A Map of Science Fiction

I can’t wait to show this one to my digital humanities seminar: Ward Shelley, a teacher at Parsons New School for Design, has a five-foot wide painting which is a visualization of the history of science fiction. The Chronicle article which describes Shelley’s work has a nice write-up on the larger effort to create interest in such visualizations in which folks like Katy Borner are involved.

The Slow Wheel of Time

Yes, I work at an university, and so you would think that I’m some variety of liberal and that all my colleagues are liberals. At least that’s what some of the commentators on Fox News or on various radio shows would have you believe. The truth is that university faculty and staff come in about as wide a range of political persuasions as everyone else. It’s also the truth that university faculty and staff tend to lean toward what is considered the left in American politics. But that makes sense doesn’t it? Like teachers and nurses and police officers and firefighters they have decided that serving the public good is more important than making a lot of money. They have a different version of *richness* and *rewards*. That should be allowable, no?

At the same time that I don’t see the point in conservatives hectoring liberals, I also don’t see the point in liberals hectoring conservatives needlessly — in fact my chief concern with political discourse in our era is that it seems to be about winning and not governing.

Myself, I am a moderate with liberal leanings on social issues and conservative leanings on fiscal issues. After all, I don’t make that much money; I’d like to keep what little I have. (And, for the record, I think businesses, which are oriented toward a private good, should be regulated in view of the public good. That’s just plain old fashioned common sense.)

I am also more prone to patience and to objectivity than a lot of my friends on either side of contemporary politics, mostly because politics in our time is just that: in our time. What the future holds is sometimes beyond the reach of politics, political discourse, and politicians. This illustration from [Contexts.org](http://contexts.org/socimages/2009/11/05/support-for-same-sex-marriage-by-age-and-state/) makes that case awfully well. What it reveals is that acceptance of gay marriage, even in the very historically conservative south, is inevitable in many ways. As older voters who are more troubled by it decline in terms of voting strength — which is a polite way of saying *die* — the younger voters will increasingly move to the so-called “left” on this particular issue, because, well, because they already are on the left on this issue according to the data on which this illustration is based.

a visual illustrating support for gay marriage by state and age