Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Wednesday Links: Part 2: The Return

leave a comment »

* Someone needs to check their Save the Cat: Video shows CEO kicking puppy in elevator.

Elites spent months arguing we should attack Syria to dislodge Assad. Now these same elites want to intervene in the war on his behalf. “What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?”

* Poverty Capitalism. Campus Safety Capitalism.

* The 14 Best National Universities According To Washington Monthly has Case at #9 and UC Riverside at #2. Arbitrary college ranking systems forever!

* How to Game the College Rankings.

* Brian Leiter on the Salaita case: 1, 2, 3.

In addition to his constitutional claims, Salaita has an almost textbook version of a contract law claim under the doctrine of “promissory estoppel” (the classic case on the subject is Red Owl).  The basic idea is simple:  even if there is no formal contract between two parties (my expectation, as noted, is the court will find no contract between Salaita and Illinois), if one party reasonably relies on the promises and representations of the other, and then the other reneges, the injured party is entitled to compensation to the extent of his reasonable reliance.  It was clearly reasonable for Salaita to rely on an offer letter from the Dean–an offer letter that specifically mentioned the academic freedom protections the University of Illinois affords faculty!–even with a clause saying the appointment was subject to approval by the Board of Trustees (after all, there does not appear to be a case in the last half-century in which the Board failed to approve a tenured appointment that went through the normal university channels, as Salaita’s did).  Indeed, the reasonableness of Salaita’s reliance is enhanced by the fact that the University scheduled his classes this fall and even referred to him in public as a faculty member.

The harder question will be Salaita’s damages.  At a minimum, he should recover for the costs of relocation, his housing costs this year (since he rented his prior home), the cost of insurance and related expenses, and his salary for this academic year; but he has a strong claim for asking for compensation for having relinquished tenure and his job and salary at Virginia Tech, i.e., for several decades worth of salary and benefits.  In other words, I would expect Salaita’s lawyers to ask for several million dollars in lost wages and benefits extending over a career.  Now there is always a duty in contract cases to “mitigate” damages–to take steps to prevent the unnecessary growth of damages–which here would mean seeking other academic employment.  If Salaita can not secure such appointment–and given the smear campaign against him, aided and abetted now by the University of Illinois, it is hard to see a public university, vulnerable to the same political pressures, being able to hire him–then he has a claim for his lost wages and benefits as a professor for the next (roughly) thirty-plus years.

* I was on the front lines of the violence in Ferguson. Militarized police caused the chaos.

* The Parable of the Unjust Judge.

That respectability politics is the narrative of the oppressor digested and regurgitated by the oppressed is obvious. But we shouldn’t dismiss it without understanding its allure and durability: it reframes the terms of power, restoring agency into black hands. For the black upper class, it is the parable that allows them to rationalize their privilege as a sign of their own worthiness, while simultaneously giving them cover to righteously withdraw concern from the plight of the less fortunate of their race. It’s no coincidence that the black people advocating for blacks to somehow be cleansed of their blackness by bathing in the waters of post-racial healing are many of the same complaining that “we” don’t pay attention to “black on black crime”. For the black middle class, respectability becomes an aspirational fable, a promise that they, too can be free of racism if they become successful enough to transcend their race. For the black underclass, it becomes a morality tale that explains their own destruction. Respectability politics is a false narrative, but it maintains its power because, like so many powerful lies, it sits adjacent to the truth and set slightly askew: they are looking for a way to turn you into a nigger, and if necessary, they will find one. You will never leave a body pure enough to not be judged complicit in its own destruction.

MA Police Apologize After Accusing Man Of Faking Photo Of Trooper’s Racist Bumper Sticker. Police trampled the makeshift memorial built by Michael Brown’s mom. That is to say: Police Drove Over Michael Brown Memorial, Let Dog Piss on It.

* Meanwhile: Ben Stein has awful opinions and should be ashamed.

* Bring down Big Sugar.

* There is no way this is true: Milwaukee, Madison drivers among the nation’s safest. Real talk: Milwaukee drivers are some of the absolute worst drivers I have ever encountered.

* More scenes from the struggle between Uber and Lyft.

* Obscure Words and Phrases Everyone Suddenly Becomes Very Familiar With, 1995-2040.

* Did Tony die at the end of The Sopranos? Yes, and David Chase knows it.

* Elsewhere on the front lines of culture: Is Hello Kitty a cat? How dare you. How dare you.

* LEGO really, really letting down its fans. I knew I should have loaded up on the female scientist sets when I had the chance.

* Why we can’t have nice things: Americans strongly agree: You shouldn’t stop people from reclining on planes.

* New Discovery Cuts Brainwashing Time in Half.

Ohio lawmakers want to limit the teaching of the scientific process.

* When J.J. Abrams set out to make the absolute worst Superman movie possible. It would have been amazing.

