Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Start Monday Off Right with Monday Links, Half-Price for the Entire Month of August with Offer Code CANAVAN

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* Things are bad all over: No new novel cracked the top 20 print bestsellers in the first half of 2016.

* Stranger Things thinkpiece roundup! The Solution to Our Political Problems Lies in ‘Dungeons and Dragons.’ Homophobia Is the Real Monster in Stranger Things. The Problem of Barb. This Stranger Things supercut shows how meticulous the show’s ’80s references really are. And the inevitable remix.

* Elsewhere in 80s nostalgia: a brief history of The Thing.

* Teach the controversy: Was Philip K. Dick a Bad Writer? Meanwhile, it turns out there is no Man in the High Castle!

* Reports: 2 Professors at American U Afghanistan Abducted.

Several private universities are boosting stipends and benefits ahead of a federal ruling that could clear the way for graduate students to form unions. To some grad students, it’s an attempt to persuade them that they don’t need collective bargaining to get a raise.

Curated by Mohammad Salemy and a team of researchers from The New Centre for Research & Practice, Artificial Cinema is a large collaborative effort which explores the history of science fiction cinema and its potentials for arriving at a synthesized vision for the future of art. The exhibition traces a trajectory away from “Anthropocinema” — human-centered cinema — towards more open and complex collaborations between humans and machines.

* Online fandom isn’t all smiles and rainbows.

How Katie Ledecky became better at swimming than anyone is at anything.

* Abandoned Olympic venues from around the world.

UpshotNYT_2016-Aug-07One central fact about the global economy lurks just beneath the year’s remarkable headlines: Economic growth in advanced nations has been weaker for longer than it has been in the lifetime of most people on earth.

A start-up’s race to harvest the moon’s treasures.

The American Psychiatric Association issues a warning: No psychoanalyzing Donald Trump. They’re working for Putin too! And so is George P., looking for the Bush family’s revenge some dark day a decade from now.

Make America Austria Again: How Robert Musil Predicted the Rise of Donald Trump.

* Trump’s shrinking electoral map.

* Send First-Gen Students to Grad School.

Defending the humanities in a skills-obsessed university.

* The last word on cargo shorts and neoliberalism.

* Can Brazil Be Saved?

* It’s George R.R. Martin’s media ecology, we just live in it.

* The fight over H.M.’s brain.

* Teaching in the Age of Trump.

Suicide Squad Sets Box Office Record Because We Don’t Deserve Better Movies. Allow me to recommend Improv4Humans #251, Mattman v. SupArmen, which is better than anything this incarnation of the DC Universe has put out so far.

Six years ago, the world’s biggest library decided to archive every single tweet. Turns out that’s pretty hard to do.

Where are the Natives in Hamilton?

* Ideology disguises itself as common sense, as what everybody already knows.

* Academic Olympics.

* And a helpful questionnaire.

31. Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won’t otherwise get done?
32. Do you take on extra work because you do not believe other people can do it as well?
33. Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it?
34. Do you delay beginning a project and experience a surge of adrenaline as you prepare at the last minute or go forward unprepared?
35. Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you work for justice?
36. Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work?
37. Are you afraid that if you don’t work hard you will be a failure?
38. Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going well?
39. Do you feel that others are not doing enough?
40. Do you feel that you are not doing enough?

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Sunday Links and Every Tab Is Closed, Forever and Ever Amen

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Second, and more surprising to me: Most papers simply lacked a soul—a compelling and well-articulated reason to exist.

I’ve noticed, to my bewilderment, the question circulating of whether J. K. Rowling should have agreed to this project. What could be the case against it? That the play could dilute the accomplishment of the original series? That Rowling’s readers might revolt when asked to read a script? That characters and stories best beloved by readers no longer belong to their author?

* Into the Black: Stories of People Getting Out of Debt. Via MeFi.

* Babies Before Tenure?

* The three student loan crises.

* Five years on Skid Row from University of Chicago sociologist Forrest Stuart.

* Off to a great start: Rio officials had to open Olympic Stadium with bolt cutters after losing key. These Are the Actual Costs of the Rio Olympics. The ideology of the Olympics. A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases. With just days to go until the Rio Olympics begin, the AP—which has been testing viral levels since last year—reports water conditions are worse than ever. Inside the Gloria Marina, where the sailing races take place, adenoviruses per liter have jumped more than 42 percent since they first sampled it in March, 2015.

