Posts Tagged ‘Ze Frank’
* 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.
* The true gloomsters are scientists who look at climate through the lens of “dynamical systems,” a mathematics that describes things that tend to change suddenly and are difficult to predict. It is the mathematics of the tipping point—the moment at which a “system” that has been changing slowly and predictably will suddenly “flip.” The colloquial example is the straw that breaks that camel’s back. Or you can also think of it as a ship that is stable until it tips too far in one direction and then capsizes. In this view, Earth’s climate is, or could soon be, ready to capsize, causing sudden, perhaps catastrophic, changes. And once it capsizes, it could be next to impossible to right it again.
* But there’s an easy solution to all this! North Carolina considers outlawing accurate predictions of sea level rise. More from Raleigh’s Scott Huler at Scientific American.
* Lessig: “There is no one in the criminal justice system who believes that system works well. There is no one in housing law who believes this is what law was meant to be. In contracts, you read about disputes involving tens, maybe a hundred dollars. The disputes of ordinary people. These disputes are not for the courts any more. Or if they are, they are for courts that are an embarrassment to the ideals of justice from our tradition. The law of real people doesn’t work, even if the law of corporations does.”
* Somebody awesomely trolled the New York state assessment exam.
* Concluding that racial bias played a significant factor in the sentencing of a man to death here 18 years ago, a judge on Friday ordered that the convict’s sentence be reduced to life in prison without parole, the first such decision under North Carolina’s controversial Racial Justice Act.
* Abigail Nussbaum says The Cabin in the Woods wasted a perfectly good plot.
Once you know The Cabin in the Woods‘s twist it’s impossible not to think of the film like this, and to have used this rich vein of story for little more than a metafictional gag seems like a criminal waste.
* And there are struggles deeper than the struggle with God: The Stages of Grading.
* Wisconsin State Sen. Glenn Grothman: There’s no need for an Equal Pay Law because money is more important for men. Scott Walker’s on board. What decade is this? Honestly.
* One of my earliest political disillusionments was discovering how bad Clinton’s trumpeted “welfare reform” really was. Everything old is new again.
* And Ze is back. Hooray for everything.
* I hadn’t heard Barry Hannah died. I never met him, but he was very much at the center of the Southern U.S. MFA scene. How sad.
* Students are striking in California again today, as anyone who is Facebook friends with my friend PJ knows very well. Good luck folks.
* Actually existing media bias: As if by magic, reconciliation is suddenly “controversial.”
* Apocalypse soon: Arctic seabed methane stores destabilizing, venting. Climate Progress agrees it’s time to panic.
* A link somewhere took me back to Ze Frank’s Young Me / Now Me today, and it’s still one of the most compelling sites on the Internet.
* Obama made his health care pitch to House progressives today, apparently pledging to return to the public option in the future. Raul Grijalva, who’d previously pledged to vote against the bill from the left, said he found the pitch “pretty compelling”—which is a very good sign.
* Currently watching: Tom Dowd and the Language of Music, about a research assistant on the Manhattan Project who went on to become the sound engineer and producer behind some of the best musicians of the 20th century. It’s great stuff.
* Via Vu, Buzzflash has the 50 best protest signs of 2009.
* When I first heard about Sketchy Santas, I too was skeptical. But I think you’ll agree the results speak for themselves.
…the scandal of the administration’s conduct is not the fact that they’re cutting services while raising fees, at least not in and of itself. In bad economic times, some kind of response is necessary. The scandal is that Mark Yudof and the regents are using the crisis of the moment to push forward a plan to privatize the UC system that has long been in the works and is geared to be permanent. And they are doing it by assuming “emergency powers” which allow them to arbitrarily overturn the precedents and policy that would otherwise explicitly prevent them from doing so, everything from caps on the amount that student fees can be raised to the contracts they’ve signed with university employees to the “Master Plan” for higher education that the state of California established fifty years ago. So if we want to talk about “Sacramento,” then let’s do so. But we need, then, to talk about two things: first, how the Republicans that run California through the governor’s mansion have been trying to privatize the state’s public education for a very long time, and, second, how the regents and Mark Yudof have been using the rhetoric of “crisis” to push that agenda through, bit by bit and step by step, replacing the UC’s traditional system of shared governance with a system of top-down corporate management.
* North Carolina’s constitution is clear: politicians who deny the existence of God are barred from holding office. Via MeFi.
* Over the past decade, oil giant Exxon Mobil has paid millions to organizations and “think tanks” in an attempt to deceive the public about the science behind global climate change. It’s no surprise that those very same organizations are now doing everything in their power to please their benefactor by drawing attention to the so-called “Climategate” scandal involving hacked emails from the University of East Anglia in England.
* Today at the Infrastructurist: How Can the U.S. End Its Oil Dependence for Good?
* Why Republicans Stopped Believing in Climate Change: “The growing skepticism among Republicans, with no matching shift among Democrats, suggests that the changes measured in this poll may be a reaction to having a Democrat in the White House rather than a shift in underlying attitudes toward global warming,” said Keating Holland, CNN polling director.
* Startling: 50% of people think women should be legally required to take their husbands’ names. Watch out, most married woman under forty I know! They’re coming for you.
* Jonathan Lethem talks to The Jewish Daily Forward about the greatness of Philip K. Dick.
* AMC greenlights zombie series. Sounds promising. Between this and Red Mars AMC is making a strong push for my particular demographic.
