Blog

Helping the “Underutilized” Workforce?
Self-Help and the Integration of Neurodivergent People

September 2021

In the episode “The Thespian Catalyst” of the TV series The Big Bang Theory, the presumably autistic character Sheldon Cooper holds his first lecture. While he describes it as “triumphant” afterward, his students do not share this impression. He is depicted as misreading the situation, making unfunny comments, and even insulting the students. One student even tweets: “Dr. Cooper has taken a relatively boring concept to make it downright insufferable.” Trying to explain what happened to Sheldon, who is unable to understand his failure, his girlfriend notes that “teaching is a performance art,” which, in addition to the transfer of knowledge, also involves communication, entertainment, and engagement. To improve his performance, he takes acting lessons with his neighbor, actress Penny, who coaches him in interpersonal communication. While Sheldon is depicted as a brilliant scientist, he at the same time needs guidance so that his employers can make full use of his talent.

Some Thoughts on the Closet’s Failed Knowledge:
Part I, inspired by Hulu’s gay rom com Happiest Season

December 2020

Holiday season calls for holiday movies and the most talked about holiday movie of 2020 might be lesbian rom com Happiest Season (To keep with the title’s theme of superlatives: the movie is also hulu’s biggest streaming success so far, it is the most high-profile movie among a surprisingly big selection of “queer holiday movies” – not something my representation-starved younger self ever expected to write –, and it stars Kristen Stewart in her most overtly gay role yet.) With a promo-campaign fit for the originally planned cinematic release, even many without a hulu-account will by now be familiar with the movie’s central premise. As Harper (Mackenzie Davis) tells her girlfriend Abby (Kristen Stewart) on the drive home for Christmas with her family: “I didn’t tell my parents I’m gay” (Trailer). Processing this news over the phone with her gay best friend John (Daniel Levy), Abby adds an additional twist: Harper’s parents think that Abby, too, is straight. In disbelief, John blurts out the trailer’s central punch line: “Have they ever MET a lesbian?!”

Happiest Season (hulu, 2020) 
tag line: “This holiday, come out and meet the family”
Happiest Season (hulu, 2020)
tag line: “This holiday, come out and meet the family”

Three tweets on the failure of knowledge

August 2020

Facts and Bots

tweet failure of knowledge


There was a tweet the other day. The author, New York Times tech writer Sarah Jeong, reacted with her message to the fascist iconography and instances of state-mandated violence against people and protestors that occurred in early June 2020 in response to the police murder of George Floyd. Playing on the internet genre of ‘hot takes,’ there was something of a heightened reality effect about this tweet: Twitter’s newly introduced service for better informational politics on the platform applied its ‘fact-checking’ label to the message: “(!) Get the facts about fascism,” the bot attached to Jeong’s tweet. Offering clickable “facts,” it followed the same algorithmic pattern that had enraged Donald Trump in the previous days and led him to propose legislation against Twitter’s fact-checking practice.