* Burn your money the higher education way.

* Elsewhere in obviously functional organizations: Recent construction of emergency exit near chancellor’s office for security reasons symbolizes closed-off nature of Dirks’ administration.

“As an alumnus of the college, I feel that I have been lied to, patronized and basically dismissed as an old, white bigot who is insensitive to the needs and feelings of the current college community,” Mr. MacConnell, 77, wrote in a letter to the college’s alumni fund in December, when he first warned that he was reducing his support to the college to a token $5.

“We call on the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a thorough examination into the prevailing practices of major American air carriers, including Delta Air Lines, and to develop policy guidelines on the objective factors that are to be considered when determining that a passenger may legally be removed from a flight,” CAIR-Cincinnati attorney Sana Hassan said.

* Clinton’s tuition plan and private colleges.

“Free college” is a moralistic ruse, in other words, used to smuggle in a market logic where it has no place without addressing the core question of exploitative, exorbitant college costs. It treats education like anything else you’d buy in a store, and scolds those who feel otherwise by pretending they want to get something without working for it. There ain’t so such thing as a free lunch, of course: students and the public have amply paid for it already. They’re just not eating.

* Ira Steven Behr has been working on a Deep Space Nine documentary that apparently somehow includes a “notional season eight.” And while we’re at it: Oh, That’s Where Carol Marcus Was During Star Trek Beyond. Rumor of the Day: Star Trek: Discovery to take place before The Original Series?

Roger Ailes Used Fox News Budget to Finance ‘Black Room’ Campaigns Against His Enemies. This story is just going to get more and more incredible as time goes on, I think.

* Seinfeld: “The Twin Towers.” An original spec script.

* Secrets of the Millennials Revealed: They’re Poor.

But in a consumer culture committed to prolonging adolescence at all costs, the boundaries demarcating child and adult experience have blurred to the point that it’s no longer obvious just who is imitating whom. The American state of play is terminally confused. Much of it feels grimly compulsory, and carries with it a whiff of preemptive failure to achieve the target level of revelry.

This Joke Was Off-limits at Donald Trump’s Comedy Central Roast. Who Lies More? The Answer May Surprise You. You Always Hurt the Ones You Love. On Veterans. On Unlikely Voters. The Shrinking Electoral Map. Georgia as Battleground State. Bloodthirstier than Cheney. If President Trump decided to use nukes, he could do it easily. Congressman Proposes Law To Prevent Trump From Being Able To Launch Nukes On His Own. Only in America could proposals to bomb at least three nations and indefinitely occupy another be labeled “isolationism.” Senior GOP Officials Exploring Options if Trump Drops Out. What Happens If Trump Drops Out? If Trump Drops Out, The Result Will Be A Horrible Legal Quagmire. Premediating a Loss. Just 92 More Days in the Bunker. Here’s what an 8% Clinton Lead Looks Like. Trump, or Political Emotions. A Fable, by Teju Cole. Of course there’s more links after the chart.

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Anagha Uppal, an activist at the University of Tennessee, describes the meal plan rule as “an exercise in tyranny.” Ms. Uppal has not used her plan — “I don’t purchase from Aramark,” she said between bites of chicken salad in pita (cost: $5.74) at the Golden Roast Coffeehouse. On her laptop: a Food Recovery Network sticker; she’s a campus coordinator for the network, a national student group that fights food waste. It was Ms. Uppal who prodded officials to start the Big Orange Meal Share to let students donate swipes.

* google flossing truth

* Possibilia, or, Love in the Multiverse.

* Why Amish Children Rarely Get Asthma.

* When Exhaustion Became a Status Symbol.

* Travel reimbursement voucher, trip to Moon, July 16-24, 1969.

* Like the blog, my Tumblr has been languishing the last few weeks while I’ve been teaching, but every so often I throw up some gold. I don’t know what else I was expecting. I’m with Her(zog). You have every reason to go on living. The last week of my comics class.

A Radioactive Cold War Military Base Will Soon Emerge From Greenland’s Melting Ice.

