Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘American Idol

Tuesday Links, So Many

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* Special issue of Modern Language Quarterly on “Our Obstinate Future” from Ryan Vu and Sharif Youssef.

Historicizing the concept of the inevitable in literature presents many challenges. For inevitability is itself a theory of historical agency, and an adequate critical account must confront inevitability’s claims without simply falling back on conventional notions of freedom, originality, or creative expression. Indeed, the inevitable is not merely a discourse to be cataloged by positivist historiography; it names a threat to any attempt at making humanity the author of its own experience. In its antique versions, women and men chalked their situation up to fate and diagnosed their historical condition through prophecy. In the late medieval era, more sophisticated but equally deterministic accounts of humanity’s relationship to historical change came into circulation, such as Calvinist predestination, fatalism, modern compatibilism, probabilism, and the acceptance of political economy as a science. Eventually, Charles Darwin’s natural history posited the inevitability of extinction in conditions of scarcity. The politicization of inevitability and conflicting visions of civilizational collapse followed, with communism and capitalism each decrying the other as a doomed system to be overcome. Friedrich Nietzsche’s eternal return recast inevitability as the nonlinear recurrence of intensifying crises. Walter Benjamin wrote of an angel of history who is condemned to look back on the wreckage of civilization. Today, in the wake of both historicopolitical optimism and existential pessimism, notions of the Anthropocene present a fatal paradox: the effects of human industry have set in motion a geological transformation that modern civilization might well not survive. The concept of the inevitable spins these discourses into a common thread, as so many attempts to diagnose the fundamental problem of human agency’s internal limits as expressed in time, along with whatever consolatory freedoms we might draw from our constraints.

It is easy for left academics to be seduced by a rhetoric of public consumption for our work, since most of us see theory and practice as intermingled. But the American case should stand as warning for British academics. For many years, Usonian scholars chased the mirage of being “public intellectuals”. Few realized, however, that this means depending on their institution to protect them from the onslaught of a rabid conservative media machine. When the dogs of reaction barked in the culture wars, though, American deans slunk away, fearing damage to their own managerial careers. Progressive scholars without the protective benefit of a strong Left were abandoned to fend for themselves against unfair odds, since the spectacular “public sphere” is never a level playing ground in the age of Fox News.

The New York Times Confirms Academic Stereotypes: Two months of opinion essays on higher education.

The athletic department’s four-year hidden tax may very well exceed $4,000 per student. In 2014 the subsidy rose to more than $27 million, a 25-percent increase.

The women who originally celebrated Mother’s Day conceived of it as an occasion to use their status as mothers to protest injustice and war.

A Medievalist on Savage Love. Hi, Matt!

* “2015 is my 25th year of adjunct teaching.” Oh, oh no.

Complaint Claims University Where Student Was Killed Failed To Act On Relentless Yik Yak Threats. Horrifying story on every level.

* Another moral panic against a left-wing academic. Six more weeks of winter.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, was established in 1965 and has long been known for its radicalism. But officials’ reaction to a recent protest against tuition hikes suggests that times have changed. 

* The rise of “mama.” Interesting to see something we didn’t even know we were doing laid out like this.

Alberta Loses Its Goddamn Mind for the Fourth Time: A Guide for the Perplexed.

* The End of Labour. Labour, Pasokified. The University after Conservative Victory.

Baby kangaroo, goats stolen from Wisconsin zoo.

* For what it’s worth I think the latest big Hersh story is probably mostly garbage.

Report: Defense Dept. paid NFL millions of taxpayer dollars to salute troops. Would you like to know more?

How roleplaying games and fantasy fiction confounded the FBI, confronted the law, and led to a more open web.

The University of Nevada, Reno, a land grant research university, is recruiting for a Coordinator, Innovation and Transformation. This could be the most buzzwordy, administrative-bloaty job ad of all time. It gets better/worse.

* Are we reading and watching Game of Thrones wrong?

Apples for the Teacher, Teacher is an Apple.

After 46 years of playing Big Bird, Caroll Spinney has some great stories.

* The Joss Whedon Avengers 2 podcast.

Marvel accidentally made a great female superhero, and now they have no clue what to do with her.

Judge Dismisses Nebraska Woman’s Lawsuit Against All Homosexuals.

Daily Express And Mail Celebrate The End Of Human Rights, A Horrified Twitter Despairs.

The US payday loans crisis: borrow $100 to make ends meet, owe 36 times that sum.

* New York and the slave trade.

* Headlines from the nightmare future. And again. And again.

How $45 worth of drugs landed a Baltimore man 20 years in prison.

The most senior Baltimore police officer charged over the death of Freddie Gray used his position to order the arrest of a man as part of a personal dispute just two weeks before the fatal incident, prompting an internal inquiry by Baltimore police department.

