Posts Tagged ‘J.G. Ballard’
* I saw this movie: Brains of rats connected allowing them to share information via internet.
* Beyond the MOOC: While other universities move quickly to offer courses online for free, Carnegie Mellon University is instead starting for-profit efforts designed to capture segments of the education market. I’ll promote this a bit more as the date gets closer, but I’ll be speaking at a “What’s the Matter with MOOCs?” event at UWM in mid-March.
* Justice, American style: The city’s complaint in federal court claims that if Ms. Truong is entitled to damages for the nearly three years she spent in jail awaiting trial, then Mr. Ryan is as much to blame as the city because he took too long to get the coerced confession tossed out of court by the judge.
* Will a Republican friend-of-the-court brief tip the Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage? I’m pretty sure it’ll have more luck than Obama’s.
* These numbers are unprecedented: by 2014 President Obama will have deported over 2 million people – more in six years than all people deported before 1997. That “before 1997″ actually means since 1892.
“We need union jobs today, not tomorrow,” said Rich Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “The resolution balances our desire to protect the fragile ecosystem of the earth, while acknowledging the economic benefits of a high-road strategy to develop the doomsday technologies of the future.”
* Never forget: The entire staff of the West Wing died on Voyager.
The social events of the 1948 holiday season had to be canceled. And with good reason: Experts called the third floor of the White House “an outstanding example of a firetrap.” The result of a federally commissioned report found the mansion’s plumbing “makeshift and unsanitary,” while “the structural deterioration [was] in ‘appalling degree,’ and threatening complete collapse.” The congressional commission on the matter was considering the option of abandoning the structure altogether in favor of a built-from-scratch mansion, but President Truman lobbied for the restoration.
* And American history, Breitbart style: Journalists on the campaign trail saw Johnson drunkenly board a plane armed with nuclear weapons and then accidentally drop them on the United States. We all saw it!
* A week ago, no-olds was a novelty; today it is one of the profession’s most cherished traditions. I’ll just recycle my jokes from Twitter: “Anyone who’s been on market longer than that knows how quickly Harvard and Yale turn asst profs over. They want it to be a surprise.”
* When ideologies collide: Man Accused of Threatening Woman with Handgun for Smoking While Pregnant.
* Chait: Mitt Romney created his most recent campaign shitstorm by launching an attack that was, simultaneously, an absurdly disingenuous argument built upon a series of demonstrable lies. After an initial period of recrimination andlashing out at the media, Romney and his allies are insisting that he was absolutely correct all along. It is a remarkable testament to the party’s ability not just to engage in spin but create and sustain an alternate reality. Meanwhile, SEK is having too much fun with his smirking-Mitt meme.
* Should We Stop Referring to Student Loans as “Financial Aid”? Researching 2000s college aid admissions on behalf of my brilliant cousin, it’s struck me how decisively “no-loan aid” has become a new marker of elite status in recent years for Ivy and Ivy-Plus schools.
* Lost and Found: NPR has all your vintage photographs.
* And of course you had me at “New Monkey Discovered.”
* Decline watch: US’s Most Powerful Nuclear Bomb Being Dismantled.
* J.G. Ballard watch: Giant Lego Man Washes Ashore in Florida.
* Apparently the Obama administration has given up on even pretending it can make an unbiased decision on Keystone XL. After hiring a TransCanada-affiliated firm to do the environmental assessment for the pipeline — a move so corrupt that even Congresspeople noticed — the administration has now taken on a former TransCanada lobbyist as a senior advisor.
The report also documents for the first time an emerging “app gap” in which affluent children are likely to use mobile educational games while those in low-income families are the most likely to have televisions in their bedrooms.
* While the industrial-chic American Tobacco Campus seems like a natural magnet for entrepreneurs, the newest and scrappiest companies in town make their home a few blocks away on the second floor of the Durham Chamber of Commerce. The Bull City Startup Stampede program provides sixty days of support for a select group of entrepreneurs, with the goal of establishing and retaining new businesses in the city center. Alas, there’s no indication in the article (or the Stampede’s website, or elsewhere in the press) that any of this money has gone to any part of the community that already exists in Durham.
* And Paul Krugman catches Paul Ryan warning that unless Obama agrees to cuts, we could be forced into austerity! Oh no!
For sale: J.G. Ballard’s home. Warning: structure may be haunted by modernity’s ghosts. (Thanks Lindsey!)
