* There’s really not much evidence here besides pure speculation, but this sold me on a Star Trek: Discovery season centered on “The Cage”‘s enigmatic Number One.
* Disability is everywhere once you start noticing it. A simple awareness of who we are sharing our public spaces with can be revelatory. Wheelchair users or people with walkers, hearing aids, canes, service animals, prosthetic limbs or breathing devices may seem to appear out of nowhere, when they were in fact there all the time.
* Syllabus for History 5305: “Ideas across Borders: Transnational Intellectual Studies in U.S. History.”
* Madley argues—and this is the core of his book—that California’s elected officials were in fact “the primary architects of annihilation,” and that they were funded and enabled by the federal government. Together, state and federal officials created what Madley describes as a “killing machine” composed of US soldiers, California militia and volunteers, and slavers and mercenaries (so-called “Indian hunters”) in it for the money. He argues that “it took sustained political will—at both the state and federal levels—to create the laws, policies, and well-funded killing machine that carried [this genocide] out and ensured its continuation over several decades.”
* In reality, the increase in the supply of highly educated workers will reduce the value of that labour – more graduates will mean lower graduate wages. Nonetheless, many students will increasingly be looking long and hard at business management courses even if they’d rather do art. If you incur a £40,000 debt, with regressive interest rates, you’re probably going to be thinking about your degree in narrow economic terms. This is the thing that Michel Foucault noticed about neoliberalism. It is a prospectus for social engineering masquerading as a social theory. And since the system will now reproduce social inequality in new ways, ratified by educational outcomes, the rich will be confirmed in their existing belief that they are uniquely talented and deserving. Those who lose out will blame themselves. That might, in fact, be what governments mean by meritocracy.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Martha, the alcoholic daughter of the dean, is married to George, an adjunct professor. She invites Nick, another adjunct professor and his wife over for a drink. But Nick has way too many papers to grade, and George can’t spare a minute away from his academic job search to socialize, anyway. A drunk Martha falls asleep on the couch as the credits roll.
Run Time: 5 minutes
With the Zika virus spreading to Miami Beach, federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women not to visit a 20-block stretch of one of the country’s most alluring tourist destinations. They also told them to consider postponing travel anywhere in Miami-Dade County.
* “He said, ‘I don’t care what people think. I’m marrying you.’” How has this not been a movie already?
* The publication is highly significant, because it demonstrates that the notion of ageing as a treatable disease has moved from a fringe theory held only by a small percentage of researchers to a widely accepted notion being used as the basis for widespread research strategies.
* Even since I found out a few weeks ago that they’re making Bad Boys sequels, I’ve been unable to accept this isn’t a colossal hoax.
* I’m also morally opposed to this The Tick reboot, since you asked.
* At the U.S. Olympic marathon trials held in Los Angeles to choose the team for the Rio Olympic Games this year, 30 percent of the runners dropped out of the race due to the heat. “By 2085, only eight (1.5 percent) of 543 cities outside of western Europe would meet the low-risk category,” they wrote.
* “What It’s Like to Be a Celibate Pedophile.” These articles get posted every so often on various sites and they always seem like elaborate put-ons to me.
* A Dallas officer caught Adkins riding a bicycle without a helmet in September 2014. But the cop never should’ve written the ticket. Months earlier, the City Council had scrapped the bicycle helmet ordinance for adults. Adkins is 46.
Adkins didn’t know the law had changed until a reporter told him recently. At the time, he assumed he was indeed guilty. But he said he couldn’t come up with the money for the $10 fine. Now he has a warrant out for his arrest, which he can pay off for $259.30.
* What’s needed is some way to protect essential infrastructure investments from the vicissitudes of congressional politics and the cyclical ups and downs of the economy. There may be no ideal solution, but one thing that could help is resurrecting an old idea: the establishment of a separate capital budget for the federal government, with its own financing arrangements. If decisions about approving infrastructure investments were considered apart from the rest of the budget, they could be judged on their own grounds, and they would be insulated, to some extent, from spending cuts. It’s a strategy that other countries, such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand, have used with some success.
* Who Killed Gawker? Elsewhere on the Gawker beat: Former Gawker Editor Lashes Out At Peter Thiel, Calls Freeze On His Checking Account ‘Ludicrous.’ With the Gawker Sale, What’s Next for the First Amendment?
* …with its flawlessly staged setting and piled-up homages to 80s movies, Stranger Things has performed a kind of time travel: it has reached back into my memories, Total Recall-like, and inserted characters who now seem as though they were there all along. Nancy, the nerd-turned-monster killer who can like more than one boy at once. Barb, the buttoned-up babygay whose best friend won’t let her be disposable. Eleven, the terrifying, funny, scared, brave, smart weirdo whose feelings could save the world.
