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Disinformation I

· Read 03/16/21


  • Flip side of Internet meme joy culture
  • [Media studies] How to understand audiences, broadly

    • Marxism: set of conditions when capitalism would rot from the inside; later Marxists have to wrangle with the fact that this never happened
    • Then look at culture; oppression begins to live inside us, we believe in the power of markets
    • Media is as much as any other outlet interested in producing hegemony, forms that support capital
    • Frankfurt school: culture industry churns out material for passive audiences; hypodermic needle model, couch potato, content comes in and inculcates worldviews
    • This mode of analysis has fallen out of favor, but we often use it casually to describe media products we dislike: denigrating boy bands, pop music, etc as inauthentic, superficial
  • Birmingham school, cultural studies, informed by working class, people thinking about by race: audiences are not as passive

    • Stuart Hall: media has encoded messages in them, audiences decode and recode based on their own context
  • Henry Jenkins mud wrestlting with wife (heads of house) at Senior House
  • 1992: participatory culture entering the conversation; rise of the Internet
  • https://www.eff.org/cyberspace-independence embodied an ethos that scholars traced, Silicon Valley techno-utopia ambitions, we (not a major media company) are creating — uncritical version of scholarly "on the Internet nobody knows you're a dog", no race/gender/etc.
  • Wikipedia was founded 1/15/01
  • What happens when we take Jenkins' ideas seriously?

    • Baym: soap opera fans on Usenet
  • "TikTokers romanticizing 2014 Tumblr teens" micro-generational


  • "Thinking about how to parse [what you said] to move the discussion"
  • Mejia et al. outlier; the problem(s) they're trying to push against:

    • Understanding post-truth as a novel phenomenon
    • Analyses that lack material (in Marxist sense) understand
  • Quandt kicked off dark participation, seemed to be personal (mentions buying into Jenkins)
  • Democracy, elitism, etc. not defined in any of the pieces
  • (History monographs)
  • I struggle to see anything but continuity in history
  • Our country has always ignored important truths
  • Whiteness is ontology, not epistemology; it's the whole system, doesn't matter if people think whatever

    • White people have become victim to the collateral damage of whiteness (e.g. gun violence)
    • Can't argue a racist out of white privilege; arguing on truth claims is misunderstanding where the problem actually sits
  • Episteme: philosophical term that refers to a principled system of understanding
  • Interesting social change provocation; what does it look like to work on ontology?
  • You could say the same thing (socially constructed) for class, imperialism, pretty much everything

    • Many U.S. scholars insist on race as a fundamental thing without which you can't understand class
    • Europeans insist on class, imperialism
    • Adolph Reed, Cedric Robinson, Sylvia Winter, intersectionality
    • Marxism has historically (of course, maybe) been less atuned to things other than class
  • Partin visiting next week
  • How did 20th century yellow journalism fizzle out?
  • Do people in dark participation have bad intentions?