Daily Archives: March 11, 2013


I’ve never thought much of “liking” because it may be the laziest of all possible responses to a given subject short of blinking. Taking this logic forward, we could argue that the practice of “liking” renders us passive. We may “like” an art object or a piece of political rhetoric without actually formulating a coherent opinion about what, exactly, appeals to us. This sort of non-response deadens our critical faculties and reduces us to consumers of content. Now there’s a new reason to dislike “liking.” From the UK Guardian:

Facebook users are unwittingly revealing intimate secrets – including their sexual orientation, drug use and political beliefs – using only public “like” updates, according to a study of online privacy.

The research into 58,000 Facebook users in the US found that sensitive personal characteristics about people can be accurately inferred from information in the public domain.

Researchers were able to accurately infer a Facebook user’s race, IQ, sexuality, substance use, personality or political views using only a record of the subjects and items they had “liked” on Facebook – even if users had chosen not to reveal that information.

see http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/mar/11/facebook-users-reveal-intimate-secrets

Ulysses (HUM303)

Just something to ponder. Written in 1833, Tennyson’s poem takes as its subject one of the most revered of adventurers in the western tradition, Ulysses (the Romanized version of Odysseus).  The impulse expressed in these lines encapsulates the aesthetic and political motives of adventure fiction as “romance”, though notably in an elegaic mode. Recall Haggard’s brief essay, “About Fiction” and consider Showalter’s “King Romance”: adventure romance is the textual space in which a revivified masculinity exercises its mastery. The gaze of the adventurer is imperial; it seeks to comprehend the world and its secrets. Experience becomes a form of control, a means of assimilating the Other and thus expanding masculine consciousness. In this sense “to pause, to make an end,/ To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use” is to surrender the prerogatives of white, male (ruling class?) power. 

Continue reading