Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Achille Mbembe

Monday Morning Links (The Kind You Don’t Take Home to Mama)

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* CFP: The Evolution of Evil in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Academia Lunare.

But the other thing that strikes me – we were talking early on about the history of modernity as connected in a structural way to the history of slavery, of capitalism, to histories of ordering and wasting – when I read that long history, a striking thing is capitalism’s impulse to abolish limits. From a capitalist’s standpoint, there are simply no limits. In regard to almost anything and everything, limitlessness is the law. Another striking thing is that capitalism aims to abolish some of the key dualisms without which the very idea of society as we understand it would have been unimaginable. To some extent, capitalism is the only religion without taboos humans have ever invented.

The way it works is that, once the first settlers on a new planet demonstrate that they won’t die horribly from allergies, pathogens, or getting buried under the excrement of herds of titanosaurs, they then spread out to build mining settlements all over the planet, high-grade all the most accessible mineral deposits, drill for oil, and grow the infrastructure needed to build starships. With starhips built and trade links established, they grow into a mature colony over the course of a few centuries, all the while founding as many daughter colonies on new planets as possible. Eventually, they run into serious pollution problems, loss of usable mineral deposits, changing climate (both natural through the equivalent of Milankovich cycles, and anthropogenic), and a biosphere that coevolves to exploit the colony, because that’s just what life does (think pesticide resistant bugs, coyotes, superweeds…). At that point, the colony starts to fall apart. Interstellar trade shifts away from it (after all, whatever’s causing them to collapse them might be contagious). Ultimately the survivors hang on to become a truly resilient indigenous population in a backwater world–or all die horribly as their critical infrastructure fails. Their fate doesn’t matter to our interstellar civilization, because it has literally already moved on to new frontiers, boldly going where no man has gone before. So long as they can find new worlds to conquer, they can go on forever.

Hard to argue with this reading of Harry Potter, honestly.

“Eco-Philosopher Fails Hurricane Test, Crawls Under Rock.”

* Scenes from the trade war.

* A mere couple of hours away till the end of America, get excited.

* MSNBC is bad for you.

* Still, God help me, I can’t get enough of this stuff: What if Donald Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987?

Madeleine Albright: ‘The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad.’ Yeah, that’s what I keep saying!

* America is catastrophically incapable of holding its elites responsible for their crimes, and that’s supposed to be the good news.

* Meanwhile, the Trump Foundation was a comically illegal slush fund and it just doesn’t matter.

* A Mexican couple was turned over for deportation this week when they tried to visit a New York military base to celebrate the Fourth of July with their son-in-law, who is an army officer. They had lived in Brooklyn for decades. More here.

The couple’s son-in-law is a sergeant in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. According to the family, the Department of Defense won’t let him intervene in the case.

“Most worrying is the fact that both parents have recently undergone surgery and need medication,” the report said. “The Silvas say they have gotten calls from their mother, who said she was denied her medication. They say they have not heard from their father.”

This is a different army base in Brooklyn than the one that called ICE on a pizza delivery guy a few weeks ago.

* ICE has kidnapped a journalist in retaliation for his negative coverage of the Memphis Police Department.

Trump admin won’t reunite all migrant families, will place some kids in foster care.

Illinois governor profits off ICE detention center contracts.

The Power of “Abolish ICE.”

* Not for nothing. Of course you’ve heard me sing this song before.

* Notes from the Ocasio-Cortez campaign.

* Even “being drunk” is culturally specific.

Introducing the Marvel Curriculum: A look at film history via the MCU.

* What if HBO, but super, super creepy?

How Much Does Being a Legacy Help Your College Admissions Odds?

* Elon Musk’s submarine is nonsense. Meanwhile.

* Brexit vs. Gibraltar. Brexit vs. Britain. Brexit vs. the Tories. Brexit vs. Brexit.

* Privileging the lie.

I happened to listen to NPR for a few hours this morning, and I heard three stories that are very much connected to climate change without anyone on the radio mentioning climate change even once.

U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials.

* Like Pizzagate but it actually happened.

* 150 Cheers for the 14th Amendment.

* Killing all the whales and turtles to own the libs.

* Zero, explained.

* Actually existing media bias watch: 1, 2.

* Siri: show me fragile masculinity.

* And the headline reads: “Fake sultan was scamming a Miami billionaire. Then he ate pork.”

New Year’s Links!

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* A nice endorsement of Octavia E. Butler from Steve Shaviro. Some bonus Shaviro content: his favorite SF of 2016. I think Death’s End was the best SF I read this year too, though I really liked New York 2140 a lot too (technically that’s 2017, I suppose). I’d also single out Invisible Planets and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, both of which had some really good short stories. In comics, I think The Vision was the best new thing I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot I bought this year and didn’t have time to look at yet, though, so maybe check back with me in 2019 and I can tell you what was the best thing from 2016.

* Kindred: The Graphic Novel.

* Introducing the David Foster Wallace Society, including a CFP for the inaugural issue of The Journal of David Foster Wallace Studies.

