Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake

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This is the fourth installment of a continuing series in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries: America’s Annual Pilgrimage Begins.

Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity. Whole villages had been depopulated. It was all Massasoit could do to hold together the remnants of his people. Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west. Soon, Massasoit feared, they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them. And the only solution he could see was fraught with perils of its own, because it involved the foreigners—people from across the sea. The Indians who first feasted with the English colonists were far more sophisticated than you were taught in school. But that wasn’t enough to save them.

The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document.

SeaTac $15 Minimum Wage Barely Passes In Final Vote Tally, Recount May Follow.

* Marissa Alexander has been released from jail.

* Self-censorship and repressive regimes.

* The horror of scale: What scared H. P. Lovecraft.

* And okay, I’ll check it out: As presidents leave office, they also leave a letter for their successors. In Oni Press’ new comic Letter 44, the newest president is taken aback when he reads the letter from the man who preceded him — a man who seemed to tank the economy and embroil the nation in needless wars — but was actually secretly preparing America for an imminent alien invasion.

A British Teacher’s Archive of Confiscated Toys.

* K Punk watches Catching Fire.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about  the Hunger Games is the way it simply presupposes that revolution is necessary. The problems are logistical, not ethical, and the issue is simply how and when revolution can be made to happen, not if it should happen at all. Remember who the enemy is - a message, a hailing, an ethical demand that calls out through the screen to us …. that calls out to a collectivity that can only be built through class consciousness ….

* Judith Butler defends the humanities.

* And the New Yorker profiles David Graeber, “Robin Hood for the Debt Crisis.”

Monday Is Banality of Evil Day at gerrycanavan.wordpress.com

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Some funny replies to that bit on my timeline.

* Fourteen Caribbean countries prepare to sue Europe for slavery.

* An urban studies professor takes a job at a payday loan place.

* Oh, so now Napolitano loves undocumented immigrants.

The Constitution ought to play a prominent role in our politics. But I’d like to see McCarthy construct an argument for his favored policies without any mention of or recourse to the document. Perhaps that would make it clearer that suspending due process puts a country farther along the road to serfdom than old-age pensions.

* But the thing about the NSA revelations is that this isn’t exceptional illegality. It is routine, somehow justified by legal opinions written by John Yoo-style hacks. And worse, it is so routine that 29 y/o contractors have access to it. The issue isn’t so much that we’ve expanded the national security in response to perceived threats, but rather than doing so has become so unexceptional that it is routine, widely known, and the information widely (though not publicly) available. At the risk of Godwining the email, this is the essence of the “banality of evil” in the precise Arendtian sense of the term.

CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds.

Memo on the Use of Screenshots in Game Studies Scholarship.

Modernist art haul, ‘looted by Nazis’, recovered by German police.

* Today’s portmanteau: brocialism.

90 Year Old Legendary Speaker of the House Jim Wright Denied Texas Voter ID Card.

A brief dispatch from Boston’s Adjunct Action Symposium.

* And Inside Higher Ed has a piece on Cathy Davidson’s history-of-higher-ed MOOC, which I’ve just signed up for.

Games Criticism We Can Believe In

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