Monthly Archives: Οκτώβριος 2015

Like me, Like Me Not

Paul Muhlhauser and Andrea Campbell

Like Me, Like Me Not likes and dislikes Facebook’s «Like» button. It shows how «Like» is a metonymy and a synecdoche. It even imagines what Kenneth Burke and Marshall McLuhan might say about the button. And, since those previous sentences weren’t exactly invitations to read on, you’ll also find Willy Wonka memes, Ryan Gosling memes, Twilight references, skateboarding dogs, and planking. You’ll even get a chance to practice using the «Like» button. So go ahead and Like Me, Like Me Not if you are, like, ready to clickity-click!

(Click on the image or title to enter.)

Paul Muhlhauser is an Assistant Professor of English at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. When asked about his heroes, he listed three: 1. Ernie Pantusso 2. Ned Rockland 3. Anita Sarkeesian. After considering competing in Alaska’s Mt. Marathon race, he decided to stay at home and watch TV with his wife and his kids-Wesley, Huebert, Scabs, Veronica, Midge, Vinny, Mites, Selway, Marla, and their little guy.

Andrea Campbell is a Clinical Assistant Professor of English at Washington State University Tri-Cities. When she’s not teaching literature, she’s working on her next project which involves reasearching and writing about a true passion: futuristic vampires with technological super powers that battle for world domination and the love of one special woman.

How to Make Maps and Influence People

Maps are one of the most trusted forms of communication – which makes them great for getting your point across. A look at the dark art of cartographic persuasion.

Warning Sign This British poster from 1939 warns of German invasion plans, according to a purported “map issued by the Nazis in 1937.” The map shows Britain under German control by 1948. What might have seemed hysterical at the time—just after the fall of Poland—would later come all too close to reality.

Geoff McGhee is a journalist and data visualizer at Stanford University’s  Bill Lane Center for the American West.

Data Points is a new series where we explore the world of data visualization, information graphics, and cartography.

We depend on maps every day—to navigate, to check the weather, to understand the world. Perhaps because maps typically depict the real world, they are one of the most trusted forms of visual communication.

«Maps have inherent credibility. We are trained since childhood to rely on maps,» says Paul «P.J.» Mode, a collector and amateur map historian. But that trust can be taken advantage of, he says, by people who use maps to promote their own point of view.

Mode, who uses infographics extensively in his law practice, has spent the past three decades collecting examples of what he calls «persuasive cartography,» which range from satirical cartoons with geographical elements and politically loaded schoolroom maps to vintage data visualizations that would not be out of place on the Internet today.

“The Indies must be free!” A Dutch poster urging the liberation of the Netherlands’ former Indonesian colonies during World War Two. Not surprisingly, wartime propaganda is a common form of persuasive cartography.

This genre of cartography is often called «propaganda maps,» says Mode, but he prefers the less pejorative label «persuasive cartography.» Just because they’re persuasive, he argues, doesn’t mean they’re inaccurate. «I collect both—there are some pieces that are persuasive because they are completely accurate and that marshal facts in a way that is very powerful.” He adds, “There are others that use maps that are not at all accurate, but what is powerful is the imagery. And then there are maps that are incredibly deceptive.»

Mode donated his collection of over 700 maps to the Cornell University Library in 2014. In September, the university’s Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections launched an online archive of images from the collection. About 300 works have been digitized and published so far, dating from the distant past to as recent as 2008.

Much like maps that achieve viral popularity today, classic maps seen in Mode’s collection often sought to provoke shock or outrage. Examples include oddly familiarbroadsides against wealth inequality:  an 1877 cartoon in the German edition of Puck magazine showing the oligarchs William Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, Cyrus West Field, and Russell Sage carving up the country into pieces; a 1884 political poster by the Democratic Party accusing Republicans of giving away 38 percent of the United States to railroad corporations (the real amount was closer to 9 percent, Mode notes, adding that “the effect of the deception was massive”). Even the deepest skeptic of alcohol prohibition would be struck by this 1888 map of taverns in New York City and by the dense concentration of saloons, bordellos, and pawnshops within a few blocks in Chicago in an 1894 map created by temperance advocates.

Vice City A section of Chicago’s First Ward—just a block outside today’s Loop—is virtually packed with bordellos, saloons, and pawnbrokers in this 1894 map made by the social reformer W.T. Snead. The collector P.J. Mode writes, “This polemic map uses overwhelming tones of red, black, and gray to convey a reformer’s view of ‘vice and iniquity in Chicago.’ ”

If the core purpose of maps is to portray spatial relationships, it’s not surprising that many of Mode’s maps seem to emphasize a sense of proximity, even encroachment. In the 1920s, after the Treaty of Versailles had forced Germany to make territorial concessions, a popular nationalist map prefigured later aggressions by making it possible, Mode writes, “to claim not only all lost territories but even areas outside pre-war Germany simply by pointing to their German cultural character.”

“Greater” Germany? In the 1920s, after the Treaty of Versailles had forced Germany to make territorial concessions, this popular nationalist map prefigured later aggressions by making it possible, Mode writes, “to claim not only all lost territories but even areas outside pre-war Germany simply by pointing to their German cultural character.

Indeed, fear of encroachment seems to be a popular motivator in these charts, as illustrated by a map made for a successful campaign to keep nuclear warships out of New York Harbor in the 1980s. The map, made by a church-based antinuclear group, overlays a giant red paint splash on a map of the city, next to text warning that a warhead or reactor accident could engulf Manhattan in a 28-mile cloud of plutonium dust. “It’s an example of what can be done using maps,” says Mode, “to make a point to the general public without using any science.”

