Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘moral panic

All the Wednesday Links!

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“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.”

What Do 2,358 College Administrators Do? More at reclaimUC.

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.

* Misogyny nightmare at USC.

  • [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.

Why I Didn’t Go to Dubai.

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.”

* Shock! Horror! Emails show Detroit’s emergency managers always intended to declare bankruptcy.

* 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.

The NCAA’s History With Concussions: A Timeline.

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.

* SyFy is destroying America: the only thing worse than a pointless 12 Monkeys TV series would be Warriors of Oz.

* North Carolina not even bothering to pretend post-VRA-evisceration.

Hollywood Actress Has Played a 17-Year-Old for Over 17 Years.

Francis Ford Coppola’s potential cast list for The Godfather.

* 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.

And Even More Monday Links

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Not Longer Being Elmo

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Kevin Clash out at Sesame Street as second accuser surfaces. What a quintessentially American, tragic fall from grace. Alongside everything else, I’m amazed they let Being Elmo go forward under these circumstances; the Children’s Television Workshop couldn’t have done more damage to their brand if they’d tried.

Mary Elizabeth Williams says this can’t kill Elmo. If the flames of the moral panic get hot enough, it definitely could.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Tuesday Night Links

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* The Passion of Andrew Sullivan.

The CEO Who Built Himself America’s Largest House Just Threatened to Fire His Employees if Obama’s Elected. If anything this makes the already excellent Queen of Versailles even more awesome.

“We are athletes, we are not gladiators,” Winston told Kansas City reporters. “This isn’t the Roman Colisseum. People pay their hard-earned money to come in here. I believe they can boo, they can cheer, they can do whatever they want. But when you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don’t care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel, it’s sickening. It’s 100 percent sickening. I’ve been in some rough times on some rough teams. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life to play football than at that moment right there.” I wonder if the NFL will exist in 20 years.

* Seems legit: Deadly Meningitis Outbreak Demonstrates Need For Less Government Regulation.

Wesleyan Sued Over ‘Rape Factory’ Frat House.

* And your Tumblr of the night: Fuck No Sexist Halloween Costumes.

A Few More for Friday While I Procrastinate

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* 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.

* Nate Cohn and Ed Kilgore have your polling roundups. The short version is that while it’s not over, it’s definitely slipping away from Romney.

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.

William Gibson on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong.  J.G. Ballard vs. the fans.

* Lost and Found: NPR has all your vintage photographs.

* And of course you had me at “New Monkey Discovered.”

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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The Republican-led Arizona Legislature is considering a bill to fund an armed, volunteer state militia to respond to emergencies and patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

Lots and Lots of Monday Night Links

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* ThinkProgress reports solar is surging. We’re saved! Krugman has more, and so does Steve Benen.

* Via my dad: Soviet Bus Stops.

* Occupy my dad: Class war is intergenerational war.

* Rortybomb: Two Steps Toward Tackling Our Current Student Loan Problems. Robert Cruickshank: …any student loan reform proposal that does not include some form of principal writedowns is not likely to be very effective.

* Chris Newfield: The real issue is that imposing higher teaching loads and more on-line instruction on public universities won’t reverse the relentlessly growing gulf between elite privates and their once-elite public peers. 

* Tor reviews Stephen King’s 11/22/63. I’m much more interested in his pitch for what sounds like a truly horrifying next novel: Occupy Bangor.

“Without knowing what they ought to fear, US citizens might otherwise fail to support profitable national security initiatives.”

* A new AAUW study shows there’s an easy way for young women to avoid sexual harassment in schools: just avoid being either pretty or not pretty.

* Polling shows Americans have begun to realize Republicans are intentionally sabotaging the economy.

* Anti-vaccination fever just got a little more crazy. Via MeFi.

* Marriage equality increases property values. Is that a good enough reason?

* Also on the equality front: Dan Harmon kind-of, sort-of apologizes for the way Community treats gay and trans people.

* Everybody still hates Romney. Poor guy.

* And Bors memorializes one of the windows broken during the Occupy Oakland protests last week.

Any Ordinary Person Reading This Would See It In That Way and Be Alarmed

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 12, 2010 at 9:52 am

The Gray and the Brown

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White America has lost its mind. By coincidence, zunguzungu has a post on much the same theme here, giving this phenomenon a much longer history:

DuBois’ sentence needs to be placed in this emergence of race-thinking and cultural relativism; doing so helps clarify the extent to which the very concepts he is using to describe the emergence of race thinking (and the challenge it poses to his own universalist humanism) are being torn apart by the shifting conceptual foundations beneath them (in many ways, necessitating the increasingly ironic tone he adopted at this moment in his life). The manner in which “the world” is changing is, in essence, an argument over what the term itself signifies: “the world” which once considered itself universally representative of “Universal Man” has, in discovering itself to be white, discovered itself not to be “the world” at all, but only a particular fraction of it. But this also makes me want to read a lot into DuBois’ description of the way whites become “painfully conscious of their whiteness.” That pain makes a lot more sense if we place it in context of a great loss: the realization that “white” people were neither a numerical majority nor a necessary consequence of historical teleology was a painful loss of universality that, for many, would never stop smarting. And it makes a lot more sense why such people would begin to hate, rather than simply have contempt for, people who were not white: such people represented — indeed, embodied — the very reality of that loss.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 1, 2010 at 11:30 am

Fox News as Radio Rwanda

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Taibbi makes the provocative but sadly compelling comparison here.

A lot of Tea Party anger is driven by real local issues — where I live in central Jersey, for instance, there are a lot of pissed-off white people crowing over a nutty state supreme court case in which a Central American drunk driver got off because cops didn’t explain the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer in his native Spanish. But without the constant reinforcement of national 24-hour media, which has taken these isolated cases and presented them as a coast-to-coast massive conspiracy, the rage over stories like this would never reach the levels we’re seeing.

In fact if you follow Fox News and the Limbaugh/Hannity afternoon radio crew, this summer’s blowout has almost seemed like an intentional echo of the notorious Radio Rwanda broadcasts “warning” Hutus that they were about to be attacked and killed by conspiring Tutsis, broadcasts that led to massacres of Tutsis by Hutus acting in “self-defense.” A sample of some of the stuff we’ve seen and heard on the air this year:

* On July 12, Glenn Beck implied that the Obama government was going to aid the New Black Panther Party in starting a race war, with the ultimate aim of killing white babies. “They want a race war. We must be peaceful people. They are going to poke, and poke, and poke, and our government is going to stand by and let them do it.” He also said that “we must take the role of Martin Luther King, because I do not believe that Martin Luther King believed in, ‘Kill all white babies.’”

* CNN contributor and Redstate.com writer Erick Erickson, on the Panther mess: “Republican candidates nationwide should seize on this issue. The Democrats are giving a pass to radicals who advocate killing white kids in the name of racial justice and who try to block voters from the polls.”

* On July 6, the Washington Times columnist J. Christian Adams wrote an editorial insisting that “top [Obama] appointees have allowed and even encouraged race-based enforcement as either tacit or open policy,” marking one of what would become many assertions by commentators that the Obama administration was no longer interested in protecting the rights of white people. “The Bush Civil Rights Division was willing to protect all Americans from racial discrimination,” Adams wrote. “During the Obama years, the Holder years, only some Americans will be protected.”

* July 12: Rush Limbaugh says Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder “protect and represent” the New Black Panther party.

* July 28: Rush says Supreme Court decision on 1070 strips Arizonans of their rights to defend themselves against an “invasion”: “I guess the judge is saying it’s not in the public interest for Arizona to try to defend itself from an invasion. I don’t know how you look at this with any sort of common sense and come to the ruling this woman came to.” That same day, Rush says this: “Muslim terrorists are going to have a field day in Arizona. You cannot ask them where they’re from. You cannot even act like we know where they’re from. You cannot ask them for their papers. We can ask you for yours. Not them.”

* July 29: The Washington Times asks “Should Arizona Secede?” and says the Supreme Court “is unilaterally disarming the people of Arizona in the face of a dangerous enemy” with the aim of creating a “socialist superstate.” The paper writes: “The choice is becoming starkly apparent: devolution or dissolution.”

* July 29, Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy continues the Radio Rwanda theme, saying, “If the feds won’t protect the people and Governor Brewer can’t protect her citizens, what are the people of Arizona supposed to do?”

There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution.

I hate to quote so much of the post, but his idea of targeted micro-boycotts against Fox advertisers seems like a very good one:

I’m beginning to wonder why effective boycotts against these hate-media channels, and particularly Fox, haven’t been organized yet. Why not just pick out one Fox advertiser at random and make an example out of it? How about Subaru and their unintentionally comic “Love” slogan? I actually like their cars, but what the fuck? How about Pep Boys and that annoying logo of theirs? Just to prove that it can be done, I’d like to see at least one firm get blown out of business as a consequence of financially supporting the network that is telling America that its black president wants to kill white babies. Isn’t that at least the first move here? It’s beginning to strike me that sitting by and doing nothing about this madness is not a terribly responsible way to behave.

To a limited extent this is already happening, although almost exclusively around Glenn Beck.

Last Night in London Links

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* Once again xkcd shows off its uncanny knack for reading my mind: “There are two or three songs out there with beeps in the chorus that sound exactly like the clock radio alarm I had in high school, and hearing it makes me think my life since junior year has been a dream I’m about to wake up from.”

* Zissou, Simpsonized.

* So that settles it, we’re never leaving: Oilfield With Estimated 1.8 Billion Barrels Of Oil Identified In Afghanistan.

* Wheat beats white for the first time ever.

* Also in food news: I guess I’m the last to know they’ve been cloning meat and milk for sale in the U.S. Gross.

* More on the future of renewable energy in North Carolina, in Independent Weekly.

* I think this study comes as close to proving that men are scum as any could: Men are more likely to cheat if they earn less money than their female partner, but they’re also more likely to cheat if their partners are financially dependent on them…

* If temperatures were not warming, the number of record daily highs and lows being set each year would be approximately even. Instead, for the period from January 1, 2000, to September 30, 2009, the continental United States set 291,237 record highs and 142,420 record lows, as the country experienced unusually mild winter weather and intense summer heat waves.

* France urged to repay $23 billion in compensation to Haiti. Sounds like a good start.

* Your moral coward of the night: Harry Reid.

* Your morally odious moron of the night: Ross Douthat, who apparently believes violence, intolerance, and discrimination are essential and praiseworthy components of America’s liberal tradition.

* And I really can’t believe I’m getting sucked into this nonsense, but all right: Photos of Stuff the Same Distance from the World Trade Center as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

It’s Hard To Be Tough On Babies

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Here’s the great Daily Show segment on birth-citizenship panic that aired last night.

We Must Invest in Seeds

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The Truth Is Out There

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I’m a little late to the Tea Party on this, but two links on the history of the movement are drawing a lot of attention to themselves this week:

* “Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right” (New York Times)

As the meeting ended, Carolyn L. Whaley, 76, held up her copy of the Constitution. She carries it everywhere, she explained, and she was prepared to lay down her life to protect it from the likes of Mr. Obama.

“I would not hesitate,” she said, perfectly calm.

* “The Movement: The Rise of Tea Party Activism.” (New Yorker)

As spring passed into summer, the scores at local Tea Party gatherings turned to hundreds, and then thousands, collecting along the way footloose Ron Paul supporters, goldbugs, evangelicals, Atlas Shruggers, militiamen, strict Constitutionalists, swine-flu skeptics, scattered 9/11 “truthers,” neo-“Birchers,” and, of course, “birthers”—those who remained convinced that the President was a Muslim double agent born in Kenya. “We’ll meet back here in six months,” Beck had said in March, and when September 12th arrived even the truest of believers were surprised by the apparent strength of the new movement, as measured by the throngs who made the pilgrimage to the Capitol for a Taxpayer March on Washington, swarming the Mall with signs reading “ ‘1984’ Is Not an Instruction Manual” and “The Zoo Has an African Lion and the White House Has a Lyin’ African!”

Terrorball

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The first two rules of Terrorball are:

(1) The game lasts as long as there are terrorists who want to harm Americans; and

(2) If terrorists should manage to kill or injure or seriously frighten any of us, they win.

Paul Campos explains the rules of Terrorball. Via Kevin Drum.

These rules help explain the otherwise inexplicable wave of hysteria that has swept over our government in the wake of the failed attempt by a rather pathetic aspiring terrorist to blow up a plane on Christmas Day. For two weeks now, this mildly troubling but essentially minor incident has dominated headlines and airwaves, and sent politicians from the president on down scurrying to outdo each other with statements that such incidents are “unacceptable,” and that all sorts of new and better procedures will be implemented to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

Meanwhile, millions of travelers are being subjected to increasingly pointless and invasive searches and the resultant delays, such as the one that practically shut down Newark Liberty International Airport last week, after a man accidentally walked through the wrong gate, or Tuesday’s incident at a California airport, which closed for hours after a “potentially explosive substance” was found in a traveler’s luggage. (It turned out to be honey.)

As to the question of what the government should do rather than keep playing Terrorball, the answer is simple: stop treating Americans like idiots and cowards.It might be unrealistic to expect the average citizen to have a nuanced grasp of statistically based risk analysis, but there is nothing nuanced about two basic facts:

(1) America is a country of 310 million people, in which thousands of horrible things happen every single day; and

(2) The chances that one of those horrible things will be that you’re subjected to a terrorist attack can, for all practical purposes, be calculated as zero.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 9, 2010 at 10:36 pm

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