Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Alison Bechdel

Tuesday Night Links!

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* In case you missed it, last night I put up my syllabi for the fall, on J.R.R. Tolkien and American Literature after the American Century.

* Mark your calendars, East Coasters: Jaimee Hills reads from her award-winning book How to Avoid Speaking at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC on October 26. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that preorders are available now at Amazon and Waywiser Press.

* The world’s most popular academic article: “Fuck Nuance.”

That is the kudzu of nuance. It makes us shy away from the riskier aspects of abstraction and theory-building generally, especially if it is the rst and most frequent response we hear. Instead of pushing some abstraction or argument along for a while to see where it goes, there is a tendency to start hedging theory with particulars. People complain that you’re leaving some level or dimension out, and tell you to bring it back in. Crucially, “accounting for”, “addressing”, or “dealing” with the missing item is an unconstrained process. at is, the question is not how a theory can handle this or that issue internally, but rather the suggestion to expand it with this new term or terms. Class, Institutions, Emotions, Structure, Culture, Interaction—all of them are taken generically to “matter”, and you must acknowledge that they matter by incorporating them. Incorporation is the reintroduction of particularizing elements, even though those particulars were what you had to throw away in order to make your concept a theoretically useful abstraction in the first place.

See also: nuance trolling as academic filibuster.

* More ACLA CFPs: Utopia Renewed: Locating a New Utopian Praxis. Innovation, Creativity, and Capitalist Culture.

* Trying to figure out what percentage of instructors are adjuncts is the world’s most dangerous game.

But Thrun and other MOOC founders seem less than concerned about living up to their earlier, lofty rhetoric or continuing that tradition of bringing education to an underserved population. True, they haven’t entirely abandoned their rhetoric about equal access to educational opportunities. But they’ve shifted to what’s becoming a more familiar Silicon Valley narrative about the future of employability: a cheap and precarious labor force. That’s the unfortunate reality of “Uber for Education.”

* Artisanal college. Cruelty free, cage free, farm-fresh.

Aggrieved students find books dangerous; neoliberal administrators say they’re useless. I’d take the former any day.

From Corporate Leader to Flagship President?

Reform Higher Ed? Treat Badmin Like Bankers.

Literary magazines for socialists funded by the CIA, ranked.

* The strategic value of summer.

* Forty years of Born to Run. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

* Fun Home at Duke: 1, 2.

* Meanwhile, in today’s exciting new anti-academic moral panic: UNC’s The Literature of 9/11.

As Murray Pomerance points out, plagiarism is a form of theft, and we don’t steal our own work. On the contrary, we expand its reach, and build on it, thereby making it more relevant as the contexts that produce it change.

UT Knoxville encourages students to use ‘gender-neutral pronouns.’ Washington State University disavows syllabus with ban on certain words.

The Largest-Ever U.S. Gallery Of Jack Kirby’s Comic Art Heads To California.

* And no one talks about it: Barack Obama will leave his party in its worst shape since the Great Depression—even if Hillary wins. More here. I’m an outlier on the progressive side of the fence insofar as I think Clinton might really have to pull out of the race over the emails — so it’s even worse than it seems.

* The cartoon bodies of Mad Max: Fury Road.

How Many Men Did The Golden Girls Sleep With, Exactly?

* The FBI’s surveillance of Ray Bradbury. And the Sad Puppies.

Cold Opening: The Publicity Campaign for Go Set a Watchman.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina serves as a reminder that resilience is a function of the strength of a community. Gentrification’s Ground Zero: In the ten years since Katrina, New Orleans has been remade into a neoliberal playground for young entrepreneurs. The Myth of the New Orleans School Makeover.

* Incredible essay by Lili Loofbourrow on her sister’s death by suicide this summer.

* Psychology is bunk.

Žižek Says Thing.

* Against the Anthropocene.

* Whatever happened to DC Comics?

* Being Stephen Colbert.

* The free encyclopedia anyone can edit.

* Tinder as video game.

* Another Samuel Delany interview.

Janelle Monáe Vows To ‘Speak Up’ On #BlackLivesMatter.

