Posts Tagged ‘extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds’
* Look alive, Octavia Butler scholars! 2015-16 Fellowships at the Huntington.
* Exciting crowdfunding project on disability and science fiction: Accessing the Future.
* If what we were fighting against in World War II were not just enemy nations but fascism and militarism, then did the atomic bombs that massacred the defenseless populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — coming as a grand climax to our “strategic bombing” of European and Asian cities — help bring us victory? Or defeat?
Problem: We all want something beautiful, man I wish I was beautiful.
Solution: Diet, exercise, and plastic surgery.
* Op-ed: Adjuncts should unionize.
* What colleges can learn from journalism schools. English departments seem particularly well-positioned to apply some of these lessons.
* The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won’t work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”
* When Moral Panics Collide! GOP Congressman Who Warned About Unvaccinated Migrants Opposed Vaccination.
* A Thai surrogate mother said Sunday that she was not angry with the Australian biological parents who left behind a baby boy born with Down syndrome, and hoped that the family would take care of the boy’s twin sister they took with them. Honestly, I think I’m pretty mad at them.
* They say Western civilization’s best days are behind it, but Bill Murray will star as Baloo in Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book.
* Ever tried. Ever meowed. No matter. Try Again. Meow again. Meow better. Beckittens.
* Filming is apparently wrapping on Fantastic Four, but they didn’t even have a teaser trailer for Comic-Con. This film must be a complete disaster. Can’t wait!
* The third Lev Grossman Magicians book ships tomorrow. Soon to be a TV show, maybe!
* Always remember: The best thesis defense is a good thesis offense.
* After long neglect I’ve updated the “online articles” page on my Professional Website, if you’re interested.
* Jacobin‘s brief history of neoliberalism is quite good, though the claim that the Tea Party is irrelevant or that the GOP is on the ropes seems especially odd after last night’s wonderfully improbable defeat of Eric Cantor.
* You’d think at the “legacy project” point of his presidency Obama might want to avoid phrases like “misspent years” and “talking your way through” things.
* Pizzeria Boss Fined $334K Because You Can’t Pay Workers In Pizza And Soda. Why not let the free market decide if pizza is currency?
* The Mental-Health Consequences of Unemployment. The jobs with the highest incidence of depression. Both cases seem like prime candidates for the left critique of the medicalization of depression, which is that sometimes you’re depressed because your circumstances are bad, not because your brain is misfiring.
* Headlines you don’t want to read about your new city: “Getting Milwaukee’s rivers to meet state water quality standards won’t be easy.”
* Map: All the Countries John McCain Has Wanted to Attack. I have to believe this is a significant undercount.
* My “but it could actually be good” fantasy script for Batman vs. Superman get less and less likely by the day. Alas.
* And could we finally see another Star Trek TV series courtesy of Netflix? Only if you promise it’s not Captain Worf.
* Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney. What a story. I bawled.
* Women run just a quarter of the biggest art museums in the United States and Canada, and they earn about a third less than their male counterparts, according to a report released on Friday by the Association of Art Museum Directors, a professional organization.
* The greatest secret of American manhood is: We are afraid of other men. Masculinity as Homophobia.
* At best, job creation is merely an inadequate palliative for years of deep recession. At worst, it’s an active strategy for redirecting wealth upwards and further immiserating the working class. Quantify that.
* A theory of neoliberalism: Wages versus Assets.
* Democrats are really starting in with the surrender-to-hopelessness blitz EARLY this cycle. Meanwhile.
* A rare sociological analysis of Federal Reserve policy confirms what many economists already knew: top central bank officials missed the oncoming crisis because they failed to make the connection between housing, the banking industry and the economy. I don’t know; my rule is never attribute to incompetence what can be adequately explained by soulless millionaires cynically cashing out.
* If you pirate a digital copy of The Triple Package, use the find and replace function. Find “successful cultural group” replace with “bourgeoisie” and then the book will become a coherent and honest provocation, rather than the triple package of neurosis, projection, and obfuscation that it really is.
* Do I read this right? An off-duty cop shot somebody and the other guy got charged with assault?
