Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

All Your Christmas Eve Eve Links

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* De Blasio and the police. Some amazing stuff in there.

According to a former de Blasio aide, during the general election campaign in 2013, de Blasio’s team was even convinced that members of his police detail were eavesdropping on his private conversations in his city-assigned car. Things got so bad that de Blasio, according to the staffer, would step into the street to make sure he was out of earshot of plainclothes officers.

NYPD Union President Patrick Lynch Is Completely Nuts: A History.

The NYPD Shooter Had A History Of Mental Health Issues And Violence Against Women. Slimy Baltimore FOX Affiliate Caught Faking “Kill a Cop” Protest Chant. The absolute bad faith of blaming protestors.

Die-ins demand that we bear witness to black people’s fears that they’ll be next.

* “The Cossacks were never funny. Cops never are. I invite you to imagine the international outrage and American horror, had one of Putin’s police choked an innocent man to death on camera for the crime of selling loose cigarettes.”

* For Tamir, who was stolen.

* Ex-Milwaukee Cop Who Shot Unarmed Man 14 Times Will Not Be Charged. The National Guard has been on alert for the city since the weekend. A statement from the ACLU. “It may out-Ferguson Ferguson”: Why Milwaukee’s police violence will horrify you. And at HuffPo: Why I Was Arrested Standing Up for Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee.

“Ya’ll Ain’t Hearing Me”: White Liberalism and the Killing of Aura Rosser.

Charges Expected To Be Filed Against MOA Protest Organizers.

* The idea of “police reform” obscures the task. Whatever one thinks of the past half-century of criminal-justice policy, it was not imposed on Americans by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are, at the very least, byproducts of democratic will. Likely they are much more. It is often said that it is difficult to indict and convict police officers who abuse their power. It is comforting to think of these acquittals and non-indictments as contrary to American values. But it is just as likely that they reflect American values. The three most trusted institutions in America are the military, small business, and the police.

* Which is not to say that the security state isn’t somehow finding ways to stretch even the long leash it’s been given.

* And W. Kamau Bell has a one-off podcast on Earwolf called “Coptalk.”

Sorry, I know that was a lot of police links today. Some other stuff I’ve been looking at:

The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling last week that could clear the way for much more unionization of faculty members at private colleges and universities.

There Is No Higher Ed Bubble. Yet. I think I’d maybe like to hear more about how “eventually artificial intelligence will basically wipe out the demand for higher education completely” before I sign on to this part of the proposition all the way.

* Facts are stupid things: New Congress Dumping CBO Chief To Clear Way For Special GOP Budget Math.

How Vermont’s single-payer health care dream fell apart.

* Jacobin looks ahead to the new Cuba.

* Markets in everything: Rare book investment trust believed to be Ponzi scheme.

Which Jobs Have the Highest Rates of Depression?

* What 2000 Calories Looks Like.

* 101 Critical Theory Books That Came Out in 2014. As a society we probably could have gotten away with just the clean one hundred.

* An empirical study of heterosexual college sex practices based on a six-year survey.

* The Sony hack has cancelled what I bet would have been a great comic adaptation of Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang. At least I’ll have this in my back pocket the next time I teach it.

* Meanwhile: A Lot of Smart People Think North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony. Let’s not let caution get in the way of a good prank war.

* That’s solve it: MLA Will Discuss How to Deal With Controversial Issues.

The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking. The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.

* The FBI saw the film. They didn’t like it. Stick around for a nice little factoid about copyright!

The Year Having Kids Became a Frivolous Luxury.

The Best New Webcomics Of 2014.

* These Ant-Man rumors suggest Marvel really is going to go all the way with its “Civil War” plan for Phase 3.

* The Malfoys, after the war.

* No More Tony Starks: Against “The Smartest Man in the Room.”

Perhaps this is a good time to notice that when Anders says the Smartest Guy in the Room provides “wish-fulfillment for reasonably smart people” her examples go on to demonstrate that by people she happens always to mean only guys and even only white guys. She does notice that the Smartest Guy does seem to be, you know, a guy and provides the beginnings of a gendered accounting of the archetype: “the ‘smartest guy’ thing confirms all our silliest gender stereotypes, in a way that’s like a snuggly dryer-fresh blanket to people who feel threatened by shifting gender roles. In the world of these stories, the smartest person is always a man, and if he meets a smart woman she will wind up acknowledging his superiority.”

That seems to me a rather genial take on the threatened bearings of patriarchal masculinity compensated by cyborg fantasizing, but at least it’s there. The fact that the Smartest Guy keeps on turning out to be white receives no attention at all. This omission matters not only because it is so glaring, but because the sociopathic denial of the collectivity of intelligence, creativity, progress, and flourishing at the heart of the Smartest Guy in the Room techno-archetype, has the specific and catastrophic counterpart in the white racist narrative of a modern technological civilization embodied in inherently superior European whiteness against which are arrayed not different but primitive and atavistic cultures and societies that must pay in bloody exploitation and expropriation the price of the inferior. The Smartest Guy in the Room is also the Smartest Guy in History, naturally enough, with a filthy treasure pile to stand on and shout his superiority from.

* Star Trek as anti-Smartest-Guy fiction.

* And speaking of Star Trek: they’ve chosen a new director to ruin 3tar Tr3k 3. Kudos to all involved. Meanwhile Adam Kotsko is pitching the Star Trek anthology series I’ve always wanted to the unfeeling Philistines at the Daystrom Institute. Unrecognized in his own time…

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