The Encyclopedia of Misinformation

The Encyclopedia of Misinformation

Rex Sorgatz’s new book, The Encyclopedia of Misinformation, is a heady mix of social science and media literacy, told deliriously through the lens of pop culture. Tonight, he will be discussing one of the many questions posed therein: How are jokes used to spread disinformation? In recent years, the internet has devolved into a cesspool of pranks, hoaxes, and blithe misinformation. Comedy itself has been weaponized, as conspiracies like QAnon sprout from elaborate jokes and the alt-right has elevated irony to the status of lifestyle. In this world, where “not getting the joke” is a tactical maneuver to arm internet mobs, can satire even have an effect? Now that constant subterfuge is the norm, is it even possible to tell when someone is joking? And does it even matter if they are? In this talk, Rex will slingshot through diverse historical subjects, culled liberally from his book, including Fake News, Snopes, War of the Worlds, The Great Moon Hoax, Spinal Tap, Borat, The Blair Witch Project, Pizzagate, and DeepFakes.

Rex Sorgatz is a writer, designer, and technologist whose consulting agency, Kinda Sorta Media, has incubated several startups and advised a wide array of media companies. His observations on the intersection of culture and technology have appeared in fine publications like Wired, The Atlantic, and New York magazine. He lives in lower Manhattan, where his beagle, Kafka Suzuki Sorgatz, is Instagram-famous.

Reception: 6PM
Lecture: 6:30PM

Registration open to Penn Club affiliate members.
$15 per member. $25 per guest
Price includes half hour reception of beer and wine

A dinner with Rex Sorgatz will follow. Dinner registration should be made through the Penn Club event calendar.

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