All academics have a box set on the go? Wonder if that’s limited to certain subjects? I was thinking, not sure I have many, but I do have all bar that final set of ‘Bewitched’, and am working my way through my housemates copies of ‘Scrubs’…
Maybe it’s happened to you too. About two years ago, a stranger sitting next to me leaned over during a particularly banal speech by a high-powered vice-chancellor and whispered “True dat”. In two words, my fellow sufferer communicated not only that they watched the cult television series The Wire, but also that they had imbibed its critique of power and corruption in the faltering institutions of state and civil society, its contempt for the idiocy of our leaders, all just expressed in that fatalistic phrase of the foot soldiers of the Baltimore drug war. Clever.
About a year later, it happened again. In the midst of a committee meeting, someone complained about the “frakking regulations”. Within two minutes, as if led by mental association, the chair wondered aloud whether a particular dead-eyed bureaucrat was a Cylon. Most people laughed. Most people in the room, I realised, were like me working through the DVDs of Battlestar Galactica. Cylons look like us and talk like us, but are machines: frakking toasters.
Every academic, it seems, always has a DVD box set on the go.
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Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.