Think about: Marcuse on ideology redefining realiy

Early in Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man, he discusses the absorption of ideology into the world and how the ideology can then seize control of reality, as it were, for most people. This is quite a lengthy quote:

"This absorption of ideology into reality does not, however, signify the "end of ideology." On the contrary, in a specific sense advanced industrial culture is more ideological than its predecessor, inasmuch as today the ideology is in the process of production itself. In a provocative form, this proposition reveals the political aspects of the prevailing technological rationality. The productive apparatus and the goods and services which it produces "sell" or impose the social system as a whole. The means of mass transportation and communication, the commodities of lodging, food, and clothing, the irresistible output of the entertainment and information industry carry with them prescribed attitudes and habits, certain intellectual and emotional reactions which bind the consumers more or less pleasantly to the producers and, through the latter, to the whole. The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood. And as these beneficial products become available to more individuals in more social classes, the indoctrination they carry ceases to be publicity; it becomes a way of life. It is a good way of life--much better than before--and as a good way of life, it militates against qualitative change. Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior in which ideas, aspirations, and objectives that, by their content, transcend the established universe of discourse and action are either repelled or reduced to terms of this universe. They are redefined by the rationality of the given system and of its quantitative extension" (italics in original;1991; pp. 11-12).

This is a lot to think about. I hope to address this in the near future.

Reflection on Writing for #hpj101

One part of the #hpj101 project was writing a reflection on how we see writing. This was my reflection.

My writing process is iterative. From what I can tell, it’s pretty darned iterative for most people. But for a few geniuses, everyone has to revise and rewrite, and that’s before the text goes to the editor, the publisher, or the colleague. Iterativity is central. I’d argue that iterativity is writing’s essence.

At the start of the writing cycle there’s generation. I love this part. Full body highs, hairs standing on end, endless ideas racing, can’t type fast enough even though I’m rocking 4,000 words an hour. Smell that caffeine? Yo, I don’t need it. Text buzzes me hard. And yeah, a lot of it is shit, but some of it’s pretty tight too. You know why it’s tight? Because it’s authentic, and I can draft words like “tight,” include references to Repo Man, and present myself as an angry faggot ally to the Black Panther Party--even if it’s only for a moment. In generation, my ideas become embodied. They live and take form. Just like mist or an iris’ scent, though, that power is present and then gone. I have any voice that I can summon and type.

Into revision. Oh land of the dopest dope, that is not revision land. But revision land is where I know I must workout. Otherwise the endless intellectual sides of cold fries will just make my text lardy and then die of a heart attack (reader drops it like a smelly, luke-warm fish). So I work out emotionally, textually, intellectually. These workouts bring focus to my piece. Tens of thousands of texts have been written on revision. But revision is quite simple: it is our work.

Revision usually means I drop my Walter Middy delusions of being a BPP ally and, more realistically, know that I’m a privileged gay white guy that’s trying to reduce white privilege and power abuse in my college and my environment. Revision means dehyperbolizing my text and turning two-dimensional macho performances into loving relationships with texts that know cuddling.

Everything else beyond that is a hybrid of generation or revision. Edits are revision. Grammar is revision. Editors generate, if they rock the casbah, and revise. CFPs generate ideas. Forums generate ideas. Conversations generate ideas.

In the center of all this is the rhizome. Sure, I’ve been playing that card a lot, and I know the concept’s been floating around a lot, but so what. It’s real. The concept and reality work. And that rhizome is relationship and relationships.

Generation and revision of texts are ways of relating with ourselves and others. The text we create can and does reshape how we see ourselves, how we be, and how we live. When we and our texts interact, we can choose to put our text or our relationship first--or we can put them together and say, “This is me.”

Now that Love's there, what's next (#hpj101 follow up)

Clearly #hpj101 has been generative for me. The few posts (here and here) that have resulted, even though they come in a short period of time, are but fragments. They are the spot where a tangent line touches a circle. A few textual artifacts of the emotional maelstrom that's going on under the surface.

The word maelstrom sometimes has negative implications. In this case, I don't feel negative. On the contrary, it's invigorating. At points it's like, "Rage, old friend! Just where have you been?" My complacency is now the teenage wallflower waiting for the perfect Air Supply track to step out on the floor.

Ever read Stewart Home? Pick any one of his fiction books. It's "Holy blat, Batman! I didn't know writing could do that!" Only in this case, I did not know that this range of emotions were possible all at that same time--and that all of these emotions could be going in all these different directions.

