Category Archives: Contemporary Culture

Brand I Am (415)

“I think of myself, my name, as a brand,” said one young woman, Fara (all names have been changed to protect privacy). “So I like to stay active on my social-media platforms, but I choose, I select when I share … I have a reputation, and I need to protect it. So I don’t share things that are private, things that are going on in my romantic relationships. I’m very selective. I’m a curator.”

That exchange was hardly unusual. In interview after interview, students defaulted to business jargon to discuss their online lives. They talked of their names as brands, of having multiple “audiences” or “publics,” of social media as a marketing tool for the self. Words like “curate,” “cultivate,” and “craft” came up often in descriptions of their approaches to posting. Contrary to the larger culture’s impression, the average college student is thoughtful and slow to post on profiles attached to their real names, with many young women and men doing so only once a week because they see posting on social media as a laborious activity requiring great effort and careful editing, kind of like homework or a job. (And many students described it that way.)

Commiefornia (415)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Being a communist would no longer be a fireable offense for California government employees under a bill passed Monday by the state Assembly.

Lawmakers narrowly approved the bill to repeal part of a law enacted during the Red Scare of the 1940s and ’50s when fear that communists were trying to infiltrate and overthrow the U.S. government was rampant. The bill now goes to the Senate.

It would eliminate part of the law that allows public employees to be fired for being a member of the Communist Party.

Employees could still be fired for being members of organizations they know advocate for overthrowing the government by force or violence.

The bill updates an outdated provision in state law, said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the San Francisco Bay Area Democrat who authored the measure.

Some Assembly Republicans said the Cold War-era law should not be changed.

Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a Southern California Republican who fought in the Vietnam War, said communists in North Korea and China are “still a threat.”

“This bill is blatantly offensive to all Californians,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican who represents a coastal district in Southern California. “Communism stands for everything that the United States stands against.”

Commodity OED (415)

commodity, n.

Etymology: < French commodité (15th cent. in Littré), < Latin commoditāt-em due measure, fitness, convenience, complaisance, < commodus : see commode adj. The concrete senses appear to have arisen in the modern languages.


†c. Advantage, benefit, profit, interest: often in the sense of private or selfish interest. Obs.

a1566   R. Edwards Damon & Pithias (1571) sig. Civv,   I wyll vse his friendship to myne owne commodytie.

1621   R. Burton Anat. Melancholy i. ii. iii. xv. 183   Commodity is the steer of all their actions.

1655   T. Fuller Church-hist. Brit. iv. 136   His atchievements in France, were more for the credit, then commodity..of England.

1679   W. Penn Addr. Protestants ii. sig. X,   Those kind of men, do regard nothing but their own Commodity.

1836   R. W. Emerson Commodity in Nature in Wks. (1906) II. 143   Under the general name of commodity, I rank all those advantages which our senses owe to nature.

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