Perhaps our billboards are the civic sludge, the highway litter, of America’s ambitions and aspirations — literally writ large.

* A Brief Publishing History of Game of Thrones.

* Tolkien: The Lost Recordings.

* On La Jetée.

* Quantum Computing, Getting Closer.

Crows Continue to Be Terrifyingly Intelligent.

A new report from Zillow estimates that with a six-foot sea level rise, “almost 1.9 million homes (or roughly 2 percent of all U.S. homes) – worth a combined $882 billion – are at risk of being underwater by 2100.”

Five years after the tsunami that killed tens of thousands in Japan, a husband still searches the sea for his wife, joined by a father hoping to find his daughter.

What’s Wrong With the DC Comics Movie Franchise? Report: Warner Bros. Turned Suicide Squad Into a Mess in Its Panic Over BvS Criticism.

* …it increasingly makes less and less sense to divorce or sequester games from other forms of cultural study or to think that videogames are so unique that game studies requires its own critical modality. The function of video game criticism.

* The end of sex.

* Men, am I right. Marriage, men, and alcohol.

* The “biological mystery” of the female orgasm.

Last year, though, the National Institutes of Health banned funding of animal-human chimeras until it could figure out whether any of this work would bump against ethical boundaries. Like: Could brain scientists endow research animals with human cognitive abilities, or even consciousness, while transplanting human stem cells into the brain of a developing animal embryo? Would it be morally wrong to create animals with human feet, hands, or a face in order to study human morphology? Modern medicine thinks before it acts. SMASH CUT TO: After a nearly year-long ban…

Life in the city without cops or firefighters would be unpleasant and, inevitably, tragic. But, she notes, “if sanitation workers aren’t out there, the city becomes unlivable, fast.”

* Malcolm Harris reviews The Last Days of New Paris.

Head shots of all of the ways US intelligence thought Hitler might try to disguise himself.

In Super Mario Galaxy, whenever Mario drowns in a swamp, his hand reaches out from under the surface before being sucked in. However, since Mario’s head is so big, he cannot raise his hand above the surface without his head being still visible. To solve this, the game simply shrinks Mario’s head so it doesn’t interfere with the animation.

* How Bill Cosby Finally Landed in a Courtroom.

The Blackest Superhero Story That Marvel Comics Ever Published.

* Everything is not fine.

* And Wisconsin, once again in the news.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 7, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Night Links!

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* I had two short pieces come out this weekend: a review essay on Star Trek: Beyond at LARB and a flash review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child right here at WordPress.

* CFP: Vector Special Issue: Science Fiction and Music. The Man in the High Castle and Philosophy.

* Point: Earwolf has a new Hamilton podcast, seemingly along the lines of The Incomparable’s but with higher profile guests. Counterpoint: You Should Be Terrified That People Who Enjoy “Hamilton” Run Our Country.

To Learn About ‘Hamilton’ Ticket Bots, We Wrote Our Own Bot.

* “So Below”: A Comic about Understanding Land.

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* Peak Thinkpiece? “Centuries ago, explorers like Columbus and Vasco da Gama played a real-life version of Pokémon Go.” When colonialism is a game. Pokémon Go: Who owns the virtual space around your home? Werner Herzog: Would You Die for the Pokémons? Would You Kill?

A new genre of leftist literature arose between the wars, urging the young to build a brave new world. In the first of two articles, a forgotten dream is remembered. Here’s part two.

* The Huntington has put up some of Butler’s notes on writing Kindred.

Antiblack Racism in Speculative Fiction.

The modern research university has unfortunately become increasingly susceptible to value monism, the belief that there is only one right way to advance, only one correct form of knowledge.

* Bouncy houses OF DEATH.

* The Cosby Next Time: Former Fox News Booker Says She Was Sexually Harassed and ‘Psychologically Tortured’ by Roger Ailes for More Than 20 Years.

* Crisis Theory: The Game!

* Underearners Anonymous.

* #unschooling

* Teasing Arrested Development season five, and the long-rumored recut of season four, at TCA.

* The good news is, we’re all going to live. Here’s the bad news.

