Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’
* The big story in academia yesterday was the eleventh-hour preemptive firing of Steven Salaita from UIUC (which according to reports may have cost him his tenure at Virginia Tech as well). Especially disturbing in all this is the participation of former AAUP president Cary Nelson, on the side of the firing. Some commentary from Corey Robin, Claire Potter, Philip Weiss, and Electronic Intifada. A statement for the Illinois AAUP. A petition.
* Delayed gratification watch: This week I finally cracked and read Chris Ware’s Building Stories after nearly two years of anticipation. So great. I can’t wait to teach it. I may write more about this later, but for now I can tell you that my arbitrary path through the book told a beautiful story that began with the couple’s fateful move to Englewood and drifted backwards in time, Ulysses-like, to the day the couple met, before culminating in a quietly nostalgic trip to the eponymous building as it stood about to be torn down. So great. My friend Jacob’s review. “I Hoped That the Book Would Just Be Fun”: A Brief Interview with Chris Ware.
* Call for applications: Wisconsin Poet Laureate.
* I was born too early: N.Y.U. to Add a Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design.
* I was born too late: MIT looking into paying professors by the word.
* College rankings, 1911. Class III! How dare they. #impeachTaft
* State’s rights we can believe in: New Jersey drivers may be able to ignore other states’ speed cameras.
* The Lost Projects of Dan Harmon. In addition to Building Stories, I also cracked this week and finally started watching Rick and Morty. Now, granted, it’s no Building Stories — but it’s pretty good!
* The New Inquiry‘s “Mourning” issue is out today and has some really nice essays I think I’ll be using in the second go of my Cultural Preservation course next spring.
* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Insurance Company Pays Elderly Man’s Workman’s Comp Settlement With $21,000 in Coins.
* Department of diminishing returns: The British Office: The Movie.
* And the kind of headline where I really don’t want any details: NASA: New “impossible” engine works, could change space travel forever. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning…
In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.
* I asked William Pannapacker how to responsibly advise students who want to go to graduate school in the humanities. He said you can’t.
* UNC’s New Grading System Could Show What That ‘A’ Is Really Worth. Tentatively, this seems like a good improvement on the existing system, though I’m not in love with the administration’s “now we can finally catch unscrupulous faculty!” line.
* Supposedly we’re supposed to be outraged by Snowden not infiltrating the Putin government and leaking details about his massive surveillance state apparatus. Or something. I can’t make heads or tails of it to be honest.
* After comparing the average achievement of children whose parents regularly engage in each form of parental involvement to that of their counterparts whose parents do not, we found that most forms of parental involvement yielded no benefit to children’s test scores or grades, regardless of racial or ethnic background or socioeconomic standing. The zero point of most liberal (as opposed to leftist) interventions in poverty is that “merit” broadly defined is structured (a little) by genetic lottery and (a lot) by class position, which means that strategies for equality that are filtered through education and achievement will always just wind up replicating existing structures of power and existing privileges rather than disrupting them. I don’t see any answer for this problem beyond deliberate redistribution of wealth.
* The Nation reviews The Years of Living Dangerously.
In the moments that follow, both the Doctor and his companion ask River why she didn’t just say her wrist was broken, and she explains – in this horrible, horrible moment – that the Doctor must be protected from knowing how much it hurts people to be around him; that humans must hide their weakness from him so that he will not feel upset.
* Monsters walk among us: People who think they’re attractive tend to be more comfortable with economic inequality.
* They have come to the conclusion that God, / Requiring a heaven and a hell, didn’t need to / Plan two establishments: ‘X-Men’ Director Bryan Singer Accused of Sexually Assaulting Underage Boy. More details on the case at Boing Boing.
* I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.
* The arc of history is long, but it bends towards grandfather clauses that allow obscenities to continue for decades after they are banned.
* The New York Times profiles the great Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black.
* Great research opportunity for people working in SF studies: 2014-15 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.
* Great moments in Big Data: Math proves Hollywood shouldn’t be sexist.
* Anadarko Agrees To Record $5 Billion Fine For ’85 Years Of Poisoning The Earth.’ Anadarko’s revenues are 14 billion annually, with assets of 52 billion, so it seems clear the fine doesn’t go nearly far enough.
* If the first wave provided a machine for fighting misery, and the second wave a machine for fighting boredom, what we now need is a machine for fighting anxiety – and this is something we do not yet have.
* Never say die: Goonies Director Teases Sequel Featuring Original Cast.
* The world is now largely a population of scared confused people ruled by atavistic sociopaths with no sense of history, ethics, science, beauty, or truth. But then you already knew that.
