Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘affect

Sunday Links

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* CFP: Far Eastern Worlds: Racial Representations of Asia in Science Fiction.

* Great research opportunity for people working in SF studies: 2014-15 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* Teachers refuse to administer standardized tests.

* The despair of solitary confinement.

* The Afterlife of the Humanities.

* Transgender Children in Antebellum America.

* The Impossible Dream of Jodorowsky’s Dune.

* The Impossible Dream of a Second Season of The Comeback.

* Erotica Written By An Alien Pretending Not To Be Horrified By The Human Body.

* On the un-witness.

* Great moments in Big Data: Math proves Hollywood shouldn’t be sexist.

* ESPN profiles the cheerleader at the heart of the Raiders wage theft case.

* Scenes from the heroin crisis in Vermont.

* The end of journalism in New Jersey.

Anadarko Agrees To Record $5 Billion Fine For ’85 Years Of Poisoning The Earth.’ Anadarko’s revenues are 14 billion annually, with assets of 52 billion, so it seems clear the fine doesn’t go nearly far enough.

* Women in tech.

How Soviet Artists Imagined Communist Life in Space.

We’ve Found A Hidden Ocean On Enceladus That May Harbor Life.

* Radically unnecessary TV adaptation of perfect film goes to series.

If the first wave provided a machine for fighting misery, and the second wave a machine for fighting boredom, what we now need is a machine for fighting anxiety – and this is something we do not yet have.

* Never say die: Goonies Director Teases Sequel Featuring Original Cast.​

* Kazuo Ishiguro Readies First Novel in 10 Years.

* The world is now largely a population of scared confused people ruled by atavistic sociopaths with no sense of history, ethics, science, beauty, or truth. But then you already knew that.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine being vaguely disappointed by one Marvel Cinematic Universe film a year, forever.

* And Marquette will send a team to the only sporting event that really matters, the Robot World Cup.

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More Bousquet (On Superexploitation)

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More Marc Bousquet, this time on superexploitation from Academe:

What interests me about Spartacus and the grammar of adult film is the question of delivering work without a wage, for an extreme wage discount, or over and above the requirements of a wage. In the technical sense, most wage work (excepting the hypercompensated type) is simple exploitation: you produce more value than you receive back in wages, often a lot more, and that value goes to someone of the Real Housewivesclass, who buys jewels and a good conscience by making occasional donations to charity.

By contrast, working without a wage—or for a discounted wage, or for psychic compensation, or delivering additional work off the clock—generally involves some form of superexploitation. The cutting edge of management practice is finding ways to maximize the employee’s donation above and beyond the wage: checking office e-mail at 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., taking calls on weekends and on vacation, working through lunch, and so on. One of the vectors for this exploitation is making workplaces “creative” and “fun,” as Andrew Ross has argued; another is faux professionalism; another is providing elaborate nonwage recognitions, as in the military, church, and education bureaucracies. Internships are both straight-up extortion (“You can’t get a job without one”) and status awards (“I won the competition for the position!”).

Gladiators experience the most primitive forms of superexploitation (direct enslavement, imprisonment, and degradation). All of these primitive forms are alive and well in today’s global economy, from prison labor to the traffic in women. And some aspects of gladiator labor are realized cinematically as the kind of lockedin dormitory workplace associated with Chinese manufacturing.

But the primitive forms of superexploitation don’t explain the Starz demographic’s identification with the characters and situation. The viewer identification has much more to do with the fact that the gladiators also experience the most advanced or progressive forms of superexploitation associated with Western workers employed in some of the most sought-after positions in the global economy.

While gladiators do receive some material compensation (better food, occasional prize money), they are ultimately paid in the coin of emotion. This is where the mapping of gladiation onto the porn industry delivers the most insight. The gladiators are almost exactly analogous to today’s porn “stars,” who support one of the most lucrative industries on the planet—but who can make as little as one hundred dollars for a filmed sex act, and might work on just a couple of films in a “career” that lasts a few months. The cost of plastic surgery, physical training, and so on easily outweighs the earnings of many, a fact known perfectly well to most of the men and women struggling to get into the industry. The idea that all these people are delusional, trying to win a lottery of high adult-film paychecks, misses the point. For the most part, they understand that they are also being paid in a kind of reputation that they have chosen to seek (perhaps mistakenly), even if they don’t get rich.

This is the heart of Spartacus’s appeal—its insight into a core question of our time: “If the rewards are so slim, why do it?” And the series captures the complexity and honesty of the answer: that most of us are deeply social in our motivations, that we strive most vigorously for nonwage compensation . . . and that these generally social preferences represent our vulnerability to the economic predators of our time.

…But a labor market arranged around working for love—rather than fair compensation—is actually one of the most sexist, racist, and economically discriminatory arrangements possible. As I emphasize in How the University Works and elsewhere, when you make the professoriate an economically irrational choice, you stop sorting for the most talented people and begin to sort for the people who can afford to discount their wages.

Via @jhrees.

Of course, the coin of emotion, in fulfilling the desire to serve, is only part of the story. Just as the gladiators are also restrained by the lash, the superexploitation of academic labor is assisted by lines of force. Where the personal need to serve ends—when it runs out, is depleted, pumped absolutely dry by the relentless engine of university accumulation “in the service of good”—a whole underworld of terror, humiliation, and abuse awaits the university worker who comes to his or her senses. When the appeals to pride, love, and self-sacrifice at last run their course, most of today’s superexploited will simply be bullied into further giving with absurd metrics, unreasonable expectations, dishonest evaluation, the threat of nonrenewal, or the like.

Friday!

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* Writing Climate Change: A Round Table Discussion. With Julie Bertagna, Tobias Buckell, Maggie Gee, Glenda Larke, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vandana Singh, and Joan Slonczewski.

