Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’
* “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.
Who’s Barack pallin’ around with now?
The attack ad just writes itself.
Poli-Sci-Fi Radio (live 4-6 every Sunday!) turned me on to Confessions of a Superhero, an excellent independent (but Netflixable) documentary about the people who walk Hollywood Blvd. dressed in superhero costumes, taking photos for tips. Naturally, the subject matter makes for a sort of perfect tragicomedy.
Here’s the trailer:
Once you’ve seen the film you can also check out Wonder Woman’s MySpace page…
* Continuing his recent comics theme, American Stranger has an interesting post up about the “new style of acting dominant in ‘mainstream’ corporate entertainment of the type constructed ‘as if’ intended solely for teenage boys.”
* Democrats to offer bill with offshore oil drilling. Of course they are.
* And for the theory-heads among you: How susceptible is ecocriticism to the critique that it is a nostalgia? Follow up: in what ways might ecocriticism work outside of nostalgia? (Via Timothy Morton)
Matt Yglesias and Dana at the Edge of the American West separately react to an Entertainment Weekly piece about the making of the Watchmen film. There’s spoilers out there, so be careful if you haven’t read it yet—but also, if you still haven’t read it you really, really should.
In the meantime, let me just second Dana: “Changing the ENTIRE POINT was on the table? The hell??”
* Science is still teasing me with dreams of immortality:
A genetically engineered organism that lives 10 times longer than normal has been created by scientists in California. It is the greatest extension of longevity yet achieved by researchers investigating the scientific nature of ageing.
* At culturemonkey, Ryan’s got an essential take on There Will Be Blood that I think people who have seen the movie should be very interested in reading. (There’s a good sidebar on No Country for Old Men too, the movie with which There Will Be Blood will forever be paired.) Click the [+/-] for a brief, spoiler-laden excerpt.
In TWBB one gets the impression from Eli, a grotesque parody of Christianity as both the paradigmatic model for non-capitalist politics and a type of show business, that stories can no longer be seriously invested in. Instead we learn to see Plainview the same way he sees others: “I see the worst in people. I don’t have to look past seeing them to get all I need.” In the much-criticized final showdown in the bowling alley, this impression of God and his earthly salesmen is rendered painfully concrete. It’s the scene where the film’s facade of realism, though always unsettled, is strained to the point of absurdity: the priest recants, he is made to suffer for his sins, and behold, his milkshake, it hath been drunk! But not even the grand narrative of entrepreneurial capitalism can survive past the last shot. The realization that has been building over the course of the film, in the form of Plainview’s increasingly strained encounters with Standard Oil and the unstoppable expansion of monopoly power it represents — that the individual capitalist is no longer a suitable vessel for the daemon of capital — comes at last to fruition, and so with the resignation “I’m finished,” the lights go out. The camera apparently hasn’t the right to follow. But is it irrational hope to wonder if nostalgia for the end of a distant era can reflect any light back on the end of one still present? Or has Plainview eaten that as well?
Not to toot my own horn, but I think there have been some interesting points made by both Ryan and myself in the comments of that post, too.
* Sci-Fi Weekly has a good interview with George Romero on Diary of the Dead and what’s next for the definitive zombie franchise.
Romero: I have this balls-out comedy zombie thing that I have wanted to do for three years. It’s basically the coyote and the roadrunner. It’s one human and one zombie. You can do a lot of damage to a zombie and it still lives. So I just had this idea that I’d love to do that as almost a cartoon. That’s the one that’s closest to my heart, but I don’t know if anyone’s ever going to get it enough to say, “OK, we’ll finance that.”
* Although most people have been saying that the writers’ strike won them a good deal, delightful crackpot Harlan Ellison insists the writers actually got taken for a ride.
* It has become so much part of conventional wisdom that affluence is a problem that it is hard to imagine that attitudes were ever different. The media is full of stories about problems that allegedly owe much to our affluent lifestyles, including environmental degradation, social inequalities and even mental illness. Daniel Ben-Ami at the Spiked Review of Books remembers John Kenneth Galbraith’s excellent The Affluent Society as a prelude to launching a broadside attack on it.
* The writers’ strike is now officially over, which means the Daily Show and Colbert writers will be back tonight. You can watch with a clear conscience now.
* High off their comeback success on No Country for Old Men, the Coens are going to adapt and direct Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.
* One interesting consequence of the strike: Showtime’s Dexter, a show I’ve talked up in the past, will be on CBS this spring, starting this Friday.
I did see with some excitement at io9 that Jericho comes back this week, so my own hypocrisy on this point should not go unnoted. And I did skip down to “O” on that long TV Guide list to see when The Office will be back, too. I’m not made of stone.