Red Rhetor Digest (October 8, 2015)

I had started this post on Sunday but then got distracted. So here it is, nearing the end of the week, and I’m adding a few items and posting. This week is mostly dis/ability focused, with three links on disability issues, and a fourth link on sexuality in one of my favorite shows, Bob’s Burgers.

1. It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males (Salon)

Arthur Chu’s column is from June, after the shootings in Charleston, but after the school shooting in Oregon last week, it seems to carry resonance again. Chu argues that after mass shootings blaming mental illness ignores all sorts of society problems, distracting us from discussions of racism, sexism, guns, and terrorism. Further, mentally ill people are much likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators—and, well, plenty of “sane” people commit violent crimes. From Chu’s column:

We’ve successfully created a world so topsy-turvy that seeking medical help for depression or anxiety is apparently stronger evidence of violent tendencies than going out and purchasing a weapon whose only purpose is committing acts of violence. We’ve got a narrative going where doing the former is something we’re OK with stigmatizing but not the latter. God bless America.

2. Sex-positivity in the music of Bob’s Burgers (Pitchfork)

Eric Thurm at Pitchfork discusses the sex-positivity of one of my favorite television shows, Bob’s Burgers. It’s a quick romp through the music of Bob’s Burgers, the show’s anti-shame mentality, Gene’s gender apathy, Tina’s butt and zombie fetish, etc.

3. “What’s wrong with you?”—A critique of the medical model of disability (London Freewheel)

Katie Pennick offers an accessible and personal explanation of the difference between the medical model of disability and the social model. For those who haven’t read much critique of disability discourses, this is a great introduction. Pennick, who uses a wheelchair, starts with an explanation of the assumptions behind the question “What’s wrong with you?” and then explains how the medical model of disability locates problems in individual bodies. The social model, on the other hand, sees disability as a product of society: “For example, I am disabled, yes, but I do not experience problems because I can’t walk, I experience problems because I live in a society that is not at all geared up for wheelchairs. Thus, the issue really is stairs and inaccessibility, not my genes.”

4. Screen backlash is a disability issue (NOS Magazine)

Sara Luterman explains her experience using screens as someone with Autism—instant messaging, message boards, and now social media and smart phones—and how these technologies helped her feel less alone and more social. Her point is that those who are arguing against screens—that they are making us more isolated, more alone—are ignoring people with disabilities:

People who oppose the use of screens aren’t trying to silence disabled people. The problem is that they aren’t thinking about us at all. When confronted with what smartphones can do for disabled people, anti-screen folks will claim that they are not talking about us. The thing is, when they look at a café and see people using their phones, there is no way to distinguish between the people who use phones as disability aids and people who just happen to find speaking through social media a perfectly adequate or even preferable mode of communication. A false hierarchy is formed, and of course, the ways some disabled people speak is at the bottom of it.

By idealizing inflexible, narrow definitions of communication, we are dehumanizing the people who don’t make eye contact, the people who don’t speak. Social media just gives us more socially acceptable and normalized options for communication. A world where people are “glued to their screens” is a world where I and others can more easily exist, succeed and be happy. Stop telling strangers you pass on the street to “look up.”

Posted in Red Rhetor | Leave a comment

Red Rhetor Digest (September 26, 2015)

It’s been over a month since I posted a Red Rhetor Digest (in fact, nearly two months), so this is my attempt to get back into the swing of delivering some content regularly. I have so many links saved up that I haven’t read or shared, so here’s a small sampling:

1. No Other Moment Besides (Nathaniel Rivers)

Nathaniel responds to popular discourses about “kids these days,” not so much interested in the truth of these discourses, but rather about their effects: “I care about what these stories and their incessant telling do to us. I care about what they do to students. How do these stories position our students? As problems to be solved? As a jumble of symptoms to be treated? We learn nothing about ourselves as teachers this way. My advice, for what’s it worth, is to follow the students. Take everything they say at face value. This is no mere naïveté that I am proposing: students are neither saints nor angels. They are people, and people are complex from moment to moment.”

2. Something Terrible (Dean Trippe)

Dean Trippe has made his autobiographic fan comic available for free via this Dropbox link. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

3. Fall is the Worst Season (Jezebel)

This is a beautifully written diatribe against Fall that hilariously addresses and dismantles any claim that Fall is indeed a great season. I wish I could just quote the entire thing here. But let’s just say that “seasons always get better, with one exception: Fall is the only season after which the next is definitely worse”—and “Fall is as superficially blissful as it is internally deceptive, but winter has the exact same surface and essence. It’s pain as opposed to anxiety. It’s preferable to fall in the same way that I’d rather be dead than thinking about it.”

Posted in Red Rhetor | Leave a comment

Call for Papers: “Gender and Citizenship Conference,” February 18-21, 2016


Call for Papers, “Gender and Citizenship Conference,” February 18-21, 2016

Sponsored by the Department of Communication and the Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University

The concept of “citizenship” raises questions of individual and collective political identity, inclusion and exclusion, regulation and discipline, community and nation, activism and engagement, and responsibilities and rights. The 2016 Gender and Citizenship conference takes up these themes and brings together scholars from both rhetoric and political science to consider performances and articulations of gender, sex, sexuality, nation, race, ethnicity and citizenship across U.S. and global contexts.

Plenary presentations will consider a number of topics, emphasizing different forms of enactment of citizenship by elected officials, community members, and social movements and drawing attention to issues particularly relevant to a gendered understanding of citizenship.  The Gender and Citizenship plenary speakers include Professors Karrin Vasby Anderson, Bonnie J. Dow, Lisa Flores, Kristy Maddux, Valerie Martinez-Ebers, and Isaac West. The 2016 conference will also feature Professor Charles E. Morris delivering Texas A&M’s annual Kurt Ritter Lecture in Political Rhetoric.

The conference will feature both plenary speakers and contributed paper presentations. Scholars interested in contributing a paper to the conference should submit an abstract (up to 500 words) to

Deadline for abstract submissions is October 1, 2015; notifications of acceptance will go out November 1, 2015. For more information, contact conference co-directors Dr. Tasha Dubriwny or Dr. Kristan Poirot, Department of Communication and Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Texas A&M University, at

Posted in Tumblr | Leave a comment

265/365/2015 starting some co-citation visualizations (at Texas…

265/365/2015 starting some co-citation visualizations (at Texas Tech- English and Philosophy Building)

Posted in Tumblr | Leave a comment

264/365/2015 Cricket helps me watch Netflix

264/365/2015 Cricket helps me watch Netflix

Posted in Tumblr | Leave a comment