Back in April, we hosted a Zotero workshop at the Newberry Library. Avram Lyon, a graduate students at UCLA and an active participant in the Zotero development community, and Debbie Maron, community lead for Zotero, helped us to think about our uses of Zotero and how we could adapt it for a variety of projects. What follows is a report/summary that I wrote up to detail what happened that day and some of the (to my mind) interesting questions that the workshop raised about using Zotero in a specific (and at time idiosyncratic) environment.
The image above, released by White House photographer Pete Souza has been canonized as the “official” photograph of the event that was killing Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2010. The image is powerful and arresting both because of its “behind-the-scenes” view of that event, what it reveals about the various actors who took part in the event (at least the US, political actors), and because of the banality of the room, the desk, and the computers. Rex Hammock has pointed out this later feature and focuses, in particular, on Clinton’s expression of awe and terror as being particularly evocative.
But the above photo, a spoof of the original, is equally arresting to me for a number of reasons. I have been struck how in the minutes, hours, and days after Sunday evening, we have all gone to work spinning out the meanings of this event. And how have we spun. We have partied; we have lamented; we have praised; we have condemned; we have listened; we have written; we have quoted; we have misquoted. Some people have blamed stupid kids (more or less) for cavorting about Washington DC as if in celebration of…whatever when kids are involved. Some people have fretted that Osama bin Laden did not receive a trial. I wondered about Obama’s use of the word “justice.” What are the political ramifications? How will affect Donald Trump?
And on and on we go. Largely, my feeling about this surplus of meaning is that it fits the moment. We (in the West, in the US) have experienced a monumental social, collective event. And in rushes the complexity of collective events. And this image, credited to John Stricker (whose site currently is asking me to install an updated Flash plugin, and after hearing about the malware on @ReallyVirtual‘s site I’m paranoid about clicking the link), encapsulates that spilling over of meaning very nicely. We experience events like these through these cultural filters, sometimes all at once. So, while it is absolutely crucial to be aware of the potential illegality or event brutality of what the President ordered and condoned, I guess I have to say, “Well, we are only cultural.”