* As of tonight, Microsoft can no longer sell Word.
* Another Battlestar reboot? Already? Really?
* And Ze gets philosophical.
You partake in a medical experiment. In the experiment you are given one of two pills. You don’t know which one until after you take it. One shortens your life by 10 years, and the other lengthens your life by 10 years. You have just found out which pill you took. The question is: which pill do you think will increase the quality of your life the most? Would one make you change the way you live your life more than the other?
* Sarah Palin’s controversial proposal to create a “Department of Law” with the power to block ethics claims against the president is turning a lot of heads this morning.
* Swine flu: now more popular than Viagra.
Even more Sunday night links.
* Ev psych on the ropes? We can only dare to hope.
* MetaFilter remembers the Stonewall protests.
* Pawlenty says he’ll finally let Franken be seated once the state Supreme Court issues its ruling. Aren’t we moving a little fast, Tim? It’s only been eight months.
* Katrina vanden Heuvel with Steve Benen against bipartisanship.
* And Ze Frank plays “That Makes Me Think Of” again at Time, this week about thigns that are and aren’t black and white. Can’t we get The Show back already? We keep getting closer and closer.
* Ze Frank is playing “That Makes Me Think Of” for Time Magazine. This week the video’s about Iran.
* Ze Frank wants to sell you some art. Is this The Show slowly coming back?
* Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono unite in service of “meat-free Mondays.”
* How Facebook is affecting school reunions. I was remarking just this weekend that Facebook has made the high school reunion completely obsolete. (via Neil, whom Facebook has also made obsolete)
* Fans, vampires, trolls, masters: an academic bestiary.
It’s always other people who are ‘fans’: our own attachments, we like to pretend (to ourselves; others are unlikely to be convinced) have been arrived at by a properly judicious process and are not at all excessive. There’s a peculiar shame involved in admitting that one is a fan, perhaps because it involves being caught out in a fantasy-identification. ‘Maturity’ insists that we remember with hostile distaste, gentle embarrassment or sympathetic condescenscion when we were first swept up by something – when, in the first flushes of devotion, we tried to copy the style, the tone; when, that is, we are drawn into the impossible quest of trying to become what the Other is it to us. This is the only kind of ‘love’ that has real philosophical implications, the passion capable of shaking us out of sensus communis. Smirking postmodernity images the fan as the sad geekish Trekkie, pathetically, fetishistically invested in what – all good sense knows – is embarrassing trivia. But this lofty, purportedly olympian perspective is nothing but the view of the Last Man. Which isn’t to make the fatuous relativist claim that devotees of Badiou are the same as Trekkies; it is to make the point that Graham has been tirelessly reiterating – that the critique from nowhere is nothing but trolling. Trolls pride themselves on not being fans, on not having the investments shared by those occupying whatever space they are trolling. Trolls are not limited to cyberspace, although, evidently, zones of cyberspace – comments boxes and discussion boards – are particularly congenial for them. And of course the elementary Troll gesture is the disavowal of cyberspace itself. In a typical gesture of flailing impotence that nevertheless has effects – of energy-drain and demoralisation – the Troll spends a great deal of time on the web saying how debased, how unsophisticated, the web is – by contrast, we have to conclude, with the superb work routinely being turned out by ‘professionals’ in the media and the academy.
In many ways, the academic qua academic is the Troll par excellence. Postgraduate study has a propensity to breeds trolls; in the worst cases, the mode of nitpicking critique (and autocritique) required by academic training turns people into permanent trolls, trolls who troll themselves, who transform their inability to commit to any position into a virtue, a sign of their maturity (opposed, in their minds, to the allegedly infantile attachments of The Fan). But there is nothing more adolescent – in the worst way – than this posture of alleged detachment, this sneer from nowhere. For what it disavows is its own investments; an investment in always being at the edge of projects it can neither commit to nor entirely sever itself from – the worst kind of libidinal configuration, an appalling trap, an existential toxicity which ensures debilitation for all who come into contact with it (if only that in terms of time and energy wasted – the Troll above all wants to waste time, its libido involves a banal sadism, the dull malice of snatching people’s toys away from them).
Via Larval Subjects, who adds the Minotaur:
To K-Punks bestiary, I wonder if we shouldn’t add Minotaurs and their Labyrinths. One of the most frustrating things about the trollish figure of the scholar is the manner in which they proceed as minotaurs presiding over labyrinths. For the Minotaur it is never possible for there to be a genuine philosophical difference or a genuine difference in positions among philosophers. Rather, the Minotaur converts every philosophical opposition into a misinterpretation. The text(s) guarded by the Minotaur thus become a Labyrinth from which there is no escape. The Minotaur is even willing to go so far as deny explicit textual evidence to the contrary, speculating about the motives animating the Minos-Master they defend, suggesting that the thinker was either being humble or didn’t really mean such and such or that it is just a manner of speaking.
Friday night links of variable goofiness.
* Ze Frank has your optical illusion of the night.
You have two jars, 50 red marbles and 50 blue marbles. A jar will be picked at random, and then a marble will be picked from the jar. Placing all of the marbles in the jars, how can you maximize the chances of a red marble being picked? What are the exact odds of getting a red marble using your scheme?
* My friend Jay explains the story behind his possession of the world’s most badass scar.
* Who ate all the Neanderthals? Oops.
* Which of our own closely held beliefs will our own children and grandchildren by appalled by?
* Jacob directs our attention to the growing threat of Transforminators.