Spreading the good news of the internet [aka what I’m reading lately]

I read many things on the interwebs, and want to capture my thoughts/share some of them. My roommate calls me a Messiah of the internet. What kind of Messiah would I be if I kept all the ‘good news’ (ha!) to myself? So here goes…

I always forget how good Graphic Sociology is…I used to check in frequently when I was reading Sociological Images allll the time; hopefully I’ll keep up with the GS posts now that my coursework involves maps and (graphic) data presentation. In looking for posts about maps, I found this one: http://thesocietypages.org/graphicsociology/2011/10/05/food-land-maps-by-bill-rankin/ (You can see more at his website, but there isn’t a direct link. From http://www.radicalcartography.net, choose: projects; food; animal/vegetable.) I like being able to see the distribution of ag value across the US. However, his conclusions seem pretty knee-jerk: the current crop distribution wouldn’t support an entirely local diet for any city, so we can’t do it. I’m pretty confident we can make changes to the food system (both what crops are grown where and the infrastructure to harvest, process, and move those crops around) that will make more local eating possible in more places. And I don’t know too many local food system activists who are saying that it has to be all or nothing. (Though maybe that’s a product of hanging out with planning foodies, not radical back-to-the-land foodies.) At any rate, the maps are a fun, new way to look at some information we already knew (though the overlapping colors are problematic, as Laura Noren points out at Graphic Sociology), and some of Rankin’s other projects look good. Like this Boston review article on what “inner-city” really means. As I was discussing with a classmate this week, shorthand can be really infuriating and confusing.

This is absolutely heartbreaking: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/one-towns-war-on-gay-teens-20120202.

I really, really want to write off David Brooks as someone I never agree with, but sometimes he writes good things. Here he attributes the vagueness and ineffectiveness of current protests with our (generational?) desire to strike out against what we know, without a new framework for understanding the world. I don’t like the idea that we need to always rely on previous models to shape current movements (is there really nothing new under the sun?), but I understand his point: it’s exhausting and overwhelming (for individuals and/or fledgling movements) to create a new way of understanding the world on their own. Simply saying “no” to the dominant and accepted models is hard enough, but leaping from the known into the truly unknown, with no guideposts or alternative structure, adds up to feeling lost and confused and, in the case of revolution-like movements, sputtering out.

Finally, my homeland is all over the news as the best superbowl host ever (a big admission from a Baltimore sportswriter, and others), and [45 lucky members of] the Indianapolis Children’s Choir will perform the national anthem with Kelly Clarkson. And I thought singing in the Indy 500 parade was a big deal…

And now it’s time for an exciting Friday night of cleaning, Agroecology reading, researching food marketing regulations and rehearsing Wicked music. [If you’re interested in making your weekend more awesome, let me know and I’ll send you details for what will undoubtedly be the best living-room-production of Wicked ever.]


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