Posts Tagged ‘China Miéville’
* Should celebrities teach online classes? This was a reductio ad absurdum just a few months ago; I guess things really do move fast in the future.
* We cannot have a realistic discussion of the state of the humanities in the United States without talking about the disinvestment in public education that is taking place at all levels of America’s educational system. But the New York Times says we can solve it all with one quick fix so transparent and obvious it can’t even find a single skeptic to quote!
* Federal Bureaucrats Declare ‘Hunger Games’ More Complex Than ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ As an SF studies guy, I’m quite conflicted about this; luckily the rest of the article makes clear how broken the whole system is so I don’t have to worry.
* Which Companies Dominate Your State’s Politics? More links below the image!
* China Miéville in Guernica on the new law of the West Bank.
* Western black rhino declared extinct. Still have north, south, east, and a bunch of other colors though. Nothing to sweat about.
* What happens if all the ice melts? Even more links below the image!
* Dolphins and humans: friends or frenemies? Aeon reports.
* Surely some threshold has been crossed: Under Armour Outfits Northwestern In Blood-Splattered American Flag Football Uniforms.
* The Halloween candy to avoid if you don’t want orangutans to die. This is why consumerist approaches to struggle will never work. Horrors lurk everywhere.
That table reveals that in 1970-1971, 17.1% of students who received BAs in the United States majored in a humanities discipline. Three decades later, in the midst of the crisis in the humanities we hear so much about, that number had plummeted to 17%.
* There is little talk in this view of higher education about the history and value of shared governance between faculty and administrators, nor of educating students as critical citizens rather than potential employees of Walmart. There are few attempts to affirm faculty as scholars and public intellectuals who have both a measure of autonomy and power. Instead, faculty members are increasingly defined less as intellectuals than as technicians and grant writers. Students fare no better in this debased form of education and are treated as either clients or as restless children in need of high-energy entertainment – as was made clear in the 2012 Penn State scandal. Such modes of education do not foster a sense of organized responsibility fundamental to a democracy. Instead, they encourage what might be called a sense of organized irresponsibility – a practice that underlies the economic Darwinism and civic corruption at the heart of a debased politics.
* Man buys $27 of bitcoin, forgets about them, finds they’re now worth $886k. Exactly how currencies are supposed to work!
* The tragedy of Michelle Kosilek. A better treatment of the issue than the headline’s framing would suggest.
* Macy’s security has arrest quota, ‘race code system’ for nonwhite shoppers. An exemplary case, I think, of the phenomenon Adam Kotsko describes in “What if Zimmerman had been a cop?”
* And speaking of which: George Zimmerman’s Hometown Bans Guns For Neighborhood Watches.
* There’s something really revealing about how the Daily Show can’t process this story about an unaccountable shadow government running the national security apparatus, and so just punts to a random n-word joke instead. Liberalism, I think, characteristically flinches whenever the conclusion that the system is fundamentally broken is inescapable.
Lee Skallerup Bessette talks The City & the City at College Ready Writing. I’ve mentioned before on Twitter how much I like teaching this book in my science fiction courses (as I’ll be doing this semester in just a week or so). I find that students key into the central seeing/unseeing trope immediately, especially in materially and psychically divided cities like Durham (where I used to teach) or Milwaukee (where I teach now). Students here know they live in an enclave; they know there’s a second city all around them that they aren’t a part of and that isn’t a part of them, with very clear territories and boundaries and no-man’s-lands that are an implicit part of their instruction from freshman orientation on. They recognize immediately that they’ve been taught and are being taught to unsee that other city’s life.
* Angelina Jolie writes in the New York Times about her preventive double mastectomy.
* Justice Department Responds To Freedom Of Information Act Request On Online Snooping With 100% Blacked-Out Document. That is just straight trolling.
* Adam Kotsko on the Mad Men backlash. With special guest appearance!
* And a good piece for understanding the IRS scandal. Not that it will make a lick of difference in how this thing plays out.
* Last year’s program copped to the death of Hollywood cinema-as-art. All that was left was looking backward over a once-hallowed institution and weeping over the corpse. This year, though, the tears have dried. What we see instead is a clear vision of the utility of cinema. The 85th Academy Awards, like no show before it, will elevate films that are openly ideological, weaponized tools of the state.
