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{ Category Archives } Ethics

Comics, Threats, Censorship, Free Speech

Having written this, I don’t think it says anything new, so let’s categorize this as a summary of recent events for convenience sake, rather than a blistering think piece. A. The Killing Joke Cover – A recent sequence of events in the comics world: Recently, DC comics announced a bunch of variant covers celebrating the […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Mea Culpa

For your consideration: Apologies. It was the third episode in this list that got me thinking about the topic.  But here are three moments in my podcast listening that struck me as interesting: This American Life – “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory” – After using a whole hour to explore one reporter’s experience in […]

On Trigger Warnings and Empathy

Neil Gaiman’s recent short story collection is called Trigger Warnings.  Scott Kenemore (author of Zombie, Indiana among many others) wrote about how horror is supposed to cause feelings of discomfort: in recent years a threat has emerged—a sinister shadow falling over our community, you might say—leaving us even darker than usual.  And I believe that […]

On modern humor

A few observations without a conclusion. 1. “College Kids Can’t Take A Joke” by Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune (link) Clarence Page writes about how Chris Rock doesn’t perform for college audiences any more because they’re too sensitive. Page writes: I marvel at comedians as varied as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Freddie […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: I want to be part of the digital revolution!

This season’s The Newsroom has re-told the story of the Snowden leaks on a smaller scale, exploring the idea of the reporter being jailed for contempt of court on refusing to name their source.  While this has been interesting, I find the plotlines about the intersection of the Internet and the news far more compelling. […]

Consent, entitlement, and zombies (Deadgirl, part 2)

Trigger Warning: this post discusses sexual assault and harassment. Spoiler Alert: this post discusses plot points in Deadgirl in detail. This is not a review of Deadgirl.  For that, you can see this post.  Instead, this post reflects on some resonances I see between the ideas at work in the film and recent flare-ups of […]

The psychopathy of teenage boys: Deadgirl

Trigger warning: this post explores issues of sexual assault. Deadgirl is one of the most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen.  I knew, from what little I’d read, that it would be hard to watch, but the film’s surprisingly believable dive into the torments of unbalanced teenage boys cuts to the core.  It’s awful, and stunning.  […]

3 anecdotes that shape my thoughts on #GamerGate – Boy Scouts, a Cat in the Trash, and a Clockwork Orange

If you don’t know what #GamerGate is, you should be glad.  It’s awful.  Here’s a summary if you don’t know. Here’s my TL;DR for you: 1. Over the last couple years, a few feminists have been pointing out that many video games perpetuate sexist stereotypes about women, and make little room for women in their […]

Archbishop John Nienstedt should be ashamed of himself.

Archbishop John Nienstedt asked Jaime Moore, the longtime music director for St. Victoria parish in Victoria, MN, to resign after Moore married his longtime same-sex partner.  Nienstedt should be ashamed of himself. We’ve long understood that the Bible is a hot mess of contradictions.  Aside from confusions introduced by its translation into other languages, there […]

Flash Boys – in case you thought maybe the market wasn’t rigged

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis; narrated by Dylan Baker Flash Boys is two books at once.  First, it’s a fascinating tale about a few different innovators working in the financial markets.  These men spotted an opportunity to create a better wall street, to fix a problem that the market would, hopefully, […]

A few thoughts on The Quantum Rose

The Quantum Rose, by Catherine Asaro, follows the blossoming love of Kamoj and Vryl, a woman and man from two vastly different cultures on vastly different planets.  They’re pulled apart by cultural forces, by diplomatic obligations, by jealousy.  They’re attracted to one another on a deep level, they resonate.  Also, Asaro reveals at the end […]

Privilege and humor – Whose experience is being mocked?

There’s been quite a bit of commentary lately about privilege.  It’s a concept that finally seems to have some mainstream bite, and deserves serious consideration. In case this is new to you, the basic idea of privilege in this context is the idea that different people have different experiences in society because of factors outside […]

Should someone’s politics influence your enjoyment of their art? (The Ender’s Game conundrum)

I acknowledge up front that nothing I say here will be particularly revelatory if you have been following or thinking about this story for very long. Books and movies you encounter during your formative years often get a pass on critical thinking, at least they do for me.  I’m fond of a number of movies […]

Dr. Morris Fishbine, OR Another reason to love Columbia College Chicago

Check out this clip from A Thousand Clowns: I’ve had several students who go by something different than what the roster says.  Sometimes this is an expected change, like an Anthony who goes by Tony, or someone who uses their middle name.  Other times, it’s more complicated.  I’ve had three students who used names that […]

The Undead Gourmet

An essay I wrote for Philosophy Now magazine has just appeared in the magazine.  Here’s the teaser: The Undead Gourmet Brendan Riley asks: is it okay to kill a zombie just because it wants to eat you? “I’m just trying to eat as few people as I can before we leave for Portugal tomorrow!” Zombie […]