* Anthony Weiner claims Huma Abedin was never supposed to appear in Weiner. This whole piece is breathtakingly sad, by the way.
* Just the headline nearly made me break down: A 4-year-old found beaten and abused said she thought her name was ‘Idiot,’ according to police.
I begin my review in this conflicted, confessional mode because both Tally and Wegner do; both foreground their personal relationships with Jameson, albeit with considerably more confidence and grace than I feel able to muster, situating his writing within the context of teaching within the university system to which he has dedicated his life. Jameson’s very public profile and reputation as “America’s most famous Marxist” actually makes him something of a rare exception in this regard: he is one of the leading members on the relatively short list of scholars who have been more influential outside their classrooms than inside them. For most of us the classroom is where the lion’s share of our work happens, however much our egos might prefer things to be otherwise. For most of us the classroom is the work.
I have a short review essay (weirdly personal by academic standards, at least by mine) about Jameson as thinker and Jameson as teacher, pegged to Robert Tally and Phil Wegner’s recent books on his career: “Doktorvater.”
This paradox returns us also to the question of what it means to be Jameson’s student, whether metaphorically as his reader or literally as his dissertation advisee. Early in Tally’s book he paraphrases other critics who see Jameson as “embrac[ing] all things—but, like a python, squeezing the life out of them” (20). What resists this totalizing enclosure in Tally’s treatment is Jameson’s foregrounding of the productive tension between history as a nightmare and the future as possible utopia, located in the present as a site of struggle—a critical perspective that remains vital and alive insofar as it is always both urgent and irresolvable. Wegner’s version of this same problem comes in his conclusion, where he quotes Evan Watkins’s observation that Jameson’s work is “an ‘anomaly’ among that of the ‘masters of theory’ for the simple reason that ‘you can’t follow this act.’” (Wegner 213). “Jamesonian” has simply never caught on as an adjective in the mold of Hegelian, Marxist, Freudian, Foucauldian, even Žižekian—even as many people (some of his many former students and dissertation advisees among them!) are clearly doing “Jamesonian” analysis. Rather than unfinishable, from this perspective Jameson’s project looks too finished, too complete: he ate the whole elephant, and left nothing behind for the rest of us. Wegner’s answer is to return to the question of fidelity and betrayal: to attempt to simply do Jameson is itself a betrayal of the Jamesonian ethos, and turn him into a “discourse of the university,” another kind of too-close, python-like suffocation. The alternative is to see Jameson not as a master or a mapmaker so much as, again, a teacher, who one day leads us to the gates of the school and then hurls us out into the world to find our own way. “Maybe you can’t do this for yourself,” Wegner quotes Watkins. “It’s not exactly clear what it might mean to ‘follow Jameson’s direction.’ But it is always possible to learn from his work how to do what you do far better and in more historically responsible ways” (qtd. in Wegner 213). As a conclusion to a two-hundred page exegesis, this is perhaps somewhat deflating—you mean this was all a dead end? a road to nowhere?—but for Wegner it seems something more like a rousing call to arms, a “joyful possibility” that speaks to Jameson’s “inexhaustible richness,” resulting in an exuberant final benediction: “May we prove equal to the task!” (213). Jameson’s very irreproducibility, his singularity, can become the engine for our own critical production, so long as we betray him right.
* Yet we still have not thought seriously about what it means when a private investigative project—bound by no rules of procedure, answerable to nothing but ratings, shaped only by the ethics and aptitude of its makers—comes to serve as our court of last resort.
* Tor has an excerpt from Cixin Liu’s Death’s End, which is amazing (and which I’ll be reviewing for The New Inquiry, by and by).
* Just in the nick of time, the United States’ newly minted Solar Forecasting Center was able to convey the true cause of the radar jamming: a rash of powerful solar flares.
* Trump, Second Amendment people, and stochastic terrorism. Could this actually be rock bottom? Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not two sides of the same coin but libidinally necessary for one another. The horror of Trump manages to create the ultimate liberal fantasy of post-partisanship, consensus and respect for the discourse.
* Coming soon to a university near you: We’re implementing new general education requirements without having first figured out how we want to deliver it or even what it is we’re trying to deliver, on a model where all the previous examples we can think of have failed.
* Justice Department to Release Blistering Report of Racial Bias by Baltimore Police. Should shock even the most cynical.
* Chicago Police Can’t Explain Why Their Body Cameras Failed At The Moment Of Unarmed Black Teen’s Death. I suppose it will always be a mystery.
* An unsettling thing happened at the Olympic diving pool on Tuesday: the water inexplicably turned green, just in time for the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform diving competition.
* Exceptionalism: More and more women are now dying in childbirth, but only in America.
* DCTVU Watch: This is a bad idea and they shouldn’t do it, though they will.
* And a friendly reminder to always look on the bright side of life.