The emotional directions are not the same as the intellectual or political directions. Instead, they clearly coexist within me, they are all happening synchronously and asynchronously, but there's almost no point in sorting it out.

Instead, I want to try and identify what Deleuze describes as affect and ride that. When I listen to Conflict's "Increase the Pressure," for the 409th time, and the hair stands up on my arms, I want that feeling. That feeling, that affect exists not just as a result of "Increase the Pressure" or Conflict's work; instead, that affect exists in and of itself. Different situations and pieces of art, though, can reflect that affect. [If I'm grokking Deleuze, and I may well not be. But then again, Deleuze was not interested in the canonization of his thinking or works.] 

Now that all these feelings have been dredged up, brought to the surface for glorious discovery and memory and experience, what do I do? What do we do? 

Within the context of #hpj101, it's relatively obvious. Some peeps will join the editing posse. Other peeps will not. Hopefully all of us will continue to be part of the larger HP community, although I'm sure a few will drop out due to time, shifts in attention, and life. That is always how it is.

What of us as individuals? What of us as smaller subgroups? What, just what, do we do now? How can we keep this moving forward?

I ask because I'm troubled by my own situation. I know my love and rage are authentic. They hit my skin, fire my synapses, and attach soundtracks of Abba and Bolt Thrower as a second sense. But I don't know how that impacts my teaching.

Tomorrow I walk back into my administrative position. And what can all this do for me? Later today I will provide feedback on graduating students' final papers. How will what I learned and felt this week help them?

Yep. Instrumentalization. Perhaps that's what I'm doing. Maybe not. But I don't want to be a privileged tosser that says, "Oh, I just love One Dimensional Man and I see how we can leverage our course texts to prevent assimilation into the masses," or some such tripe. If I wanted to only perform liberation for myself and others, I didn't need to be in #hpj101. So I say "bleep that."

Instead, I want to know what tools I have. Now. Today. What can I actually do or be differently for me students? That's what I'm asking. How can I be for my students?

There's nothing like existing and working in parallel to your values. I see me, the proper gz, just next door. He's really close, he is, and he embodies all this love, rage, and textual joy. He's there. He's literally centimeters outside of myself. If I can just shift, just move, just adjust justly, then I'll be him.

Perhaps I should not worry about what proper gz would do. Instead, focusing on being proper gz and knowing that proper gz will be and do whatever proper gz knows and feels is right.

End note: As per a few other texts in the #hpj101 vein, I'm writing and publishing them quickly with little to no editing. The goal is to document and record states of mind, thinking, perception, and being as I inhabit them as opposed to reflecting and archiving them historically, when I'm past them.

Sunflower graphic : Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC BY 2.5)

Nicole's Many Emotions by Ally Aubry : Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Dock image by SurFeRGiRL30 : Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Parallel Lines by Scriniary : Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Love: Only real basis for effective pedagogy (post #hpj101 post)


As I indicated in an earlier post, this past week I've been involved in the complexities of being around too many nice smart people interested in compassionate and effective pedagogy. These folks like digital technology and working online, too. This was part of #hpj101.

As I plan to write about in a coming-soonish post, I've been through and am going through a lot of emotions. Normally, I'd be embarrassed or try and hide this. Not any more. There's been a lot going on. Just can't be back into that closet anymore. 

Not hiding the emotions. Instead, I'm harnessing and using my emotions, and I'm speaking honestly about them. It's not always easy.

Several days ago, I wrote this piece about love. It still stands, so I'm putting it here.

Nothing here is new. People have been saying these things since we've been human. Regardless, I think it's essential to reaffirm what is truly at core when facing the multiplicity of problems in our experience.

To love is not a gendered thing; it’s not a feminine thing; it’s not a masculine thing. To love is human. That’s it.

Love is not some limited supply, some hidden source, some you-only-get-this-much substance. Love is infinite. Love is eternal. There’s plenty more love around. There’s no need to hog it.

Any doubt about this, surely you can look around the world and see all the attempts to exploit, abuse, and pile garbage on top of love. That garbage falls apart, erodes, disappears. The violence and exploitation fades away—even if takes a decade or a century.

What does not fade is love.

Love can and will remain. Even when it appears that love has been exterminated in camps, it is impossible to remove the love those people know, and have known and will know.

Love is the only eternal.

