Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘1970s

Monday Links

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The Ambiguous Utopia of Iain M. Banks.

* Steven Chu waves the white flag on the tar sands. This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal… If only Obama had won!

* Colorado to split into two states over gun control? America has become a bad fan fiction of itself.

* The Constitutional Amnesia of the NSA Snooping Scandal: John Judis remembers the 60s and 70s.

* Leak, Memory.

Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom.

* And Dan Harmon says he won’t retcon season four. Of course, he hasn’t seen it yet…

Quote of the Night, Kim Stanley Robinson Edition

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“So there are lots of Brunners now; but Brunner was first, and The Sheep Looks Up still stands as a powerful warning. Two years after it came out, in 1974, the Club of Rome published a study called The Limits to Growth, which warned that the natural resources of the planet could not sustain an ever-expanding population consuming ever greater amounts of resources, and unleashing on the planet ever greater amounts of pollutants and poisons. For thirty years after this report came out, conservative think tanks and governments never tired of mocking the Club of Rome for their prediction, pointing to the always-increasing world population and resource consumption and noting that no disaster had struck, that here we all were consuming happily away, with only a few of us starving and the whole engine of capitalism humming along. But then around the time of the new millennium the scientific community began to speak up about climate change and habitat degradation and fisheries loss and topsoil loss and groundwater depletion and all the rest of it; and sometime in the last few years the scientific community started going off like the fire alarm in a hotel—saying exactly the same thing that the Club of Rome had said a quarter century earlier! So as a culture we had been like the man in the story who throws himself off the top of the Empire State Building and reports as he passes the tenth story that everything is fine, that the dangers have been exaggerated, and so on. The happy report has simply been premature.”

—Kim Stanley Robinson, Introduction to The Sheep Look Up (Centipede Press edition 2010)

Written by gerrycanavan

December 5, 2011 at 12:26 am

Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye

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We got up and paid our quintuple bill; then we went out into the street. I said goodbye and went off with Laur, I, Janet; I also watched them go, I, Joanna; moreover I went off to show Jael the city, I Jeannine, I Jael, I myself.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Goodbye to Alice Reasoner, who says tragedy makes her sick, who says never give in but always go down fighting, who says take them with you, who says die if you must but loop your own intestines around the neck of your strangling enemy. Goodbye to everything. Goodbye to Janet, whom we don’t believe in and whom we deride but who is in secret our savior from utter despair, who appears Heavenhigh in our dreams with a mountain under each arm and the ocean in her pocket, Janet who comes from the place where the labia of sky and horizon kiss each other so that Whileawayans call it The Door and know that all legendary things come therefrom. Radiant as the day, the Might-be of our dreams, living as she does in a blessedness none of us will ever know, she is nonetheless Everywoman. Goodbye, Jeannine, goodbye, poor soul, poor girl, poor as-I-once-was. Goodbye, goodbye. Remember: we will all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will all be free. I swear it on my own head. I swear it on my ten fingers. We will be ourselves. Until then I am silent; I can no more. I am God’s typewriter and the ribbon is typed out.

Go, little book, trot through Texas and Vermont and Alaska and Maryland and Washington and Florida and Canada and England and France; bob a curtsey at the shrines of Friedan, Millet, Greer, Firestone, and all the rest; behave yourself in people’s living rooms, neither looking ostentatious on the coffee table nor failing to persuade due to the dullness of your style; knock at the Christmas garland on my husband’s door in New York City and tell him that I loved him truly and love him still (despite what anybody may think); and take your place bravely on the book racks of bus terminals and drugstores. Do not scream when you are ignored, for that will alarm people, and do not fume when you are heisted by persons who will not pay, rather rejoice that you have become so popular. Live merrily, little daughter-book, even if I can’t and we can’t; recite yourself to all who will listen; stay hopeful and wise. Wash your face and take your place without a fuss in the Library of Congress, for all books end up there eventually, both little and big. Do not complain when at last you become quaint and old-fashioned, when you grow as outworn as the crinolines of a generation ago and are classed with Spicy Western Stories, Elsie Dinsmore, and The Son of the Sheik; do not mutter angrily to yourself when young persons read you to hrooch and hrch and guffaw, wondering what the dickens you were all about. Do not get glum when you are no longer understood, little book. Do not curse your fate. Do not reach up from readers’ laps and punch the readers’ noses.