* And/but/so Warner Brothers simply does not understand the superhero business at all.

Wednesday Links!

leave a comment »

* CFP: Imaginaries of the Future. The Futures Industry.

* The Center for 21st Century Studies calendar for the fall looks amazing; I’m especially excited for the visits from Paul Jay, Wendy Brown, and the MLA Subconference organizing committee. Tom Gunning’s talk on “Title Forthcoming” should also be really illuminating.

Who’s Getting Tenure-Track Jobs? It’s Time to Find Out.

* The Right Things to Do vs. the State of Florida.

* The most and least under-employed majors.

washingtonpost_2014-Aug-26

Occupations of College Humanities Majors Who Earned an Advanced Degree.

* Ferguson: The Syllabus. Eighty Years Of Fergusons. The economics of Ferguson. Two Ferguson Cops Accused of Hitting, Hog-Tying Children. “The City of Ferguson has more warrants than residents.”

Here is the NYT description of Michael Brown compared with NYT description of Unabomber. With the Boston Marathon bomber. “No Angel.”

* Police often provoke protest violence, UC researchers find.

* As soon as Prosecutors saw this video, they dismissed all of the charges against Jeter. Interesting to note, an investigation by Bloomfield PD’s scandal plagued internal affairs division had found no wrongdoing by officers.

* Perhaps it will always be a mystery: According to a coroner’s report obtained by NBC News, Victor White, a 22-year-old black man, committed suicide in the back of a police car by shooting himself in the chest while his hands were cuffed behind his back. The report contradicts the official police account, which said White shot himself in the back.

* Tenth Circle Added To Rapidly Growing Hell.

* Attack on Kiska: Untouched Relics from a Baffling WWII Battle.

* Animal personhood watch: Oregon Supreme Court Rules Animals Can Be Considered Victims.

Just Six Months After the Olympics, Sochi Looks Like a Ghost Town.

* Can’t we, as a society, come together and finally end seat reclining on planes?

* “He thought David Sedaris was just okay.”

* Selfcare as warfare.

The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism.

American teenagers, rejoice! The American Academy of Pediatrics wants all US schools attended by children aged 10 to 18 to delay their opening times to 8.30 am or later. It’s crazy that more school districts won’t make this switch.

* Christian Parenti in Jacobin proposes we rethink Alexander Hamilton.

* The Washington Post says war today, war tomorrow, war forever. The Fun of Empire: Fighting on All Sides of a War in Syria.

* Wisconsin’s nightmare spiders could be coming to your town.

* Gasp! Faulty red light cameras produced thousands of bogus traffic tickets.

* “The Cold War mode of knowledge production was so pervasive that, for a short while, it was literally invisible.”

* Prepare yourself for a dark, gritty Full House sequel. Only the literal end of the entire damn world can save us.

* Such a sad story: Plane Crash Claims Lives of 4 Students at Case Western Reserve U.

* And there’s never been anything that showed what the inside of my brain is like as closely as this xkcd. My blessing; my curse…

Gauging Interest in a New Release of Suvin’s METAMORPHOSES OF SCIENCE FICTION

leave a comment »

I’ve been speaking with a press recently about the possibility of releasing a new edition of Darko Suvin’s discipline-defining work Metamorphoses of Science Fiction, which as we all know has been out of print for decades. One of the things they’re very interested in and concerned about is the question of continued scholarly interest in the material; the fact that second-hand copies of the book regularly sell for $100 has not by itself convinced them of anything.

If you would have use for a new edition of Metamorphoses (i.e., a reprint of the original plus some new reflective material on the book’s legacy and ongoing relevance), would you please email me at gerry.canavan@marquette.edu to let me know? I’d like to have some brief endorsements of the idea to send back to my contact at the press, as well as a sense of how interested the community actually would be in the idea.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 25, 2014 at 9:29 am

Sunday Links!

leave a comment »

* “Are your parents upset by your liberal-arts degree? Show them this chart.”

BvuZsIbCYAAD74b

* Weird, wild coincidence: Darren Wilson’s first job was on a troubled police force disbanded by authorities.

* Exactly the headline you want to wake up to when you’ve got a transatlantic flight in a few hours: Eruption under ice-cap sparks red alert. Luckily I seem to have snuck out of Europe in time…

* If they don’t shape up soon they could have a blue-ribbon commission on their hands: Jolted by images of protesters clashing with heavily armed police officers in Missouri, President Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of the government’s decade-old strategy of outfitting local police departmentswith military-grade body armor, mine-resistant trucks, silencers and automatic rifles, senior officials say.

