Posts Tagged ‘Batman’
* From the archives! That thing I wrote about the first season of Kimmy Schmidt. I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the second season, alas, and some of the things I wrote back then seem to point to why.
* You know, after reading this I think I hate the humanities too.
* And you thought you felt bad about your pedagogy already: Are Colleges Too Obsessed With Smartness?
“When the entire system of higher education gives favored status to the smartest students, even average students are denied equal opportunities,” he writes. “If colleges were instead to be judged on what they added to each student’s talents and capacities, then applicants at every level of academic preparation might be equally valued.”
* Special pleading alert! No, DC Should Not Become The 51st State. Here’s A Quick History Lesson To Remind You Why.
* This Former College President Spent 2 Years in Prison. Here’s What He Learned. The answer will shock you!
* You could almost forget this, as the term fizzles into a bunch of sagging 4-4 ties and improbable unanimous decisions, but if Antonin Scalia had lived until July the docket was full of poisoned pills and silent time bombs that would have exploded in President Obama’s face this summer. Until and unless we reckon with what might have been at the high court this term, it’s impossible to understand why there will be no hearings for Judge Garland. GOP senators aren’t just angry about losing Justice Scalia’s seat. They are angry because the court as the weapon of choice to screw the president has been taken from them, and they want it back.
* Now Keurig says it has found a solution. It is taking longer than it took for NASA to put a man on the moon, but in the coming months, the company will begin to sell K-Cups made of material that is easily recycled.
* Every Disney Song from Best to Worst. Glad we settled that!
* As I feared, the tide seems to have turned on Title IX. I continue to think the whole law is at risk if its supporters cannot find a way to frame and articulate the need for reform.
* It’s Time To Acknowledge How Important the Death Star is to Star Wars. I don’t know that I quite agree with this, but Rogue One does (seem to) point to a vision of the franchise that isn’t so heavily dependent on the Jedi.
* Male chimpanzee Chacha screams after escaping from nearby Yagiyama Zoological Park as a man tries to capture him on the power lines at a residential area in Sendai, northern Japan.
* New ABC show ‘Cleverman’ is about an Aboriginal superhero. Australian ABC, not US ABC, alas.
* Someone should have double-checked that math: Man Sentenced to 4 Years After Victim Says She Was Held Captive, Sexually Assaulted for a Decade.
* Some upcoming events at Marquette English this month: “Resume Doctor and Interview Bootcamp” and a Pop Culture and Pizza Night on Hamilton: An American Musical. There’s also MuHuCon this weekend and the Marquette/UWM joint conference next weekend.
* In a case showing the reach of college sports corruption, a former head men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Mississippi instructed his assistants to complete junior college course work for recruits.
* Diabetes watch: Are full-fat dairy foods better for you after all?
* Can this election get stranger? How Gen. James Mattis could become the unlikeliest U.S. president in history. I don’t know anything about Mattis, and doubt that he’s the guy, but I still think sabotaging the Electoral College by running one or more regional candidates in order to throw the election to the House is the only GOP strategy left that has any chance of success.
* This Is How Long Sex Should Actually Last. Science.
* The finding that launched a thousand sexist jokes: Men May Be Able to Avoid Dementia by Marrying Intelligent Women, Researchers Say.
* “I think that porn has the power to do what Bruce Springsteen can’t”: Porn Site Bans North Carolina Users Due To State’s Anti-LGBT Laws.
* No one knows why they remained healthy, Friend said. But DNA from such people could one day provide insight into ways to prevent or treat such catastrophic disorders. “Instead of looking at people with disease, you need to look at people who should have gotten sick,” said Friend.
* How precious is a longtime family dog? As valuable as an heirloom vase or family photographs? A Wisconsin appeals court says no.
* Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others: After 50 years of animal-welfare legislation, rats and mice are still left out in the cold.
* A major perk of the job for New York State corrections officers may soon be off the table: The ability to be as brutal as they’d like with prisoners without having to worry about facing any serious consequences.
* Last winter two bodies were found in Norway and the Netherlands. They were wearing identical wetsuits. The police in three countries were involved in the case, but never managed to identify them. This is the story of who they were.
* I want to believe: The Warriors Have A 93 Percent Chance Of Hitting 73 Wins.
* Huge, if true: Planet X to really cause mass extinction this month?
* And I know I say this a lot, but sometimes a thing really is ideology at its purest.
