A Guest Blog for the Leiter Report

This morning I found, to my surprise, that Brian Leiter had invited me to write a guest blog for him on “Tips for Writing Your own Wikipedia Entry.” I love a good joke, even an  April Fool’s one like this.  But now the joke is on him — because if anyone has expertise on writing one’s entry, it’s him.

I’ll get to that; but first, let me address the nasty insinuation that I wrote the Wikipedia entry on Noëlle McAfee. Now all one needs to do to see if this is so is to go to the history tab of the entry and see who created it.  If you do so, you’ll find that someone named Kevin Gorman wrote the entry:

This and the following eight entries are by Kevin Gorman, who I’ve since discovered is a high-level Wikipedia editor in California. The day after the entry was created, there were several minor edits by a chrisclaire88, a pseudonym for an editor who has started pages on other women philosophers.  For the sake of argument, what if I am chrisclaire88?  If that is the case, then that would have been in bad form and readers might wonder if the entry is biased. To check, readers could go through the boring changes that chrisclaire88 made and decide for themselves. If chrisclaire88 were indeed my pseudonym and I had used it to guard the entry, reversed things that made me look bad, and been an all around nasty and vile person, there would be cause for concern.  But chrisclaire88 was instead a tedious editor making trivial changes. And she seems to have moved on to other ventures.

Before turning to the edits that Brian Leiter made to the Wikipedia entry on him — and there are many! — let me offer my tips.

Tip number 1: Don’t write an entry on yourself.

Tip number 2: Don’t edit an entry on yourself.

Tip number 3: If you want to edit an entry anywhere on Wikipedia, start an account so you are accountable, otherwise you’ll be identified by your IP address.

Tip number 4: Don’t guard the entry on yourself and remove things that make you look bad.

Tip number 5: Be aware that an entry on you is not your entry. It belongs to the wikiuniverse. There are guidelines on entries on living persons. Follow those. If you think someone else has violated them, report the matter to wikipedia.

Tip number 6: Don’t accuse anyone who has edited the entry on you in a way you don’t like as “vandalizing” the entry. That just makes you look like an idiot for (1) thinking the entry is “your” entry and (2) being so clueless about how wikis work.

In keeping with those tips as well as the guidelines on entries on living persons, the most egregious thing to do is guard your own entry and remove things that make you look bad. Let’s say someone else finds that a reference in the entry has been removed, say to an old Boston Globe article that said, basically, you’re a schmuck, and then this person puts it back in the entry. Don’t remove it. Again, this is not your promo piece; the entry should be well-sourced and balanced. And, yes, the Boston Globe counts as a good source.

For example, from IP addresses that Brian Leiter has used (click on the “diff” button to see a comparison of the previous entry and the subsequent edit made by this IP address):

50.158.111.229:

128.135.240.117:

Here are other changes that were made to the entry on Brian Leiter from IP addresses that Brian Leiter has used to comment on my blog,

70.112.29.7:

128.83.152.213:

I also believe that Brian Leiter has used IP address 70.112.222.175 while he was still in Texas. Here are the results I get for this one:

70.112.222.175 on Brian Leiter (4.71% of the total edits made to the page)

Next 500 results →

Rick Roderick and the Political Unconscious on Diet Soap #201

itunes pic

A while back I wrote here about how a video of my late friend Rick Roderick had surfaced on the web. I was so astonished by that video — to hear his voice and brilliance after all those years. This wild man of philosophy, a Texo-Marxist genius with a hellacious drawl, was too busy being an activist to get tenure at his first job at Duke University; so he became an itinerant philosopher. And one of his gigs was teaching a series of lectures for The Teaching Company. And now more than a decade after his premature death, he has garnered quite  a cult following because of those videotaped lectures now on the web and web sites and a wikipedia entry.

Because of my connection with Rick, the novelist Doug Lain of the Diet Soap podcast invited me to be on his show.  We talked about Rick, critical theory, psychoanalysis, and my book on the political unconscious.  Doug just posted the wonderfully edited podcast, with clips from Rick’s lectures, the Art of Noise, and other interesting snippets.

Check it out!

Digital Dialogue on Democracy and the Political Unconscious

My book Democracy and the Political Unconscious is the subject of a podcast by Christopher Long’s  Socratic Politics in Digital Dialogue:
Cultivating a Politics of Dialogue in a Digital Age.

In episode 8 of the Digital Dialogue, I am joined by Shannon Sullivan, Professor of Philosophy, Women’s Studies and African and African American Studies here at Penn State. Shannon is also the Head of the Department of Philosophy.

She has written extensively on American pragmatism, psychoanalysis, feminist philosophy and critical race theory, including two excellent books, Living Across and Through Skins: Transactional Bodies, Pragmatism and Feminism and Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege.

She joins me on the Digital Dialogue to discuss the recently publish book by Noëlle McAfee entitled Democracy and the Political Unconscious.

We focus on three specific issues:
  1. McAfee’s understanding of the public sphere as a “semiotic happening” (p. 132)
  2. The meaning of the political unconscious.
  3. The notion of a political posture McAfee introduces briefly ( p. 84).
In the course of the discussion, we touch upon McAfee’s recognition that social media opens important possibilities for political community.
Also in the podcast they discuss how the book helps explain what’s going on in this past week’s town hall “discussions” on health care.  Check back in a day or so for a post from me on this.  For the podcast, go here.