6 Human Activities That Pose The Biggest Threat To The World’s Drinking Water. America Has Never Seen a Hot Weather Outlook Like This. And an upcoming conference at Marquette: Public Policy and American Drinking Water.

Early Animals Could’ve Caused Earth’s First Mass Extinction Simply By Existing.

How One Colorado Man Disappeared While Hunting For Hidden Treasure.

What Are Young Non-Working Men Doing?

* What Happened to Wikileaks?

Is Rolling Stone about to get throttled in court over UVA rape report?

* How the other fifth lives.

Ableism, Mass Murder, and Silence.

* Race and dermatology. Space and cardiology.

The Stranger Guest: The Literature of Pregnancy and New Motherhood.

Zombie bacteria that awaken from old corpses might sound like the stuff of an “X-Files” episode. The premise is far from a complete fiction, however.

* Metaphors too on the nose: rise of the corpse flowers.

* Elsewhere on the zombie beat: The Walking Dead Comic Nearly Ended a Lot Sooner Than Anyone Expected. That’s sort of amazing, honestly.

Apps like Seamless and Yelp listen in on our adult lives, then speak to us like children.

J.K. Rowling Says Harry Potter is Done After Cursed Child.

The Lobster: Debt, Referenda, and False Choices.

* Trans* identity will be reclassified by the WHO.

* Being Dazzler.

* Black Art Matters: A Roundtable on the Black Radical Imagination.

* News you can use: How to land a passenger jet without any flight controls.

* Hell Is A Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement. How Prisons Overtook Schools as the Foremost American Institutions. Why Preschool Teachers Struggle To Make Ends Meet.

* This Rick and Morty clip reading from an actual trial transcript shows what how weirdly perfect the two voices work as a comedic duo, independently of any narrative context.

* I say the teach the controversy.

* How to do sex research.

* The Syllabus as a Contract: How do you deal with clever students who find loopholes you didn’t intend?

College learning takes 2.76 hours/day.

I grew up thinking journalism was just for rich white people. I was mostly right.

* Ghostbusters and liberal feminism. The Spiritualist Origins of Ghostbusters.

* This time the nostalgia industry is trained on my heart like a laser.

* Self-identified Jedi and political atheism, yes really.

* The end of the bulldog.

* Austerity nostalgia.

More Than 50 Animals Starve to Death in Venezuela’s Zoos as the Nation Endures Devastating Food Shortages.

* Automation and the end of liberal democracy.

* They told me capital was a vampire, and man, they nailed it.

As an artist, what can I consider if I want to de-objectify and add power to female characters?

* Politics roundup! State roll calls: What RNC and DNC delegates want you to know. Electoral Map Gives Donald Trump Few Places to Go. Trump’s Likeliest Path to Victory May Be an Electoral College Tie. Bounce! Disability Rights at the DNC. Seven Minutes. The GOP’s Dilemma: How Low Can He Go? Why does it matter that Donald Trump is not a novelty? All the same, a pretty incredible chart. From the archives: Norman Mailer Goes to the RNC. How And Why Trump Will Try to Ditch the Debates. Donald Trump as a One Man Constitutional Crisis. An Anti-Trump Electoral Strategy That Isn’t Pro-Clinton. Revenge of the Ghostwriters. A Historic Dud.  Obscene Media Spectacle. American Horror Story. Is Donald Trump OK? “Hegel remarks somewhere,” Marx wrote, “that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” We are the 5%. And we’re still allowed to vote.

* And the kids are all right: Trump, Clinton more disliked by millennials than Voldemort.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2016 at 3:35 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Reading and Teaching Harry Potter after THE CURSED CHILD (No Spoilers, Just a Few Instant Reactions)

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Zoey slept in this morning, so I was able to read the entirety of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on my Kindle app under the covers, racing both an iPad battery that was very rapidly heading to zero and a four-year-old whose every tiny twitch and movement suggested the end of my project was drawing near. I think it’s good. It’s definitely strange. As a revisionary work, it throws some very odd wrinkles into the interior logic of the Harry Potter universe, and as a result I suspect it will always have a sort of quasi-authorative, even apocryphal status within the canon, even beyond what one would have suspected because of the unusual circumstances of its multi-author composition and its form as a play rather than a novel or even a film. It never feels quite real, never feels like the actual future of these people and these circumstances; it’s a tie-in book, oxymoronically authoritative fan fiction. Still, there are a few things here worth lingering on, and it’ll start a lot of conversations.