* This much is for sure: Keeping the cost of borrowed money a bit lower for one more year won’t cure the rising cost of higher education. It’s not even a bandage. It’s more like giving some comforting words to a critically injured patient. It might make a few people feel better, or win some votes, but it won’t do much to help our problems.

* Today’s insane Kafkaesque nightmare: Frank Rodriguez is a registered sex offender because he slept with his high school girlfriend (now wife) fifteen years ago, when he was 19 and she was 16.

Once he was labeled a sex offender, Frank faced a slew of restrictions. “I couldn’t talk to Nikki. I couldn’t go to restaurants, public swimming pools, football games — any places where there might be kids,” he says. “I couldn’t vote. I couldn’t leave the county without permission. My probation officer told me, ‘If you even look at a woman the wrong way, you could go to prison.'”

Frank did not have to go to jail. Instead, he was required to perform 350 hours of community service — picking up trash, mowing lawns — and to attend weekly counseling courses with convicted sex offenders and pedophiles. He also had to move out of his family home, since a 12-year-old girl lived there: his own sister.

Despite the unusual circumstances, Nikki and Frank’s connection grew stronger. “We didn’t have anything — but we didn’t need anything,” Frank says. “We were together.” Nikki finished school, then got a job in the county courthouse, where she works today; she and Frank married two years later. The couple’s first daughter was born about two years after that. Since Frank was still on probation, it was illegal for him to live in the same home as his baby girl. So he lived there against the law, becoming withdrawn and paranoid, constantly worrying about getting arrested. “My personality changed,” he says. “I used to be the life of the party. Now I didn’t want to leave the house.” A second daughter arrived a year later.

In 2003, Frank’s probation came to an end, and he could legally live with his daughters. Still, he needed to go to the police station every year on his birthday to register as a sex offender. Nikki lobbied officials in the courthouse — judges, district attorneys — to clear Frank’s name, to no avail. Frank simply fell outside the parameters of Texas law, which stipulated that the accused had to be within three years of age of his underage sexual partner to avoid registration. Frank is three years and two months older than Nikki. A further element of the law said that the accused could avoid registration if he was under 19 years old and his partner was over 13 years old when they had sex. Nikki was 15. But Frank lost again: He was 19.

Nikki and Frank connected with activists, and traveled to the state capital to participate in a public hearing. Still, Frank remained on the Texas registry, his crime listed as “sexual assault of a child.”

Via Longform.org.

* F*ck the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

* Sometimes Dumb Science Turns Out to be Pretty Smart.

* Rebekah Sheldon preps us for the upcoming C21 Nonhuman Turn conference with “Affect, Epistemology and the Nonhuman Turn.”

* And Amendment One opponents are trending towards a heartbreakingly narrow defeat.

Legal Rationality

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Tuesday Night Links

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* “Don’t talk to the cops” just got a little more complicated. One of the knocks against Sonia Sotomayor was that she’s be too prosecutor-friendly, so it’s good to see her on the right side on this:

Today’s decision turns Miranda upside down. Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent—which, counterintuitively, requires them to speak. At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results, in my view, find no basis in Miranda or our subsequent cases and are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded.

* Justice department to launch criminal investigation of BP. More here. Could the oil spill end BP? If the government chose to prosecute BP under the Clean Water Act, it could fine the company $4,300 per barrel leaked into the Gulf — fines independent of the liability cap. If the government won those damages, BP would currently be on the hook for $116 billion — enough to bankrupt the company immediately. Related: Robert Reich says Obama should put the company in receivership. And it looks as if BP has given up trying to contain the spill before the relief wells are completed this August.

* Peter Jackson being coy about whether he’ll now direct The Hobbit.

* Marvel as Stephen Stromberg makes an important point in a very stupid way.

* Heat wave in Northern India kills hundreds as temperatures approach 120 degrees.

* Six astronauts begin simulating this week a 520-day mission to Mars.

* Behold, the Wikipedia game.

* And you had me at “Japanese construction firm Shimizu Corporation has developed a series of bold architectural plans for the world of tomorrow.” Via Tim.

Saturday Afternoon!

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* I was going to offer this post from Matt Yglesias on Weber’s “Politics as Vocation” as a potential intervention in the argument Vu and I have been having over the last few comment threads. But upon reflection I don’t think “compromise vs. compromised” is quite what we disagree about after all; it’s really a much smaller dispute about the efficacy of adopting an aggressive negotiating posture when you’re playing Chicken with sociopathically indifferent ideologues. The bad actors will always win such a fight, because we care about outcomes and they don’t. What we we need to do, therefore, is direct our attention away from mere political affect toward structural reform, wherever possible, of the various political institutions that give these bad actors final say.

* The Wonk Room compares the original health care bill to the (presumably final) manager’s amendment, with more on the new CBO score from Steve, Ezra, and TPM. I have to say this post from mcjoan on making sure doctors don’t take away our precious guns made me smile, as did the follow-up on mandates from the comments. So did Benen’s Botax/Boeh-tax bit.

* Stupak launches another desperate bid to be thrown out of the Democratic caucus.

* More ‘Flopenhagen’ analysis from Mother Jones, MNN, Wonk Room, Kevin Drum, and immanance. One’s level of happiness/sadness and optimism/pessimism on Copenhagen continues to strongly correlate with the extent to which one thought a genuinely successful agreement was ever possible at Copenhagen in the first place.

* ‘In the Shadow of Goldman Sachs’: Trickle-down economics on Wall Street. Via PClem.

* Jack Bauer interrogates Santa Claus. Via Julia.

* Captain Picard to become Sir Captain Picard.

* And very sad news: Influential film theorist Robin Wood has died.