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December 12, 2006

A Finals-Week Joke

I hope everyone is making progress on their final papers and not TOO stressed out...Here's a joke to lighten things up:

At a local University, there were four sophomores taking chemistry and all of them had an "A" so far. These four friends were so confident, that the weekend before finals, they decided to visit some friends for a party. They had a great time, but after all the partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to campus until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided that after the final they would explain to their professor why they missed it. They said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final. The professor agreed they could make up the final the next day.

The guys were excited and relieved. They studied that night for the exam. The Professor placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet. They quickly answered the first problem worth 5 points. Cool, they thought! Each one in separate rooms, thinking this was going to be easy.... then they turned the page.

On the second page was written....For 95 points:

Which tire? _____

December 11, 2006

Turning in the Final Paper

Just a reminder, but I'll be in Blegen Hall, room 215, from 6 pm onward next Monday (Dec. 18) to collect your final papers. If you'd like to turn them in early, you can give them to me in my office (if I'm there) or you can leave them with the history department main office in Social Sciences Tower, room 614 (please make sure it's clearly marked that this is to go in my mailbox.)

Media History in a Global Age

Tonight's discussion about globalization generally, and the question of the media in a global age specifically, raised some of the best questions of the semester. Thanks to everyone who spoke tonight. I hope to hear from more of you in the comments section.

To re-hash questions from class: Do we live in an era of globalization? If so, what defines it as such? (Canny folks will note here how this definition--of living in a certain historical "age"--goes very much against what I said last week about envisioning the present not as part of long and deep historical eras, but rather as a shifting field of questions and problems. Perhaps someone wants to engage with my own gaps in logic.) Is globalization good or bad (or more complicated than simple good or bad discussions)? Is "globalization" simply a cover for US imperialism, as one student suggested, or is it something else? (and, if so, what?)

In short, this question opens up a plethora of crucial topics...

December 5, 2006

Infotainment/News Parody

Last night was an interesting discussion, but I wish more of you would've added to our talk about the current media environment. The main questions I was getting at were these: why has comedy based on the news proliferated recently? Is this just a coincidence, or does it tell us something about how we think about the truth of the news itself? Also: is the rise of "infotainment" journalism something problematic, that raises troubling questions about the news media's role in providing information to citizens in a democracy, or is it something that's simply the collapsing of previous ways of doing things, which were themselves historically specific constructions. In other words, is infotainment something worth worrying about or not?

December 4, 2006

A Video for Tonight's Discussion

Tonight we'll be talking about news parodies, such as The Daily Show. Here's a video we'll watch in class.