* If you want a vision of the future, imagine being vaguely disappointed by one Marvel Cinematic Universe film a year, forever.
* And Marquette will send a team to the only sporting event that really matters, the Robot World Cup.
* CFP reminder: “SF/F Now” and “Irradiating the Object” at the University of Warwick, August 2014. Proposals due March 31.
* Legendary science fiction editor Gardner Dozois once said that the job of a science fiction writer was to notice the car and the movie theater and anticipate the drive-in – and then go on to predict the sexual revolution. I love that quote, because it highlights the key role of SF in examining the social consequences of technology – and because it shows how limited our social imaginations are.
* We need to update our nightmares: Zeynep Tufekci on the Internet.
* Curators at the new art museum at Kennesaw State University had some last-minute work to do before its grand opening Saturday night. They had to quickly pack up an installation — one the art museum had commissioned — after university administrators ordered it killed for being insufficiently “celebratory” for the event.
* …one of the gravest threats the FBI saw in the Black Panther movement was their Free Children’s Breakfast Program.
* But at least one university says it has already begun denying admission to “risky” applicants — those who don’t meet the institution’s typical minimum standards for SAT scores and GPA — over fears of how it would be rated under the Obama ratings proposal.
* “That hurt.” On being Chevy Chase.
* Hitting rock bottom: they’re rebooting Santa Claus.
* And just one Oscar link is all you need: Lupita Nyong’o.
* Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For. #3 and #4 seem to imply an unstated ecological agenda that is really the zeroeth reform, the precondition for all the others.
* “The “Teachgreat.org” initiative would limit teacher contracts to no more than three years. It also requires “teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted, and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system,” according to the summary on the group’s website.
* In the midst of a truly terrible piece calling for every bad higher ed reform ever proposed, Instapundit makes one suggestion we can all get behind: adjunct administration.
Step 2: When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.
* Buzzkill! There’s not enough legal weed in Colorado.
* Daily Caller BANNED from MLA. Literal wailing about communofascism at the link.
In addition to The Daily Caller, all audio-taping and videotaping will also be outlawed at the 2013 MLA convention. The completely Orwellian-sounding Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession further demands that no one wear any scented products of any kind.
And I said nothing, because I did not wear perfume!
* A local politician heroically overrode the concerns of his constituents to advance the cause of global capitalism, and the New York Times is ON IT.
* Brooks’ rumination on his stoner days is kind of funny. It’s certainly elitist. But it is also an example of the two Americas we’ve fomented through legislative, cultural, and organizational boundaries that disrupt every single path for opportunity available for those not born to wealth and privilege.
* Thank you for your letter inviting me to join the committee of the Arts and Sciences for Eisenhower. I must decline, for secret reasons.
* Finally, Yale law professors reveal exactly which ethnicities are innately superior. A bit churlish to give themselves two of the top slots, but I guess the completely made-up facts speak for themselves.
* FREEDOM! U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson plans to file a lawsuit on Monday challenging a federal rule that allows members of Congress and their staffs to continue to receive health benefits similar to other federal employees.
* Good news, everyone! You’ll work until you’re dead.
* Like a piece of equipment, the black athlete is used. The old cliché ‘You give us your athletic ability, we give you a free education’ is a bare-faced lie, concocted by the white sports establishment to hoodwink athletes, white as well as black. First of all, there is no such thing as a ‘free’ ride. A black athlete pays dearly with his blood, sweat, tears, and ultimately with some portion of his manhood, for the questionable right to represent his school on the athletic field. Second the white athletic establishments on the various college campuses frequently fail to live up to even the most rudimentary responsibilities implied in their half of the agreement.
* “Universities do not seem to care if staff and faculty are parents unless legally obligated to do so,” said my colleague Richard King, a professor of critical culture, gender, and race studies at Washington State University. “Do the work. Have kids on your own time. Any conflict is your responsibility to manage so long as you prioritize us over them.”
The UC administration constitutes a parasitic bureaucracy that grows and expands by consuming those elements of the university that remain outside of it. It can only survive by extracting tuition from students and wages from university workers. In return, it does not grow the university—it grows only itself. While budget cuts at the state level are an important piece of the crisis of higher education, the administrative bureaucracy at both campus and system level is by no means an innocent actor. It is the UC administration that must be held responsible for expanding, intensifying, and accelerating the processes of privatization.
- [USC student Tucker] Reed, the lead complainant, said USC dismissed her claim that her ex-boyfriend had raped her, despite her providing audio recordings of him admitting to it. At one point, Reed said, a USC official told her the goal was to offer an “educative” process, not to “punish” the assailant.
