Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Weekend Links! Some Especially Really Good Ones This Time I Promise

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* ICYMI, some single-serving posts from the last few days: How to Grad School and KSR’s The Lucky Strike. You may have also noticed that I’ve put a link to The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction pre-order page. Please alert all interested parties and institutional book-orderers!

* Hyping a project I have nothing to do with: you should also check out the Science Fiction BFI Film Classics series at Palgrave Macmillan, with monographs on Alien, Brazil, Solaris, Dr. Strangelove, and more.

* The final frontier of Star Trek fan canons: what if the Abramsverse universe is the Prime timeline? Read all the way to the end for some nice metacommentary on the project.

* According to a financial plan obtained by Crain’s Chicago Business, UChicago faces operating deficits of $5 to $30 million a year through 2018, and “ratings agencies could downgrade the university’s credit by as many as two notches.” In comparison, the pay increases detailed above would constitute 8 to 50 percent of the projected deficits, and the eight administrators’ overall pay would constitute 20 percent to 120 percent of the deficits.

* Unpacking the Myths of Financial Aid.

Why would the university award aid in this way? Couldn’t it just adjust the ratio of merit aid to need-based aid? Unfortunately, the “high tuition/high aid” model only “works” when it’s organized like this. That’s because, for many university administrators, financial aid is not so much a form of charity as it is an instrument for maximizing tuition revenue.

* The liberal discourse on gentrification has absolutely nothing to say about finance or prison, the two most salient institutions in urban life. Instead, it does what liberal discourse so often does: it buries the structural forces at work and choreographs a dance about individual choice to perform on the grave. We get tiny dramas over church parking lots and bike lanes and whether 7-11 will be able to serve chicken wings. Gentrification becomes a culture war, a battle over consumer choices: gourmet cupcake shop or fried chicken joint? Can we all live side by side, eating gourmet pickles with our fried fish sandwiches? Will blacks and whites hang out in the same bars? wonders Racialicious. Liberalism and Gentrification.

In Philadelphia, education reformers got everything they wanted. Look where the city’s schools are now. How to Destroy a Public-School System.

Democracy is not, to begin with, a form of State. It is, in the first place, the reality of the power of the people that can never coincide with the form of a State. There will always be tension between democracy as the exercise of a shared power of thinking and acting, and the State, whose very principle is to appropriate this power.

* Once more unto humanitarian intervention.

* …disaster relief and the “disaster narrative” is central to the development of the American welfare state.

* This is a very provocative critique of framing consent as a legal category: You Can Take It Back: Consent as a Felt Sense.

If you accept the premise that someone’s experience of sexual violation “counts” as rape, regardless of whether they granted verbal permission beforehand, then in order to avoid being accused of rape you’ll have to shift your mindset from, “I’d better make sure I was told it was okay to do this first,” to “I’d better make damn sure this person isn’t going to wake up tomorrow and feel like I raped them.” The latter is a standard requiring much more communication, understanding, and compassion from the people involved than the former, especially in situations with near-strangers like one-night stands, hook-ups, or play partners you might meet at a club.

I don’t know anything about the author, and I think from an argumentative perspective the writing of the piece could definitely be stronger, but all the same it’s an idea I’ll be thinking about a while. There’s a thought experiment in a later post that is illuminative: trying to identify the precise last moment that one can “withdraw” consent.

* “Presenteeism afflicts all business sectors, but some more than others.” The Case for Staying Home from Work.

* An evaluation of course evaluations. This is an above average meta-evaluation for sure; you could really tell how much he cared about the material.

* The women I pretend to be: on working in a male-dominated industry. #4, the Victim, is especially disheartening:

I remember one particularly bad day at a games conference. The event was, as is typical, about 10 percent female. At the start of the day, one of those “I’m just really touchy-feely” men put his hands where I had not invited them when we were crushed together in a crowded corridor. Then, in a talk, one dude took it upon himself to give a very detailed and enthusiastic account of a “rape game” he’d invented—where you had to stare deeply into the eyes of the “other player” while describing to them how you’re going to rape them, until they tell you to stop. It was genuinely traumatizing to hear the glee in his voice as he talked about it. Shaken, I went to sit in a quiet, empty room to regain my composure. A well-built man at least a foot taller than me came in, sat between me and the door and said: “You know, I messaged you on OKCupid but you never messaged me back.” By this point I genuinely felt too afraid to tell him to just fuck off. So I played nice and smiled and apologized.

* New Media watch: the rise of the podcast network.

* The case against the Supreme Court.

* Those benefitting most from the secure property rights might be forgiven for conceptual ignorance – introspection being a scarce commodity amongst the wealthy – but the vociferous and cynical denial of the asymmetric benefits of securing property rights, both intra- or inter-generationally, whether due to some combination of attribution bias, feigned religious belief, or simple greed is less excusable. In a new gilded age, the idea that the rule of law is vastly underpriced by those who benefit most should be anything but contentious.

* Corey Robin on the emerging “right to be forgotten.”

Mentally Ill Inmate In Solitary Confinement Died Of Thirst, Autopsy Finds.

* With Red Mars finally actually happening, Y: The Last Man is my new I-can’t-believe-they-haven’t-made-a-series-of-this-yet text.

* That’s they’re actually making The ExpendaBelles is the actual literal end of culture. Mark it down.

* Provocation: It’s not crazy for Mitt Romney to run for president again.

* Peace in our time: Marvel and the Kirby estate have settled.

* SMBC on proof by induction.

* The only link from this list you really need: There’s A Life-Size Game of Mouse Trap in Milwaukee.

* And has any social media network gone from hype to big backlash as quickly as (Vermont’s own!) Ello? Any faster and the entire social network would be goodbye-cruel-world manifestos…

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