I know I’ve read the thing almost comically early, so perhaps I’ll do a follow-up post in a week or so with some actual spoiler-laden analysis about the events of the plot. But what struck me most as I was reading The Cursed Child is how directly it resonates with the way I’ve been teaching the series in my literature courses the last two years (a pedagogical focus undoubtedly driven by the fact that I’m a parent now myself). Like many other things in life, the original Harry Potter books look rather different after one becomes a parent, and living inside the franchise again I’ve really come to see it as in large part as a frustrated rumination on bad parents, and on bad fathers in particular.

The class I teach Harry Potter in is a foundations course for English majors, but the theme is “Magic and Literature”; we spend the last half on children’s literature and the last full month on Harry Potter, first talking about the franchise as a whole (with some exceptions, they nearly all know it by heart) and then (re-)reading the fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, together. I choose Order of the Phoenix deliberately: the first three books are all still a little childish, and the fourth is mostly so until the shocking events at the end, which (after Cursed Child) now looks even more like the fulcrum of the entire series. (A surprisingly high number of students in the current college-age cohort had younger siblings who were initially not allowed to read past book three, and only came back to the series later, if at all, after a year or more break.) The sixth and seventh books are really plot-driven, almost to the exclusion of the world-building; you can’t really read one without reading both, and at that point you’re completely excluding any students who don’t already know the series extremely well. But the fifth book is in the sweet spot: it’s adult, in a way the earlier ones aren’t, and it opens up on the larger, darker Wizarding World while still being a stand-alone adventure. It’s also, perhaps it goes without saying, my personal favorite of the five, and I think the actual best writing of all seven — and it brings up some fascinating issues about the Wizarding World and its internal politics that aren’t really developed anywhere else.

We spend two weeks on Phoenix, and afterwards we talk a little bit about the epilogue to the last book, which (as every child knows) flashes forward nineteen years to the day Harry Potter’s second son, Albus Severus, goes to Hogwarts. We need the epilogue in the class because, in my teaching, it’s the culmination of the various explorations of bad parenting that structure Phoenix.

The discussion for the first day inevitably focuses on the scene with Molly Weasley (chapter nine, “The Woes of Mrs. Weasley”). Mrs. Weasley is a fascinating character from the perspective of the Harry-Potter-rereader-as-a-parent, as she is one of only a handful of genuinely “good” parents anywhere in the series: good in the sense that she sees her children (and Harry) as pearls beyond price and simply wants to love, nurture, and protect them, rather than instrumentalize them either in the service of her own ego (as with, say, Lucius Malfoy) or in the service of some larger, supposedly greater cause (as with Dumbledore).

(The character most like Molly in the series is, weirdly, Narcissa Malfoy, as my students in the first iteration of the class pointed out to me: Narcissa is the version of Molly who doesn’t take the word of the men for an answer and who is therefore able to get what she wants and protect her child at any cost, the Higher Cause be damned. That’s a not-insignificant plot detail for reading The Cursed Child.)

In chapter nine of The Order of the Phoenix we see Molly Weasley get excoriated by every other member of the original Order of the Phoenix for being weak, and being unwilling to see that war has come to the children (especially Harry, who is 15) and that they now must grow up and be soldiers instead. Molly says no, leave them out of it, they’re children, and gets shouted down. (In case we miss the point, Molly is then humiliated by the narrative by being unable to defeat a boogeyman parademon that the children had been taught to defeat with a simple spell two years before.) The remainder of the book and really the series as a whole is an exercise in further proving that Molly and those who think like her, like Hermione, are wrong (even though from a strict plot perspective Molly is in fact completely right and if the children had done nothing but just be kids everything in Book Five would have turned out fine). But within the logic of the original series it’s Molly who has to change; she only gets her redemptive moment in Book Seven when she is finally able to reconcile love to violence when she tells Bellatrix Lestrange “Not my daughter, you bitch” before murdering her.