* Ferguson’s Schools Are Just as Troubling as Its Police Force. Of course the wealth transfer dreams behind “school choice” politics miraculously get “waived” when it comes time to apply it to nonwhite and urban poor populations:

Michael Brown graduated from Normandy High School, which was located, until recently, in the Normandy School District. The facts here are a bit complex, but note that I said “until recently.”  That is because the Normandy School district lost its accreditation in 2012 due to dismal standardized test scores. (Normandy was one of only three out of 500 school districts in Missouri to lose its accreditation.) The state school board took over the Normandy School District and renamed it the “Normandy School Collaborative.” By 2013, though, the new district also had lost its accreditation. Missouri law allows students of failed districts to transfer to higher-performing schools in surrounding suburbs, but the failing school district has to pay tuition and transportation costs to get the kids to their new schools. The 1,000 transfer students of Normandy obviously had no desire to remain in the “new” failed district, but the cost was high, so, incredibly, the state board voted to waive accreditation of the Collaborative rather than classify the new district as unaccredited. Ferguson’s teenagers were therefore trapped in a failed school because state politicians didn’t want to pay for them to transfer out.

* ‘Normal birth’ and ‘breast is best’: the neoliberalisation of reproduction.

* Mugabe and the hedge funds.

* Pay It Forward is dead in Oregon.

* ‘Sex Box,’ a reality show where people have sex in a box on TV, is a real thing for 2015.

How Do We Get Our Students to Become Cops?, asks the Chronicle. How? How?

* Cornel West vs. Obama.

* This Soviet spy created the US-led global economic system.

* Where were the people who live in your state born?

* And Massachusetts man fears his horns, ’666′ forehead tattoo will make a fair trial impossible.

Green Planets in Hardcover, Only $12 Today

leave a comment »

I can’t imagine that it’s all that great news for sales, but the hardcover of Green Planets is only $12 today. Buy it! Paul Di Fillippo says it’s good!

UPDATE: As of early Sunday morning the hardcover is back to its usual price. Unannounced sale? Algorithm glitch? Perhaps it will always be a mystery.

In any event the huge Sales Rank swing tells me we sold a bunch of copies yesterday, so big thanks to everyone who bought one! The Kindle version is still $13 and the paperback still $20, if you missed it…

Written by gerrycanavan

August 23, 2014 at 9:13 am

Saturday Links!

leave a comment »

* There’s only one important story in the world right now, but you won’t hear anything about it in your mainstream media: Ant mega-colony takes over world.

* Found poetry: Below you’ll find a haiku extracted from a random Supreme Court opinion.

The contract therefore

survives scrutiny under

the Rule of Reason.

“Where have all the thoughtful and original mainstream movies gone?” The answer is “They’ve long been obscured, left to rot and die on one screen in New York for six days before disappearing into VOD obscurity.” On the banal tyranny of blockbuster film.

* The cosmic tragedy of the technocratic fix: Nail polish developed at N.C. State alerts wearers to date rape drugs.

* Lawmakers Who Cut Funds For ALS Research Take Ice Bucket Challenge For ALS Research. Who Invented the Ice Bucket Challenge?

* Where Are the National Democrats on Ferguson? What could explain it?

12. She dove into the ocean, the blue waves enveloping her tapioca skin.

13. She was transfixed by the gleam of his uncooked chicken breast skin. So raw, so lumpy.

* Totally unrelatedly: More white people believe in ghosts than in racial discrimination.

* On an entirely different subject: Overall, the social networks of whites are a remarkable 93 percent white. White American social networks are only one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. In fact, fully three-quarters (75 percent) of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence.

* Shorter Nate Silver: By legalizing corruption, we’ve essentially eliminated illegal corruption in the U.S.

* An online fund created to raise money for the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who killed Michael Brown has amassed more than $150,000, outpacing a similar account for the slain man’s family.

Videotaped Police Shooting Shocked The Nation, But These Experts Say It Was Justified. BREAKING: Experts Know Which Side of Bread Is Buttered.

* Rortybomb: Ferguson and Libertarianism.

California DMV says Google’s self-driving car must have a steering wheel.

Self-driving cars have the potential to change the way automobiles are made, and Google’s prototype car was just the first step toward that future. Cars today are built to crash, with tons of metal reinforcement, crumple zones, seat belts, and a million air bags. When everything is self-driving, and cars never (or at least rarely) crash, most of that safety equipment can be ripped out, resulting in a much lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Listen, I just don’t think you’re a great salesman.

* If White Characters Were Described Like People Of Color In Literature.

* Something to try? 4 Surprising Ways to Support a Child’s Self-Regulation & Avoid Melt Down.

* Poll: most Americans want to make it a crime for children to play without supervision. We don’t want a nanny state, apparently, just a state where every family has a nanny.

* How to solve a Fermi problem.

* And Russia Wants Bulgarians to Stop Vandalizing Soviet Monuments To Look Like American Superheroes. If I can’t dance…

1024px-Паметник_на_Съветската_армия_18.06.2011

Annus Horribilis

leave a comment »

Written by gerrycanavan

August 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,260 other followers