Posts Tagged ‘Joss Whedon’
* An oral history of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado about Nothing.
* ”Stand Your Ground” is funny. It’s legal to murder your wife’s lover, but not to fire warning shot at your abuser.
* And all you people are saying “syrup” wrong. 22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other.
* “A higher education system worth defending or reclaiming has never existed”: Education’s “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” Moment.
How can this lead to cost reductions? The savings can accrue rapidly if the course is massively enrolled and subsections are taught by less well-paid individuals; or if the course lasts several years and the designers and lead professor may be paid over time.
* For the love of the game: The other day, Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz decried the spreading influence of money in college athletics. This is funny for several reasons, but you don’t really need to go past the fact that Ferentz is paid $3.8 million a year to coach Iowa’s football team, and does so while providing a comically small return on investment. In situations like this, schools would normally cut bait and fire the coach, but Ferentz is protected by a buyout that makes his contract look downright reasonable. … If Iowa were to fire Ferentz today, the school would have to pay a buyout of $17,531,360.
* I’m sure that academics will have objections, although Whedon has stood up to far worse than the Shakespeare (or Earl of Oxford) mob. He has been to Comic-Con. When Shakespeare’s done right, you can’t imagine him ever being done wrong. The clarity is blinding.
* Third graders will now officially assess NYC teachers. Foolproof! What could go wrong?
* Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests. No! It can’t be! That’s impossible!
Marijuana usage rates are comparable among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are over 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.
* Arrested Development Season 4 Timeline. We’re still working our way through, but I’m significantly more bullish on the season than most reviewers, to the point where I feel as though I literally don’t know what some of these people are talking about. I’m talking about this on Twitter now; maybe a post of some sort later. Subtle jokes of season 4. And more.
* A new study from Emory Sports Marketing Analytics concludes that Marquette University has the 9th best fan base in the country among collegiate basketball programs.
* An internal faculty report generated by professors in the College of Computing says there were “significant internal disagreements,” despite Georgia Tech’s portrayal of the deal as heavily supported by faculty.
* “You are all going to die”: Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan Commencement Speech.
* It is the one moment of genuine interest in Frank Marshall’s hilarious 1995 adaptation of Michael Crichton’s laughable 1980 novel. Marshall’s decision to replace Crichton’s white mercenary with a black character is the only time either book or film acknowledges the problem of working in a genre — the colonial adventure narrative — fundamentally constituted around imperialist-racist ideology. Admittedly, Marshall does nothing more, but even this very little sets his film apart from such epic racefails as the Indiana Jonesfilms and Peter Jackson’s inept attempt to not make a racist King Kong. But can such pulp fictions be redeemed? Or when revived are they destined merely to be, in Lavie Tidhar’s infamous description of steampunk, “fascism for nice people”? Mark Bould reviews Black Pulp.
* During the decade 2000-10 in the USA, for the first time the number of poor people in major metropolitan suburbs surpassed the number in cities. Between 2000 and 2011, the poor population in suburbs grew by 64% — more than twice the rate of growth in cities (29%). By 2011, almost 16.4 million residents in suburbia lived below the poverty line, outstripping the poor population in cities by almost 3 million people. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.
What is Earth like in STAR TREK’S CENTURY? For one thing, we’ll never take a story back there and therefore don’t expect to get into subjects which would create great problems, technical and otherwise. The “U.S.S.” on our ship designation stands for “United Space Ship” – indicating (without troublesome specifics) that mankind has found some unity on Earth, perhaps at long last even peace. If you require a statement such as one that Earth cities of the future are splendidly planned with fifty-mile parkland strips around them, fine. But television today simply will not let us get into details of Earth’s politics of STAR TREK,’S century; for example, which socio-economic system ultimately worked out best.
* Via Slate’s Vault: Original Series Star Trek Writers/Directors Guide. Gems on every page!
SULU — Ship’s Helmsman, played by actor George Takei. Mixed oriental in ancestry, Japanese predominating, Sulu is contemporary American in speech and manner. In fact, his attitude toward Asians is that they seem to him rather “inscrutable”.