When we align with love, not only are we choosing what feels the best, we are also choosing the only thing that truly, throughout time, exists.


Patterns: Two Closet Doors by Matthew Bellemare

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ollie in Ruffwear by HackBitz

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

into by Gisela Giardino

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mental Maelstrom: Post #hpj101 entry

Given the sheer amount of information in my head, it is extremely difficult to bring much order to the maelstrom of thoughts in my mind. Whence this maelstrom? 

Over the past week, I've participated in #HPJ101. #HPJ101 was an editorial training course for people interested in potentially becoming editors for the online, peer-reviwed journal Hybrid Pedagogy. HP put out a call, and about fifty of us responded. From what I can tell, most of us participated in the event.

Wouldn't call #hpj101 a happening because #happenings seem more intentional, artistic, and arriving at some prearranged goal if it were. Instead, #hpj101 was set up with a variety of community building, edit practicing, ethos sharing, and personality exposing events. Each and every one of these had their merits. Most of these, except for the Twitter chats, were asynchronous. 

Unlike a variety of academic venues, the personal, political, and academic were all welcomed. There was no pretending that what we do outside of our jobs, how we feel when we do our work, when we teach, and our backgrounds do not impact our academic or scholarly work. Or our writing. Nope. We were not pretending to be objective. We were not pretending to be above emotions. From what I can tell, most of us also had, at core, a distinct agenda in moving with and working towards social justice. [Yes, that's a huge term/concept, but it was pretty prevalent.] One part of social justice is treating students with respect. Another part of that, at HP, is treating writers with respect and giving editors credit for their work.

In the midst of all the conversations, especially where people were opening and taking risks to share more sensitive or damaged aspect from their experience (rejection, embarrassment, doubt, impostor syndrome, etc.), it was easy to find people like me. Sure, they were not like me in many ways, but they were also very like me. (Maha Bali discusses her experiences in a similar vein in her post diversimilarity.) We shared the same ethos and pathos. We could feel the same way on similar topics. We could be upset or engaged or excited--all of these are possible. All of them happened, for me at least. When I look at the tweets for #hpj101, it was obvious that many others felt the same way. Ditto when you review the discussions.

Some of us feel blends of rage at the current state of our culture, education, and the ongoing war/violence machine that entrenched power uses to oppress and beat people down literally, economically, socially, and through tactics of fear and anxiety. What was so different is that I could not find a single person in this community that does not try to act to change this oppression. Yes, many of us are pissed off. Instead of smashing bottles, drinking bottles, or suffering in numbness, we're figuring out how to convert direct our rage into love. How to do right by our students and by our people. Working towards a kinder, more compassionate society.

Alone, this feels like a hellish but necessary task. 

A task that often isolates us from our peers, puts us out of step with our field or fields, and leaves friends and family wondering just what the heck we are thinking. "That's not what academics do, is it?"

What are academics supposed to do

Are we academics first? Or are we public intellectuals? Or are we thinkers and citizens? Or are we just cogs in the educational certification machine that extracts profits from families via tuition and extended student loans?

Just because we work in academia does not mean that the Academy is our Master, that the Academy can silence inconvenient or important critiques, or that we will ignore the inherent ethics.

We don't have to be silent.

Groups suffering far greater oppression and violence than academics have spoken, acted, and redeemed themselves and their own communities. For many of us, academia is our community. No one is going to come and save academia. Much of academia doesn't even think it has a problem.

For one of the first times in my life, certainly one of the few times since I received my PhD, I feel hope. I have hope. I know, I KNOW!, that if one small journal like HP can attract this many people with this kind of emotion, feeling, and power, that there is hope. 

This is just one network. What other networks, nodes, and people are out there? How do we connect with them? How can I connect?

No longer alone; no longer isolated; I feel like I've found a posse, a people who helped give me my voice and my feelings back. I am me again.

A final note: I've written & published this quickly to preserve the feeling of the moment and the experience. To polish it would be to wrong the piece. As such, the piece is bumpy, perhaps. But it is about as authentic as I can make it.

Maelstrom image from Wikimedia.

Sisyphus image by Curiouso.

Wonder Woman screaming by narcisisticthinker.

Network image by Playing Futures: Applied Nomadology.

Sekyo's White Falcon located at Wikimedia.

How I read and initially research: sources, influences, patterns

First confession--yes, already there is a tangent before getting to the topic: I can't decide on how I want to present my blog titles. Proper APA? All Caps on All Major Words? #OrShouldIHashtagInCamelCase? I don't know. So there.

