental health considerations.  (And don’t forget the severely constrained Smithsonian exhibit.)  I’m especially interested in the concept of the memory keepers – those who were not there for the bombing, but who carry forward the memory of family members who were.  But there…

Mental Illness, Triggers, and Public Safety

The recent attention given to mass shootings has raised many complex issues of individual freedom and public safety – namely, we have no reliable institution means of determining who may commit murder due to neurological/psychological “imbalance.”  Our tools for “diagnosis” and “pathology” aren’t just limited – they are also suspect, given long histories of racism,…

The Rhetoric of Trauma

Trauma is by no means “purely rhetorical” – there is the documented fact of experiences that erode the efficacy of memory.  But some people, I think, see trauma only as rhetorical.  They imitate the narratives of trauma survivors through fabricated or hyperbolized autobiography. I don’t know whether these acts are an indication of a complete lack…

Hayles promotes Comparative Media Studies

​ N. Katherine Hayles is concerned that the increasing disconnect between digital media scholars and traditional (i.e. print-based) scholars will lead to significant losses in knowledge: Print-based scholars would become increasingly marginalized, unable to communicate not only with Digital Humanities colleagues but also with researchers in the social sciences and sciences, who routinely use digital…