* de Blasio vs charters in NYC. How charter schools get students they want. In the great efforts they are expending to exclude the students that are the most difficult to educate, charter schools are lending more credence to my argument about the arrow of causation in our perception of school quality than I could ever generate.
* Mother Canada? Is that a thing? Displays of Canadian nationalism always seem off to me. Letting down the side, Canada.
* I had no idea just disintegrating in midair was something that could just happen to planes. I wish I didn’t know it now.
* Wages for Sea World animals: Yes, California Can Really Ban Shamu, Legal Experts Say. Can’t they just argue exploiting whales and making their lives miserable is free speech? That’s how it works with humans.
* I was saying this weekend (1, 2, 3) that voting for Rand Paul is not as irrational as it might seem at first glance, given the unilateral powers the executive branch has in the U.S. and his stated opposition to the war on drugs and the war on terror. What’s interesting is that Rand Paul himself absolutely does not want me to hold this opinion.
* Great walls to end tornadoes in our time? What could possibly go wrong?
In 2007, Gary Younge (he is an ally) suggested that what we all needed is a White History Month. Gary reminded us: “So much of Black History Month takes place in the passive voice. Leaders ‘get assassinated,’ patrons ‘are refused’ service, women ‘are ejected’ from public transport. So the objects of racism are many but the subjects few. In removing the instigators, the historians remove the agency and, in the final reckoning, the historical responsibility … There is no month when we get to talk about [James] Blake [the white busdriver challenged by Rosa Parks]; no opportunity to learn the fates of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who murdered Emmett Till; no time set aside to keep track of Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, whose false accusations of rape against the Scottsboro Boys sent five innocent young black men to jail. Wouldn’t everyone–particularly white people–benefit from becoming better acquainted with these histories?”
* We live in a time of noblesse oblige without the oblige — wealth disguised as merit and merit as a pretext for malice. Nobility dodges, nobility punishes. Nobility pretends it is not nobility, and tells us to take out short-term loans.
* On writing, and then revising, a dissertation: As much as you may hate what you’re writing at this exact moment, you will only feel a more precise and exhausted loathing toward it later on.
* Ezra Klein: Five thoughts on the Obamacare disaster.
* Kevin Drum steals my bit: Can America Survive Parliamentary Norms in a Presidential System?
* Law school in America moves toward an open admissions policy. Where are the accreditors? This is insane.
* In short: because of what the U.S. government assumed it could do with information it had the technological ability to intercept, American companies and American interests are sure to suffer in their efforts to shape and benefit from the Internet’s continued growth.
* In other words, gold pays off when there is an outbreak of goldbug-ism. Gold is a bet that there will be more goldbugs in the future than there are now. And since the “gold will be money again” story is very deep and powerful, based as it is on thousands of years of (no longer applicable) historical experience, it is highly likely that goldbug-ism will break out again someday. So if you’re the gambling type, or if you plan to start the next Zero Hedge, or if your income for some reason goes down when goldbug-ism breaks out, well, go ahead and place a one-way bet on gold.
* “We need to hire a 22-22-22,” one new-media manager was overheard saying recently, meaning a 22-year-old willing to work 22-hour days for $22,000 a year. Perhaps the middle figure is an exaggeration, but its bookends certainly aren’t. According to a 2011 Pew report, the median net worth for householders under 35 dropped by 68 percent from 1984 to 2009, to $3,662. Lest you think that’s a mere side effect of the economic downturn, for those over 65, it rose 42 percent to $170,494 (largely because of an overall gain in property values). Hence 1.2 million more 25-to-34-year-olds lived with their parents in 2011 than did four years earlier. “Willing” is certainly doing an awful lot of work in that first sentence. Welcome to the age of the permanent intern.
* The Singularity Already Happened; We Got Corporations: Capitalism as Evil AI.
* New York Times shuts down its Green blog. In other news, every spectator sport has its own blog at NYT.
* The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has isolated twelve criteria for determining if individuals qualify as legally “hopeless.” The following pamphlet is a brainstorm: it considers what steps a debtor might take in order to persuasively claim the mantle of hopelessness. Rather than examine softcore options, we explore the potential of self-inflicted tragedy.
* Marvel Comics presents The Life of John Paul II.
* And Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing will close out the Wisconsin Film Festival. I’d really, really like to make this.