Broadsides and Polemics

Every so often, the urgency of some matter of public concern has led me to write political opinion pieces. Except for the first of these pieces, I have observed the urgent, direct tone, and the length limits (what can be placed on one side of a folio sheet) familiar from the most ubiquitous of printed formats: the broadside.

Pax Judaica


This essay was written in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon as well as the historical reversal produced by the way the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) facilitated the Phalanges’ massacre of hundreds in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.

The Geopolitics of Napster; or, New Media North and South


When Sean Fanning invented a way to share MP3s online, the business model (and intellectual property regime) through which five international corporations controlled 90% of the world’s recorded music would need to be rethought.

After 9/11: Wiring Networks for Security and Liberty


The day after the 9/11 attacks, and even before the Bush administration declared a ‘War on Terror,’ it was obvious that this county would have to think through the relationship the liberty we had long valued and the security practices that we evidently needed. How could they be reconciled?

Studying English as a Pathway to Advanced Literacy


During the UC budget crisis of 2010, each department was asked “to do more with less.” Our English department’s attempt to do so forced us to wrestle with certain questions. What effect does an increase in the quantity of students have upon the quality of their education? What sort of literacy are we teaching? Does it need to be oral, aural, and socially embedded, or could it be scaled up for distance learning and still achieve comparable effects?

Zero Dark Thirty


This movie showed that the trauma of 9/11 has not healed and that the wound needed the kind of suturing that only fiction can provide.

The Internet: a Dystopian Fantasy


Did you ever wonder—given the surveillance opportunity provided by the Internet—that there were not carefully planned intended consequences associated with DARPA’s sponsorship of the development of the Internet? Is the libertarian ideology a stalking horse for government control? Were the heroes of Netscape and Google the dupes of the CIA? Now that we know that the Government captures domestic phone records and the content of many emails from abroad, and that Google can record much of what we do on the Internet, how are we going to reclaim the communication privacy we never explicitly relinquised? Perhaps the occasion for a bit of SF paranoia has arrived.

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