Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) Snowball in the Senate (C-SPAN), Feb 26, 2015


Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) Snowball in the Senate (C-SPAN)




Creative Commons Licence



Created date

November 26, 2018

Critical Commentary

This is a photo still from a 35-second video posted to YouTube at by C-SPAN. The still features Senator James Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma, holding a snowball in the Senate chambers. Behind him is a poster-sized photo of people standing next to a small snow mountain. Inhofe spends the 35 seconds railing against the scientific claim that the year 2014 was (at the time) the hottest year on record, personally incredulous of those findings because it is currently snowing outside. His poster photo and snowball are meant to "prove" that global warming is a hoax. After all, if there is snow, how could the Earth be warming?

Taking seriously the Derridean idea that we are always embroiled in interpretation, and that there is no escaping it, this photo for me paints a representational photo for why I believe we need to continually reevaluate how and where PECE is situated in its role of using hermeneutics and interpretation in making ethnographic claims. I view Inhofe's interpretation of climate science as wading directly into the "anything goes" realm.

Leveraging the design logics of the platform, and even the more focused individualized logics of any particular instance or group within an intance, what responsibilities do we have to each other as researchers, to our audiences (imagined and not), and our disciplines to garner critical interpretation and reduce "anything goes" as much as possible (if that is indeed a worthy goal, the elimination of toxic interpretation)? While I know the futility of the idea up-front (s you can't eliminate it all), for me it serves as a starting point for (re-)evaluating PECE's design logics, and physical logics (and for me speicifically, taking these lessons back with me to the backend of PECE in order to produce best practices on that side of things), as we look towards developing best practices in the practice of the digital humanities. In short, how can we best live with the realities of the meta-visualizations of toxic subjects? That is to say, best live with the uncertainties of others' interpretations of our data, conclusions, and experiements here on PECE?


C-SPAN. "Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) Snowball in the Senate (C-SPAN)". FIlmed February 2015. YouTube video, 0:35. Posted February 26, 2015.