risk

After Pulse: Queer Intimacies in the Shadow of Orlando


Existential Stress Ball

It’s been ages since I’ve posted on here, and I’m both saddened and frustrated that it’s taken the anniversary of the Pulse Orlando massacre for me to get back to writing about these sorts of issues. The shootings at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, Florida, USA, took place exactly one year ago, when I was working on a book manuscript about intimacy, belonging, and affect on the (electronic music) dancefloor. As the summer went on and the shockwaves from the attack continued to reverberate within queer Latinx/QTPoC, I found myself writing a very different epilogue to the book than I had planned. I’m still putting the finishing touches on the manuscript, but I thought I would share an excerpt from the epilogue, which recounts the aftermath of the Pulse shooting and begins to reflect on what that might mean for queer public intimacy, shared risk/trauma, and historiography.


I learned of the Orlando massacre right after returning home to Birmingham after a week spent teaching at a summer school in Prague. After the plane landed (more…)

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Lubricating Social Frictions


"Serve Yourself" says the caption over this urinal in Strasbourg, France.

“Serve Yourself” says the caption over this urinal in Strasbourg, France.

The image of the industrial economy as a great machine oiled by the sweat and blood of its workers has been a common trope for Marxist and anti-capitalist writers. Much has changed since the industrial revolution inspired such metaphors, but the costs of lubricating social processes remains a relevant issue in these post-industrial, accelerated, and uncertain times. Based on the last two decades of social and cultural studies, one could gather that the world we live in is becoming increasingly fluid (Bauman) and mobile (Urry). But what enables social and cultural “matter” to flow at increasing rates?

This question is inspired by discussions that took place during the Touring Consumption conference at Karlshochschule this past weekend (more…)

Techno and Teargas: My Very First First of May in Berlin


Kottbusser Tor

OK, so I originally thought this blog post would be a short little summary of my very first May Day in Berlin, but when I sat down and wrote out my notes the next day, I produced pages and pages of text. So, this is my attempt to reduce everything down to a brief narrative with some pretty pictures. But I won’t keep you in suspense: I wasn’t teargassed or pepper-sprayed or tasered. Most of my day was actually spent wandering around the MyFest street-fair, dancing at a few open-air events, and hanging out with friends. Even the infamous “18Uhr Demo” was mostly peaceful—at least until the end. (Slideshow of 51 images at the end of this article.) (more…)

Build an Archive: Drag Queens and Young Men


“Pass This On” by The Knife. A (rather muscular) drag queen singing in what looks like a Bavarian Football club.

Folks, I need your help. I’ve been seeing a trend in indie and eletro-ish music videos towards scenarios that involve ostensibly “straight” young men and older drag queens, usually involving some sort of wordless, eye-to-eye communication that causes some sort of transformation or breaking of boundaries. I want to figure out what this is about and why this is a popular theme right now, but first I need to build an archive of them. You can help me by posting links to music videos in the comments (or emailing me if you prefer), and then I’ll update this blog post and add your suggestions.

“Pass This On” by The Knife. The young man who is drawn to her.

Here’s what I have so far: (more…)

Checking in from Berlin


My name in graffiti on a mail box

I think that's my name as a graffiti tag, on some sort of electrical box on Sonnenallee in Neukölln.

OK, OK. I know that it’s been a while since I’ve checked in on here (since Grenada!) but here’s what I’ve been up to in the past month or so:

  • Travel to and from Grenada
  • Attempt to sell off most of my furniture and my car
  • Get my !@#$ing PhD diploma and attend Convocation with my parents
  • Pack my entire life into boxes, load it into a U-Haul truck while some guy yells at us about blocking the alleyway, and then drive it 8 hours to Canada
  • Store most of my crap at my parents’ place and try to shove the remaining articles into 3 pieces of luggage
  • Remind Canada’s bureaucracy of my continuing existence
  • Spend a week in Toronto seeing friends, visiting old haunts, and having meetings at my alma mater
  • Spend about 20 hours in 3 flights taking me from my hometown to Berlin-town. Screaming babies were a bonus feature
  • Eat roasted chicken from City Chicken (Neukölln) and get plastered on wine and Sekt before finally crashing on my friend’s floor
  • Make a deposit at my Hauptmieterin’s (sublessor) bank account and retrieve the keys to my apartment
  • Schlep my numerous bags to my new apartment and settle in
  • Begin the long process of announcing my presence to the German bureaucracy
  • Struggle endlessly to unlock my iPhone 4 so I can use a reasonably-priced German SIM card
  • Re-stock the kitchen
  • Oversee repairs to the bathroom of my new apartment, which seems to involve plaster and sweaty men (not the sexy kind)
  • Orchestrate and attend reunions with overlapping circles of friends (and attempt not to alienate anyone in the process)
  • Sleep, eventually.