* I love dumb stuff like this, when the corrupt screw up and lose: Business owners try to remove all voters from business district, but they forgot one college student.

Cancer cells programmed back to normal by US scientists.

British Library declines Taliban archive over terror law fears.

Upstate New York Secessionists Demand Freedom From City They Mooch Off Of.

* I told you that if there were something beyond the grave, I would contact you.

* RIP, Oliver Sacks.

* Inside Wisconsin’s Slender Man stabbing.

* I confess I am totally stunned by the Jared Fogle case. I thought I was cynical enough.

* The arc of history is long, but at least that Coach reboot has already been cancelled.

* The Racial Politics of Disney Animals.

* Mars by 2039?

* Renaming Denali.

* Why Dolphins Are Deep Thinkers.

Fall In Love with Your Job, Get Ripped Off by Your Boss. Related: workers shouldn’t work for free.

Firstborn Girls Are the Best at Life. Any Zoey could have told you that!

* The law, in its majestic equality, allows rich and poor alike not to clean up their billion-dollar toxic oil spills.

* The New Servility.

* Militarized drones are now legal in North Dakota.

Future Jails May Look and Function More Like Colleges. And, you know, vice versa…

* Never say “unfilmable”: The BBC is going to try to make a show out of The City and the City.

* Declare victory and go home to your panic room: America Has Lost The War Against Guns.

* And some things mankind was just never meant to know: See how easily a rat can wriggle up your toilet.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Ten Thousand Tuesday Links

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* Susannah Bartlow has been writing about her side of the Assata Shakur mural controversy: 1, 2.

Saint Louis University has removed a statue on its campus depicting a famous Jesuit missionary priest praying over American Indians after a cohort of students and faculty continued to complain the sculpture symbolized white supremacy, racism and colonialism.

* Ursula K. Le Guin Calls on Fantasy and Sci Fi Writers to (Continue to) Envision Alternatives to Capitalism. What Can Economics Learn From Science Fiction?

Muslim fiction writers are turning to genres like sci-fi, fantasy, and comics.

Slavoj Žižek’s Board Game Reviews.

How to Advocate for the Liberal Arts: the State-University Edition.

Post-tenure review: BOR-ed to death. Don’t believe the lies about UW and tenure. On Tenure and If You [Really] Want to Be a Badger. Upocalypse Final Update. Does Tenure Have a Future? An Open Forum. Twilight of the Professors. The End of Higher Education As We Know It.

* Now more than ever: “Privilege” and the rhetoric of austerity.

* Meanwhile: college presidents are getting paid.

* Counterpoint: I was a liberal adjunct professor. My liberal students didn’t scare me at all.

* How to Tailor Your Online Image, or, Don’t Go to Grad School.

* The poet-scholar.

* McKinney nightmare. Disciplining Black Bodies: Racial Stereotypes of Cleanliness and Sexuality. Memories of the Jefferson Park Pool. Summer heat.

* America is still incredibly segregated.

Kalief Browder was one of those African American men. But in 2010 he was a boy of 16, sent to Riker’s Island for a crime he did not commit. As reported by the great Jennifer Gonnerman, Browder sat there for three years without a trial. He was repeatedly beaten by guards and inmates while in Rikers. He spent two years in solitary confinement—a euphemism for living under torture. On Saturday the effects of that torture were made manifest.

You Can Be Prosecuted for Clearing Your Browser History.

* Enter manslamming.

* Bernie Sanders: Let’s Spend $5.5 Billion to Employ 1 Million Young People.

* Meanwhile, Clinton advance the Canavan position on voter registration: just make it automatic. Now let’s talk about letting noncitizen permanent residents vote!

* And Chafee wants the metric system! This Democratic primary is truly devoted to Canavan demo.

* The Bureaucratic Utopia of Drone Warfare.

* The Middleman Economy.

* The gig economy triumphant.

NLRB: Duquesne Adjuncts May Form Union. 

* Nice work if you can get it: Top Weather Service official creates consulting job — then takes it himself with $43,200 raise, watchdog says.