* App of the day: Buycott.
* And the headline reads, “Columbia University seeks to change ‘Caucasians only’ requirement for fellowship.”
* Sarah Kendzior and Rebecca Schuman tee up for the grad-school-backlash-backlash-backlash-honestly-I’ve-lost-count. As always, I’m very glad people are talking about exploitation, but nonetheless the unvarnished, apocalyptic negativity of some of these pieces just doesn’t reflect my own experiences in the academy very well at all. Academia contains multitudes; that’s actually a huge part of the problem.
* CEO Pay 1,795-to-1 Multiple of Wages Skirts U.S. Law. Of course, the “law” being skirted is a toothless disclosure requirement, so don’t even sweat it.
* Yglesias wept: Bangladesh to allow unions for garment workers.
Wright proposes that the central document to understanding Hubbard’s psyche is his so-called “secret memoir,” composed around 1947, otherwise referred to as Hubbard’s “Affirmations” or “Admissions.” The document itself has an interesting history: it was found by a former archivist for the Church of Scientology, Gerald Armstrong, who had been tasked with organizing the founder’s personal papers. The more Armstrong read, the less he believed. Convinced that Hubbard was a huckster, Armstrong copied the documents that he discovered in the archives and delivered them to his lawyer. He was thereafter sued by the Church of Scientology. During the trial, Armstrong tried to get on record portions of Hubbard’s “Affirmations,” under the vehement protests of the Church’s lawyers. Since then, the document has leaked to the internet. Among Hubbard’s Affirmations:
“I can write.”
“My mind is still brilliant.”
“That masturbation was no sin or crime.”
“That I do not need to have ulcers any more.”
“That I believe in my gods and spiritual things.”
“That my magical work is powerful and effective.”
“That the numbers 7, 25, and 16 are not unlucky or evil for me.”
“That I am not bad to look upon.”
“That I am not susceptible to colds.”
“That these words and commands are like fire and will sear themselves into every corner of my being, making me happy and well and confident forever!”
Hubbard emerges, in Wright’s account, as a pitiable figure, driven by relentless ambition yet also stalked by an enduring fear of irrelevance. Flawed, prone to tyranny and abusive behavior, he sought to conquer his insecurities by achieving an outsized grandeur. “If one looks behind the Affirmations to the conditions they are meant to correct,” Wright concludes, “one sees a man who is ashamed of his tendency to fabricate personal stories, who is conflicted about his sexual needs, and who worries about his mortality. He has a predatory view of women but at the same time fears their power to humiliate him.”
* Austerity comes to CTU: the new 24 will only have twelve episodes.
* “Too few questions were asked, too many assumptions were allowed to go unchallenged, too many voices of doubt were muffled or rejected in a toxic atmosphere of patriotism, ignorance and political fear.” No, he’s not talking about the Obama administration’s current policy of ubiquitous drone-backed assassination! He’s talking about Iraq.
* Slaughter critically reviews the history of the AAUP, and finds that since its inception in 1915, it has failed either to claim in theory, or to defend in practice, a concept of academic freedom sufficiently robust to ensure even the basic civil liberties of faculty in the “danger zone” of politically sensitive scholarship in the social sciences, let alone their ability to develop research in these fields without fear of politically motivated reprisals. Even one AAUP president, William Van Alstyne, has stated that the AAUP’s standards of professional accountability for public statements restrict faculty utterances in ways that would be unacceptable in the context of the constitutional law of civil liberties. Slaughter also argues that the AAUP has placed excessive emphasis on tenure, bargaining away other aspects of academic freedom to obtain job security, and that the tenure-review process itself is the principal mechanism by which conservative biases in the faculty are perpetuated, particularly in times of financial exigency when the refusal to grant tenure to young radical faculty can be rationalized as non-political.
“I think about it,” Westbrook said Friday. “I think everybody has their own personal battles, own personal demons. So I think Junior was not only dealing with concussions but he was also dealing with other things. But I often wonder the long-term effects of everything — playing with the bad knee, playing with the ankle, and of course the concussion situation. I think about it all the time, every time I wake up and can’t remember the name of someone I once knew. I always think about it.”
