Mary Gray and a Giant Powerpoint Presentation at Tulane

Today’s ride was nothing but the commute, and the workday was long. I taught three classes with a short lunch break, which I used to eat both potato soup and mashed potatoes in the Faculty Dining Club. After my seminar I headed to dinner with some professors, a student, and tonight’s guest speaker.
That institutional dinner was even better–a salad with spiced pecans, grilled portobello with a goat cheese crust, and this chocolate torte thing with some kind of toffee drizzle. But I digress. After dinner Mary Gray gave a fantastic talk about her research on queer youth in rural areas. My fave: how society “frets through the bodies of young people.” Much of the talk focused on digital inequalities. It’s not just a matter of haves and have nots, but it’s about levels of access. If your area doesn’t have the bandwith to download youtube videos, youtube’s not changing your life. As E. said when I talked about the talk with her tonight,”Some people learn data entry, other people learn to make videos.” Of course in a talk like this one, our fancy private school auditorium would have technical issues. The sound was off, the lights flickered, and at one point the power just went out. And the scale. Seems a bit off. This had to be the largest powerpoint presentation ever. I love that disconnect, though. A great reminder that the story we tell about ourselves isn’t ever so seamless. I rode home on wet streets filled with debris from a storm. I was inside all day–everything was different.

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