You Can Be Prosecuted for Clearing Your Browser History.

The Apple Watch could be the most successful flop in history.

Put this one in the awkward file: just hours after the EPA released yet another massive study (literally, at just under 1000 pages) which found no evidence that fracking led to widespread pollution of drinking water (an outcome welcome by the oil industry and its backers and criticized by environmental groups), the director of the California Department of Conservation,  which oversees the agency that regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, resigned as the culmination of a scandal over the contamination of California’s water supply by fracking wastewater dumping.

* The rules of Quidditch, revised edition.

What’s Happening To Players At The Women’s World Cup, Where The Artificial Turf Is 120 Degrees.

* TSA is a hoax.

* All about Fun Home: Primal Desire and the American Musical.

Here’s what it would take for the US to run on 100% renewable energy. Bring on 2099!

Calvin And Hobbes embodied the voice of the lonely child.

The quick, offstage choreography of SNL costume changes.

100-year-old blackboard drawings found in Oklahoma school.

* How Clickhole Became the Best Thing on the Internet.

* Shocked, shocked: claw machines are rigged.

* Everything you know about wolf packs is wrong.

Only known chimp war reveals how societies splinter.

Sleuthing reveals Shorewood home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

* I’ve been spending too much time on recommendation letters.

* I also chose the wrong career: I should have been a psychic, or at least whatever this guy was doing before he managed to lose three-quarters of a million dollars to a psychic.

Different People Have Different Opinions About Burning Their Own Children Alive, And That’s Okay.

* “What ‘Game of Thrones’ Can Teach Us About Great Customer Service.”

* Warp drives and scientific reasoning.

* The things you learn having a good editor: “Mexican Standoff” predates film by fifty years, and probably is participating in anti-Mexican prejudice.

* Language is like gymnastics.

* It’s a bad world.

* But keep hope alive: J.K. Rowling says there’s an American Hogwarts.


Written by gerrycanavan

June 9, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Midweek Links!

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* Another scene from the death of the university.

* A postscript for Fun Home.

* Someone Calculated How Many Adjunct Professors Are on Public Assistance, and the Number Is Startling.

Transforming White People Is Not the Job of Minority Students.

* Poor and at Harvard.

By substituting class relations for an arbitrary list of “privileges,” Voxis attempting to paint a picture of an immiserated America with no villain. It’s an America without a ruling class that directly and materially benefits from everyone else’s hard times. And this omission isn’t just incorrect — it robs us of any meaningful oppositional politics that could change it all.

For the Humanities, Some Good News Is Mixed With the Bad.

Hillary Clinton’s Announcement Paves Way for Progressives to Abandon Principles Very Early in 2016 Election. Hillary Clinton isn’t a champion of women’s rights. She’s the embodiment of corporate feminism. How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World. The typeface.

Why did it take the federal government so long to prosecute the Blackwater contractors who shot up a Baghdad square in 2007, killing and maiming scores of Iraqis? Because investigators were trying to wait out the Bush administration, which wanted to go easy on the killers, recently unearthed documents show.

* Gasp! New Research Shows Free Online Courses Didn’t Grow As Expected. Once-celebrated online courses still haven’t lived up to the hype.

* ‘Fuck Your Breath’ — Video Shows Cop Mocking Unarmed Man As He Dies From Police Bullet. This story is even more bizarre than you’d think. Black Men Being Killed Is The New Girls Gone Wild. Police have been setting up suspects with false testimony for decades. Is anyone going to believe them now when they tell the truth? Thousands dead, few prosecuted.

* A brief history of Marvel’s teen heroines.

* Victims of Chicago gun violence memorialized in lifelike statues.

City to Acknowledge it Operated a Slave Market for More Than 50 Years.

The New Somali Studies.

* Huge if true: Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand.’

* How Game of Thrones is diverging more and more from the books. More on that.

The “zone of sacrifice” that is Oxnard, California, where low-income workers are paying the price for pesticide use and chemical dumping.

California and the literature of water.

Turkish mayor sued over giant robot statue.

