Monday, November 17, 2008

cool events coming soon

this week USF plays host to all kinds of interesting and exciting events. here are some:

monday, november 17th at 7:15 pm
come see filmmaker and activist kevin epps discuss and show clips from his film straight outta hunters point. this event takes place in lone mountain 100, is sponsored by pedro arrupe hall, and is hosted by USF student and filmmaker kevin kunze. for more info, see the facebook page. free.

(photo of kevin epps by lulu mcallister)

tuesday, november 18th at 7 pm
why did san francisco get rid of nearly all of its graveyards and how did they do it? learn how and why by attending an outdoor screening of trina lopez's film a second final rest: the history of san francisco's lost cemeteries. this is, i think, the first event taking place in kalmanavitz hall's nearly completed outdoor amphitheater! the outdoor screening is sponsored by the thacher gallery, film studies, and media studies. free.

thursday, november 20th at 5 pm
do you ever wonder what a sustainable society would look like? author ernest callenbach offers one vision in ecotopia, published in 1975 and frighteningly and inspiringly relevant today. callenbach's talk is part of, i believe, professor steve zavestoski's global environments/societies class and takes place in lone mountain 100. free.

Friday, November 07, 2008


gone gallery


gone gallery

tag clouds of our most immediate times

everyone everywhere it seems is filled with hope and excitement now that obama is our president. it's such a wonderful, widespread, and unfamiliar feeling.

i began my morning class by asking students to think of a word that describes their reactions to the election. then, i explained, get a piece of chalk and write that word on the chalk board. if someone else has a similar feeling, they should use chalk to make the word more bold. i left the class, walked around lone mountain for about five minutes, and then returned to the class to find this tag cloud on the chalk board.

hope and new america were the boldest. so was relief and change and pride and excitement. other reactions were bandaid, walk the walk, amazed, yes we can, historical, AWW SHIT!, and monumental.

after we discussed the words on the chalk board, i asked, "how many of you know what tag clouds are?" two maybe three students raised their hands. so i launched and made a tag cloud by cutting and pasting two or three week's worth of our syllabus. "tag clouds," i explained, "are visual representations of repetitive and important information. they're usually made of pixels but they can also be made of chalk."

after that, and after talking about our next group show-and-tell project, we left the classroom and stepped into the california sun. we walked from lone mountain to gleeson library where the students disassembled their half of the election exhibit.

in the afternoon section of intro, i flipped the script.

i began by asking how many students know what a tag cloud is. about two or three raised their hands. so i showed them wordle. i cut and pasted a foghorn scene article and we discussed the resulting tag cloud. then i cut and pasted the first (of six) pages of obama's acceptance speech and we discussed the resulting tag cloud.

then i asked students to think of how they felt when they learned that obama was our president. and then i asked them to think of how they felt now, today, two days after the election. get a piece of chalk, i instructed, and write that word on the chalk board. if someone has written your word, go to the chalk board and make the word bolder.

then i walked out of the room. i walked up and down the hallway and up and down the stairs. and then i walked back into the room, walked up to the chalk board, and read the words my students wrote and made bolder.

proud. excited. hopeful. change. primal. elated. relief. happy. ¡si se puede! empowered. disbelief. yay! undecided. ecstatic. surprised. emotional. rollercoaster. shock. curious. aloha. inspired. stoked. and we've taken our country back! =)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

paper 2: 1984 in popular media

last week, i assigned my intro to media studies students their second paper.

Paper 2: 1984 in Popular Media
Intro to Media Studies
Professor Silver

For the last week and a half, we have been reading, discussing, and deciphering George Orwell’s 1984. We’ve discussed the Ministry of Truth, two-minute hate, telescreens, and surveillance society. We’ve analyzed the role of sex, the potential of the proles, and the purpose of war. And we’ve interpreted the symbolism of food, the othering of enemies, and the power of collective memory.

We’ve also been interpreting instances of 1984 in popular media, including Rage Against the Machine’s song and video “Testify” and Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil. Indeed, the wikipedia page “1984 in Popular Media” lists over a hundred uses of and references to Orwell’s 1984 in television, radio, film, music, books, comics, and video games.

For project two, I want you to select one element or scene from 1984 and one element or scene from another media text (book, film, music, poster, billboard, computer game) and say something original and interesting.

Things to consider:

o Select an element or scene from 1984 that interests you. Be sure to describe the scene with direct examples from the book.

o Select a media text that interests you. Your media text does not have to be from the “1984 in Popular Media” wikipedia page. When discussing your media text, assume your readers have little if any familiarity with it.

o In this paper, I am expecting three things from you: a) an excellent description and analysis of a particular scene from 1984; b) an excellent description and analysis of a particular scene from another media text; and c) most importantly something interesting about the two.

o Before you write your paper, think about your paper. Go to a park. Go to the ocean. Go to your favorite café. Think hard and creatively about the ideas you wish to discuss in your paper. Then write it.

o I expect zero grammar and editing mistakes. If I find more than three errors in your paper, I will stop grading it and require a second draft.

o Your paper must not be longer than three double-spaced pages (including a bibliography) and is due at the beginning of class on Thursday, November 6.