Dumbledore explains at the end of Book Five that, in fact, his problem is that he loves Harry too much, and has been unwilling to fully weaponize him as the circumstances demand, treating him too much like a child — but now he will, reluctantly and with regret, bring Harry completely into the fold as his full lieutenant. (It’s only in Book Seven that we find out Dumbledore is still lying to Harry, even here, and that Dumbledore has always known he was raising Harry for the slaughter; even Snape, who himself has barely any conscience or pity, is horrified when he finds this out.) Both years teaching the course I’ve said at the end of the first day that my overall take on Dumbledore is that he seems to be a brilliant general, a middling-to-poor teacher, and an absolutely terrible father; no one agrees with me on day one, but by the end of the full lesson about half the class or more does. Dumbledore, like Gandalf, and like the Doctor, and like Obi-Wan, and like any other number of mentor wizards in the history of science fiction and fantasy we could name, abuses his protege and everyone else as his instrument in the name of a higher, nobler purpose — and if that’s painful, if that hurts, well, please know he’s sorry, it’s only because he loves you so very much.

The Dumbledore pseudo-apology scene that comes at the end of Book Five is important enough, central enough to the Potter mythos that it plays out again with one of Dumbledore’s portraits in The Cursed Child — only this time, Harry gets to talk back, and this time Dumbledore turns out to be definitely and definitively wrong.

This is why the books always needed the nineteen-years-later epilogue, despite all the many reasons it was a tremendously bad idea compositionally: what we see in the epilogue is that while Harry continues to admire the many men around him who seek to deploy him as their child-soldier, and even names his two sons after his four bad dads (James, who at least was bad mostly because he was dead; Sirius; Severus Snape; and Albus Dumbledore), he actually parents them like Molly Weasley. In the scene Albus is scared that he’ll be sorted into Slytherin, and wants reassurance from his dad that it won’t happen:

“Albus Severus,” Harry said quietly, so that nobody but Ginny could hear, and she was tactful enough to pretend to be waving to Rose, who was now on the train, “you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

“But just say — ”

“– then Slytherin House will have gained an excellent student, won’t it? It doesn’t matter to us, Al. But if if it matters to you, you’ll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account.”

“Really?”

“It did for me,” said Harry.

He had never told any of this children that before, and he saw the wonder in Albus’s face when he said it.

The punchline of the whole Hogwarts adventure, in my reading, is that Harry’s reward is that he gets to be a father, and/but that he isn’t a father like Dumbledore, Sirius, or Lucius. He just loves his kid unconditionally, whoever he is or isn’t, no matter what, forever.

The play’s retelling of the Deathly Hallows epilogue in Act I, Scene II truncates this scene crucially by eliminating the bolded dialogue. (I haven’t seen it performed so I can’t be sure how it plays on stage, but the stage directions don’t indicate any special reaction from Albus to this information either.) It has to retcon out Harry’s choice to love his children like Molly and Narcissa so that he can spend the play learning that lesson instead. So instead of Harry the Good Dad, we spend most of The Cursed Child with Harry as actually a pretty bad one, who fundamentally misunderstands his role in his son’s life, so at the end he can reform and be returned to the place where the original epilogue had always left him anyway.

In that sense, I suppose, the plot of The Cursed Child writ large is itself a little bit like the bubble timeline of any classic time-travel story, existing temporarily to dissipate in the face of reconciliation with the place we already were all along. But that reconciliation is an interesting thing; even reconciled, we can’t read the earlier books in quite the same way, because after The Cursed Child even Rowling won’t let Dumbledore off his hook. The story The Cursed Child tells in the foreground is ultimately the one the Harry Potter series was always telling in the background: how easy it is to be a bad parent, and how easy it would be to be a good one, if only you were stronger.

‘The Discovered Country’

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My review of Star Trek Beyond (and audition for the writers room of Star Trek: Discovery) is up now at LARB: The Discovered Country. Check it out! Let me know what you think here or there or at the other place!

Written by gerrycanavan

July 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Tuesday Links!

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The Paradox of New Buildings on Campus: Even as long-neglected maintenance threatens to further escalate the price of higher education, universities continue to borrow and spend record amounts on new buildings.

The “terminal” sabbatical eases the aging academic into “retirement,” the meat grinder admins use to nourish new administrators.

