Posts Tagged ‘Philip K. Dick’
* You can now order the special Paradoxa issue on “Africa SF.” The testimonials indicate that Samuel Delany has at least heard of something I’ve written, so there’s that…
* Those who do not study history will have their wise decision ratified by bean-counting administrators: One of the 17 University of North Carolina campuses could stop offering degrees in physics, history and political science. If you read that sentence and thought to yourself, “gee, I bet that’s a historically black college,” give yourself a prize!
-Half the population would be white men.
-Five percent of the population would be black men.
-Just 1.9 percent of the world would be Asian or Latino men.
-Overall, 57 percent of the population would be men.
-34 percent of the world would be white women
-3.8 percent would be African-American women
-And 3.8 percent would be Latino or Asian women
-31.8 percent of the population would work for the police or some sort of federal law enforcement agency.
-9.7 percent of us would be doctors.
-2.6 percent of us would be criminals.
-1.9 percent would be supernatural creatures or robots.
* What they are defending is a system in which wealth is passed off as merit, in which credentials are not earned but bought. Aptitude is a quality measured by how much money you can spend on its continual reassessment.
Students whose parents pay tens of thousands for SAT tutors to help their child take the test over and over compete against students who struggle to pay the fee to take the test once. Students who spend afternoons on “enrichment” activities compete against students working service jobs to pay bills – jobs which don’t “count” in the admissions process. Students who shell out for exotic volunteer trips abroad compete with students of what C Z Nnaemeka termed “the un-exotic underclass” – the poor who have “the misfortune of being insufficiently interesting”, the poor who make up most of the US today.
* …a recent Twitter thread started by a popular feminist blogger examines a dark side of that cliché in real-life academe, one in which professors’ advances – intellectual and otherwise – feed a need for validation and flattery, and at times cross the line into sexual harassment.
* Obama’s going to be super-mad when he finds out about the nonsensical security state procedures his administration has been using in lieu of actual oversight. And breaking into Yahoo! and Google? Why didn’t anyone tell him!
* Ripped from the pages of Philip K. Dick! Pentagon weighs future of its inscrutable nonagenarian futurist.
* The Chronicle follows up on last year’s PhD-on-food-stamps, who is now in a TT position at Martin Methodist College.
* The richest country in history: The Number Of Homeless Students In The United States Hits A Record.
* They’re marketing the Veronica Mars movie as a love triangle. This is my skeptical face.
* What’s W.R.O.N.G. with ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? A.L.M.O.S.T. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
* No accidents, comrade: The New Inquiry considers Cold War nostalgia and Twilight Struggle.
* Matt Zoller Seitz completes his series on video essays on Wes Anderson films. Bring on The Grand Budapest Hotel!
* PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 27: Princeton’s freshmen again have chosen Adolf Hitler as “the greatest living person” in the annual poll of their class conducted by The Daily Princetonian.
* And it looks like they’ve finally (almost) proved that Darth Vader wasn’t always going to be Luke Skywalker’s father. Gotcha Lucas! You can run but you can’t hide.
* Also from Richard: What do asteroids, MOOCs, and medical records have in common? All are examples, currently in the news, of the way in which public policy in the US is driven not by the common good or professionals or expert knowledge, but by the generation of mediashock in the service of the entrepeneurial desire of cybercapitalism to monetize data.
All of us that use the internet are already practicing Drone Ethnography. Look at the features of drone technology: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Surveillance, Sousveillance. Networks of collected information, over land and in the sky. Now consider the “consumer” side of tech: mapping programs, location-aware pocket tech, public-sourced media databases, and the apps and algorithms by which we navigate these tools. We already study the world the way a drone sees it: from above, with a dozen unblinking eyes, recording everything with the cold indecision of algorithmic commands honed over time, affecting nothing—except, perhaps, a single, momentary touch, the momentary awareness and synchronicity of a piece of information discovered at precisely the right time. An arc connecting two points like the kiss from an air-to-surface missile. Our technological capacity for watching, recording, collecting, and archiving has never been wider, and has never been more automated. The way we look at the world—our basic ethnographic approach—is mimicking the technology of the drone.
* The ACLU on what Rand Paul achieved.
* “Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends’ wishes — to leave with the boys. They assert that she consented to sex,” reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Rachel Dissell. Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, is getting specific, citing “an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.” She was unconscious at the time.
* The Herbalife war: Hedge-fund titan Bill Ackman has vowed to bring down Herbalife, the 33-year-old nutritional-supplement company, which he views as a pyramid scheme. With his massive shorting of Herbalife stock, the price plummeted, prompting two fellow billionaires—Ackman’s former friend Dan Loeb and activist investor Carl Icahn—to take the opposing bet on Herbalife. As the public brawl rivets Wall Street, William D. Cohan learns why, this time, it’s personal.
* The most influential songwriter of his time has become the first rock star voted into the elite, century-old American Academy of Arts and Letters, where artists range from Philip Roth to Jasper Johns and categories include music, literature and visual arts.
* This weeks’s denunciation of the dissertation, yours at the Chronicle.
* The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed. Esquire has been publishing some really interesting journalism lately.
“No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job,” Barack Obama said last Veterans’ Day, “or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.”
But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:
Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.
* Artist claims to create 3D facial renderings based on discarded cigarette butts. I am extremely skeptical!
* An Occurrence at the O.C. Bridge: “Arrested Development” is George Sr.’s death row fantasy.
* And Slate asks the unthinkable: what if not every show premise can sustain itself forever?
Despite being a major fan of Dick’s work, I have to admit that I question whether this manuscript should have seen print at all, given its often embarrassing rambling and autodidactic fanaticism, with Dick latching onto any stray thread to spin out his cosmogonic web. I certainly find it hard to imagine that there is a widespread audience for this strange assemblage of obiter Dick-ta, even among PKD’s more hardcore followers.
What redeems the work for me, finally, is Dick’s abiding skepticism about his own revelations. Seemingly endless passages of portentous nonsense — such as a lengthy attempt to conscript Julian Jaynes’s crackpot bestseller The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mindinto the warp and woof of his own fixations — suddenly give way to agonizing reappraisals and poignant spasms of self-doubt, as when Dick admits that “I was taken over by my own S-F universe”:
The AI voice [i.e., VALIS] is a special kind of hallucination: one of wish-fulfillment and need, due to loneliness: emotional starvation and grief and ill-use. I just can’t endure life without that lonely voice guiding me, so I regress…. The AI voice is my imaginary playmate, my sister, evolved out of childhood…. I was so unhappy and afraid; like R. Crumb, so behind the 8 ball, so filled with anticipatory dread.
Well, damn it — I don’t regret it. It made a barren, fearful life meaningful and bearable….
Crazy people generally don’t know they’re crazy, and Dick’s abiding awareness of the dubious nature of his visions makes him at worst a pathetic figure, struggling heroically in these pages through madness towards sense, like the sadsack, put-upon protagonists of so many of his novels.
‘The Trouble Is, Any Revelatory Messages Are Embedded in More than 900 Pages of Impulsive Theorizing, Much of Which Is Self-Referential’
The New York Times reviews Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis. I worked on this book as a researcher, so my feelings about it, unsurprisingly, are much more positive than the reviewer’s—but I think this may also have something to do with my position as an academic as well as a fan. The book is emphatically not some new, undiscovered PKD novel; it’s something very different, and as Platt warns, that something may just not be for everyone. But for the people that it’s for the Exegesis is a treasure.