* For anyone who still has a heart, Don Pease’s Dr. Seuss biography could be a necessary read.
* Sharon Astyk has your definitive powerdown blog rant.
* The financial reform bill has passed; this means capitalism is finally perfected.
* Is nothing sacred? New episodes of Beavis and Butthead.
* Is nothing sacred? Douglas Coupland is designing clothes now.
* The Darjeeling Limited is finally getting its Criterion Collection release.
* And Argentina now has marriage equality. ¡Hurra!
Not to take away from his verdict on the 20th century: Ballard’s a bard of techno-anomie, of late-capitalist disaffection, and his writings are just the tonic if your local cloverleaf traffic jam or gated community or global warming harbinger has got you feeling out of sorts. But it’s precisely his grounding in deeper undercurrents of cosmic-existentialist wonder that give that tonic its fizz. His is the voice reminding you not to take the postmodern hangover too personally: it was always going to happen this way.
Jonathan Lethem eulogizes J.G. Ballard in The New York Times Book Review.
Good morning, world.
* Michael Steele wants you to know that Republicans are done apologizing for the ruinous policies of the last eight years. Love it or lump it, chumps, they’ve turned the page.
* “Calling Utopia a Utopia,” by Ursula K. Le Guin.
To define science fiction as a purely commercial category of fiction, inherently trashy, having nothing to do with literature, is a tall order. It involves both denying that any work of science fiction can have literary merit, and maintaining that any book of literary merit that uses the tropes of science fiction (such as Brave New World, or 1984, or The Handmaid’s Tale, or most of the works of J.G. Ballard) is not science fiction. This definition-by-negation leads to remarkable mental gymnastics. For instance, one must insist that certain works of dubious literary merit that use familiar science-fictional devices such as alternate history, or wellworn science-fiction plots such as Men-Crossing-the-Continent-After-the Holocaust, and are in every way definable as science fiction, are not science fiction — because their authors are known to be literary authors, and literary authors are incapable by definition of committing science fiction.
Now that takes some fancy thinking.
* And Sarah Conner‘s showrunner says goodbye.
Good shows are cancelled every year; smart shows, worthy shows, shows which move their viewers to write blogs and have viewing parties and create action figures and bury executives’ email accounts under thousands of messages. I miss Deadwood and The Wire and Arrested Development but thank God that I still have Rescue Me and The Office and a recently renewed Party Down written by ex-T:SCC writer John Enbom.
Bad shows are cancelled, too. And certainly there are those who did not like what we did and had their own vision for what a Terminator TV show should be. It’s easy to look at low ratings or cancellation as “failure” and for those who believe we’ve gone about this all wrong I’m sure today’s news will only serve to confirm a world view that I would never try to change. We’ve written the show as best we can, executed it to the best of our abilities, and sent it out in the world knowing that we worked out asses off to do something that wouldn’t be a waste of anybody’s forty-three minutes.
MFA programs vs. the still-warm body of J.G. Ballard.
Oink, oink, baby, in the most Orwellian and neo-Freudian senses.
* At McSweeney’s: Saved by the Bell: The Grad School Years.
* The University of Michigan Press is announcing today that it will shift its scholarly publishing from being primarily a traditional print operation to one that is primarily digital.
* Every time
a bell rings a volcano erupts, Bobby Jindal doesn’t become president.
* Life as the world’s hottest basketball prospect—in sixth grade.
Science fiction authors that lit geeks think it’s cool to read. Surprisingly complete list from io9—off the top of my head it’s hard to think of any omissions besides J.G. Ballard and perhaps Kim Stanley Robinson.
You could play the same game in the opposite direction, too: traditionally literary authors that sci-fi geeks think it’s cool to read. Orwell, Huxley, Atwood, Kafka, DeLillo, Pynchon, DFW…
The Ballardian watches Day of the Dead.
The mall in both Ballard and Romero becomes a city, a country, a galaxy, a self-sustaining micronational state seceding from reality, a State of mind absorbing and zombifying all it touches, and the faceless, cartoonish football hordes in KC are consumer zombies as much as the walking dead in Romero are metaphorically intended to be.
Yet, if you tweak your perspective just a little, the survivors in both could conversely be read as the oppressors, the old world clinging to its accumulated wealth, hording it for themselves in the face of the zombie attack — an all-devouring, ever-growing underclass.