We Didnt Start The Viral – Watch more free videos

i find this interesting because of the contrast with the original version, which listed significant historical events and figures. in this version, history has been replaced by viral videos. the question then is whether this video marks an ending of historical events as the defining moments of culture, or if mildly amusing/off putting videos have replaced historical events as culture. history as circulation of user created content, isn’t that a benjaminian vision? i suppose by not it isn’t interesting to point out that democratic access to media hasn’t produced much more than videos of a guy setting himself on fire with a shot glass. it perhaps interesting to note, as benjamin did, the effect democratizing media has had on history. i don’t think we could properly call it an aestheticization as much as a trivialization.

The Colorless All-Color

A course description I came up with, but was too specific to be taught as an undergraduate survey. Maybe I’ll get to teach it sometime in the future.

Colorless All-Color: Reality In The 20th Century.

In an early chapter of Moby-Dick, Melville describes the whiteness of the great whale as a “colorless all-color,” a vast void describing an incomprehensible totality. After more than a century of writing, this paradox of the lack and the manifold remains central to debates over the real. This class will join in the discussion, approaching the concept of reality by way of 20th century US fiction. Besides a course pack with selections in critical theory, our reading list will include the following: The Crying of Lot 49, a novel in which the center will not cohere; On the Road, in which young Americans oscillate between the all-color of jazzy nightclubs and the colorless burden of day-to-day life; White Noise, a novel overfull of background chatter and the fact of death; and House of Leaves, a novel in excess of itself but with a gapping hole in the middle. Assignments will include short bi-weekly papers, online discussion conducted on GoPost, and a final paper.

Book List:

  • Herman Melville, Moby Dick
  • Thomas Pynchon, Crying of Lot 49
  • Jack Kerouac, On the Road
  • Don DeLillo, White Noise
  • Mark Danielewski, House of Leaves

Responding to a response to a review

Not only did my review of Alexander Galloway’s Gaming go public today, but in his response to the set of 5 reviews, he referred to my review by name in his introductory comments. I am truly flattered, as Galloway is one of my central interlocutors. It seems Galloway was flattered a bit as well, for in his response he seems to think I found his book to be pronouncing the future “as yet unknown” of gaming.

I do think highly of his book and I do think the concepts it puts forth are more interested in directing a future discussion than present tense analysis; but I don’t think “The only act left to perform is the final act itself: to expire, give up, draw with and withdraw.” Precisely the opposite; I think his book makes it necessary for more writing, to at least fill in the specifics of his concepts as they are practiced in the material, especially since he does write “topics without examples,” or more precisely, topics with examples from a different medium, namely, film.

Lots of people are doing this, writing about the potential of gaming without yet seeing that potential actualized. See Gonzalo Frasca’s call for a video gaming of the oppressed. It exists only as a concept developed for theatre that Frasca thinks could work really well as a video game. So, I don’t know why Galloway takes my characterization into caricature. The rest of his response is really interesting, especially since I believe he has a new book coming out soon. Looks like he is rolling with gaming as sadistic, which is good for me and my games as masochistic thesis. I am excited to see where he goes with it.

Until then, here is David Silver’s release on this month’s reviews:

each month, the resource center for cyberculture studies publishes a collection of book reviews ( ). books of the month for october 2007 are:

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006) Review 1: M. Carmen Gomez-Galisteo Review 2: Pamela Kincheloe Review 3: Laurie N. Taylor Review 4: Lisa Weckerle Review 5: Sarah Whitehead Author Response: Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Alexander R. Galloway, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2006) Review 1: Kelly Boudreau Review 2: Steven Conway Review 3: Ted Kafala Review 4: Randy Nichols Review 5: Timothy Welsh Author Response: Alexander R. Galloway

Lori Kendall, Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online (University of California Press, 2002) Review 1: Ben Krueger Review 2: Molly Swiger Author Response: Lori Kendall

there’s lots more where that came from. enjoy.

david silver