And now I’m in Berlin. (more…)

This One Is Full of Keywords: SEO, RSS Aggregators, Dissertation Writing Services


Happy Noodle Boy, by Jhonen Vasquez and Slave Labor Graphics

Happy Noodle Boy is not pleased with you. (by Jhonen Vasquez of Slave Labor Graphics)

SEO spam is a cancer on the internet, and those who engage in it shouldn’t be trusted. People who use RSS aggregators to scrape topical content and repost it verbatim for their SEO spamming purposes are just the worst sort of people. And don’t get me started on dissertation writing services. If you’re reading this on a website other than LMGMBlog, report the site to Google as SEO spam, close the window, and notify me at my Gmail address (theluisgarcia).

See what I did there? According to Internet Wisdom, websites such as the one that copied an entire blog article of mine yesterday use underhanded SEO (Search Engine Optimization) methods to game the search-engine system and give them high page rankings. If they manage to appear on the first page of Google results for a topic like “dissertation writing services,” for example, they’ll get tons of traffic to their page, which will drive up the numbers of “eyeballs” and “clickthroughs” on their ads, while perhaps also allowing them to sell some snake oil to the more gullible visitors.

To build content and generate incoming links to the site, the administrators of these sites often use programs that aggregate RSS feeds (from blogs, newspapers, etc) and scan them for particular keywords and/or other characteristics. When the desired conditions are met, this program “scrapes” the entire post from the RSS feed and reproduces on their own site. They’ll often include a link (hidden at the bottom of the page) which points to the original article. This will usually create a “pingback” or “trackback” on the original blog, which creates a link from the original source to the copied article on the new spam site. Now, they’ve got many pages, a lot of content, and a growing set of both outgoing and incoming links. All of these are things that Google’s search engine measures when it creates its page rankings, and thus this mostly useless and ad-smeared website crawls up to the top of Google’s search results.

So, all of my first paragraph is going to appear in the RSS summary of this article, with several keywords that will hopefully trigger RSS aggregators for “SEO”, “RSS Aggregators,” and “Dissertation Writing Services.” My hope is that, since many of them seem to have automated content-scraping, this’ll result in a post that undermines some of their own purposes.

In any case, I’ve adjusted my RSS feed to only post summaries instead of full articles, and I’ll be back to writing about my dissertation soon!

That Blog Be Yankin’: Plagiarism-y Developments Halt Dissertation Series


UPDATE: See comments for details. Short version: the offending page is down, it seems.

Hey folks, just to let you know that this “dissertation writing service” (Google Cache of the page)website has reposted the entirety of my last post in the series that I have been writing on my dissertation. This looks to be a form of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) spam, and it’s a problem for a number of reasons: 1) I was never contacted to ask permission (and I certainly wouldn’t have given any to this site); 2) it quotes the entirety of the original work, which is in violation of “fair use” (US IP law) and most other legal guidelines for acceptable use of intellectual property without permission; and 3) since it’s a “dissertation writing service“ website, the framing of this post (me writing about the preparation of my dissertation) in this context gives the impression that either I paid for their services to prepare my dissertation or I’m trying to sell my dissertation to them—either interpretation could harm my future career as an academic and could thus be a form of libel.

In any case, this means I’m going to be putting a halt to the dissertation-in-blog-post series, until I can figure out what to do about this. In the meanwhile, I’ll add occasional updates in the comments below; sometime later, I might write a whole blog post on this experience. If you have any expertise or advice to share about this sort of situation, you’re welcome to contact me through the comments below or by e-mail. Sorry for the interruption, folks!