Suspend Your Disbelief

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Propaganda and Product Placement in Fiction and Speech

Some of the most complex and weighty signifiers are brand names, celebrity names, clichés, and propagandist phrases like “axis of evil.” These categories overlap: celebrity names are brand names, brand names are propaganda, propaganda is cliché, etc. “Axis of evil” is a place to start because of its obviousness. No educated person I have met can vocalize this phrase without quotation marks implicit in the vocal texture. What do these quotation marks mean? I think they mean we don’t wish anyone to think we are complicit with the ideology behind the phrase. We use quotation marks to indicate awareness of […]

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Thoughts from the Hopwood Room: Kathryn Davis and the Process of Revision

Editor’s Note: The Hopwood Room Roundtable is a weekly event in which visiting writers of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing discuss their work and the writing life with the University of Michigan’s student body, faculty, and the local literary community. Despite the ongoing gloom of this Midwestern winter, Kathryn Davis filled the Hopwood room with writers eager to ask her questions. Davis told us that she loves answering reader questions. “You never know what somebody’s going to ask you.” It seems simple now to write this out, but I suppose you never know what you really think […]

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