C. Wright Mills and the Battalion

Artillery Battery A

On Monday, there were a few people in my Twitter feed sharing Texas A&M’s Battalion article about The Rudder Association. While Texas A&M has improved so much over the years, this stealthy group called the Rudder Association is now embarrassing the school. I was glad to read the article and reassured that the kids are alright. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the letters written to the Battalion in 1935 by a freshman named C. Wright Mills.

College students are supposed to become leaders of thought and action in later life. It is expected they will profit from a college education by developing an open and alert mind to be able to cope boldly with everyday problems in economics and politics. They cannot do this unless they learn to think independently for themselves and to stand fast for their convictions. Is the student at A and M encouraged to do this? Is he permitted to do it? The answer is sadly in the negative.

Little did he know that current students would be dealing with this shit 85 years later with a group of former students with nothing better to do than infiltrate student-run organizations from freshman orientation to the newspaper. But shocking no one, they were too incompetent to maintain the privacy of the school regents who met with them.

According to meeting minutes from Dec. 1, 2020, the Rudder Association secured the attendance of four members of the A&M System Board of Regents. The meeting minutes obtained by The Battalion were censored by TRA to remove the names of the regents in the meeting as well as other “highly sensitive information.”

“DO NOT USE THEIR NAMES BEYOND THE RUDDER BOARD. They do not wish to be outed,” the minutes read on the regents in attendance.

Further examination by The Battalion revealed, however, that the censored text could be copied and pasted into a text document to be viewed in its entirety due to TRA using a digital black highlighter to censor.

Well done, Battalion.

(photo is from C. Wright Mills: Letters and autobiographical writings)

Good Paper on Brid.gy

I read Bridging the Open Web and APIs: Alternative Social Media Alongside the Corporate Web because it was a good opportunity to fill some holes in my knowledge about the Indieweb and Facebook.

Brid.gy enables people to syndicate their posts from their own site to large proprietary social media sites.

Although I don’t use it myself, I’m often impressed when I see all the Twitter “likes” and responses that are backfed by brid.gy to the canonical post on a personal website.

The paper details the challenging history of providing the same for Facebook (in which even Cambridge Analytica plays a part) and helped me appreciate why I never see similar responses from Facebook on personal websites these days.

It ends on a positive note…

while Facebook’s API shutdown led to an overnight decrease in Bridgy accounts (Barrett, 2020), other platforms with which Bridgy supports POSSE remain functional and new platforms have been added, including Meetup, Reddit, and Mastodon.