* This is all to say that it would be very surprising, not to mention ill-advised, for DC/WB to go forward with the franchise without making significant adjustments. Every other studio has either scrapped a franchise or made significant changes to movies that had far higher multipliers than BvS. Also, people should be careful not to simply look at the total gross of a movie to gauge its success, particularly franchise movies. For instance, although BvS will have a similar gross to Guardians of the Galaxy and be in the ball park of Deadpool, the high multipliers for those movies indicate that fans crave sequels or are eager to watch similar movies. BvS’s low multiplier suggest that people were curious to check out the movie and/or were lured in with the heavy marketing, but ultimately decided that the movie was not for them.
The feminist critique of comics has made “not asking” a lot harder. That, in itself, is a victory. The point is not to change the thinking of the active sexist. (Highly unlikely.) The point is to force the passive sexist to take responsibility for his own thoughts.
* Every time MaxMind’s database has been queried about the location of an IP address in the United States it can’t identify, it has spit out the default location of a spot two hours away from the geographic center of the country. This happens a lot: 5,000 companies rely on MaxMind’s IP mapping information, and in all, there are now over 600 million IP addresses associated with that default coordinate. If any of those IP addresses are used by a scammer, or a computer thief, or a suicidal person contacting a help line, MaxMind’s database places them at the same spot: 38.0000,-97.0000. Which happens to be in the front yard of Joyce Taylor’s house.
* What could possibly go wrong? Gun Company Turns Real Handgun Into Clone Of The Nintendo ‘Duck Hunt’ Zapper.
* At HubSpot, the software company where I worked for almost two years, when you got fired, it was called “graduation.” We all would get a cheery email from the boss saying, “Team, just letting you know that X has graduated and we’re all excited to see how she uses her superpowers in her next big adventure.” One day this happened to a friend of mine. She was 35, had been with the company for four years, and was told without explanation by her 28-year-old manager that she had two weeks to get out. On her last day, that manager organized a farewell party for her.
* Consider this: for almost 2,000 years and counting the entirety of Western culture has been brainwashed. The fields of biology, economics, religion, and psychology are built on a lie. Even those who self-consciously reject this falsehood are subconsciously shaped by it. It’s unavoidable and all pervasive. It’s made us who we are. Indeed, it’s turning us into monsters. What is this lie exactly? It’s the assumption that humans are born bad.
* The criminal justice system encourages prosecutors to get guilty verdicts by any means necessary—and to stand by even the most questionable convictions. Can one crusading court stop the lying and cheating?
* Food for Marquette English’s Hamilton event later this month: A Hamilton Skeptic on Why the Show Isn’t As Revolutionary As It Seems. And another: Hamilton, Inc.
Broadway can be a very poor investment, but when shows hit, they really hit. The most successful of them dwarf the revenues of even the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. “Hamilton” could easily run on Broadway for a decade or more. In September, the first road production will open in Chicago, and it will be a “sit down” show, meaning it is intended to stay there for a year or more. Ultimately, there may be as many as seven “Hamilton” companies, in addition to the one on Broadway, performing at the same time in multiple American and international cities. Ticket revenues, over time, could reach into the billions of dollars. If it hits sales of a mere $1 billion, which “Hamilton” could surpass in New York alone, the show will have generated roughly $300 million in profit on the $12.5 million put up by investors. (There are many eye-popping numbers to contemplate, but maybe the most striking one is this: The show is averaging more than $500,000 in profit every week.)
* Call for Papers: Faulkner and Hemingway conference at the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. I was just down there to give a talk and had a fantastic time.
* New digital journal, thresholds, co-edited by Fran McDonald and Whitney Trettian. Here’s the CFP for the debut issue:
The debut issue of thresholds will focus on the theme of the extraneous. We seek manuscripts that deal with the extra, the foreign, or the strange from any angle. We welcome contributions that combine the creative and critical in their approach, and are eager to consider work that is experimental in both content and form. Final submissions will be comprised of a short piece (a maximum of 7000 words) accompanied by a series of fragments. Please submit 400-word abstracts and a brief bio to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 15, 2016. Final essays will be due July 31, 2016.
* Elsewhere on the Duke alum beat: Huge congrats to Ainehi Edoro and Brittle Paper, which is now part of the Guardian!
* Protest and Power at Duke. Duke Students End Sit-In in President’s Office. A Lawsuit, Unmet Demands, and Coloring Books: Inside Duke’s Sit-In. A Guide to the Allen Building Takeover Collection, 1969-2002.