Marquette, meanwhile, is almost certainly the weakest No. 3 seed this year, and has about a 35 percent chance of being upset by No. 14-seeded Davidson in its opening game. Instead, a Round of 16 game against No. 4 Syracuse in Washington could be Indiana’s toughest test.
* Sometimes the most radical ideas are those which at first sound most banal. For example, when Detroit Emergency Manager (EM) Kevyn Orr and Michigan governor Rick Snyder describe the citizens of Detroit as “customers,” it barely registers as a platitude. At first glance, it’s just another example of how marketing-speak has encroached on the language of politics; similar to how a candidate for higher office might say that government ought to be run like a business, or compare the president to a CEO.
But the description of citizens as customers—an analogy repeatedly invoked by Snyder to justify suspending the powers of Detroit’s local government and putting the city under Emergency Management—is different. It refers not only to citizens, but to the fundamental character of the government’s relationship with its citizens.
* Steubenville, actually existing media bias, and the view from nowhere. The Egregious, Awful and Downright Wrong Reactions to the Steubenville Rape Trial Verdict. Steubenville and the misplaced sympathy for Jane Doe’s rapists. Steubenville Shows the Bond Between Jock Culture and Rape Culture. On Rape, Cages, and the Steubenville Verdict. Why Does Steubenville’s Football Coach Still Have His Job? What the hell is wrong with CNN?
* Gates McFadden’s Beverly Crusher Action Figure Tumblr. I can’t even begin. Via MetaFilter.
The United States government totally collapsed during season 4. At least, that’s what a prop newspaper created for use during “Hush” claims — apparently the United States House and Senate both dissolved as governing bodies, replaced by a shadowy group known only as “The Surviving Members of Queen.” Even though Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon and “digitally enhanced voice samples of Freddie Mercury” might not actually have U.S. citizenship. Meanwhile, then-President Clinton faced another scandal after he tested positive for presidency-enhancing drug Crovan.
* And the RNC autopsies what went wrong.
* Two bad tastes that taste good together: Rand Paul filibusters drones.
* Apocalypse now: The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show.
* The entrapment defense rarely succeeds, both in terrorism cases and more quotidian (usually drug-related) prosecutions, largely because “entrapment” means something very different in a courtroom than it does in ordinary usage. For nearly a century, the federal courts have allowed a criminal defendant to dodge criminal liability by showing that the governmentinduced her to commit an unlawful act. Once the accused makes such a showing, however, the government still has the opportunity to prove that she was predisposed to commit the crime, even before government agents entered the picture. If a jury accepts the government’s characterization, other factors—the nature or size of the “bait,” the complexity of the government artifice, or the independent wherewithal of the defendant to commit the crime—basically don’t matter: the defendant is still guilty. This means that when entrapment is at issue, the personality, reputation, criminal history, and political or religious beliefs of the accused become the centerpiece of the trial. Post-9/11 juries have had little trouble concluding that the disaffected Muslims (and occasional anarchists) ensnared by the FBI have been sufficiently “predisposed” to engage in terrorism.
* #slatepitches: What SimCity Teaches Us About Real Cities of the Future.
* Ephemeral third ring of radiation makes appearance around Earth. If we lived in a comic book, I bet this story would be fifteen times as awesome.
* And the latest issue of The New Inquiry posits time is the fire in which we burn.
* “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.
* Having a monetary value tied to human incarceration and justice creates a deeply perverse incentive that should not exist in the world of commerce. When the for-profit prison industry places the iron fist of criminal justice in the invisible hands of the market and sells it as a cost-cutting measure, it is hard not to interpret as anything but the predatory capitalism of a self-perpetuating slave state.
* Just end the filibuster. This is a no-brainer.
Following the events of last week, in which a crazed western lowland gorilla ruthlessly murdered 21 people in a local shopping plaza after escaping from the San Diego Zoo, sources across the country confirmed Thursday that national gorilla sales have since skyrocketed.
