Wednesday, November 22

times of year, times in general

I love this time of year so much. I love waking up to the cold, late dawn and breathing in the brisk, frosty air. I love the short afternoons that seem so extra golden.

it feels a bit like my love of this time of year is oozing into everything else:
I love the prospect of revising the messy drafted prose of my dissertation.
I love figuring out what to make for dinner.
... taking my car to the carwash for possibly only the third time since it became my car.
... sifting through the cluttery piles on my desk, trying to make room for work to happen.
... chasing Wesley around the dining room when he's in a crazy playful mood.
... cleaning out the refrigerator and washing all the dishes before we leave town this evening.
... putting on podcasts and making pie crust.

this will probably be my last Thanksgiving as a resident of Indiana.

Indiana has a nice flag, too, though it's very different in tone from that of my last residence.

what will happen next? will the next place I end up living have a nicely-designed state flag, or not?

I haven't kept track of exactly how many of the 63 jobs I've applied for (so far) I've heard back from (so far). a handful. let it be said that preparing for video-call job interviews is seventeen thousand times more stressful than preparing printed job application materials ever will be, for me.

aside from job interviews and possibilities, there are plenty of other things to worry about. then again, what some people call worrying is what I just like to call thinking-lots-about. I'm not sure where the line between those might be, or if it matters.

I have been wanting to blog for some weeks now about a noticed resonance among podcast episodes and other news, on resentment, on republicans, on ethics, on who is encouraged to think which thoughts about which topics. this episode of Theory of Everything left a few very vivid thoughts in my head. concrete sculptures. politics. prejudices. the episode cites a book called The Politics of Resentment by Katherine Cramer. it's not a book I'm likely to go read any time soon, but it sounds at least mildly fascinating--an exploration of why rural parts of America feel they way they do and take up the politics they do. 

resentment came up in this episode of On the Media, too. that wasn't the part of the episode that grabbed, me though. this, from a discussion on internet/tech companies, was: 
PAUL FORD: They have to pretend that they're not media. They can. But the thing is, is you don't have the definition around tech ethics in the same way you do around media.
PAUL FORD: Aside from a few thinkers, there isn’t like some giant academic discipline that they can just go to and say, hey, what should we do? Media ethics, I can go read two books and then I kind of know how I need to behave as a journalist. There's nothing like this.
I gaped at this wild-seeming assertion. no academic discipline that engages with the ethics of technology, hm? none at all? even if, as Mr. Ford implies, there aren't two central, more or less comprehensive, conveniently at hand textbooks on the subject of technology and ethics, it's quite crazy to claim nobody in academia is thinking about it. that's what the humanities are about. half of all the tech comm courses I've ever taken touch on ethics and human-centered design.

perhaps the problem is that the 'wrong' people are thinking about ethics? I noted this twitter thread shortly after listening to Ford and Gladstone wring their hands about the absence of any definitive ethical rules for technology companies. and maybe it's a stereotype, but maybe it's not untrue either, that those in technology fields tend to want definitive answers, definitive processes, black and white, yes or no. but that isn't always the best way to think about things.

everyone on twitter also got up in arms about this opinion piece. oh, academia has been ignoring all these technological developments has it? nobody is taking the time to critique big tech companies? there are disciplines and subdisciplines all over the place that do just that. yes. really.

if the mathematics scholar who wrote that opinion piece has little enough idea of all those disciplines and subdisciplines that she can claim "no distinct field of academic study" "takes seriously the responsibility of understanding and critiquing the role of technology..." then whose fault is that? is it the humanities people's problem, for not making their work visible enough? is it the STEM people's problem, for not paying attention? is it a problem of definition, where what counts as "serious" for one side doesn't for the other, and vice versa?

my optimistic hope is that more interdisciplinary scholars will help figure it out. I'm sure that will come with its own challenges, of course. but what else can we do? we need to talk to each other. communication makes everything better, eventually. right?

1 comment:

Janeheiress said...

63 jobs? Good night nurse! Let us know how the interviews go.