Robert Horning has developed a substantial body of work in PopMatters’ music reviews, concerts, film, and TV sections. His writing has also appeared in Time Out New York and Skyscraper. In his PopMatters column, “Marginal Utility”, Rob bridges the abstract and concrete aspects of consumerism. His writing is as grounded and approachable as an everyday trip to the grocery store. Rob has a BA and MA in English Literature; his interests in social theory, economics, and sociology generates his solid background knowledge for “Marginal Utility” and informs his music reviews. For more Rob Horning, be sure to read the Marginal Utility blog.
Thursday, September 17 2009
The positivists regarded Hegelian dialectics as metaphysical voodoo; the New York Intellectuals thought the Frankfurt School's associates were closet Stalinists.
Thursday, July 23 2009
Far from being the great liberator, computers, Golumbia insists, actually serve to fix us in the grid of global capitalism while concentrating power and shifting it upward to those who control the networks we are enmeshed in.
Monday, June 1 2009
Prince's films struggled with several issues, yet the most prominent theme with most of his work was walking that line between credibility and commercialism, turning away from greed in order to embrace his inner artist (which, in Purple Rain's case, is all the more ironic, given that it made him a commercial blockbuster).
Tuesday, March 31 2009
It would seem that time has not been particularly kind to "the other guy in Wham!" The always enigmatic Ridgeley has gone from being one half of the world's most successful pop duo in the 1980s to a punch line on Family Guy. Is this entirely fair?
Thursday, December 18 2008
Orwell's essays remind us that better than our best intentions is our inescapable nature, our shared ordinariness, which will always have the potential to redeem us all if only we will embrace it.
Thursday, July 1 2010
One can't comfortably opt out of a social medium that has become part of everyone's standard reality, if you want to stay in their social sphere. With that in mind, I finally bought a cell phone.
Thursday, April 22 2010
The cutting-edge of literary studies uses brain scans and evolutionary psychology to fashion a science of reading, but these techniques have already been at work crafting the latest and most invasive phase of capitalism.
Thursday, February 18 2010
While we are building identity in social networks, our online behavior generates a plenitude of information, meanings and content that constitutes a "cognitive surplus" generated by the "hive mind".
Thursday, January 21 2010
Industrial design aspires to the commanding heights of consumer society, building its policy prescriptions and dogmatic assumptions about what makes us happy directly into the objects available to us.
Sunday, October 4 2009
Twitter is less about disseminating information than it is about subjects trying to make themselves feel more real, ontologically speaking, in a increasingly mediated world.
Sunday, November 7 2010
John Phillips' efforts to revive his career in the 1980s are awkward and emotionally fraught, but surprisingly not awful.
Tuesday, January 12 2010
The ideology of efficiency, as Cobley details it, can basically be summed up in the phrase Hannah Arendt used to describe Nazi functionaries: "the banality of evil".
Sunday, August 23 2009
These conversations reveal philosophers practicing their craft in a somewhat spontaneous fashion, thinking on their feet, grasping for what must be oft-repeated riffs and rendering them applicable to the moment.
Sunday, July 19 2009
As conservative Christianity focused more intently on reaffirming that a woman's real work was domestic and reproductive, Wal-Mart became an ideological ally.
Monday, July 6 2009
Carlson effectively conjures the post-Stalin era of the Cold War and the inherent media absurdities revolving around Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet Premier; the man who once promised to bury us all.
Friday, February 3 2012
Wednesday, February 1 2012
Google, then, is the reification of the general intellect. It manages to take human curiosity and turn it into capital.
Tuesday, January 31 2012
The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.
Monday, January 30 2012
I think the logical extension of the data self -- the self that is secure with itself only to the extent that it is constituted in social media as manipulatable data -- will be for Twitter to come preloaded with plausible friends, Facebook preloaded with life experiences, or at least preordained slots of experiences a user is supposed to have.