The mathematically proven winning strategy for 14 of the most popular games.

After an Eighth Grader Stayed Seated During the Pledge of Allegiance, the School Nurse Refused to Treat Her.

The ghetto was a deliberate policy invention, and investing in a path out of it would have been completely contrary to the point of creating it.

“I think we’re ready for capitalism, which made this country so great,” he said. “Public radio is ready for capitalism.”

* The death of the K-cup.

How Marvel Is Killing the Popcorn Movie.

Berkeley to Stop Adding Lecture Videos to YouTube, Citing Budget Cuts.

UBC student writes 52,438 word architecture dissertation with no punctuation — not everyone loved it.

How to Talk to Your Child’s Wary Professors.

Don’t let the police teach your kid a lesson.

Man Banned From Airline Over Frankly Hilarious Pinocchio Tattoo.

An Interview with the Publisher of a Magazine Printed Using HIV-Positive Blood.

In the Suburbs of Amaurotum: Fantasy, Utopia, and Literary Cartography.

Why cloth diapers might not be the greener choice, after all. I’ll believe anything on this subject to be honest.

Dictionary of Regional American English funded through summer 2016.

People Have Misconceptions About Miscarriage, And That Can Hurt.

“She’s likely to be in her twenties or thirties, middle-class, probably married, probably Christian, probably average intelligence,” Harrison said. “I just described, you know, your next-door neighbor.”

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal forever.

* The Pope just gave me the thumbs up.

* The arc of history is long, but.

Mother Still Searching For Preschool That Focuses Exclusively On Her Son.

* Great TNG prehistory from David Gerrold on this Mission Log supplemental.

* Kim Stanley Robinson explains his great new novel, Aurora.

Bigfoot Truthers Turn On Their Leaders.

Four Myths About the “Freelancer Class.”

The best way to nab your dream job out of college? Be born rich.

* And another great list of words that can’t be easily translated.

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 12, 2015 at 8:07 am

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I Dreamed a Dream

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Has the media feeding frenzy ever destroyed anyone as fast as it destroyed poor Susan Boyle?

Written by gerrycanavan

June 3, 2009 at 6:48 am

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Sunday Misc.

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Sunday misc.

* Calling bullshit on the feel-good story of the week, Britain’s Susan Boyle.

* Why can’t clowns and cops learn to get along?

* The Sunday Herald has your brief history of manga.

* Joss Whedon on the future of Dollhouse.

So how far of an arc have you planned for the series already?

When I pitched it, I gave them a six-year plan with a lot of leeway for change. But what I really mapped out was the first 13, and even though we start in a different place than I had originally intended, we end up exactly where I’d intended in the 12th episode. Then, in the 13th episode, things just get stranger. There’s some twisted sh– coming.

Can you give us an idea of what to expect from the second half of the season?

The second half of the season, especially starting with episode six, “Man on the Street,” just kicks the entire franchise up a huge notch. It’s where we start to pay off on everything we’ve been setting up for five episodes in terms of the relationships and the progression that Echo’s going through. And then I just start twisting the knife and I don’t stop. Hopefully it’s still accessible to people; we’re still doing standalones and every episode has its own resolution, so it’s not just a rabbit’s hole. The first half was definitely, “This is the world and here’s how it works.” And then the second half just takes that up to an intense level and then we really start to mess with the audience.

Stick around for some creepy and unprofessional comments about his coworker Eliza Dushku.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm

The Zeitgeist

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If artists depend on angst and unrest to fuel their creative fire, then at least in one sense the 43rd presidency has been a blessing. Eight years is an eternity in the life of a culture, and when we look back on an era, we do it through pinholes: a movie here, a book there. What will stand out, decades from now, as the singular emblems of this moment in history? Newsweek asked its cultural critics to pick the one work in their field that they believe exemplifies what it was like to be alive in the age of George W. Bush.

Battlestar Galactica
American Idol

Jeff Koons’s Hanging Heart
The Corrections
Black Hawk Down

Cohen’s Borat
Green Day’s American Idiot
Far Away
Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life

Battlestar is a decent if limited pick, and Idol a fairly inspired one, though not for the reasons given—but the exclusion of The Wire is simply criminal, not to mention Sopranos and Deadwood, and (yes) 24. For film, it might actually be The Dark Knight, or else There Will Be Blood. (Maybe Children of Men?) For books—surely the hardest category—it’s probably The Road, for a few reasons. I’m too illiterate in music to even begin to answer: the best I could manage would be a half-serious suggestion of Gnarls Barkley, or else just name a Springsteen album because that’s how I roll.

Via The Chutry Experiment, who points (among other things) to the unforgivable omission of viral video.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm