Posts Tagged ‘Nabokov’
* The law, in its majestic equality… Rejecting Man’s Bid For Refugee Status, Court Rules Climate Change Is Not ‘Persecution.’
* “I haven’t read any superhero comics since I finished with Watchmen,” [Moore] said in a discussion on his latest work, Fashion Beast. “I hate superheroes. I think they’re abominations. They don’t mean what they used to mean. They were originally in the hands of writers who would actively expand the imagination of their nine-to-13-year-old audience. That was completely what they were meant to do and they were doing it excellently. These days, superhero comics think the audience is certainly not nine to 13, it’s nothing to do with them. It’s an audience largely of 30-, 40-, 50-, 60-year old men, usually men. Someone came up with the term graphic novel. These readers latched on to it; they were simply interested in a way that could validate their continued love of Green Lantern or Spider-Man without appearing in some way emotionally subnormal. This is a significant rump of the superhero-addicted, mainstream-addicted audience. I don’t think the superhero stands for anything good. I think it’s a rather alarming sign if we’ve got audiences of adults going to see the Avengers movie and delighting in concepts and characters meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of the 1950s.”
* Rortyblog: How to Waste a Crisis.
In what sense is this neoliberal? Some of this could be viewed as an attempt to create market citizens, and an ideological story can be told about how the right’s current program fully shifts risks to the individual and makes them an even more conscious participant in managing their own risks. But on its face, it looks a lot like class war, full stop. Mirowski never explains why the ideological project of market subjectivity serves any other purpose but class war, or why, even when neoliberal tenets about embracing precarity as liberation have taken hold broadly, the movement continues to fuel itself with reactionary ressentiment. If neoliberalism is not class war, why hasn’t it been content with winning?
The report’s emphasis on skills over content occurs even when it specifically addresses humanities research, or the production of knowledge, itself. For example, the most sustained definition “The Heart of the Matter” gives of humanities research is that research in the humanities “enables us to see the world from different points of view so that we may better understand ourselves” (38). This definition frames the purpose of humanities research as helping us to broaden our perspective and to understand ourselves better, not as making new discoveries and producing new knowledge about our past and our present. Such a definition, again, reduces the production of complex humanistic knowledge to the transmission of generally applicable skill-sets. This reaffirms one of the major criticisms leveled at the humanities today: that the subjects humanists study are impractical, useless, and unimportant. By defending the value of the humanities on the grounds that the most important thing humanities disciplines do is teach important skills, we concede the point that the specific knowledge humanistic disciplines produce is unimportant.
* The Pope Just Published One Of The Most Powerful Critiques Of Modern Capitalism That You Will Ever Read. Evangelii Gaudium. ”I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”
* More Vatican-City-style communism! 14 Genius Ideas The U.S. Should Seriously Consider Adopting.
* Over 176 Pounds? The morning after pill probably won’t work for you. The comments (which of course are terrible) reveal other instances of this kind of body normativity in medicine that I simply had no idea about.
These employees allege, and available AHA internal evidence supports their claims, that the organization distorts its film ratings, downplays or fails to publicly acknowledge harmful incidents and sometimes doesn’t seriously pursue investigations. The AHA staffers agreed to speak because they say they have lost hope in the potential for meaningful reform unless outside pressure is brought to bear. (They all have insisted on maintaining their anonymity for fear of retribution.)
* African-American girl faces expulsion over ‘natural hair.’ The school has elected not to get sued into oblivion at this time.
* Adam Roberts is annoyed that hypertrophic spoilerphobia won’t let him write a proper review of Maddaddam (though he basically does anyway).
* To be clear, shale drilling has created jobs, particularly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and cushioned some drilling-intensive areas in these states from the worst effects of the Great Recession and the weak recovery. The number of actual shale jobs created, however, is far below industry claims. Shale employment remains a small share of overall employment and has made little difference in job growth in any of the six states studied.
* The national conservative movement is waging a war… in SeaTac. That’s a weird sentence. Out of all the places to wage a political fight, why would conservatives and the infamous Koch Brothers choose a Pacific Northwest village of 26,000 that most Americans have probably never heard of?
* Put the Student Union of Michigan in charge! In the end, the university’s rationale for the campaign relies heavily on a narrative of state defunding. For example, as a Detroit News article relates, “President Mary Sue Coleman called the campaign ‘audacious’ and said no gift is too small since universities need philanthropy with states no longer able to support them to the degree they must for schools to be globally competitive.” This narrative seems difficult to square with the actual role of the endowment in funding university operations. The endowment contributes only 4.5% (of its total holdings) to the general operation funds of university each year. The principal stays invested. Thus, if we look at the breakdown of revenue sources at the university in 2010 the endowment contributed only $253 million. Student tuition however generated over $1 billion, while state funding totaled $315 million. The endowment clearly has very little to do with making up for lost state funding. Its purpose lies elsewhere. And that elsewhere is in the university’s move to behave more and more like a hedge fund, mobilizing donated capital to secure new revenue streams. It does this by taking advantage of its tax-exempt status to build up a hoard of money that it then invests around the world in shady funds and places it would rather the university community did not know about. In so doing, the university is slowly becoming an important player on Wall Street but to play with the “big boys” it needs more and more capital, which requires constant fundraising campaigns. This money is destined for investment not students. Little of it will ever reach students in the form of scholarships or be used to offset increases in tuition. (via)
* Meanwhile: The University of California Invests in Prisons.
* Yanis Varoufakis on ponzi austerity.
Whereas in standard Ponzi (growth) schemes the lure is the promise of a growing fund, in the case of Ponzi austerity the attraction to bankrupted participants is the promise of reducing their debt, so as to liberate them from insolvency, through a combination of ‘belt tightening’, austerity measures and new loans that provide the bankrupt with necessary funds for repaying maturing debts (e.g. bonds). As it is impossible to escape insolvency in this manner, Ponzi austerity schemes, just like Ponzi growth schemes, necessitate a constant influx of new capital to support the illusion that bankruptcy has been averted. But to attract this capital, the Ponzi austerity’s operators must do their utmost to maintain the façade of genuine debt reduction.
* “I am as American as April in Arizona”: Nabokov interviews at The Paris Review.
* Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt.
* How the University Gets Laid Off: The University of Texas at Austin plans to drastically downsize its workforce, according to a draft of a plan obtained by the Texas State Employees Union that was confirmed by the university Friday afternoon.
* The House GOP’s Little Rule Change That Guaranteed A Shutdown. Why did Obama force Boehner to change the rules to guarantee a shutdown? The man’s a monster.
* National Cancer Institute director warns staff of increasingly dire effects of shutdown on science. Cancer research, classic big government bloat; I don’t even have cancer.
* Sobering reminder: What Democrats call victory.
* Stay safe Durham: What Is This Photo Of The Duke Basketball Team Handling Assault Rifles?
The arsenal of medicines in the Hayeses’ kitchen helps explain why. Pulmicort, a steroid inhaler, generally retails for over $175 in the United States, while pharmacists in Britain buy the identical product for about $20 and dispense it free of charge to asthma patients. Albuterol, one of the oldest asthma medicines, typically costs $50 to $100 per inhaler in the United States, but it was less than $15 a decade ago, before it was repatented.“The one that really blew my mind was the nasal spray,” said Robin Levi, Hannah and Abby’s mother, referring to her $80 co-payment for Rhinocort Aqua, a prescription drug that was selling for more than $250 a month in Oakland pharmacies last year but costs under $7 in Europe, where it is available over the counter.
Wait. Repatented? That’s a thing?
* Yet another take at getting to the bottom of Pale Fire: this one’s all about the gulags.
* And Alfonso Cuarón talks Gravity. Still haven’t seen it, alas…
* 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.
* 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!
2520 Intro to American Literature 2
Thematic Title: “Thrill and Dread in the American Century”
Description: “To be modern,” Marshall Berman wrote, “is to find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world—and, at the same time, that threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are.” This course traces the development of this tension between hope and disaster, between “thrill” and “dread,” in American literature since the Civil War. In this course we will examine and interrogate this explosive sense of what it means to be “modern” with respect to themes of history and futurity, identity and difference, politics, community, war, empire, and the environment. From the private lives of individuals and families to the very public relationships that exist in and between diverse communities to the nation’s assent to global superpower status in the context of a nuclear-powered Cold War, we will find America in the post-Civil-War period understands itself as a place where anything can happen—in good ways, and in bad.
Readings: Norton Anthology C,D,E; Nabokov’s Lolita (1958); Butler’s Parable of the Sower (1993)
* Credit where it’s due: despite my fears, Obama’s contraception judo turned out to be a genuinely inspired solution that gives everyone what they want. As I and others have been saying on Twitter, this whole thing is a good reminder that for all his other faults there’s almost no one better than Obama at campaigning. I don’t know if the trap was planned or if he just played a bad hand well, but either way this now looks a rare case of actually existing eleven-dimensional chess.
* Obligatory Republican primary links: Even At CPAC, Conservatives Seem Despondent About 2012 Choices.
* And Nate Silver invades your dreams: The Bettor’s Case for Santorum.
* If it’s possible to miss the point of Pale Fire any worse than this, I don’t want to know about it. Via PCEgan.
* Learned helplessness watch: Congressional Democrats, obviously feeling the heat from my persistent calls to use reconciliation to get around Republican filibusters, have now taken reconciliation off the table altogether. Idiots.
The comics present a different image of the Kryptonian city on each occasion, and Kelley sees in this a complex allegory, the diversity of representations signifying the instability of memory. The installation Kandor-Con includes architecture students who continuously design new Kandors, feeding them to a Superman fan site. For the artist, the inability of the original draughtsmen, the new designers or the hero’s internet fans to fix the form of Kandor once and for all illustrates “the stupidity and ridiculousness of technological utopianism.” The capital of the planet Krypton, says Kelley, is “the utopian city of the future that never came to be.”
You had me at “Bonjour.”
* I was kidnapped by lesbian pirates from outer space! A comic, via MetaFilter.
* Nations must invest $37 trillion in energy technologies by 2030 to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at sustainable levels and meet energy needs, the International Energy Agency warned today.
* A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is the patient, according to a study that examined the role gender played in so-called “partner abandonment.”
* Always start your viral marketing campaign after your show is already doomed.
Kolbert’s closing words are, however, a little unfair.
To be skeptical of climate models and credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery and hoses that shoot sulfur into the sky is to replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction. This is the turn that “SuperFreakonomics” takes, even as its authors repeatedly extoll their hard-headedness. All of which goes to show that, while some forms of horseshit are no longer a problem, others will always be with us.
Not unfair to Levitt and Dubner, mind you, but to science fiction. After all, two science fiction authors, Frederick Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth, had their number down way back in 1953 with The Space Merchants (Pohl, amazingly, is still active and alive).
The Conservationists were fair game, those wild eyed zealots who pretended modern civilization was in some way “plundering” our planet. Preposterous stuff. Science is always a step ahead of the failure of natural resources. After all, when real meat got scarce, we had soyaburgers ready. When oil ran low, technology developed the pedicab.
The Space Merchants is truly great, incidentally. Read it if you haven’t.
* Twenty years after the Berlin Wall. The “click to fade” images are stunning.