To get to it: A colleague of mine, Dr. Marie LeJeune, gave an ASSETT-sponsored presentation "Staying Connected: Social Networking and Digital Resources for Creating and Supporting Young(er) Readers” last Wednesday. One part of her presentation has been a sliver in my mind: reading epicenters. Now this is a good sliver, just to be clear, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. This happened when she asked us if we have people who influence what we read. I thought, "Sure. But which topic? Which area?" 

Books and reading--hard copy and electronic and audible--are so central to my life that I think of books more in terms of contexts and uses than any other approach.

For example, if I'm interested in reading world class Nobel-laureates or Pulitzers, I look to my shelves. My partner's been collecting these authors for decades, so all I have to do is turn around. If I want to know about young adult literature with post-apocalyptic themes, I'll ask, and I have, Marie. If I'm trying to improve my grasp of feminism's intersections with Education as a field, I'll often drop a query on my Facebook timeline to tap the shared knowledge.

For example:

[I've excluded the replies because I did not ask, or receive, permission to include their names.]

Fortunately several people have responded with some great places to start. And starts are all I need. 

When I write "start" I should be clear: I think of starts rhizomically.

[Image is from]

I do not see a single starting point and a single ending point. Instead, there can be multiple starting points in different locations all leading in a variety of directions. Some may cross. Some may not. The value is in having multiple starting points pulled from a community I respect. From there, I can do my own work--work that builds on their prior knowledge, experience, and advice--while also pursuing what interests me and works in my specific learning context.

Once I have suggestions or ripples from the epicenters, I then move to ScribD. I take those names or texts, in this case Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, and Donna Haraway, and run searches. Any document that interests me I download and save. I usually look through ten or twenty pages of results because ScribD's search engine is pretty loose. By loose I mean not terribly precise. Sometimes this can be very annoying if you are looking for a specific book by a specific author. Other times, the looseness helps because, like browsing in a library, the loose search results help you discover texts I might not have otherwise found.

Note: This post does not feel complete, but the research, reading, and writing process is never complete either. Instead, I'll leave this where it is and go forward.

Content Subscription Services: Developing the presentation

Currently, this very day, I am assembling my presentation for Wednesday, May 13th: "Content Service Subscriptions: Are They Worth It?" After I present on Wednesday, I'll see how well it went. If it went fine, then I'll probably propose this for the #NWeLearn2015 conference.

The services I'm reviewing/discussing are: ScribD, PCKT, Safari Online Library, and Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Plan to present and discuss their value in terms of personal reading, research, and then working with the classroom. Hopefully that will be interesting.

Some of this work has been funded by my division, the Division of Teacher Education, by paying for initial subscriptions to PCKT and to ScribD. I've used my professional development funds to continue paying for ScribD. Safari and Kindle have come out of my own pocket.

One image I rather like is this:

I'm using it to represent orientation to the initial presentation*. 

What's interesting to me is that I've been using all these tools for so long that they have become integrated in my workflow. Trying to disentangle them is a bit of a challenge for me. Having said that, I know for a doubt that if I could keep only one tool, it would be ScribD.

In terms of classroom uses, I have not found much value from the services except for ScribD.

Personal pleasure: Kindle and ScribD.

Research resources: ScribD

Professional skills, development, and consulting work: Safari, PCKT

*[Please check out Vero Villa's other original works on Flckr.]

Coming Back from OATS

Two days ago, I travelled with my colleague, Mary, to an OATS (Oregon Academic Technology Society) meeting up in Portland. It was hosted by Shawn at Concordia. Fortunately, we arrived much earlier than expected--traffic was light--so we were able to check out the local flowers and iris.

We were also able to check out the building where one of our graduate students will soon be working!

The meeting went quite well. There were eighteen of us from at least five different K-12 schools and school districts as well as five different universities in the state. Lots of discussion was had after some great presentations by Alyssa.

The takeaways were multiple for me:

  1. It was nice to get out of Monmouth and meet with colleagues.
  2. It was very nice to talk tech with people I don't normally know--this gives some new and aded perspectives.
  3. It's worth investing time to create the networks necessary to support groups like OATS.

As a result, I managed to get a Twitter feed for OATS started and a Facebook group page. There's other work to do, such as making sure people use/participate in these locations, but that will come in the future, I think!