* And your headline of the decade: U.S. Government Plans To Air Drop Toxic Mice To Fight Snake Invasion.
* Tolkien Class At Wis. University Proves Popular. Marquette English hits the big time.
* A decade-long spending binge to build academic buildings, dormitories and recreational facilities — some of them inordinately lavish to attract students — has left colleges and universities saddled with large amounts of debt. Oftentimes, students are stuck picking up the bill.
When snow blanketed this city two Christmases ago, Mayor Cory A. Booker was celebrated around the nation for personally shoveling out residents who had appealed for help on Twitter. But here, his administration was scorned as streets remained impassable for days because the city had no contract for snow removal.
Last spring, Ellen DeGeneres presented Mr. Booker with a superhero costume after he rushed into a burning building to save a neighbor. But Newark had eliminated three fire companies after the mayor’s plan to plug a budget hole failed.
* California judge declares that women’s bodies can prevent rape. Don’t worry, folks — he’s already been admonished. Still a sitting judge, but admonished.
* So it’s okay when he says it: “The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.”
The fact that nice liberals who already opposed torture (like Spencer Ackerman) felt squeamish and uncomfortable watching the torture scenes is irrelevant. That does not negate this point at all. People who support torture don’t support it because they don’t realize it’s brutal. They know it’s brutal – that’s precisely why they think it works – and they believe it’s justifiable because of its brutality: because it is helpful in extracting important information, catching terrorists, and keeping them safe. This film repeatedly reinforces that belief by depicting torture exactly as its supporters like to see it: as an ugly though necessary tactic used by brave and patriotic CIA agents in stopping hateful, violent terrorists.
* Twenty-seven-year-old single mother of three sentenced to life imprisonment for bag holding the same day HSBC declared officially above the law. Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke.
* School cafeteria worker fired for helping needy student. You know, Christmastime.
* Obama makes an unexpected post-election bid for the Canavan bump: NASA May Unveil New Manned Moon Missions Soon.
* ORCA shrugged. More here, here, here, here. This is still, essentially, poll denialism, but it’s fascinating that the Romney campaign put so much stock in a system whose basic assumptions they’d never bothered to test.
* This image posits that the juridical distinction between slave and free is isomorphic with today’s cartographies of parliamentary politics; it implies that today’s Northern liberals have inherited, and protect, the precious freedom(s) denied to so many in the antebellum world. It implies that the rupture of the Civil War was not much of a rupture—continuity is the name of the game here. It thus elides the discontinuous rupture of black political subjectivity: the image would have us believe that today’s political cartography retains the form adjudicated 162 years ago by the desires and compromises of (mostly) white men, all of whom in some fashion profited from the political and juridical de-subjectification of blacks throughout the Americas.
* 68 Percent Of American Voters See Global Warming As A ‘Serious Problem.’ There’s a culture war and Democrats are winning. What The 2012 Election Would Have Looked Like Without Universal Suffrage. Colorado Establishment: Republicans must improve or die. I liked, and forgot to link, what Freddie said the other day:
It occurs to me: part of the problem with our political media and analysis is that they always define Republican victory in terms of political direction and Democratic victory in terms of extremity. That is, a Republican victory is seen as a repudiation of liberalism, while a Democratic victory is seen as a repudiation of extremism. One suggests a push towards the right is the mandate of an election; the other suggests a push towards the center is the mandate of an election. Just another way in which the media pursues a “heads conservatives win, tails liberals lose” narrative.
* But don’t get too excited: in times of Democratic strength their leaders just turn on them and enact the austerity measures the Republicans are too weak to enforce themselves. We saw it with Obama, and California’s about to see it with Jerry Brown.
* Ohio seeks to just rig the vote in the face of the Republican demographic implosion. Let’s Kill the Electoral College So We Never Have to Pay Attention to Ohio and Florida Again.
* Nevertheless, these arguments are potentially more intellectually coherent than the ones that propose that the race is “too close to call.” It isn’t. If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public. Obama has 431 ways to win; Romney has 76.
* It’s not the project I’d have chosen for him, but I’ll take it: Joss Whedon will produce S.H.I.E.L.D., including writing and directing the pilot.
