Considering Charles Mudede

My feed reader is mostly all business. I read items in the order they arrive--not by topic, not by blog--oldest to newest, in a great big tangled mess of interestingness.

The usual suspects are there: every major tech blog you can think of (and some you probably can't), stuff on ubicomp and mobile computing, academic blogs from colleagues in my field and someday colleagues in other fields, and feeds from architecture, urban planning, design, and computer science. There are, however, a few feeds pointed in other directions, mostly toward popular culture.

Of these "other" feeds, one of my favorites is The Stranger's SLOG (and its musical accomplice, Line Out). I read The Stranger for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I find the writing entertaining and because I love Seattle.

Charles Mudede is an associate editor at The Stranger, and a faculty member at Pacific Lutheran University. He's also a key reason why I read SLOG with interest.

Mudede's posts are anomalies to a certain extent; they stand out by virtue of their juxtaposition to the mass of posts published each day on SLOG. This is not to say that the other posts aren't entertaining, informative, and even heady; they often are--perhaps just as often as they are not--and I am often inclined to celebrate both eventualities.

But Mudede's posts are something different, and they always stand out within the feed. In this sense, his posts benefit from the juxtaposition.

Take Marxism and Insects for example. In between posts on Seattle politics or sex advice from Dan Savage, Mudede surfaces with a post that cobbles together Capital, the machinations of queen bees, Iranian politics, and Althusser's notion of the Ideological State Apparatus.

His posts are often pithily thought-provoking. Ideology Today contends that the national fuss over identity theft keeps us stridently and earnestly focused "on the least of [our] worries."

And then there's one of my favorite posts in recent memory, The Difference. A brief meditation on philosophy and representation through the forgotten Foucault and the remembered Foucault.

To consider Mudede in the midst of the madness is to consider a sharp arithmetic of cogitative concision: 2 fragments + 2 photos + 2 sentences = Foucauldian heuristic.

That commenters often seem befuddled, frustrated, and pissed off cements my admiration.

Long live Mudede, and long live SLOG.


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