After Effects of Hackfort and Treefort: Echoes

Hackfort and Treefort were critical points in time for me, and they came after an incredibly important Building Bridges conference. While Building Bridges helped me to fully reevaluate my work and sense of self as faculty--something that had been building for a long time, and an event that occurred at the same time I was in Spokane--I was worried that motivation, the drive, might die. Energy might wither.

Not so. About ten days after Spokane, a full five days in Boise, spent with my sister!, amidst hackers, coders, and many local and indie bands helped me remember who I was and where I came from. Honestly, being over 40 put me at the upper end of the attendees most of the time. That was fine. I don't need to be hip anymore, and I'm not really trying. What I do need to be is authentic, I need to have integrity with myself.

In some way, seeing the diversity panel at Hackfort, sadly having males dominate the question sessions, experiencing Jason Webley in person (first time I ever really heard his work beyond a sample), and reading Patricia Hill Collins and Jasbir Puar while learning about narrative inquiry blasted me past the molar and, it seems, into a fascinating line of flight. [Thanks, Faris!]

Since that time, my entire life feels rejuvenated, reawakened. Back in the game.

Caring, much more deeply, about things that matter. About people that matter. About doing interesting, engaging work.


And that performance crap, that can stop. Was a failure, anyway, and it was costing way to much time and attention. 


Not Perfect Posts & Podcasts: Flushing Misanthropy Releases the Text(s)

Some Nearly-First-Off Thoughts About Process > Product

I'm fresh back from attending Building Bridges 2015 in Spokane. It was a great conference. It was so good that my enthusiasm has driven over my normal perfectionist, insecure, worrisome nature and has moved me forward to post anyways. And I've been posting in a variety of formats, too.

Over the past couple days I've continued my Tweeting habit, though not nearly as much as when I was at the conference. Why? Simply because I'm interested in keeping some form of conversation going with folks on a topic that interests me. I don't really want to slip back into the silo of my world. That becomes isolating, and that's not so much fun.

In order to keep momentum, especially with the podcasts, I've done a reasonable amount of editing, noise reduction, and such. However, I've been trying out Garage Band and Adobe Audition. As you can probably guess, I'm just trying to do the basics. Editing. Noise reduction. Multiple tracks here and there. However, what I've found is that getting something out and produced is almost more important than worrying about the total quality. At least for now. So my product may not be as awesome, but I'm thriving from the process of writing, speaking, producing, and getting that product out.

Trained as an anal-retentive academic where text needs to be perfect, this is a bit challenging. Especially when what we write or produce will exist--forever--online. And there will be no way to take it down. Ever. Of course, very few people will likely care about the work; far fewer people than read or hear it. However, since online postings will never truly go away, it is impossible to predict in what context your materials may be cited or brought up.

That cycle of thought can result in some paralyzing fear.

Another paralyzing circle of fear is not being true to what interests me; instead, focusing on what I thought was hot or interesting or would provide me social capital within academia. I know that makes me sound like a sycophant or pathetic, but, you know, most of us want to be respected by our peers. The slippery slope is when the desire to be like overwhelms personal integrity and slips us into doing stuff we don't give a cent about--we're doing it just because we think it will garner others' respect. Steven Pressfield labels this kind of work or thinking that of a hack. I'm tired of feeling like a hack.

I've been swimming in the hack-pool a lot lately. It's not very fun. Worse than anything else is that it makes me feel cruddy AND it results in little to no work. The work that I do produce usually I end up disliking or dismissing.

Now, not all my work of the past two or four years fits in this. And yes, I know, these are some seriously #FirstWorldProblems from the dying generation/last breaths of #TenureTrackFacultyPrivilege. I get that. Just so you know, I find it hard to take these problems too seriously, but that lack of seriousness has impeded and reduced my ability to actually do what I want to do: engage in proactive, holistic, and interesting uses of technology to support education while critically questioning authority and power structures--especially capitalism--and the corporate feasting on higher education.

Fortunately, a flood of tweets in Spokane, my interactions with people doing what they really seemed to want to do--there's nothing more inspiring than people who are truly sincere and make you go, "Sh*t! How did I lose my faith in humanity?!"--helped me get some perspective. New angle on things I found. I met a couple of folks who helped me flush most of my misanthropy.

So I'm back, finally, working, writing, researching, and producing for the process. Sure, I want there to be good product. Excellent would be even better. But, frankly, it's been a long time since I've had this much fun with text and I'm reticent to give it up.