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I write about technology, psychoanalysis, philosophy, design, ideology & Slavoj Žižek.

Appreciation

January 12, 2011

Politeness v. Tact

Žižek in Good Manners In the Age of Wikileaks:

Imagine you inadvertently enter a bathroom where a woman is standing naked under the shower. Politeness requires that you quickly close the door and say, “Pardon, Madame!”, whereas tact would be to quickly close the door and say: “Pardon, Monsieur!

Colloqium

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August 5, 2014

The Cult of Sharing

The sharing economy’s marquee startup Airbnb recently unveiled a new brand identity and positioning to help propel its international expansion. Airbnb’s new wordmark and logo nicknamed “the Bélo” is said to have been the culmination of a year-long process, including a cross-cultural analysis to ensure their identity would be understood around the world. Exhaustive branding efforts are unusual among pre-IPO Silicon Valley companies. For years they’ve leaned on primary colors, gradients and rounded fonts, default signifiers of fun and friendliness that negate the staid formality of the more conventionally-minded business world, attempting no greater meaning than “this is not your father’s

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June 2, 2013

Racism, Stalinism & Politeness

Caution: 3,337 words ahead The premise of this post has some immediate, flagrant problems, so it would probably be better to just start off with that. Here’s the premise: anti-racism is becoming like Stalinism. The obvious (and wrong) interpretation would be that I’m saying that the efforts of anti-racist activists have become so oppressive to white people that we are in danger of being shipped to a Siberian gulag or murdered by jack-booted PC thugs1. This is not what I’m saying—hopefully that will become clear. For me in this post, the important connection to Stalinism is not that anti-racist struggle is

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November 25, 2012

A Review of Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph is the story of an arcade game character and his dissatisfaction with the role that he was programmed to play. During the day, Ralph is the villain in Fix-it Felix Jr., a simple 80s-style arcade game reminiscent of Donkey Kong. Each level of game begins with Ralph climbing up the side of an apartment building and smashing windows with his enormous hands. He’s followed by the cheerful, player-controlled handyman Felix, who must try to repair the damage while Ralph tries to hinder his progress by throwing objects at him. Once Felix has succeeded, the apartment dwellers (the Nicelanders) come

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Recent Popular Posts

February 13, 2014

Left Activism Goes Corporate: A Detour Through the Raw Food Underground

One of the most tedious features of the Silicon Valley Hype Machine is its endless repetition of progressive sounding marketing slogans about democracy and freedom, all while promoting a pro-business agenda. But it’s too easy to read this as a sinister corporate ploy to co-opt the language of activists and twisting

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December 20, 2013

Civility: A Distance That Brings Us Together

Just in time for the holidays, Apple’s marketing department released Misunderstood, an ad about a surly teenager absorbed in his iPhone in the midst of scenes of his family’s idyllic Christmas togetherness. But he surprises everyone when he reveals that the whole time he was making a touching video for everyone

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January 26, 2014

Ten Parenting Lessons I Learned from Franz Kafka

Here’s an adage which I think is true: every theory of parenting is implicitly a theory of society. It follows that even if you aren’t a parent now, nor ever intend to be one, if you’re interested in society and culture, you ought to be interested in the topic because the

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