Rejoice, little book!

For on that day, we will be free.

How to remember and discover Joanna Russ.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (and Several More)

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* Between the tax compromise and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, I think Obama did a tremendous amount to help his chances for reelection this week. Rachel Maddow rightly calls the DADT repeal the president’s victory:

Politically, the thing to not lose touch with here is that this is the President’s victory. This is something about which the President took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters. He continually insisted that this was possible that it would get done.

Guilty as charged. I confess I also love the sweet sound of right-wing screams, especially when their own caucus collapsed in the face of this “generational change.” Even Richard Burr voted the right way!

* It looks like Harvard and Yale will return ROTC to their campuses in light of the repeal. Frankly I’d prefer to see the trend going the other way—we need tighter restrictions on military recruiting, not loosening of the few restrictions that already exist—but I suppose this was unavoidable.

* Seen on Facebook: Obama wants to let gays vote. That’s why I’m voting Tea Party.

* Watch out Texas: bad news coming.

* Aside from the matter of actual violence, drugs, and squalor, there was the fact that in the 1970s New York City was not a part of the United States at all. It was an offshore interzone with no shopping malls, few major chains, very few born-again Christians who had not been sent there on a mission, no golf courses, no subdivisions…

* The message to Nicky Wishart and his generation is very clear: don’t get any fancy ideas about being an engaged citizen. Go back to your X-Box and X-Factor, and leave politics to the millionaires in charge. Via MeFi.

* And still more trouble for Britain: There are a growing number of grassroots organisations campaigning about the over-professionalisation of childhood football. Give Us Back Our Game launched four years ago. “The game has been taken away from children by over-competitive coaches and parents,” says founder Paul Cooper. It has several offshoots, including Football Football, an initiative to revive inner-city football. Then there’s the Children’s Football Alliance, which champions “mixed ability” football, and the Don’t X The Line campaign against over-the-top parental behaviour at children’s football matches. Also via MeFi.

* Consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs is evolutionarily novel, so the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis would predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to consume these substances.

* And Fringe announces its move to the Friday night death slot with style.

Mad Men Season 11, Hallucinogenic Spores, and Adamantium Bones

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* Put This One finds a wonderful image from Mad Men, Season 11. (Thanks, Jacob!)

* The Chicago Tribune explains why doing research in the archives is so fun. The answer may surprise you! Hint: Fungus on books, they say, is a likely source of hallucinogenic spores.

* The American Family Association ups the ante on the whole “Ground Zero mosque” pseudo-scandal: No more mosques in America, period.

* The Founding Fathers never intended to separate church and state. And they were 17 feet tall and had adamantium bones.

* Rachel Maddow on the war on brains.

* And Political Wire brings the news that we’re actually going to eliminate birthright citizenship: 49% of Americans already want to, before the fools and liars in the media have even had their chance to beat the drum.

* The climate situation is just obscenely dire.

* And just in time for our triumphant return: Huge hand-drawn panorama of London, 1845.

Monday

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* New maps of science fiction: a 1977 survey attempted to map political and cultural patterns in science fiction fandom. Via MeFi.

* The NAACP was right: the National Tea Party has now expelled the Tea Party Express from its ranks because of its founder’s racist comments.

* I wasn’t that worried about November until Joe Biden predicted victory.

* Why California can’t legalize marijuana.

* And The House Next Door rewatches Exit Through the Gift Shop with the various conspiracy theories in mind.

Vietnam, 35 Years Later

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Elsewhere in the 1970s: The Big Picture’s post today is “Vietnam, 35 Years Later.”