- When a student went to the DPS to report a sexual assault at a frat, an officer told her and a friend, also a sexual assault survivor who had accompanied her, that women should not “go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped.”
- A DPS detective told one student that the campus police determined that no rape occurred in her case because her alleged assailant did not orgasm.
A university is not a bubble to which you invite the best faculty members and the best students from all over the world and expect to share and produce cutting-edge knowledge. A university that is cut off from its immediate environment, that has no links with neighboring institutions of higher learning, that does not engage with the social, economic and political problems of the society in which it is embedded does not deserve the title of “university.” Sadly, I believe that most U.S. universities working in the Gulf suffer from these fatal problems: They are hermetically sealed establishments that have little or no contact with the societies they are in. The latest episode of censorship belies this philosophy. It is as if the UAE government is saying “You can have the most impressive campuses, with cutting edge scientific labs, libraries and sports facilities, but you have no right to discuss the pressing political and cultural issues of the society just beyond the campus gates.”
* America Has a Stadium Problem: Despite every number suggesting they shouldn’t, why do American cities keep building sports stadiums funded with public money? They’re even promising to save the stadiums even as they let the rest of Detroit go under.
* Over the past half century, in the United States and other developed nations, children’s free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, and young adults. This article documents these historical changes and contends that the decline in play has contributed to the rise in the psychopathology of young people. Play functions as the major means by which children (1) develop intrinsic interests and competencies; (2) learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self-control, and follow rules; (3) learn to regulate their emotions; (4) make friends and learn to get along with others as equals; and (5) experience joy. Through all of these effects, play promotes mental health. Key words: anxiety; decline of play; depression; feelings of helplessness; free play; narcissism; psychopathology in children; suicide
* This is a perfect demonstration of why the entire budget battle is nothing more than an excuse to slash necessary programs for average people. There’s always money for military boondoggles whether it’s “missile defense” or border security or another already obsolete piece of expensive hardware.
* They Finally Tested The ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ On Actual Prisoners. The true finding of game theory is that the most sociopathic people in society become economics theorists.
* Full faith and credit: Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage.
* When we say we want to critique privilege, we mean that we want to critique the privilege of ordinariness. How awkward that sounds. Even impossible. But it is what we mean. More concisely, we want to critique the experience of “ordinariness” that permits daily life, permits civic engagement, even permits civil disobedience. And it becomes difficult to critique the experience of “ordinariness” because it is a moving target: ordinariness experienced in one location is not the same as ordinariness in another. My ordinariness in Nairobi is not the same as my ordinariness in Baltimore, although both depend on the presence of majority black populations.
* North Carolina not even bothering to pretend post-VRA-evisceration.
* I know I link to it a lot, but Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal consistently has the best SF going.
* And we’re gonna need a bigger moral panic: science demonstrates poverty is much worse for babies than crack cocaine.
* The dark side of dual enrollment. There’s some interesting stuff here on how testing practices deform learning, too:
We talked a little bit about the class, her performance, and where she should go next. The student explained that my class is not compatible with her “learning method.” She said that she prefers “that multiplying method, you know, where there are letters, A, B, C.”
I said, “You mean, multiple choice?”
“Yes, that’s the one,” she said. “That’s the method where I learn best. I’m good at figuring out which letters aren’t the right ones.”
She said she was good at multiple choice because she has learned to eliminate wrong answers and get the choices down to one or two and then make a good guess. She has transferred into Sam Houston State University with 65 credit hours (two years!) of “college” classes, all earned at a nearby community college. With possibly one exception (part of a math class), all her community-college classes used multiple choice. She said she didn’t learn well with my “method.”
This student spent 15 years of standardized tests learning how to discriminate between pre-presented choices — an utterly useless skill.
* Via Facebook: Genocide in South Dakota?
* Today’s thing that every academic is linking: How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps.
* The study, by David Stuckler at the University of Cambridge and others, found that for every 1 percent increase in unemployment, there is a an associated 0.8 percent increase in suicides in people younger than 65.
* Climate change: not all bad? It might be ruining high school football.
* Another great what-if from Randall Monroe: Is there enough energy to move the entire current human population off-planet?
* And some rare good news: Raiders of the Lost Ark is coming back to theaters.
* 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.
Interesting news from the Whedonverse: …Whedon is shopping a digital studio proposal around Hollywood, including to the major studios, looking to raise investment in the $5 million range, according to sources. The unnamed Whedon studio will apparently look to produce four original web series a year, two of which will be directed by Whedon himself. One of those two will be the above mentioned Dr. Horrible sequel. Keeping my fingers crossed for Capt. Reynolds’s Shoot-Along Facebook Feed.