Pittsburgh-Paris Climate Rhetoric Returns

As is now tradition in American politics, the first days of the Biden administration have brought the initial efforts at reversing Trump-era policy positions. Many of these opening salvos have to do with signaling a recommitment to acknowledging climate change. The president has issued several executive orders related to environmental concerns, and the White House … Continue reading Pittsburgh-Paris Climate Rhetoric Returns

Smoke Signals: Buda’s Wagon and Infrastructure Terrorism in Nashville

“The car bomb, in other words, suddenly became a semi-strategic weapon that under certain circumstances was comparable to air-power in its ability to knock out critical urban nodes and headquarters as well as terrorize populations of entire cities. [...] It is the car bombers’ incessant blasting-away at the moral and physical shell of the city, … Continue reading Smoke Signals: Buda’s Wagon and Infrastructure Terrorism in Nashville

Sick of Serial Killing: The Virulence of Hate in a Time of Contagion

The following reflections were originally written several years ago for a graduate seminar. I’ve decided to share these thoughts here because they seem highly resonant with the current moment. For one thing, the essay links metaphors of contagious disease with activist rhetoric deployed against public apathy and racialized violence. These connections take on a renewed … Continue reading Sick of Serial Killing: The Virulence of Hate in a Time of Contagion

King Assassination: 50 years later

On April 4th 1968 Martin Luther King Jr was killed by an assassin's bullet. In the immediate aftermath African Americans took to the streets of several U.S. cities in a wave of riots and unrest that lasted for days. The killing of the most visible and influential figure of the civil rights movement provoked an … Continue reading King Assassination: 50 years later

2001: 50 years later

2001: A Space Odyssey had its world premiere 50 years ago today. I plan to have much more content commemorating the Semicentennial of this masterwork throughout the year, but in the meantime and in order to mark the anniversary of the premiere, check out 2001: A Book Odyssey from Paolo Granata which showcases 2001 book … Continue reading 2001: 50 years later

McLuhan birthday gets doodle

Today's Google doodle honors Marshall McLuhan's 106th birthday. Traditionally these commemorative doodles use images and designs based on a historic event or person's life to "spell" out a version of the Google logo. This animated doodle consists of scenes depicting the successive eras of communication media as outlined by McLuhan. Beginning with oral culture in … Continue reading McLuhan birthday gets doodle

City Scenes: shots from around the block

Demolition of the last building in Penn Plaza started late last month. When I stopped by the site this weekend I noticed light poles along the perimeter had been plastered with stickers reading "Homes not Whole Foods." A lot of ambivalence surrounds the development, with many housing activists and other concerned Pittsburghers seeing Whole Food's … Continue reading City Scenes: shots from around the block

Community engagement: setting a standard

I used to live one street over from the Penn Plaza apartments, one of the last affordable housing complexes in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood. The other low income rental units and high rise housing towers, built as part of sweeping urban renewal projects starting in the 1960s, have all been demolished and replaced with market-rate apartments … Continue reading Community engagement: setting a standard

Trump and the rhetoric of urban order

I rarely weigh in on national politics on this blog, and this post is not intended as an endorsement or a denunciation of any candidate. Although this post responds to recent remarks made by Donald Trump, I'm not interested in joining the pile-on critiquing his overall rhetorical style or campaign message, which seems overly easy … Continue reading Trump and the rhetoric of urban order

POTUS on Net Neutrality: Treat Internet as a utility

Yesterday President Barack Obama released a statement on the future of the Internet. In a written statement and accompanying 2-minute video, Obama outlined an approach to Internet policy that supports net neutrality provisions and suggests reclassifying the Internet as a utility. It's an encouraging show of support for net neutrality advocates, but as Obama makes … Continue reading POTUS on Net Neutrality: Treat Internet as a utility