Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Monday Links!

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* Somebody thinks 2015 could be a doozy: Treasury Department Seeking Survival Kits For Bank Employees.

* Trends We Can Work With: Higher Ed in 2015.

* Remembering the reason for the season: During Holiday Season, City Erects Cages To Keep Homeless People Off Benches.

Christmas Eve Document Dump Reveals US Spy Agencies Broke The Law And Violated Privacy.

But, are they more likely to precipitate police violence?  No. The opposite is true. Police are more likely to kill black people regardless of what they are doing. In fact, “the less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black.”

Ending excessive police force starts with new rules of engagement.

What Does It Mean to Be Anti-Police?

How to Survive a Cop Coup: What Bill de Blasio Can Learn From Ecuador.

“It has been alleged that Officer Kattner has used his position as a peace officer to contact known female prostitutes and compel them to perform sexual acts while working an extra job.”

And whether or not people accept it, that new normal—public life and mass surveillance as a default—will become a component of the ever-widening socioeconomic divide. Privacy as we know it today will become a luxury commodity. Opting out will be for the rich.

“Enhanced interrogation” is torture, American style. Exceptional torture. Torture that insists it is not torture. Post-torture? This uniquely American kind of torture has six defining characteristics.

* “The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled”: In praise of The Usual Suspects.

* Decades of Bill Cosby’s shadow ops.

Justice Denied to Steven Salaita: A Critique of the University of Illinois Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure Report. This was my reaction as well.

* Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US.

* Are ideas to cool the planet realistic? Meanwhile: Pope Francis Could Be Climate’s Secret Weapon Next Year.

The architecture of dissent.

* The red state economic miracle that wasn’t.

* Airlines want you to suffer.

* Games are ancient, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. But their stock is not rising at the rate that their fans’ Twitter streams and Web forums might suggest. Instead of a ludic age, perhaps we have entered an era of shredded media. Some forms persist more than others, but more than any one medium, we are surrounded by the rough-edged bits and pieces of too many media to enumerate. Writing, images, aphorisms, formal abstraction, collage, travesty. Photography, cinema, books, music, dance, games, tacos, cats, car services. If anything, there has never been a weirder, more disorienting, and more lively time to be a creator and a fanatic of media in all their varieties. Why ruin the moment by being the one trying to get everyone to play a game while we’re letting the flowers blossom? A ludic century need not be a century of games. Instead, it can just be a century. With games in it.

* Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed. Migrant World Cup workers in Qatar are reportedly dying at alarming rates.

* Enterprise, TOS, and “the scent of death” on the Federation.

* How Kazuo Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks.

I am no fan of the North Korean regime. However I believe that calling out a foreign nation over a cybercrime of this magnitude should never have been undertaken on such weak evidence.

* Longreads best crime reporting 2014.

A Drone Flew Over A Pig Farm.

The black and African writer is expected to write about certain things, and if they don’t they are seen as irrelevant. This gives their literature weight, but dooms it with monotony. Who wants to constantly read a literature of suffering, of heaviness? Those living through it certainly don’t; the success of much lighter fare among the reading public in Africa proves this point. Maybe it is those in the west, whose lives are untouched by such suffering, who find occasional spice and flirtation with such a literature. But this tyranny of subject may well lead to distortion and limitation.

* I’m a pretty big fan of “Jean & Scott”: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

* A profile of David Letterman from 1981.

How Colonel Sanders Became Father Christmas in Japan.

* The Song of Saruman.

The filmmakers’ cartoonishly evil vision of Saruman is unfortunate, as it deprives a fascinating narrative of its complexity, while also being untrue to Tolkien’s own vision. Jackson and his team seem incapable of imagining that a person can be wrong without also being evil. For example, the Master of Lake-town in The Hobbit was greedy, but he was an elected official, generally well regarded by the community (at least until he absconds with the municipal funds, a fact revealed only on the last page of the book); in the film The Desolation of Smaug, he is a murderous tyrant who opposes even the idea of elections. An even worse example is the case of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, who in the books has been driven mad by grief and despair, partly owing to the cruel machinations of Sauron himself; in the film (The Return of the King), he is made so irredeemably evil that Gandalf actually attacks him, while we the viewers are expected to cheer. If this is what Jackson does to weak and pitiable characters, what must he do to Saruman, who is a legitimate “bad guy” in The Lord of the Rings?

Quiz: Find out how your salary stacks up against other American workers. You know, fun.

L.A. studio to restore venerable ‘King’s Quest’ to its gaming throne.

* Is the anti-vax movement finally dying?

* You can’t beat the media at its own game.

* America’s own 7 Up: Johns Hopkins’s Beginning School Study.

* Sober People against New Year’s Eve SuperPAC.

* And of course you had me at Grant Morrson’s All-New Miracleman Annual #1.

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