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Leaving Las Vegas

Tags: The UWO-GMU axis of digital evil, a virulent meme.

I was and still am hoping to blog about the SHOT conference in Las Vegas a week ago, but this week finds me a bit overmatched, so what happened in Vegas will have to stay in Vegas a little longer yet. I can tell you that I met Josh Greenberg, one of the clever elves at CHNM and a fellow plot point on the “UWO-GMU axis of digital evil,” along with many other excellent people who inexplicably do not have weblogs. I can also tell you that I was in Las Vegas for about 72 hours, and probably heard or made one “what happens in Vegas…” reference per hour. Apparently my wife actually went to college with the guy who originally came up with that “…stays in Vegas” ad campaign. I hope his boss let him take the rest of that afternoon off.

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Superman III

Tags: Kicking ass for justice.

I can’t believe I left this out of the History Carnival: I got an email last month from a guy named Jake Lowen, who saw my post about Superman vs. the Klan and did a video podcast about it. Jake is a community organizer in Kansas, Superman’s adopted home. He trains disenfranchised people, including kids, to fight for self-determination and political change. “I have the greatest job in the world,” Jake says on his site. “I fight evil for a living.” He keeps a video blog describing his adventures “kicking ass for justice,” and it’s pretty inspiring stuff. He gives me too much credit for digging up the Superman / Stetson Kennedy / KKK story, which was in Freakonomics after all, but I’m chuffed that somebody who is actually out in the world fighting for “truth, justice, and all that stuff” found something relevant or useful in my scribblings.

In other news, I’m leaving right this instant for the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) annual conference in Vegas, baby. I’m commentator for a panel on “The Rhetoric of Telecommunication Policy,” comparing the political and rhetorical construction of telecom networks in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden. We have scored the less-than-coveted Sunday morning slot, but it’s a good trio of papers, and I’m looking forward to the panel. And there’s lots of great stuff on the program this year, plus apparently this Las Vegas is something of a tourist town. So if you happen to find yourself on the Vegas strip early Sunday morning, in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace, fresh out of chips and looking for something to do… We’ll even waive the usual two drink minimum. Seriously, though, if anyone reading this is on their way to the conference, hit me with an email and we’ll get together.

In the hopper: What happens in Vegas, biographical sketches of eccentric characters, what I’m not reading.

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History Carnival XL

Tags: “The links simply multiply like maggots in a cheese.”

About a month ago, Dave Davisson posted something called the Patahistory Manifesto at his blog, Patahistory, and ever since I’ve been wondering how best to respond. The Patahistory Manifesto starts like so:

Patahistory: A Positive Manifesto for Time Travel, Immersive History, and Synchronic Societies
Patahistory is the beginning of history. Today’s historical works are written for contemporary consumers. Patahistorical works are created for future Patahistorians. The Patahistorian expects his or her work to be changed, to be altered, reworked, and revised. The Patahistorian expects an open and democratic editing of raw history. Patahistory celebrates open-source archives and creative commons works.

And it goes from there. Like all the best manifestoes, the Patahistory Manifesto is a fertile mix of genius and manure, so well tilled that I am not sure where one substance ends and the other begins. It’s also kind of a Rorschach blot, in that it reflects the interests of its readers back to them: as I planned to write a response, all month I was bookmarking interesting things I read in the history blogosphere that seemed to illustrate or illuminate Dave’s Manifesto. This became a bit tedious, as I was also bookmarking interesting things I read in the history blogosphere for this iteration of the History Carnival. The solution came to me in a blaze of patahistorical imagination: the Patahistory Carnival.

So, with insincere apologies to Dave, here at last is History Carnival XL. My thanks to those who submitted entries, and my apologies, sincere this time, for the many fine entries I did not use. There was too much good stuff to cover, even in a frightening barrage of links like this, and I freely admit to being fickle, erratic, and unsystematic in my selections. If there is a larger point to all this (a big if), it is that Dave spake better than he knew: Patahistory is already here.

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