* The point is to implement an authority structure that can control public universities under permanent austerity and in the absence of a growing and rising middle-class. Culture wars are good for discrediting particular sources of sociocultural knowledge like ethnic studies, feminist studies, or Middle Eastern Studies. Budget cuts are good for taking the whole public university sector down a few notches. But to reengineer a static enterprise, after decades in which their boards failed to maintain the state revenues on which the system was built, public university governors need the audit and assessment practices that Europeans have long called New Public Management (NPM).
* In a case showing the reach of college sports corruption, a former head men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Mississippi instructed his assistants to complete junior college coursework for recruits.
* Can you imagine, just for a moment, being a Chancellor of a university—a position with an enormous amount of responsibility to an incredibly wide range of stakeholders—and have someone interrupt you with a ‘No Whining!’ sound effect while you are trying to describe how many staff members you’ve had to lay off and what programs you’ll be cutting, with no end in sight? Would you have an existential moment of crisis where your inner voice conceded, “Oh my god, I’m an adult”? Well, I guess the ‘flexibility’ everyone wants for Chancellors doesn’t apply to their actually speaking without permission and an approved message.
* To begin answering these questions, we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of lines for male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.
* Incredible narrative about a professor allowed to return to their job at UCLA after egregious sexual harassment. And it’s not even the most unbelievable story of an unrepentant predator allowed to walk free with no significant punishment I’ve read this week.
* Yes, apparently Zack Snyder has the same carte blanche to make Justice League, even after turning the first-ever movie starring three of the biggest, most popular superheroes in the world into a film that analysts believe won’t even make a billion dollars worldwide. Maybe that still sounds like a lot of money, but you know what actually made a billion bucks? Tim Burton’s needless 2010Alice in Wonderland film. If you put Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman together in a live-action movie for the first time ever, don’t you think that movie should probably outgross Iron Man 3?
* My sense is that militarized drones, those machines for remote seeing and killing known in military jargon as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” should be understood to signify an end of empire in two senses. First, an end as in conclusion, or terminus. Hannah Arendt argued that proliferating death is not a sign of an emerging or persisting hegemony but its waning: “rule by sheer violence,” she notes, “comes into play where power is being lost.” This means that the assassinations proliferating in the name of the American phase of accumulation are the sign not of its strength but its incipient weakness; never mind autumn, we could say that drone war is a sign of the coming winter. Second, I mean an end in the Aristotelian sense of telos, or purpose. If we take seriously the fact that empire is best understood not as a culture or as a discourse but as the monopoly on putatively legitimate violence—the stretching of the state’s power over life and death past the boundaries of its “own” populace—then the power of sovereign decision crystallized in globally operated, remote assassination machines is the very essence of empire: its telos, or end. President Obama’s now-infamous “kill list meetings” sharpen to an obscene purity the American state’s power of judgment over life and death beyond its own citizenry and constitute the distillation of imperium as such.
* Never say never again: ‘Speedy Gonzales’ Eyed As Animated Feature At Warner Bros.
* New Jersey University Was Fake, but Visa Fraud Arrests Are Real. Fake New Jersey University Established by Cops to Catch Visa Fraud Has Pretty Good Job Placement. Fake, real, real, fake, let’s not quibble — are they hiring?
* The ideology of the future: Kiplinger’s presents 20 Amazing Ways Life Will Be Different in 2030.
* Prestige TV is a nightmare from which we are all struggling to awake: Dexter return to television confirmed.
* Our prayers answered, Paul F. Tompkins was finally on Harmontown. I’ve also really been loving the back catalogue of Hello, from the Magic Tavern and (at long last) Welcome to Night Vale after a sojourn through It’s That Episode. Non-podcast news after the link!
* So does this: The Warriors Are Now Long Shots To Win 73 Games.
* Saddest of all: The New Jersey Swamp Dragons? It almost happened.
* Not for me, but maybe for you: LARB has a Grantland-style sports spinoff.
* Grant Morrison was right! Science Says Superman Should Be Black.
* And I don’t need to tell you what’s coming. Every Cool Detail We Spotted in the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer.
* Don’t forget! Just two weeks until the “Global Weirding” deadline!
* And tomorrow night in Missouri! Marquette Professor to Present ‘After Humanity: Science Fiction After Extinction.’
* Evergreen headlines: The Shrinking Ph.D. Job Market.
* Last year’s Pioneer Award winner: “Improbability Drives: The Energy of SF.”
