Sunday Night Links
* Olafur Eliasson’s immersive installation Your Waste of Time presents massive pieces of ice that broke off from Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. The oldest ice in the glacier is estimated to have originated some 800 years ago, around AD 1200. Presented as sculptures that visitors can walk around and contemplate, their continued presence is made possible by refrigerating the gallery space to maintain a temperature below freezing. The physical experience of centuries-old ice from the glaciers of Eliasson’s native Iceland makes tangible a history that extends beyond the human life span—time that is measured in thousands of years rather than mere decades.
* Jodi Dean drops some knowledge in the war on higher education.
The whole attack on jargon is barely masked anti-intellectualism. No one worries about the jargon of particle physics, neuroscience, or custody law. In fact, we recognize that knowledge takes multiple forms and speaks to multiple audiences. Not every audience needs to be (or wants to be) addressed the same way — and, again, it’s thinly veiled anti-intellectualism to imply that everything should be accessible to everyone. For example, I can’t read and understand a paper in theoretical physics, but I can read and follow a popular book on, say, black holes. That popular book would be worthless, however, without the real science backing it up. And, again, we shouldn’t expect that the same people who carry out the experiments, make the observations, and do the equations will necessarily be the ones to write the popular books.
You know, the real problem is this language of ‘costly’ — it points to what I already mentioned, namely, that the one percent has decided that it no longer wants to fund higher education for the majority. Why is it that tenure is costly but Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon are not? Their salaries in a single year –alone –would more than cover the salary of the entire faculty where I teach. Let’s not pretend that there is some kind of objective analysis of education going on here. It’s class war, plain and simple.
* So here’s your nickel summary. If a law is passed on a party-line vote, has no justification in the historical record, and is highly likely to harm black voting, that’s OK as long as the legislature in question can whomp up some kind of neutral-sounding justification. Judicial restraint is the order of the day. But if a law is passed by unanimous vote, is based on a power given to Congress with no strings attached, and is likely to protect black voting, that’s prohibited unless the Supreme Court can be persuaded that Congress’s approach is one they approve of. Judicial restraint is out the window. Welcome to the 21st century.
* And Sorority Girl Buying Bottled Water Ends Up Spending Night in Jail. Of course the innocent have nothing to fear.