Archive for the ‘Not Quite TV’ Category

On the eve of the Oscars, one of many award ceremonies that I’ve grown tired of watching, Inside Higher Ed posted an interesting little feature asking film scholars to weigh in on Best Picture. While I varyingly agreed, disagreed, and laughed at their points, I was shocked that none of the seven academics mentioned the […]

The other day a friend of mine Tweeted about the misuse of Marshall McLuhan in discussing the role of Twitter in recent political uprisings like in Egypt. As I often do, when I hear mention of Marshall McLuhan, my thoughts turn to one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite films, Annie Hall: […]

The following post is only tangentially about television, being about the state of academic publishing as seen through the lens of one essay of mine (which happens to be about the television show Veronica Mars). So if you read this blog primarily for television thoughts and are not interested in the politics of academic publishing […]

Tonight in my Television & American Culture course, I screened Buying the War, an excellent Bill Moyers PBS feature detailing how the press allowed themselves to be co-opted by the Bush administration to enable the fraudulent war in Iraq. (If you haven’t seen it, check it out online.) The screening reminded me of this piece […]

I stumbled across this article via Google Alerts discussing the varying practices within Wikipedia. I discovered it because one of the examples it uses is… my Wikipedia entry: Jason Mittell’s case is similar. His biography concludes with some quotes from a New York Times article in which he defended Wikipedia against the charge that it […]

I write this on a day I’ve awaited for eight years: the final day of the George W. Bush presidency (also known as the Dick Cheney Vice Presidency). It’s hard to fathom how much has transformed over the past eight years, and thus I believe that Bush’s tenure will be regarded as one of the […]

Best of 2008


One of the great gifts of having a blog is the opportunity to spout off opinions as if they are truth. And the end of the year is the time for bold opinions that quantify the previous year, often in multiples of ten. I thought about offering a TV Top Ten for the year, but […]

In 2004, my lifelong Red Sox fandom came to fruition, with a unprecedented sense of contentment and peace after years of suffering. That lasted around a week, until Bush was reelected, offering a stomach punch to my other lifelong allegiance to progressive politics. For a native New Englander, these two events were uncomfortably related, the […]

This is not a nostalgic post, nor is it an attempt to judge the present on the standards of the past. And I’m not trying to tell any kids to get off my lawn. Rather it just struck me that there’s a pretty big shift in the media ecosystem. Actually, this isn’t news to anyone […]

Over the past week or so, the Middlebury College campus has been abuzz about the new site Middlebury Confessional. The site is part of a chain of Confessional sites that started at my alma mater, Oberlin College – this article outlines some of the controversies surrounding other incarnations of the sites. I’m quite interested in […]

One of the things I’ve found myself doing more and more lately is talking to junior faculty and new PhDs about the job market and career options. I enjoy such conversations, mostly because it allows me to vicariously experience the exciting possibilities tied to starting a career, with none of the attached uncertainties and risks! […]

I’ve been swamped lately planning for Spring classes – because of Middlebury’s Winter Term, our classes start late, so tomorrow’s my first day of the Spring, despite the 0 degree temperatures. My two courses are Theories of Popular Culture and Media Technology & Cultural Change – feel free to play along at home with the […]

Apologies for the lack of content here over the past month. I could claim solidarity with the writers’ strike, but it’s a combination of lack of time and lack of inspiration of anything to say that warrants carving out a moment to post. Until now – while it might not offer any great insight or […]

As you might have heard, Dumbledore is gay. Or at least so says J.K. Rowling. I’m less interested in how this impacts our understanding of the world of Harry Potter, the relationships between Albus & other characters, or even the cultural controversies surrounding the series that this announcement has already inflamed. What interests me more […]

Raftman Fandom


I have a particular interest in narratives about popular culture fandom. In part it’s for teaching, as I like to show films like High Fidelity and Almost Famous that dramatize how fandom matters in people’s lives. But I also find them generally compelling when done well, as the dramatic power of the intense affective relationship […]