Upon reviewing my post today, I am struck by my word slippages throughout. I interchange the words “hoax” “fraud” and “fake story.” These are married to words like “conspiracy” and “fiction” and “scandal” (a word that I used originally and edited out, but that is still relevant here). I wonder if these words are truly interchangeable and what their relationship is (and their differences). For example, the phrase “fake story” implies its opposite: “true story.” I am reminded of Alisa Lebow’s article on the use of the phrase “fake documentary” versus the word “mockumentary.” She argues that there is more at stake than just semantics. While some scholars have taken to using the phrase “fake documentary” when referring to films that borrow the aesthetics of documentary to tell a fictional story, she argues that we ought to stick to the word “mockumentary.” The reason being is that the title “fake documentary” implies implicitly that there is an ideal, pure form of documentary out there. Instead “mockumentary” points to the ways that films—like Zelig, or The Watermelon Woman, or even This is Spinal Tap—are undoing documentary from within, or at least complicating our comfort zones by challenging our ideas of what documentary is or should be. With this in mind, is there something at stake in choosing what words we use to describe these media events? Does the word “hoax” say something different than “fake story” or “fraud”? Where do the words “conspiracy” “fiction” and “scandal” fit into the mix? What other words are out there that relate to this issue?
See Lebow’s article here:
Thanks very much for organizing this week and getting us off to such a great start with this post, Laurel. I’m particularly compelled by your idea that hoaxes—historic or contemporary—are not merely about tricking us into believing something false, but also about offering us the comfort of “the truth” being out there somewhere. In the freshman seminar I’m currently teaching on media hoaxes (look for comments from my students throughout this week!), we’ve been talking a bit about the purposes of hoaxes as it relates to this. However, we’ve also looked at some historic hoaxes (e.g., the Central Park Zoo Hoax of 1874) where the perpetrators stated different purposes: to warn the public of the potential for hoax to actually happen (so, in the case of the zoo, it was about the potential for the zoo animals to actually escape and wreak havoc on the city and its denizens). Though I’m skeptical that Jimmy Kimmel’s twerking hoax, for example, was designed with the same public service in mind, I wonder whether some of today’s Internet hoaxes could be seen as simultaneously manufacturing reality as well as warning us of its impending arrival?
There’s big money in zombies and the zombie apocalypse. Credit George Romero, “Resident Evil,” “The Walking Dead” and a host of other pop culture sources for that phenomenon. But the business of zombies and zombie folklore isn’t all fun and games. There’s a darker side to “zombies” involving mind control drugs, kidnapping, extortion and mind-numbing weapons technology that’s sure to give even the most skeptical individuals a fright.
Thanks for emphasizing that social media sites like facebook and academia.edu are often near exploiting the people that use it. What seems to escape many users of these platforms is that by in large, these are frontier spaces where people are prospecting on our desires to feel heard (on facebook) and to feel “impactful” (academia.edu).
A.E sells their site as a way for academics to sell make the case to hiring committees that their work is valuable, because… numbers. The latest roll-out I’ve encountered with A.E is that I can elect to make public the analytics. They seem to be suggesting that I can present to an audience a trajectory or heat map of my significance.
For a young scholar such as myself, I have to be very deliberate and thoughtful about how I am branding myself given the marketing potential these platforms offer.
But before these web 2.0 businesses so enamored so many of us, if someone bothered to read something (like an abstract) someone wrote (and to be fair, that someone edited), the solution was to contact that author and request a copy from them.
Folks still do this and it’s, I think, a more robust way to network and develop one’s thinking.
There are some interesting commentaries in the last issue of tripleC debating the merits of the many varieties of Open Access being experimented with today(http://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/issue/view/27).
[FULL DISCLOSURE/SELF-AGGRANDIZING DISCLOSURE: I wrote a commentary there about Open Access and para-academic publishing]
@Sarah: what you’re describing sounds similar to the “Diamond Model” of Open Access publishing by Christian Fuchs and Marisol Sandoval argue for in that issue linked above.
Thanks for raising these important points about academic publishing—they’re near and dear to my heart! I currently work for an open access journal, and we have conversations like this with our authors all the time.