17 Years After a Spill Into the Ocean, LEGO Pieces Still Wash Ashore.

* Hate to judge it from a trailer, but Ant-Man sure seems pretty specifically not great.

* As Sinclair Lewis said, when fascism comes to America it will be wearing a Fitbit and offering you a discount on insurance.

St. Cthulu in the Anthroposcene.

Maryland ‘Free Range’ Kids Taken Into Custody Again.

* BREAKING: Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions.

Saga Was One Of The Most Challenged Books In US Libraries Last Year. #2? Persepolis.

* Weird children’s books from the 1970s, by way of Jonathan Lethem.

Tech bubble about to burst again.

* And The Left Hand of Darkness has been adapted for BBC Radio.

Thank God It’s Thanksgiving Week Links

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While the Nazi totalitarianism strove to give the masses a sense of collective power and strength, Kraft durch Freude (“Strength through joy”), inverted totalitarianism promotes a sense of weakness, of collective futility. While the Nazis wanted a continuously mobilized society that would not only support the regime without complaint and enthusiastically vote “yes” at the periodic plebiscites, inverted totalitarianism wants a politically demobilized society that hardly votes at all.

* In a book coming out this spring, Goffman, now a 31-year-old assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, documents how the expansion of America’s penal system is reshaping life for the poor black families who exist under the watch of its police, prison guards, and parole officers.

* Durham police defend lack of public information in teen’s death. I am continually amazed and horrified by the police stonewalling on this story. How can they not be required to admit how the teenager died?

For racking up a record that has veered from unethical conduct to staggering incompetence, CREW’s voters awarded Gov. Walker the title of Worst Governor in America.

Toxic Lakes From Tar-Sand Projects Planned for Alberta.

The Insanity of Our Food Policy.

India Confronts the Politics of the Toilet.

Federal Student Loan Profits Help Duncan Cut Education Spending To Lowest Level Since 2001. What a sickening spectacle.

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions. So we’ll only have to sue 90 companies into oblivion? That seems pretty manageable.

Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User. Via this piece on the culture of overwork in academia.

* Creatin’ a legal marijuana economy ain’t easy.

* No war in Iran? Unhappy warmongers, just pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, and try again next decade.

The Long Shadow of Chinese Blacklists on American Academe.

* MetaFilter post on the only musical I ever need to see: Fun Home: The Musical.

Bill de Blasio gives cold shoulder to education reformers as he prepares to choose a chancellor.

* And did I do this one already? An Upworthy Generator. Now you can be inspired by heartwarming stories on your own timetable…

Friday Night Links

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* Thickness of the ice sheets at various locations 21,000 years ago compared with modern skylines.

* Ian Bogost has a great piece on MOOCs in an otherwise totally skippable LARoB feature on the subject.

MOOCs are a financial policy for higher education. They exemplify what Naomi Klein has called “disaster capitalism”: policy guilefully initiated in the wake of upheaval.  The need to teach more students with fewer resources is a complex situation. It’s partly caused by hubris, especially the blind search for higher institutional status through research programs, and it’s exacerbated by the tax base crises of the ongoing and seemingly permanent Great Recession. MOOCs offer the next logical step in this process of “cost containment.” But those who would call current funding models “unviable” and offer MOOCs as a convenient alternative fail to admit that the very need for an alternative presumes that we want to abandon public education in favor of a corporate-owned infrastructure in the first place.

MOOCs are an academic labor policy. As a consequence of the financial policy just described, MOOCs are amplifying the precarity long experienced by adjuncts and graduate student assistants, and helping to extend that precarity to the professoriate. MOOCs encourage an ad-hoc “freelancing” work regime among tenured faculty, many of whom will find the financial incentives for MOOC creation and deployment difficult to resist. This is particularly true of public institution faculty who have gone years without raises. Many institutions offer tens of thousands of dollars of direct compensation for MOOC development and teaching. And, in some cases, MOOCs offer direct access to student tuition and direct competition among faculty for those new resources, extending the “entrepreneurial” institutional politics of professional schools (and corporate life more generally) to all disciplines.