Call for Papers: The Poverty of Academia.

* Oh, fuck this terrible year.

30 essential tips for succeeding in graduate school.

* The University in the Time of Trump.

Making the grade: a history of the A–F marking scheme.

* Who’s Afraid of the Student Debt Crisis?

Duke warns professors about emails from someone claiming to be a student, seeking information about their courses — many in fields criticized by some on the right. Some Michigan and Denver faculty members have received similar emails but from different source.

* The age of humanism is ending.

The New Year and the Bend of the Arc.

* The Front of the Classroom.

Marina Abramović and Kim Stanley Robinson perform “The Hard Problem.”

Osvaldo Oyola reads Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther.

* Leia Organa Solo: A Critical Obituary.

* Trump’s Arrival.

* Let them drink blood.

* BREAKING: There Is No Such Thing as “White Genocide.” Academic Freedom, Again. Buffalo skulls.

* I don’t think Children of Men was ever actually “overlooked” — and I’m shocked it was considered a flop at a time — but it certainly looks prescient now.

From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck. Remembering Caravan of Courage, the Ewok Adventure Star Wars Would Rather You’d Forget. Anti-fascism vs. nostalgia: Rogue One. How to See Star Wars For What It Really Is. And a new headcanon regarding the Empire and its chronic design problems.

Good News! Humans No Longer Caused Climate Change, According to the State of Wisconsin.

* How did A&E let this happen?

* On fighting like Republicans, or, the end of America.

* Scenes from the class struggle in Berkeley. And in Chillicothe, Ohio.

The seduction of technocratic government—that a best answer will overcome division, whether sown in the nature of man or ineluctable in capitalist society—slides into the seduction in the campaign that algorithms will render rote the task of human persuasion, that canvassers are just cogs for a plan built by machine. And so the error to treat data as holy writ, when it’s both easier and harder than that. Data are fragile; algorithms, especially when they aggregate preferences, fall apart. Always, always, power lurks. The technocrats have to believe in mass politics, believe for real that ordinary people, when they organize, can change their own destinies. Whether that happens depends on the party that gets built, and the forces behind it.

Four Cabinet nominations that could blow up in Donald Trump’s face. Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances. Why Donald Trump Might Not Be All That Good for Art. How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. This all certainly seems on the up-and-up. And today in teaching the controversy: Nuclear diplomacy via Twitter is a bad idea.

* Democrats: Time to Win! Why the Democrats’ 2017 comeback dream is like nothing we’ve seen before.

The Russia Conundrum: How Can Democrats Avoid Getting Entangled in a Losing Issue?

House Republicans will ring in the new year with a plan to permanently cripple government.

Characters Are Not A Coloring Book Or, Why the Black Hermione is a Poor Apology for the Ingrained Racism of Harry Potter.

The Great Harvard Pee-In of 1973.

* Against jobs.

* Against Batman.

The UBI already exists for the 1%.

* The arc of history is long, but Google Search will not longer return Holocaust-denying websites at the top of page one.

* Same joke but about not being allowed to ban plastic bags in Michigan anymore.

The Champions of the 401(k) Lament the Revolution They Started.

* “It was a pleasure to cull.”

* Geoengineering could ruin astronomy.

* Haiti and the Age of Revolution.

* A Utopia for the Deaf in Martha’s Vineyard.

Why the ‘Ghost Ship’ Was Invisible in Oakland, Until 36 Died.

Nine charts that show how white women are drinking themselves to death.

* The American bison is the new U.S. national mammal, but its slaughter was once seen as a way to starve Native Americans into submission.

* It wasn’t just your imagination: more famous people did die in 2016.

* How long can Twitter go on like this?

* The Porn Business Isn’t Anything Like You Think it Is. The Attorney Fighting Revenge Porn.

* Special ed and the war on education.

My Little Free Library war: How our suburban front-yard lending box made me hate books and fear my neighbors.

* Becoming Ugly.

* Happy Public Domain Day 2017.

Intricate Star Trek Klingon Warship Using 25,000 LEGO Bricks.

* And the scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 3, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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‘The Walking Dead’

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News of the upcoming AMC adaptation encouraged me to check out the trade paperbacks of Robert Kirkman’s zombie comic The Walking Dead (wiki), whose ten-book / sixty-issue run I subsequently blew through in about three days (including some just-can’t-stop reading until 4 or 5 AM last night). The Walking Dead is one of a handful of books like Y: The Last Man or Planetary that are just painfully, painfully good, and since neither of those titles are being published regularly it may just be the best title on the market right now. Or so it seems to me now, in the full throes of this terrible zombie high. Kirkman describes his intent in the introduction to Days Gone By to create the feel of a George Romero film that never ends, and damned if he doesn’t nail it. Unflinching, brutal, innovative, and intensely unforgiving, with an acutely Mbembian sense of what survival is and what it means, this is a must-read instant classic of the genre.

I promise you won’t regret picking it up.

Image Comics has generously put the first issue online to get you started. Then head down to your local comic shop to get the trades.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 16, 2009 at 10:22 pm