The first glimmer of this book came when, during a grad seminar at the Uni-
versity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, I heard a presentation about the cockpit
voice recorder by Mark Robinson, a gifted audio artist. While the particulars of
his creation now escape me, I remember being fascinated by the way he deftly
integrated actual black- box recordings into an intricate sonic assemblage. The
same seminar introduced me to Paul Virilio’s work on the accident. These were
the seeds.
At the University of North Carolina, I benefited from the wisdom and sup-
port of some outstanding mentors and friends. Larry Grossberg, who guided me
intellectually and professionally during those green years, taught me most of
what I know about cultural studies and the philosophy of communication. He
also nurtured my ability to draw clear conceptual distinctions and to engage in
rigorous critical analysis. What instances of clarity and rigor are to be found in
these pages owe much to his influence. Tyler Curtain, Ken Hillis, Kevin Parker,
Della Pollock, and Barbara Herrnstein Smith (at Duke University) each helped
me to develop and refine the ideas herein, and I am grateful to them. As for
my unc comrades, Gwen Blue, Steve Collins, Andrew Douglas, Rivka Eisner,
Nathan Epley, Mark Hayward, Mark Olson, Phaedra Pezzullo, Bob Rehak, Jona-
than Riehl, and Matt Spangler o≠ered encouragement during the formative
years. Special thanks and praises to Josh Malitsky, Jules Odendahl- James, and
Ted Striphas—three friends whose sage counsel, keen insights, and close fel-
lowship made Forensic Media thinkable.
To say that my colleagues in the film and media studies department at the
University of California, Santa Barbara, have been exceptionally generous and
supportive is to barely scratch the surface. In ways subtle and profound, Edward
Branigan, Peter Bloom, Michael Curtin, Anna Everett, Dick Hebdige, Jennifer
Holt, Ross Melnick, Lisa Parks, Constance Penley, Bhaskar Sarkar, Cristina
Venegas, Janet Walker, and Chuck Wolfe—world- class scholars and wonderful
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