A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

by Kieran Healy on June 23, 2008

Chris Uggen, of the University of Minnesota, reports from the frontiers of collegiate apparel licensing agreements:

Victoria’s secret recently announced that minnversity-themed t-shirts, hoodies, and underwear will be sold as part of the company’s PINK collegiate collection. … however, the Minnesota Daily reveals that Goldy Gopher [the UMN mascot] will not be participating in the new loungewear line … Spokesgophers made clear that the clothing line is “not in step with the University’s values and focus” and that the Minnversity only “approves tasteful trademark requests.” … Though I wouldn’t want my university to be involved in anything distasteful, I know we can always use new revenue streams. Personally, I only purchase products that are in keeping with the Minnversity’s values and focus, such as my officially-licensed golden gopher “talking beer opener.”

Soft bigotry and low expectations

by Henry on June 23, 2008

So last week, the rightwing “phrase-du-jour”:http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=10643 was “I am aware of all Internet traditions.” “This week”:http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0608/The_Google.html, it’s “John McCain is aware of the Internet” (via). I sense a certain moderating of ambition …

Like Henry, I also participated in the TPM Cafés Book Club discussion of Clay Shirky‘s Here Comes Everybody last week. My contribution continues along the theme of some of the earlier posts concerning inequalities, but my particular focus is why some online organizing efforts are more successful than others and what factor the organizer’s resources play in all this.

In related news, Clay will be joining us as a guest here in a couple of weeks. This advance warning should give you enough time to go and read his book although it’s not a requirement for commenting on his posts.:)

Mapping the political blogosphere

by Henry on June 23, 2008

via “Ethan Zuckerman”:http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2008/06/23/pdf-visualizing-the-political-blogosphere/, a really nice visualization (with clickable information) of the political blogosphere “here”:http://presidentialwatch08.com/index.php/map/.

Tom Slee has an announcement to make

by Henry on June 23, 2008

I am excited to announce that I am finally ready to write my next book. It’s going to be great. And here’s the best thing of all: you can help me write it! It’s about the Internet and how it’s changing the world. I’ve got the outline done and I was just thinking I need a research assistant to fill in the details. Then I thought – well, why just one? There are a million research assistants out there – let’s crowdsource!

Any book about the Internet needs a big idea. Not just a kind-of-big idea either, but a Great-Big-Fuck-Off-Massive Idea. The kind of idea that is so big you can’t get your head round it, and yet which you can put in a short phrase so you can trademark it. My Idea is that there are _now more ideas in the world than ever before._ What’s more, these ideas are not just stuck inside people’s heads doing nothing, but thanks to the Internet everyone is putting their ideas out there for the world to see. And then these ideas spark other ideas. So with more ideas than ever before, and better ways of getting ideas acted on, the future just has to be insanely great.

More … much more … to be found “here”:http://whimsley.typepad.com/whimsley/2008/06/my-new-book-explosion.html. The title of Chapter 6 (With Enough Eyeballs, All Ideas Are Shallow) is especially cruel. For years, I’ve been planning a vaguely similar book, which would aim at selling millions of copies to both the pop-business-sociology and ev-psych markets. It would be entitled (tada!) _The Blink Slate._ My fundamental problem has been figuring out a way to use deprecated HTML tags on hardback book jackets (sorry oldstyle Internet Explorer users – you’re not going to get the joke). Perhaps I too can crowdsource this problem to the masses of CT readers …