The Rhetoric of Presentation: The Death of Aaron Swartz

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In addition to my previous post about MIT’s involvement and questions concerning Swartz’ case, I am including several articles that I found worthy of investigating. The following information depicts Aaron as yet another human interest piece…a tragic, lost soul who committed suicide after a long and heart wrenching investigation that did not looking promising. Using Media Master Marshall McLuhan’s Theories of Media Control, we are left with a series of political, social, and cultural questions that we must probe in order to rise above the phantasmagoria of the media.

A series of accounts in reference to the historical moments that led up to Aaron Swartz suicide and free culture movement:

Cowritten by Swartz himself, read the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto (2008)

(March 2013)

NY Times Coverage of Aaron’s Life & Death: A Questionable Narrative

Rolling Stone Magazine’s Coverage of Aaron’s Life & Death: A Tragedy

The Atlantic Wire Coverage of Aaron’s Life & Death: The Unknowable Truth

Injustice for New Media Activist: Aaron Swartz


Newsworthy indeed… after an extended hiatus, I am finally enthralled enough to engage in dialogue on the free culture movement that began not long ago.

For those familiar with the death of Aaron Swartz, and his previous involvement with “illegally” accessing and downloading thousands of JSTOR academic articles to the public domain, his sudden death and the months leading up to it are full of both mystery and tragedy. JSTOR did not press charges against Swartz for releasing information. That much is true. So who is to blame? Was he targeted by federal authorities? To what extend should his actions been punishable? What role did MIT play in his arrests and prosecution & even his suicide?

The supposed “neutrality” of MIT in this case is upsetting…is this the money talking? What does the 180 page report on MIT’s involvement really suggest?  What does Aaron’s death say about the rhetoric of news presentation? So many questions have gone unanswered. I feel a sense of duty to his free cultural movement, and to the Millennial Generation– we need to inform others about this suggestively abusive case. I know where I stand as a new media & free culture activist; I am under the impression that I have much to learn about the history behind this case, but I am still certain that as a member of the digital age, we are all entitled to share information. I am fulfilling that purpose.

“In an open letter, the M.I.T. president, L. Rafael Reif, applauded the “careful account” that he said set “the record straight by dispelling widely circulated myths.” The report, he said, “makes clear that M.I.T. did not ‘target’ Aaron Swartz, we did not seek federal prosecution, punishment or jail time, and we did not oppose a plea bargain.” -NY Times

As unclear as everything may seem, it is imperative that we decide what is right….each of us have as much power as Aaron once did..

What do you believe?

NY Times Full-Article

180 page MIT Report:



If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead

William Uricchio, a media history enthusiast and fellow intellectual (Director of MIT Comparitive Media Studies Program) to Henry Jenkins, author of Spreabable Media, writes an essay on the history of spreadable media, and he concludes with a great point:

 “Spreadability turns on the demands of publics, on processes of adaptation and localization, and on the construction of new meanings. The protocols and controls imagined by institutions, whether the state or religious authorities or the heavy industry of media, have historically had little impact on populations eager to share experiences and to modify them in their own ways. The spread of media and textual forms—whether to once-excluded social groups or to markets originally unimagined by media producers—owes as much to the interests and creativity of those outside constituencies as to the original producers.”

In my own words: as we can see that spreadable media “turns” on the public and social constructions of media environments, we may begin to realize that there are so many formats within media that can produce revolutionary meaning in our digital culture today. We, the creative people, make up parts these “authorities” and “institutions”–we have ultimate control over the inputs and outputs of media and it is important to recognize that. If we continue to manipulate the forces that attempt to hijack new media projects, we will successfully impose our own “imaginary” protocols upon the authorities of intellectual and creative property. We must keep the voice alive, must keep going viral, keep sharing, reblogging, reposting, retweeting because…if it doesn’t spread, it’s dead!



Twinness: A Literacy Narrative


Do you every wonder what it is like to be a twin? Or what it means to be a twin?

This is my attempt at using new media and narrative literacy to define twinness.

It’s important to broaden our understanding of literacy beyond its typical definition of being able to read, write, comprehend ect…literacy is communication, it is a language that is understood by experience…. perhaps. what do you think?


I dedicate this post to sfetts, my other half of 2fetts



Living on the Edge


This video emulates the idea of carpe diem, or seize the day type attitude. We hoped to juxtapose the video game vs. real life format of video to depict the same idea, that life is about taking risks and “living on the edge.” It is interesting to see everyday people capturing themselves doing something extraordinary, and showing that life is really about quality and what you do with your years on earth.