MOOCs are speculative financial instruments. The purpose of an educational institution is to educate, but the purpose of a startup is to convert itself into a financial instrument.The two major MOOC providers, Udacity and Coursera, are venture capital-funded startups, and therefore they are beholden to high leverage, rapid growth with an interest in a fast flip to a larger technology company or the financial market. The concepts of “disruption” and “innovation,” so commonly applied to MOOCs, come from the world of business. As for EdX, the MOOC consortium started by Harvard and MIT, it’s a non-profit operating under the logic of speculation rather than as a public service. If anything, it will help the for-profits succeed even more by evangelizing their vision as compatible with elite non-profit educational ideals.

It is telling that elite professors and universities who design MOOCs aren’t using them for their own students. Those of us who value education and its role in fostering both literacy and democracy should pass on them too.

* Patton Oswalt: A Closed Letter to Myself about Thievery, Heckling, and Rape Jokes.

* Sarah Kendzior vs. the prestige economy. Good interview.

* Obama wants you to believe he’s really truly going to get serious about the climate next month. Really! Meanwhile, they’ve found another methane time bomb in the permafrost.

There are nearly six times as many showings of Man Of Steel alone as there are of all the films about women put together.

The Seinfeld theme slowed down by 1,200 percent is horrifying.

* High-ranking SS commander found living in Minnesota.

* John Oliver really is a much better host of the Daily Show than Stewart’s been since the Bush years.

The investigation was ongoing, but Undersheriff James Szczesniak said there was no evidence yet that Martino “had any ill intent.” There could be a dozen perfectly legitimate reasons why he’d have 30 to 40 pipe bombs in his apartment.

 Transgender People Can Now Change Their Social Security Record’s Gender Identity.

What’s more important: a college degree or being born rich? The answer will totally not surprise you!

* And the time has come at last to raid Detroit’s pensions in the name of bankers’ profits.

Two Named Female Characters Who Talk to Each Other About Something Other Than a Man

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Sunday Night Links

with 6 comments

* Famous movies, behind the scenes.

* Austerity doesn’t work, Iceland edition.

* Time to Get Angry Again: All About Pussy Riot.

* I Was a Teenage Narc.

* Missouri’s next senator, ladies and gentlemen.

Senate Candidate and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) told a local television station on Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely produces pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin cited conversations with unnamed doctors for the bizarre claim.

Nate Silver says there’s hope this lunacy could erase Akin’s lead overnight. Growing Number Of Conservatives Call On Akin To Withdraw After ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comments.

* Elsewhere in American politics: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.” I mean really.

* The headline reads, “Inmates forced into Gladiator-style fighting by St. Louis jail guards.” WHAT THE HELL AMERICA.

* College Degrees Cost 1,120 Percent More Than They Did 30 Years Ago.

* At home with Alison Bechdel.

* The birth of critical university studies.

Lenin’s Tomb tries to split the baby on Assange.

* More Mitt Romney tax return follies: he still hasn’t released his full returns for 2010. And another why-won’t-he-just-release-them theory: voter fraud!

* A Lesson Is Learned but The Damage Is Irreversible is coming back. Amazing.

* When Robert Wood Jr. disappeared in a densely forested Virginia park, searchers faced the challenge of a lifetime. The eight-year-old boy was autistic and nonverbal, and from his perspective the largest manhunt in state history probably looked like something else: the ultimate game of hide-and-seek.

* The many lives of Frédéric Bourdin.

Over the years, Bourdin had insinuated himself into youth shelters, orphanages, foster homes, junior high schools, and children’s hospitals. His trail of cons extended to, among other places, Spain, Germany, Belgium, England, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Bosnia, Portugal, Austria, Slovakia, France, Sweden, Denmark, and America. The U.S. State Department warned that he was an “exceedingly clever” man who posed as a desperate child in order to “win sympathy,” and a French prosecutor called him “an incredible illusionist whose perversity is matched only by his intelligence.” Bourdin himself has said, “I am a manipulator. . . . My job is to manipulate.”

More from MeFi.

And Sir Patrick Stewart, soliloquy on the letter B. I almost feel better.


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