* 30 Cities Where America’s Poor Are Concentrated. You know where this is going.
* It’s Probably First Ballot Or Bust For Donald Trump At The GOP Convention. And a bit on the nose, don’t you think? Jeffrey Dahmer’s House Is Up for Rent During the Republican National Convention.
* More politics watch! The Democrats Are Flawlessly Executing a 10-Point Plan to Lose the 2016 Presidential Election. Sanders +2.6! Trump -4.1! Go vote Wisconsin!
* My analysis of the latest federal data shows that, on average, these families’ income — including tax credits and all sources of welfare — is about $9,000 below the poverty line. That means ensuring no children grow up in poor households would cost $57 billion a year. (To put that in perspective, that’s how much money we’d get if Apple brought back the $200 billion it has stashed overseas, and paid just 29 percent tax on it – it’s a big problem, but it’s small compared to the wealth of our society.)
* The villain gap: Why Soviet movies rarely had American bad guys. Risk time in the gulag by reading about Soviet-era underground media. Cold War board games explore the conflict’s history, spycraft, and humor. Soviet sci-fi: The future that never came.
* Superman And The Damage Done: A requiem for an American icon. An oral history of Superman. A Brief History of Dick: Unpacking the gay subtext of Robin, the Boy Wonder. Death to All Superheroes. Yes, chum, there’s more links below the picture.
* All politics is local: I grew up being compared to my overachieving cousin. Now he’s a Supreme Court nominee.
* Study Confirms World’s Coastal Cities Unsavable If We Don’t Slash Carbon Pollution. But I say that’s not thinking big enough! 12 Ways Humanity Could Destroy The Entire Solar System.
* Dibs on the screenplay: Japan’s Lost Black Hole Satellite Just Reappeared and Nobody Knows What Happened to It.
* Hot take watch: Aaron Burr, Not So Bad? I wish I knew the Hamilton soundtrack well enough to make a proper joke here.
* Dark, gritty ad absurdum: The Tick in 2016.
* Ambiguous utopias: In Pod-Based Community Living, Rent Is Cheap, But Sex Is Banned.
* Miracles and wonders: Treating Huntington’s With Gene Knockout Might Be Safe For Adults.
* And the arc of history is long, but the MLA has changed its style guide again.
* CFP: “Queers Read This!”: LGBTQ Literature Now, a Special Issue of GLQ. And a stray thought not-really-apropos of that:
* UWM introduces plan to cut $41.25 million from budget. That includes the end of the Center for Urban Initiatives and Research. But there’s always money in the job security stand:
“We have a fundamental tension between job security and the ability for this university to continue to be viable,” Mone said. “Those are inherent tensions. The reality is, when I talk about numbers, when I talk about budgeting, what we’re really talking about is people. And we’re talking about the ability to continue to operate as effectively and as efficiently as possible given the environmental changes that we have.”
* Shock of shocks: The NFL has been lying about concussions.
* Batman vs. Superman is apparently in that delicious category of film so terrible that the critics compete to deal it the cruelest blow. FilmFreak. GQ. BMD. AV Club. Deadpan. The Guardian. Village Voice. And the rest! But I give the round to A.O. Scott:
For fun there are shots of the heroes shirtless and of Lois Lane in the bath. But the point of “Batman v Superman” isn’t fun, and it isn’t thinking, either. It’s obedience. The theology is invoked not to elicit meditations on mercy, justice or sacrifice, but to buttress a spectacle of power. And in that way the film serves as a metaphor for its own aspirations. The corporations that produce movies like this one, and the ambitious hacks who sign up to make them, have no evident motive beyond their own aggrandizement. Entertainment is less the goal than the byproduct, and as the commercial reach of superpower franchises grows, their creative exhaustion becomes ever more apparent.
* Garner (not really) v. Affleck. This is actually a really interesting longread on the crafting of celebrity persona, despite your assumptions to the contrary.
