Work

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Published Work

Selected Popular Publications

On corporations as the greatest threat to free speech, for the Washington Post

On the threat of Republican antipathy towards universities, for the Los Angeles Times

On the need for a progressive policy agenda in California and beyond, for the Forward

On the left’s fixation on easy victories, for Current Affairs

On another charter school scandal, for Jacobin

On declining absolute income mobility, for The Guardian

On knowledge and knowingness, for Jacobin

On Bernie Sanders and Election 2016, for The Washington Post

On pro-globalization neoliberal pundits, for Current Affairs

On free expression and private forums, for the Los Angeles Times

On the identity crisis of the Democrats, for The Washington Post

On life in college towns, for The Towner

On the Panama Papers, for Foreign Policy

On the need to assess assessments, for the New America Foundation

On the limits of acknowledging white privilege, for the Washington Post

On the university in a time of ambient fear, for The Chronicle of Higher Education (paywall)

On Louis Farrakhan, the BlackLivesMatter protests, and the future of black political leadership in Harper’s

On the need for campus activists to work bottom-up, rather than top-down, when protesting in the New Republic

On the corporatization of campus and the real source of campus speech codes for the New York Times Magazine

On Google Deep Dream and the structural reasons the tech press is broken for Full Stop Quarterly

On the Ashley Madison leak and the culture wars in the Observer

On Bernie Sanders as a socialist in Politico

On bad arguments against polygamy in Playboy

On experimental metal in Vox

On Rachel Dolezal for The Los Angeles Times

On gay marriage and the “born this way” argument for the Observer

On polygamy for Politico

On critique drift for In These Times

On the Rolling Stone University of Virginia investigation for The Week

On geek culture for The New York Times

On the bogus notion that everything’s a remix

On Israeli fears matching Palestinian realities for The Dish

On the Brookings student loan debt story for Talking Points Memo

On my love for Diana Wynne Jones on The Dish

On neoconservatism for Salon

On Hartford, Connecticut, for n+1

On Gawker’s coverage of Rob Ford for Salon

On liberal humanitarianism and counterfactuals for Jacobin

On academics, public work, and labor for The Dish

On Twilight of the Elites for The New Inquiry

On international college students for The Huffington Post

On the fundamentals of conservatism for Wunderkammer

On the resentment machine for The New Inquiry

Academic Writing

Standardized assessments must account for non-standardized institutions, for eCampusNews

Standardized Tests of College Learning: Past and Future, for the New America Foundation

Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogywhere I serve as  Comm Editor

“Evaluating the Comparability of Two Measures of Lexical Diversity” for System

My review of Class Dismissed for Teacher-Scholar

My CCCC panel review for Kairos

“The First Person” for Writing Commons

“Singular ‘Their’ and the Grammar Wars”

“All of Bali”

“Review of Mary Soliday’s Everyday Genres”

“Eugene Debs’s Statement to the Court: A Rhetorical Analysis”

“Postmodernism in Rhetoric and Composition: Past, Passing, and Yet to Come”

“Towards a Place-Based Writing Pedagogy”

“The Perfomative Utterance in Hamlet

you should mourn

You must socially distance yourself, and I am. It’s our duty in this moment. And it sucks, completely, but no one seems comfortable saying so.

Look, I have always understood the utter necessity of the measures we are taking, and I have followed the precautions recommended by experts from the beginning. I am 100% on board with the program and you should be too. I also am incredibly annoyed that this virus has become yet another excuse for people to engage in the only activity the internet enjoys, which is competitive righteousness. Everyone insists on being the only person who really, truly is down with the program. “I ALONE RECOGNIZE THE TRUE DEPTHS OF THIS PROBLEM! I AM THE LAST RESPONSIBLE MAN!” The sheer pomposity of it all.

And that has led to this atmosphere in which people are afraid to publicly admit their sadness and anger over all that they’re giving up. That’s deeply, deeply unhealthy. The first step in coping with loss is to recognize it, to understand the depths of your own pain.

Think of all that we’re giving up – concerts, museums, parties, festivals, drinks with friends, dates, football games, dinner with loved ones, travel, the presence of others. These things aren’t some trivial luxuries that only the privileged would mourn. They are the stuff of life. In a world that insists on replacing real pleasures with their sad virtual equivalents, these things are more vital than ever. We have been social distancing ourselves for decades – Uber to avoid the subway, Seamless to avoid restaurants, Skype to avoid face to face contact, podcasts and video game streaming to avoid real friendships, virtual reality to avoid real reality. This is the parasocial age, the age of the human facsimile. And now this. We have to acknowledge everything that we are losing, the things that make the human race human. We can’t do that if people treat acknowledging what we’ve lost as some betrayal of the need to look serious. And I’m so afraid that people are never going to come back, that they’ll get used to this new world and our last essential human connections with people we don’t know personally will be severed forever.

A couple weeks ago I lost one of my closest friends. It was a punch to the gut. And mutual friends and I said at the time that what we needed was to come together and mourn together, to memorialize him. Because the only way out is through; the only way to survive the pains of the world is to acknowledge them in their enormity. And now we can’t. We can’t bury our friend, thanks to this. And I’m so mad about it. I’m so mad. And you know what? I get to be mad. I am entitled to it. Just as I get to be mad that I might turn 40 alone in my apartment, that I may not travel again for years, that I won’t get to wander the halls of the Met anymore, that I will have essentially no ability to meet someone I might fall in love with, that I have no idea when I’ll next get to give my nieces a hug. I get to be mad about those things. And high school kids who’ll never go to graduation get to be mad, and the terminally ill who have to spend their last days indoors get to be mad, and so do people who just want to enjoy the spring in their local park. We all get to be mad.

The human cost of the disease and those it will kill is enormous. The cost of our prevention efforts are high as well. You’re losing something. You’re losing so much. So you should mourn. We’ve lost the world. Mourn for it.