Nuclear New York? This map, made by a church-based antinuclear group, overlays a giant red paint splash New york City next to text warning that a naval warhead or reactor accident could engulf Manhattan in a 28-mile cloud of plutonium dust.

Not surprisingly, a number of memorable images from the collection were produced in wartime. A Japanese map dating from the Russo-Japanese Wardepicts Russia as a giant octopus astride Europe and Asia. Menacing octopuses seem to be a popular metaphor, as Japan was in turn depicted in World War II, in aDutch poster urging the liberation of the Netherlands’ former Indonesian colonies. The British produced vivid war graphics as well, such as the arguably correct “Nazi War Aims—Grab! Grab!! Grab!!!” in 1939.

But maps in the collection also draw on pride, uplift, and a sense of humor. During the movement to enfranchise women nationwide, Puck magazine graphic entitled “The Awakening” shows Lady Liberty astride the newly incorporated western states and territories—where women had the vote—looking back at yearning masses of women in the East.The August 1895 cover of Judge magazine, a rival to Puck and its timeless Thomas Nast cartoons, shows the U.S. as a curious Uncle Sam—his eye Washington, D.C., his nose Florida—peering intently down at Cuba, where an insurgency had just begun, and where Theodore Roosevelt would later lead an invading force to wrest the island from the Spanish.

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Photojournalism From the Inside: The Bill Gentile Collection

Photo from collection
Photography and journalism students, among others, now have a rich new resource in the 30,000 photographs
donated by international journalist and American University professor Bill Gentile.

Gentile’s collection includes color slides, as well as black and white and colored negatives, from his work as a contract photographer for Newsweek magazine in Latin America and the Caribbean. Much of the work covers conflicts in the region including the contra war in Nicaragua, and conflicts in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. There are also images from the U.S. invasion of Haiti, as well as the Persian-Gulf war.

Not just what but how. 

Susan McElrath, the American University archivist who has been working on organizing the collection with Mr. Gentile’s wife, Esther, explains that the collection is significant, not only because of the issues it covers, but how it covers them. The collection contains all of the images that Mr. Gentile shot while he was on assignment, rather than the ones that were selected for publication.

Photo from collection“You get a better sense of the totality of the event that you don’t necessarily see in the published version because someone has cherrypicked or selected the images that they feel are representative,” she says.  Ms. McElrath also says that the collection is a significant addition to the university’s journalism collections, and makes a statement about the importance of photojournalism.

Though Mr. Gentile will maintain copyright on the entire collection, and wants to approve all uses beyond study, it is important to him that its content be available for students, researchers and nonprofits, without charge. “The reason people like me do this kind of work, is that we want to get people to see the work, and what happened in that historic time period,” he says. The collection is already available in the library’s archives department; some images will be digitized and made available for public access.


και εαν εξαφανίζαμε τους ανδρες απο τις ομαδικές φωτογραφίες?

Capture d'écran de la vidéo de "Elle" UK.

Capture d’écran de la vidéo de «Elle» UK.

Quand il n’est pas utilisé pour rajouter un sourire à une femme pendant une conférence Apple, le logiciel Photoshop peut aussi servir à dénoncer le sexisme. Le magazine Elle a lancé au début du mois la campagne #ElleFeminism. Elle est accompagnée d’une vidéo dans laquelle les hommes sont retirés des photos de groupe de professions prestigieuses – acteurs, présentateurs d’émissions de télévision –, et dans les lieux de pouvoir, comme à la Maison Blanche ou aux Nations unies.

La vidéo veut mettre en évidence le manque de femmes aux postes de décision, un phénomène que l’on nomme le «plafond de verre», de l’anglais glass ceiling. Dans le monde politique, la vidéo montre la solitude de «cheffes» d’Etat comme la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel, ou encore la reine Elizabeth II, entourées d’homologues très masculins.

Dans le secteur de l’entreprise, les inégalités hommes-femmes ont à nouveau été dénoncées en France par le récent rapport sur la Féminisation des instances dirigeantes présenté par la secrétaire d’Etat chargée des droits des femmes Pascale Boistard.

La campagne #ElleFeminism faisant disparaître les hommes n’est pas sans rappeler le petit scandale provoqué par la «une» du journal israélien orthodoxe HaMevasser, qui au lendemain de la marche républicaine du 11 janvier en réaction aux attentats des 7, 8 et 9 janvier en France, avait retiré de la photo les femmes présentent dans le cortège des dirigeants du monde, à Paris. Angela Merkel avait, par exemple, été effacée. En réaction, un média satirique irlandais avait alors réalisé un autre montage où tous les hommes disparaissaient.

Dans le monde de la musique, le site Pixable s’était amusé en avril à modifier les affiches de festival en retirant tous les groupes qui n’étaient constitués que d’hommes. Ainsi, sur les 166 groupes se produisant au très populaire festival Coachella, seuls 26 d’entre eux contenaient au moins une femme. Le ratio était de 13 sur 46 pour les groupes qui ont participé au Pitchfork Festival cet été à Chicago.


The social significance of the Facebook Like button

In this paper we study social aspects of using the Like button for purposes of impression management, identity construction, and maintenance of social ties online. On the theoretical level our investigation combines Goffman’s notion of face-work with concepts of social network analysis, shedding light on what we dub ‘nano-level’ interaction and sociality on social networking sites. Our data come from a 2013 classroom survey in which 26 Finnish university students were asked about their motives for and ways of using the Like button. Our results show that though the Like button was designed to allow users to express their positive evaluations of the contents of Facebook posts, comments, and pictures, it was in actual fact used for a wide variety of purposes, from dating efforts to conversation regulation and maintenance of social ties. Our results also reveal that the networked Facebook audience affects the users’ liking behavior, and that users reflect their liking based on previous likes.