* As a child I was unsatisfied with the world, already looking for ways out. I read some online pamphlet about Advaita Vedanta and decided I believed in it; I made myself a little diagram of the cosmos, within and without Māyā, dotted lines connecting Brahman to Atman to my own confined and unhappy self far across the limits of observable reality; I was weird. I liked things that weren’t really real; not pure fantasy but all those lenses that made the world bearable in its new capacity to be somehow otherwise, that gave me a kind of conceptual power to change things that I didn’t have in daily life. Conspiracy theory, pseudohistory, socialism, faith. I think it wasn’t long after my grandfather died that I found a collection of alternate histories, little stories told by pop-historians about what might have happened if one battle or another had gone the other way, a prism of worlds that never were. I don’t remember the title; it was actually a fairly stupid book (one account described the result of Lenin’s assassination on the way to St Petersburg: the Bolsheviks are effortlessly sidelined and we get a happy, prosperous, liberal-democratic twentieth century). The cover was utterly inevitable: a black and empty sky, and a swastika flag on the Moon. But that really did happen. The space programme that sent the first people to the Moon was the Nazi space programme, all those scientists snatched up in Operation Paperclip, effortlessly swapping Hitler for Washington. Watch the dialectic at work, preserving what it negates, proceeding as always by its bad side. It’s not that the Nazis are another example of Benjamin’s defeated of history; how could they be, when putting a swastika on the cover is still the best way to sell a book? But the litter that chokes our planet remains, all the bones remain, and one day we are promised the resurrection. This is why utopia is always melancholic, the refusal to simply mourn, the tight grip of the living to the dead.
* Miracles and wonders: Controlling diabetes with a skin patch.
* STEMJ: Researchers have long noticed that an oddly large number of jihadists have engineering backgrounds. Recently two social scientists, Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog, scrutinized the numbers and concluded that, yes, the proportion of terrorists who are engineers far outpaces expectations.
* Elsewhere on the terrorism and statistics beat: American Mormon, 19, left with burns and shrapnel injuries in Brussels attack also survived Boston and Paris bombings.
* I guess the Singularity really is near: Microsoft’s ‘teen girl’ AI turns into a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours.
* The latest in the letting-the-superintelligent-AI-out-of-the-box subgenere: ANA.
* And, from the archives, some change we can all believe in: Abolish Caillou.
* Hey look! LARoB reviewed Green Planets.
* Another science fiction studies research opportunity: The 2016-2017 Le Guin Fellowship.
* Notes from ICFA roundtable on The Force Awakens, on cast, nostalgia, and franchise. This was a great panel; I’m so glad we did it.
* Snubbed again! Here Are 15 Indispensable Academic Twitter Accounts.
* In other words, bad food becomes linked to good memories, and to our sense of who we are and where we come from. To give up that food would be to give up not only a piece of our childhood, but of ourselves. “When we hear someone suggesting that we stop eating our favorite brand of ice cream or potato chips or sliced white bread, we feel a knee-jerk hostility,” Wilson writes. “It’s hard to let go of these foods and find a better way of eating without a sense of loss.”
* In this formula, the president implies that with hard work everyone can get a good job. This is the premise for a lot of public education rhetoric, and it is 100 percent false. It may be technically true that in the American system anyone can get a good job, but that doesn’t mean most people aren’t out of luck. Anyone can win the lottery, but everyone certainly can’t. America is still a class system, and by design, most people—no matter the average level of education or job skill—will have to sell their labor to property owners in order to feed and house themselves. Those property owners are the same people that have spent the past hundred years shaping the education system and scientifically reducing labor costs.
* What a weird coincidence, ten straight record warm months in a row.
* Appalachia in the Anthropocene: When mining a century’s worth of energy means ruining a landscape for millions of years. Ice in the Anthropocene. Oil in the Anthropocene. Boulder-Hurling Megawaves in the Anthropocene. Cli-Fi in the Anthropocene.
* “There are no plausible scenarios in which climate stabilization is compatible with a pace of capital accumulation required for economic and political stability under a capitalist system.” Capitalism, Climate Change and the Transition to Sustainability: Alternative Scenarios for the US, China and the World.
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
* Twilight of Gawker: Hulk Hogan Awarded $115 Million in Privacy Suit.
* Junot Díaz on time travel and colonialism.
* These measures seem harsh, but if Trump really is a sui generis evil, then unprecedented and difficult measures are called for. If we’re not willing to make and carry through with such threats, does that mean that we don’t really view him as a sui generis evil? That this is just the latest thing we’re willing to humor for the sake of family peace and avoiding social awkwardness?
* Emory Students Express Discontent With Administrative Response to Trump Chalkings. I’m currently in the process of filing a request with the chalk administration office so I can respond to this with the detail and attention it deserves.
* I’ll be 100% honest, you had me at hello.
* And the best fantasy series you’ve never heard of is getting a second chance at a film franchise. This time it will work for sure!