Even among open access journals, for example, the author agreement may vary drastically. (PLOS, the Public Library of Science, has a really useful chart about degrees of open access and author rights here: http://www.plos.org/open-access/howopenisit/) We’ve just recently amended our author agreement to allow for author reuse rights; that is, authors can opt to license their work under a Creative Commons license. (Authors may still choose to retain copyright.)
Thanks again for bringing these important issues to light!
Thank you for the international perspective! As someone who works on cultural heritage issues transnationally, it can be incredibly difficult to keep it all straight.
If you haven’t seen it yet, this list of what could have entered the U.S. public domain from Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain is eye-opening: http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2014/pre-1976
Tommy, thanks for sharing such a personal post, and I wish you much luck re-enlisting.
When you were in the army, did you find that soldiers supported the DADT policy? Is a profound cultural change necessary among regular soldiers to protect openly gay ones? Or was the opposition to repealing DADT mostly from older, high-level military officers or even politicians outside the military? Also, do you think some branches of the military feel differently about this issue?
With an issue like this, I’m always interested in the people who actually live in the world ruled by the policy, and you have given us some insight into your own utterly unfair experiences, which is pretty valuable.
Thinking about a few other issues you pointed out, Karen, reminded me of an article by Heari and Puechguirbal (http://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/irrc-877-haeri-puechguirbal.pdf) about how during times of violent conflict, women literally hold down the fort, organize communities, manage trauma, and construct means of social resistance. Because they are deemed the ‘weaker sex’, however, when the war is over and the men return from the battlefield to devise the post-conflict constitution, women are written out of leadership positions and expected to return to their homes without acknowledgement for their roles as combatants.
It’s interesting to me the different experiences people had under DADT. Most of my military service took place under DADT, and while I knew that the Army had an option of discharging me for identifying as gay, I still served openly without any negative repercussions. Granted, my experience seems to be an exception to the rule, and I’ve never really known why. Was it that I just got lucky? Was it a testament to the moral fortitude and mission focus of my leadership and fellow service members at the various units in which I served? Was it that I had a skillset my commanders deemed more important than following directives to discharge me? What I have seen in younger service members follows the definite theme that we have seen throughout our society of increasing acceptance of gay men and women (we still have a long way to come on the issue of bisexual identity and still longer on transgender identity). A while back, for example, I was eating lunch at the PX on post when I noticed two male soldiers (I presume they were soldiers as they had the stereotypical Army haircut and were eating with several others who were in uniform) holding hands. They were obviously a couple but their interaction with their peers appeared as if no one else seemed phased by it. It was heartening to see, but also reminded me that those of my generation - who grew up on the tail end of the era where HIV was still a terminal disease, where gay culture still existed in the cloistered ghettos of major cities, where the idea of a same-sex family was not yet a standard part of our relationship template, and where we still feel the sting of rejection and discrimination - are probably the least capable of making this shift between one idea of what it means to identify openly as gay and another. For those of an older generation I think it’s easier to make a clean break (or not), for those younger I think it’s an non-issue, but for those of us in between, I think we are torn between two competing ideas, both almost equally calling to us. As time passes, the balance, however, seems to be falling in favor of the normalcy of non-heterosexual identities, and it’s that normalcy, rather than its peculiarity, that will ultimately bolster the success of repealing DADT.
I absolutely agree that the issue of representation could be addressed by something as simple as constructing stories as we normally would and then switching the genders to affect change. As an example, you can see the experience of Michelle Nijhius when she did just that for her children’s bedtime stories (http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2013/12/18/one-weird-old-trick/). I think men are often postured to react to such a project as if it were attacking men - a position I do not share if for no other reason than that it relies on a false idea of media as a zero sum game. And in that respect I appreciate the Bechdel Test for women in movies (http://www.feministfrequency.com/2009/12/the-bechdel-test-for-women-in-m...) because it focuses not on degrading the representation of men - another conversation altogether - but on uplifting the representation of women. Lastly, a critique of the representation of women warriors is not in the same discussion as a critique of militarism or violence - again, another conversation altogether - but about how women are represented in positions of power. For better or worse, the military is a key institution in our society, a pathway to authority and prestige in many areas that matter to us culturally and politically. To act as though women ‘don’t belong’ disenfranchises women from access to this institution, and that is troubling for a variety of reasons.