Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Christmas Hangover Links

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* This was fun: My Tolkien/The Force Awakens mini-essay got picked up by Salon.

* Is Star Wars setting up Poe Dameron as its first queer protagonist? Rey is not a role model for little girls. The prior texts against which this film needs to be judged are not those long-ago movies, but rather the trailers for this new movie. And bah humbug! Double humbug! Double triple bah humbug!

* And for the devotee: How Did This Get Made? covered The Star Wars Holiday Special this week — with bonus oral history.

A Christmas Carol: Dedicated to Scrooge, And His Art Collection.

* New York University is known for bestowing lavish perks on its leaders. Its new president, Andrew Hamilton, will be no exception. NYU sort of hitting it out of the park this week generally. The latest extravagances in the college sports arms race? Laser tag and mini golf.

Economists Say ‘Bah! Humbug!’ to Christmas Presents.

Phylogeny of elves finds that santa’s workers are actually dwarves.

* The death of the Wisconsin idea: Under the proposed policies, faculty members could be laid off for financial reasons or if academic programs are discontinued for education reasons, including long-term strategic planning that includes “market demand and societal needs.”

* Let this be our Christmas story. Why? Well, that requires some explaining and perhaps even a stronger rationale than I’m yet able to muster. Because it has no cheer, redemption or family bonding. It’s about power, money, greed, recklessness and what can only be termed the sort of roughshod ridiculousness and surreal unintentional comedy that comes from being powerful enough or serving people with sufficient power that the ordinary sort of fear of getting caught and having to explain yourself simply doesn’t apply.

* Call for ideas: the Museum of Capitalism.

* From Bleeding Heart Libertarians: “Universities may indeed be exploiting adjuncts, but they cannot rectify this mistake without significant moral costs.”

* What really happened in the Christmas truce of 1914? The Real Story Behind the 1914 Christmas Truce in World War I.

* The Typical American Lives Only 18 Miles From Mom.

* The strange case of Case Western Reserve University law school.

* El Niño, explained: A guide to the biggest weather story of 2015. Records smashed on East Coast’s warmest ever Christmas Eve.

African-Inspired Space Opera Yohancé Is Going To Be Our Next Obsession.

‘Unprecedented’ gas leak in California is the climate disaster version of BP’s oil spill.

* I knew cheese was a drug.

* And no. Just no. Disagree.

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