Posts Tagged ‘decadence’
* Rob Nixon reviews Diane Ackerman’s The Human Age and the “good Anthropocene.”
If students know what they’re getting and know why it’s supposed to be beneficial, then education and satisfaction should go together. In a total vacuum of explicit pedagogical reflection, students will default to non-academic standards for satisfaction, because we’re giving them nothing else. If students don’t know how to evaluate whether we’re helping them to learn, it’s not because students are stupid and ignorant and we shouldn’t ask them anything — it’s because we’ve failed to teach them that. And the only way to lay the groundwork for actually teaching them that is to make focused discussion of pedagogical commitments, with both fellow faculty members and with students, a pervasive feature of the culture of a given school.
* Also from Adam Kotsko: Plagiarism and self-plagiarism: A defense of Žižek.
* Time to move on to the next boondoggle: Universities Rethinking Their Use of Massive Online Courses.
* And speaking of boondoggles: Just say no to Wisconsin transportation boondoggles.
* Another triumph for the left! Obama Could Reaffirm a Bush-Era Reading of a Treaty on Torture.
* Membership has its privileges: A former Kentucky correctional officer who admitted to sexually assaulting inmates where he worked will not be going to prison.
* Patriarchy may be down but it still has its sense of humor: The First Person Charged Under Virginia’s New ‘Revenge Porn’ Law Is A Woman.
* Could it be? Is The Stock Market Driven Mainly by Bullshit?
* The idea that the inventors of an actually working hoverboard would need Kickstarter to launch the project just seems totally self-refuting, but I guess 2015 is just around the corner and we’ve all decided we’re going to go with it.
* Don’t like cigarettes but this seems like it’s got to be illegal.
* If you want a vision of the future, imagine Max Landis’s 436-page script for a Super Mario movie, forever.
* And because it’s not all bleakness and horror: Photos of children playing around the world.
The optics were already pretty bad: As an estimated 40,000 plus climate activists descended on D.C. last Sunday to pressure the president to make good on his promise to address climate change, Obama was in Florida golfing privately with Tiger Woods. It appears that it gets worse: The president was not only teeing off with the famed golfer and philanderer, he was also, according to HuffPo, joined by a “pair of Texans who are key oil, gas and pipeline players.”
Democracy ‘Has a Hidden Failure Mode, We’ve Landed in It, and We Probably Won’t Be Able to Vote Ourselves Out of It’
The great Charlie Stross, elaborating on his sense that we are living in the aftermath of an alien invasion:
Overall, the nature of the problem seems to be that our representative democratic institutions have been captured by meta-institutions that implement the iron law of oligarchy by systematically reducing the risk of change. They have done so by converging on a common set of policies that do not serve the public interest, but minimize the risk of the parties losing the corporate funding they require in order to achieve re-election. And in so doing, they have broken the “peaceful succession when enough people get pissed off” mechanism that prevents revolutions…
So the future isn’t a boot stamping on a human face, forever. It’s a person in a beige business outfit advocating beige policies that nobody wants (but nobody can quite articulate a coherent alternative to) with a false mandate obtained by performing rituals of representative democracy that offer as much actual choice as a Stalinist one-party state. And resistance is futile, because if you succeed in overthrowing the beige dictatorship, you will become that which you opposed.
* The Non Sports Fan’s Guide to Maybe Enjoying the Super Bowl. A List of Things to Say to Sound as if You Understand the Super Bowl, Dummy. Go… Giants? I think I have that right.
* The set list from last night’s fantastic Mountain Goats show in Saxapahaw. And from Vu, an interesting New York Magazine read on Mountain Goats superfandom from 2009.
* The headline reads, “No kidney transplant for dying East Bay dad who is illegal immigrant.”
There were 2900 temperature records set in the United States in January. Exxon Mobil reported yesterday that its quarterly profits had increased to $9.6 billion on revenues of over $70 billion. It’s 60 degrees on February 1 in New York City. These facts are connected. I continue to think that one reason Bloomberg evicted OWS was that he lost patience with waiting for it to get cold enough to drive the Occupiers out.
I have proposed that “debt is death.” It sounds a bit melodramatic. You can in fact map connections between the debt-financed globalized industries, direct violence caused by their expansion, and the indirect but nonetheless deadly violences of climate change.