“After seeing yet another deranged gorilla just burst into a public place and start killing people, I decided I need to make sure something like that never happens to me,” said 34-year-old Atlanta resident Nick Keller, shortly after purchasing a 350-pound mountain gorilla from his local gorilla store. “It just gives me peace of mind knowing that if I’m ever in that situation, I won’t have to just watch helplessly as my torso is ripped in half and my face is chewed off. I’ll be able to use my gorilla to defend myself.”
* 56 Up now playing in the US. I can’t wait.
* For the fiscal year, which for most schools ends this June, 18% of 165 private universities and 15% of 127 public universities project a decline in net tuition revenue. That is a sharp rise from the estimated declines among 10% of the 152 private schools and 4% of the 105 public schools in fiscal 2012.
* Google will now translate into Flanders. (Not really-a-doodly.)
* Horrifying: On zombie foreclosure.
* And on the science fiction beat: Joss Whedon Directing SHIELD Pilot Right Now, Already Working On Scripts For Later In The Series. Christopher Nolan’s next movie is called Interstellar. For the 50th anniversary, five Doctors and a cavalcade of Companions will reunite…on an audio special. Fan hopes science will prove tragic Firefly death never happened. And Y: The Last Man has a director: the unknown fan director of that Portal fan film.
…at io9. Some of these sound okay, and others make me perversely glad the series was canceled early.
Alan Tudyk definitely pitched the most episodes. He had a great one where there were some criminals who engage in illegal dogfights, and there was a planet where one side of the planet was perpetual night. They had these big, feral dogs there that were so mean and awful, and we had to go out and trap them.
We had this dog pheremone of some kind, and Jayne was messing around, and splat!, the thing bursts and we’re all covered in this pheremone. So we have to run back to the ship with these feral dogs chasing us, and we get the dogs back to the hold of the ship, and we’re safe. But in the journey back to get them back to the criminals, River comes in, communes with the dogs, and domesticates them. So now they’re the same dogs, just nice.
* What is happening is a dramatic policy shift whereby the rights and entitlements the US working class has fought for and come to expect are now declared to be, for the foreseeable future, unreachable and unjustified. To put it in media terms, it is “the end of the American dream,” signifying the historic severance of US capital from the US working class, in the sense that US capitalism is becoming completely de-territorialized and is now refusing any commitment to the reproduction of the US workforce.
* A bit out of their jurisdiction, don’t you think? It’s True: The FBI Urged Martin Luther King to Commit Suicide.
* $134,078.44 lien for unpaid hospital bills filed against unarmed man shot by police while fleeing gunman. In a movie called America 2012, it’d be a little too on-the-nose.
* Poll panickers relax: Obama is crushing it in Ohio, and Ohio is basically the whole game this year.
PPP’s newest Ohio poll finds Barack Obama leading 51-46, a 5 point lead not too different from our last poll two weeks ago when he led 49-45.
The key finding on this poll may be how the early voters are breaking out. 19% of people say they’ve already cast their ballots and they report having voted for Obama by a 76-24 margin. Romney has a 51-45 advantage with those who haven’t voted yet, but the numbers make it clear that he already has a lot of ground to make up in the final three weeks before the election.
* Okay, go ahead and panic a little: Romney Debate Gains Show Staying Power. For what it’s worth Obama spiked a bit upward on the 538 graphs today.
* Of course there are still those who think the worse, the better.
Why Romney? Because his transparency as a Neanderthal may, just may, bring people into the streets, while under Obama passivity and false consciousness appear almost irreversible.
Elsewhere on the Web, the affirmative case for Obama has more or less reduced to pure spite.
Do these folks really want their bigoted in-laws and racist YouTube commenters to have the satisfaction of having been right all along? Because that’s what they’ll take away from this.
* ‘Million Muppet March’ Planned. I’ll allow it, but know you’re on a tight leash.
* Isn’t-it-pretty-to-think-so-filter: Why near-death experiences don’t constitute proof of an afterlife.
* And just in case you’re still out there in the cold: Presenting SmartSocks+: the smartest socks in the world.