Sunday Morning Links!
* One might, it’s true, wonder how cultural capital has survived the last half century’s apotheosis of pop, the rollback of the old patrician-bourgeois culture of the West, postmodernism’s putative muddling of low and high. But the sociologists have gone and checked, and the answers are not hard to find: Fancy people are now more likely to consume culture indiscriminately, that is, to congratulate themselves on the expansiveness of their tastes; indistinction has become distinction. They are more likely to prefer foreign culture to their own, at least in some who-wants-takeout? kind of way. And they are more likely to enjoy culture analytically and ironically, belligerently positing a naïve consumer whose imagined immersion in the object will set off everything in their own approach that is suavely arms-length and slaunchwise. Such, point for point, is the ethos of the new-model English department: of cultural studies, new media, the expanded canon, of theory-courses-without-objects. To bring new types of artifacts into literature departments is not to destroy cultural capital. It is merely to allow new things to start functioning as wealth. Even here, the claim to novelty can be overstated, since it is enough to read Bourdieu to know that the claim to interpret and demystify has always been an especially heady form of symbolic power. The ingenious reading confers distinction, as do sundry bids to fix the meanings of the social. Critical theory is cultural capital. Citing Judith Butler is one of the ways in which professional people outside the academy understand and justify their own elevation. Bickering recreationally about the politics of zombie movies is just what lawyers and engineers now do.
* Meanwhile, LARoB also reviews Paradoxa 26, which has my essay on Snowpiercer in it.
Sherryl Vint, “Skin Deep: Alienation in Under the Skin”
Isiah Lavender, “Reframing Heart of Darkness as Science Fiction”
Sharon DeGraw, “Tobias S. Buckell’s Galactic Caribbean Future”
Karen May and David Upton, “‘Ser Piggy’: Identifying an Intertextual Relationship between William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones
Lee Braver, “Coin-Operated Doors and God: A Gnostic Reading of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik”
* In the meantime, we will all have to cope with the fact that education technology has just become weaponized. Arizona State is now the first predator university. They are willing to re-define what education is so that they can get more students from anywhere. If they don’t kill other universities by taking all their students with a cheap freshmen year, they’ll just steal their fish food by underselling 25% of the education that those schools provide and leaving them a quarter malnourished. The result is that schools which stick to reasonable standards with respect to the frequency and possibility of teacher/student interaction now have to fear for their very existence.
* I’m seeing it mostly mocked and dismissed, but I think the Columbia case (K.C. Johnson summary at Minding the Campus) will be important flashpoint in Title IX law. My sense is that the wind on this is really changing strongly against the feminist left; we’re going to see many of the received truths of campus anti-rape policies coming under serious challenge. It’s going to be difficult, and it’s going to require some unpleasant reconsideration of the way we talk about this issue.
* Incredibly, the percentage of parents throughout the state who engaged in the civil disobedience of refusing the test for their kids is higher than the 15 percent of eligible voters who cast a ballot for Andrew Cuomo in the low-turnout election last year.
* Yes please: Telltale is making some kind of Marvel game.
* See, Dad? I knew you could survive on girl scout cookies.
* There’s always money in the banana stand: The Fed’s Cold War Bunker Had $4 Billion Cash For After The Apocalypse.
* Won’t you give? What you can? Today? Poetry is going extinct, government data show.
* I believe any crazy story with China in the headline. That’s my policy.
* Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything.
Written by gerrycanavan
April 26, 2015 at 8:00 am
Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet
Tagged with academia, ADHD, adjunctification, adjuncts, adminsitrative blight, algorithms, Andrew Cuomo, apocalypse, Arizona State University, Baltimore, body cameras, books, bunkers, childhood, China, class struggle, climate change, Columbia, comics, contingency, Cornel West, creative economy, cultural capital, DC Comics, delicious Girl Scout cookies, disasters, do what you love, earthquakes, ecology, English departments, Eric Garner, Extrapolation, finance capital, flash crashes, Frank Miller, Freddie Gray, funerals, Game of Thrones, games, gender, Gene Wolfe, George R. R. Martin, high-frequency trading, How the University Works, inequality, Jedi, journals, kids today, Kim Stanley Robinson, Man of Steel, Marquette, Marvel, medicine, meritocracy, Microsoft Word, money, MOOCs, my scholarly empire, NBA, necrofuturism, neoliberalism, Nepal, New York, nuclear war, nuclearity, NYPD, over-educated literary theory PhDs, Pacific Ocean, pedagogy, poetry, police, police brutality, police violence, Polynesia, protest, race, racism, rape, rape culture, science fiction, Seattle, slow violence, Snowpiercer, sports, standardized testing, strippers, student movements, Superman, Telltale Games, The Dark Knight Returns, the Force, the wisdom of markets, theory, there's always money in the banana stand, Title IX, Won't somebody think of the children?, Yoda, Zack Snyder, zombies