* Biden 2016? Let’s not be hasty. Surely there’s some even less appealing candidate out there somewhere.
* What’s the per-diem for a trip to the Moon? About $8 bucks, minus lodging.
* Police enlist young offenders as confidential informants. But the work is high-risk, largely unregulated, and sometimes fatal.
* Of course you had me at Soviet-era board games.
“You are on a foreign island, the first who has set foot on the island in centuries. It is overgrown now with jungles, butterflies, strange birds singing, and you are walking through the jungle and you come across a gigantic cliff. And upon closer inspection, this entire escarpment is made completely of emeralds, [where] a holy monk hundreds of years ago spent his whole life with a chisel and a hammer scratching a poem into the walls. It’s hard like diamond; it took all his life to engrave only three lines in a poem. Please open your eyes and you will see it; you will be the first one to see it, and you will read it to me.” When the man protested he didn’t have his glasses, Herzog encouraged him to move closer and he would be able to read it. His poem began: “Why can’t we drink the moon? Why is there no vessel to hold it?”
* A collection of artists and activists advocating the neoliberalisation of children’s minds. That is scandalous and stupid. The text is open. This should – could – be our chance to remember that it was never just us who made it, and it was never just ours. China Miéville on the future of the novel.
In retrospect, we really over-shot this thing by an enormous margin,” said Sheffield, adding that he likely had more than enough good material after filming a British workplace from 2001 to 2003.
More great moments in polling: Obama apparently leads Romney among African-American voters 94% to 0%. Some room for improvement there.
* Nobody say “war crime”: Glenn Greenwald says U.S. drones are now attacking first responders.
* “Well, I think the fact that you’re actually innocent is a ‘technicality’! So there!” A 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision said that prisoners found to be “actually innocent” should be released even if they had not followed all legal technical requirements. The next year, Congress passed a new law with stringent time limits on when inmates could file habeas corpus cases in federal court. But the nation’s highest court has never ruled on whether those deadlines apply in cases in which there is evidence of “actual innocence.” Appellate courts across the nation disagree on whether they do. The law, in its majestic equality…
* Answering leninology from the other day: here’s Gawker’s primer on the case against Julian Assange.
* Bonobo genius makes stone tools like early humans did. Monkeys reject unequal pay. I’m sold. It’s their turn.
* New from the Library of America: classic 1950s SF.
* Academic shock doctrine watch: Wayne State administrators propose the elimination of tenure.
* The new normal: Confirmed heat deaths rise to 10 in Wisconsin.
* In the time it took me to write this post, Mitt Romney made $2,163.40.
* Great television contrarianism watch: Neoliberal Holmes, or, Everything I Know About Modern Life I Learned from Sherlock. In which I analyze my allergy to Sherlock.
* David Harvey: The financial crisis is an urban crisis.
* Utopia and dystopia in quantum superposition: New parking meters text you when time’s running out.
But there is something troubling about this sea of C.G.I.-perfect flesh, shaved and scentless and not especially medieval. It’s unsettling to recall that these are not merely pretty women; they are unknown actresses who must strip, front and back, then mimic graphic sex and sexual torture, a skill increasingly key to attaining employment on cable dramas. During the filming of the second season, an Irish actress walked off the set when her scene shifted to what she termed “soft porn.” Of course, not everyone strips: there are no truly explicit scenes of gay male sex, fewer lingering shots of male bodies, and the leading actresses stay mostly buttoned up. Artistically, “Game of Thrones” is in a different class from “House of Lies,” “Californication,” and “Entourage.” But it’s still part of another colorful patriarchal subculture, the one called Los Angeles.
* Terrible news, state by state:
* Contemplating these dreary statistics, one might well conclude that the United States is — to a distressing extent — a nation of violent, intolerant, ignorant, superstitious, passive, shallow, boorish, selfish, unhealthy, unhappy people, addicted to flickering screens, incurious about other societies and cultures, unwilling or unable to assert or even comprehend their nominal political sovereignty. Or, more simply, that America is a failure.
* The New Yorker‘s science fiction issue is live. If you wanted to get me to read New Yorker fiction for the first time in years, well, mission accomplished…
* And we’re still pouring college money down the for-profit drain. Because never learning from your mistakes is the most important thing we have to teach.