Writing and Race

Here’s what was important this week…

I spend a lot of time writing, but it never seems like enough. Partially because I spend so much time reading the writing of others, and partially because a lot of the writing that I do is IT documentation for my job. I feel truly accomplished when I manage to finish a blog post (there are at least 11 partially completed, with an entire doc full of more ideas). A lot of the time that I spend working toward a blog post is spent reading, tweeting, and tumbling (how I archive the articles I read). I tell myself it’s like research, and I do find it to be valuable network-building especially when I find a rich creative environment lacking at times. Writer Emily Gould told herself many of the same things, until she had a realization:

“For many years I have been spending a lot of time on the internet. In fact, I can’t really remember anything else I did in 2010. I tumbld, I tweeted, and I scrolled. This didn’t earn me any money but it felt like work. I justified my habits to myself in various ways. I was building my brand. Blogging was a creative act—even “curating” by reblogging someone else’s post was a creative act, if you squinted.”

She was trying to write a book, but only spent time on the internet. (Jacobin has more on the literal labor of social networks online).

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Higher Education, Interns, and IT Security

Here’s what was important this week…

Former University of Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons has been expelled from U-M for a sexual misconduct case dating back to 2009. The Michigan Daily has more information about the expulsion, while Washtenaw Watchdogs posted about the entire case in 2011. Both The Michigan Daily and the Ann Arbor News are attempting to gain more information about both the disciplinary action and why Gibbons is only being expelled now, after having spent the last few years playing on U-M’s football team.

In more unfortunate higher education news, the Chancellor of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Phyllis Wise, made the decision not to cancel classes on Monday. Run of the mill, except for the outcry from students who stormed social media, expressing their anger about the decision with #FuckPhyllis. From there it spiralled into sexist and racist comments about the Chancellor herself. The Chancellor responded to the comments, taking them not as personal offense but as a sign that the university has work to do, especially given the diverse community at UIUC. Now UIUC is sponsoring an event open to the campus and the public where they aim to “move beyond digital hate”, which seems to me like an effort to promote feel-good feelings rather than acknowledge and handle endemic issues that allow racism, sexism, and harassment to exist and proliferate on campus. We’ll see how their event goes.

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