Joshua Glenn (born October 6, 1967) is an American writer, editor, and semiotics analyst. He is the cofounder of the websites HiLobrow, Significant Objects, and Semionaut. In the 1990s he published the zine Hermenaut. He is married and has two sons.
Glenn was born and raised in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. He attended Boston Latin School and Williams College. He earned a Master's in Teaching from Boston University in 1993.
2 Online community projects,
3 Semiotic explorations,
4 Published works,
6 External links,
From 1992 through 2001 Glenn was publisher and coeditor of Hermenaut a philosophy and cultural criticism periodical, described as "a zine that gives voice to indie intellectual thought... a scholarly journal minus the university, a sounding board for thinking folk who operate outside the ivory tower" Glenn wrote a feature in each issue on a single "hermenaut" or "outsider intellectual," including Theodor W. Adorno, Philip K. Dick, Bruce Lee, Oscar Wilde, Abbie Hoffman, and Simone Weil. From 2000-01, Glenn published and coedited the online journal Hermenaut.com and hosted its online salon, the Wicked Pavilion. During this period Glenn was a contributing editor to the website Feed and to the British periodical the Idler.
Online community projects:
From 1994 through 1996, Glenn was an editor at the Minneapolis-based magazine Utne Reader. During that time, he served as a judge for the Independent Press Awards. He wrote for The Baffler and numerous other zines and independent magazines. He hosted online salons for Utne Reader, and contributed a chapter to the book Salons: The Joy of Conversation.
From 1996 through1998, Glenn was editorial director of the start-up Web business Tripod.com. The company provided user-friendly tools for online publishing, aggregated communities of interest, and published "streetsmart strategies for work, life, and everything else." When the TV newsmagazine "Nightline" did an episode on Tripod, Glenn pranked the show's producers by making up digital newspeak ("Lets get FTP connectivity hyped up to the hilt. Let's get the synergies ramping with the daily rocket.") When Tripod was acquired by Lycos in 2000, Glenn left to publish Hermenaut full-time.
From 2002 through 2007, Glenn worked at the Boston Globe's weekly Ideas section as an associate editor and columnist. From 2006 through 2008, Glenn wrote the Brainiac blog for the Boston Globe's Ideas section. On January 31, 2007, he scooped the Globe's coverage of the Mooninite attack on Boston. As the Boston Phoenix reported, "At about 3:30 pm Wednesday, a story written by two Globe reporters and posted at Boston.com still termed the Mooninites 'suspicious objects' - or, alternatively, 'electronic circuit boards with LED lights attached.' Over at the Globe's Brainiac blog , however, Joshua Glenn was calling the 'suspicious objects' Mooninites, identifying them as part of a guerrilla ad campaign, and crediting the local bloggers who figured things out first."
In 2007, Glenn coedited Taking Things Seriously, a collection of 75 photos of and essays about objects of "unexpected significance" which made Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" in October 2007. Glenn has referred to the book as "a long-delayed issue of Hermenaut." In 2008, Glenn wrote The Idler's Glossary.
In early 2009, Glenn and bookfuturist Matthew Battles launched the intellectual-cultural blog HiLobrow, named by TIME magazine one of the Best Blogs of 2010. Glenn's ongoing research at HiLobrow includes a scheme to reperiodize America's generations, and analysis of science fiction published from 1904-33 -- an era Glenn has named science fiction's "Radium Age." Glenn has also written for the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review, Slate, Cabinet, and the science-fiction blog io9.
In July 2009, Glenn and Rob Walker launched the Significant Objects project, whose goal was to test the hypothesis "Stories are such a powerful driver of emotional value that their effect on any given object's subjective value can actually be measured objectively." Glenn and Walker bought objects at thrift stores and yard sales, recruited one hundred authors -- including Jonathan Lethem, Lydia Millet, Nicholson Baker, Colson Whitehead, and William Gibson -- to write stories about those objects, then sold the objects on eBay using the stories as item descriptions. The Guardian's Aditya Chakrabortty called the project "one of the most life-affirmingly cheeky studies I have seen for ages." The project resulted in $128.74 worth of objects being sold for $3,612.51. Two subsequent "volumes" of Significant Objects stories raised funds for the tutoring programs 826 National and Girls Write Now. Fantagraphics will publish a collection of Significant Objects stories in 2011.
In 2010, Glenn and Malcolm Evans, a British semiotician, launched Semionaut, an international website about semiotic cultural and brand analysis, with contributors from Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere.
In 2011, Glenn and Mark Kingwell published The Wage Slave's Glossary, which "looks at the language we use to make sense of the interconnected world of work and leisure."
Glenn, Joshua; Hayes, Carol (2007). Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 176. ISBN 1-56898-690-4. ,
Glenn, Joshua (2008). The Idler's Glossary. Biblioasis. p. 136. ISBN 1-897231-46-6.