Visual Proof That America’s Weather Has Gone Completely Insane.

* Our friend Nina Riggs writes of her family’s history of cancer.

* The New York Times reviews Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Game Theory Is Really Counterintuitive. And from Cracked: 20 Paradoxes Most Human Minds Can’t Wrap Themselves Around.

* Jessa “Bookslut” Crispin has a book! Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto.

Just in time for another convention, Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.”

* It’s not enough to just turn over your lunch money; you have to enjoy it.

A final response to the “Tell me why Trump is a fascist”.

* Weird science: MIT Experiment Proves Quantum Mechanics Still in Effect at Over 400-Miles.

* Twilight of the VCR. A nation remembers.

* Disability in Abramsverse Star Trek.

* UnREAL probably is going to be bad from here on out.

* Trying to understand the data on desistance in transgender kids.

* What I’ve Learned From Having A Trans Partner.

* Brain metaphors in the Age of Trump: Is Your Nervous System a Democracy or a Dictatorship?

* Elsewhere on science corner: What high heels say about the massive gap between the rich and the poor. Ancient Campfires May Have Unleashed Humanity’s Top Bacterial Killer. Proton Gradients and the Origin of Life. This map shows how many people are getting high near you. Watch language evolve as little sims wander around a grid of islands. Personality Change May Be Early Sign of Dementia, Experts Say.

* #TheWisdomofMarkets: Nintendo shares plummet after investors realize it doesn’t actually make Pokémon Go.

* Details emerge about the new Nintendo system that I will almost certainly be buying my child sight unseen.

* Interesting details about the accident that hurt Harrison Ford on the set of The Force Awakens.

* Your policy, not mine: Pokémon Go players urged not to venture into Fukushima disaster zone.

* “You are surprisingly likely to have a living doppelgänger.”

* “Mysterious green slimy foam emerges from Utah sewer.”

* And I suppose you do have to admire it.

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Monday Morning Links!

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* ICYMI: A CFP for an upcoming issue of SFFTV devoted to Women in SF, keyed to the Frankenstein bicentennial.

We, the Undercommoning Collective, invite all those over whom the neoliberal, neocolonial university casts its shadow, all those who struggle within, against and beyond the university-as-such, to join us the weekend of October 14-16, 2016 for a global coordinated decentralized day of radical study and action.

* LARB reviews The Year 200, which I immediately bought.

* The end of the Republicans? How Donald Trump Broke The Conservative Movement (And My Heart). Trump’s Appetite for Destruction: How Disastrous Convention Doomed GOP. A 2% Convention Bump, It Looks Like.

* Not to be outdone, the Democrats are hard at work turning their convention into a debacle too.

* The Case for Tim KazzZZZZZzzzzzZZZz. Tim Kaine, and Other Faith-Based Politics. And here’s a piece from NRO that purports to explain why Tim Kaine wasn’t picked in 2008, which long-time readers may remember I’ve always wondered about. It’s pretty hard to make an electoral map where Trump wins without winning Virginia. And if you need it: My Official List of Approved Clinton-Kaine Puns.

* Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.

Neoliberalism Is a Political Project.

* “Trump and Putin: Yes, It’s Really a Thing.”

70 Years Ago, the U.S. Military Set Off a Nuke Underwater, And It Went Very Badly. Then they tried it four more times.

* “Ancient bottom wipers yield evidence of diseases carried along the Silk Road.”

* Science Corner: It Would Take a Lot of THC to Contaminate a Water Supply.

* An evolutionary history of menstruation.

Evolution Is Happening Faster Than We Thought.

* Precrime algorithms, coming soon.

How NYers Endured Unbearable Summers Before A.C.

* Parents, You’re Doing Summer Wrong. Elsewhere on the parenting beat: The Right Way to Bribe Your Kids to Read.

How one California university faked students’ scores, skated by immigration authorities — and made a fortune in the process.

Scientists Assert That Earth is Really Made of Two Different Planets.

This Is What Humans Would Look Like If They Evolved to Survive Car Crashes.

* English departments in 2016, if we’re being totally honest.

* And the arc of history is long, but Star Trek: Discovery Officially Takes Place in the Prime Universe. Here’s the ship.

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