Articles and Essays, Happs!, Reviews

“The Roast of Iowa City” endcaps the Festival of the Book

The Roast of Ghostwriter-ville

We are lucky that Iowa City is the only one U.S. UNESCO Literary City the whooole world over, and to have an even bigger, city-wide, weekend-long Festival of the Book for it. The Roast of Iowa City finale was the best part, hands down, glasses up.

But if you only read to laugh, or like to listen to your hilarity while chowing down even more–the Roast of our fine town and campus last Sunday was an IPA- and dark-beer-drinking, mozz-stick-sizzling yuck-it-up to wrap up a writerly, readerly, mostly quiet, reverential, program-history-nostalgic serial string of readings and panels and the usual world-famous authors who of course went here to the Workshop or Nonfiction Writing Program. Word to the Iowa writer alum, the writing students pulled in for it, and the fantastic living breathing achievement, contribution to the canon, and way-paving for every other writing program of the U Iowa writing programs; WE’RE #1!!! It’s true! Pick up a best-seller, or watch one of the current well-written tv shows: Chances are there are Iowa ties, even if you didn’t know when you bought a black and yellow Hawkeye t-shirt.

If you wanna goof off and drink your weekend: Have no fear! Even Book Fest fans the flames of the finest, closeted non-reader fittin’ to Hawk-out! The culture editor of your favorite underground haps rag Little Village told all those stories you thought you were the only one going through about crappy crazy neighbors and trying to get an apartment, a New-Yorker-cum-Iowa-Citian told us why he loves (and hates) the place, a Townie told us why he loves (and hates) the place, and these were almost exactly the same reasons! An English major inflamed us with the fantasy concerns of a young Hawkeye spawn not becoming a fan. And taking the cake was a recent grad describing dating life at U Iowa in good ol’ Iowa City. Who knew Sally Mason, our controversial university president, was on Tinder? Or that a regular-guy student could find her–and she’d be a match?! Did he get a date with her? You should’ve been there!

Sit back in the Mill‘s almost-too-low light next year with me. I’ll order you the Iowa City tradition “Peckinpah” pizza pie that’s been on the menu since current Iowa students were just drunken twinkles in the eyes of some Hawkeyes fumbling with the locks of the stall doors painted with trippy white birch trees.

Articles and Essays, Works in Progress

Facebook Satisfaction Survey Response: Dissatisfied with Privacy and Grieving over Social Experiments

Facebook Satisfaction Survey Response: Dissatisfied with Privacy and Social Experiments

I don’t like how difficult it is to figure out what can be seen by networks of people. I don’t like that even when a user sets something to only be seen by “Friends” network, for instance, or “Custom” select people, the post is not taken out of others’ NewsFeeds.

This is an issue in the “other” direction in a way, too–but primarily still an issue with the user not knowing how what is private or not works, and not having control or what is private or not private been set by or even *known* by the user:

I don’t like the algorithms where Facebook decides what a user sees of the user’s Friends or Networks, and of whom, in NewsFeed. Right while/after Facebook was “experimenting” with only showing people what some unknown person or group internally of Facebook (????kept undisclosed) were “happy” posts, I noticed that posts a young, troubled friend of mine were posting appeared on my friend’s profile page wall that I had not seen in my NewsFeed.  These were troubled posts…so I had not seen or known that my friend was having *so* much trouble. We use Facebook to keep in touch, to communicate, to know what’s going on with each other. When someone posts on Facebook with an open-privacy post, to Public, or sets the post to Friends or certain networks, the user–and the users friends and networks–are expecting it to be visible…available…in NewsFeed, and noticeable esp. when a person logs in or looks at Facebook at the time of or shortly thereafter a user posts. If I had seen these posts as they happened…as would be the case more so had they been in my NewsFeed as usual, and as expected, without those “experiments” on withholding posts that were deemed not “positive” or “happy” for a “happier” experience on Facebook…I would have interacted differently with my friend, and sooner, and responded to such posts, or contacted my friend some other way sooner. My young friend, troubled and posting about it to express herself, killed herself.  She expressed where she knew others could see, a form of reaching out, posting where she was under the impression others would see…her friends whom she was often too embarrassed to show weakness to in other ways or forms would see, her friends and mentors whom she expected to see these posts and to whom this was the most dignified way she could reach out…. But her posts did not reach our eyes as we expected, under and for the undisclosed purposes of purported and UNWITTING and NON-CONSENSUAL psychosocial experimenting by Facebook.