Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘bullshit jobs

Monday Monday Links!

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* The EdgeEffects year in review includes my interview with Kim Stanley Robinson from last spring. Check it out if you missed it then!

* Well, the reviews are in! Jaimee’s latest published poem, “The Utopologist’s Wife.”

I have covered sports in New Jersey for a decade, crisscrossing the state for as many incredible stories as I can find. But for all the tales that made their way into my notebook, one stayed elusive, even though it seemed to stand above all the others. The 1990 Montclair-Randolph game.

* Very extremely cool site: The Deep Sea.

Keynes was wrong. Gen Z will have it worse.

* CFP: Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations Beyond the Anglocentric Fantastic, 28th-29th May 2020. CFP: Special Issue of the Journal of Fandom Studies on Archives and Special Collections. CFP: Creature Features & the Environment. CFP: Hindsight is 20/20: How Popular Culture Writes, Rewrites, and Unwrites History.

Ghosts of the future. What Green Costs. Congressional Democrats’ last, long-shot attempt at climate progress this year. Greenland’s ice losses have septupled and are now in line with its highest sea-level scenario, scientists say. Last Remaining Glaciers in the Pacific Will Soon Melt Away. The Arctic didn’t used to emit carbon. Something like 14% of public housing in this country is at risk from sea level rise. Young people can’t remember how much more wildlife there used to be. Climate change and depression. Irreversible Shift. Even Greta Isn’t Radical Enough. Just ask Goldman Sachs.

* It’s 2071, and We Have Bioengineered Our Own Extinction.

Scientists Are Contemplating a 1,000-Year Space Mission to Save Humanity. Would be nice if someone look at the next 25 years, too.

* U.S. Army Worries Humanity is Biased Against Deadly Cyborg Soldiers Because of Movies Like Terminator.

* How William Gibson Keeps His Science Fiction Real.

* San Francisco’s Sci-Fi Renaissance.

* The allure of science fiction.

* Beyond Gender.

* What was one work of speculative fiction—book, game, movie, tv show, whatever—that profoundly imagined a new future during the last decade and that is likely to have a lasting impact?

This Professor Was Accused of Bullying Grad Students. Now He’s Being Banned From Teaching. Followup on ‘I Was Sick to My Stomach’: A Scholar’s Bullying Reputation Goes Under the Microscope.

Harvard Faculty Have a Rare Chance to Act in Solidarity With Striking Student Workers. ‘The Administration Is Assuming That We Are Going to Do Their Dirty Work.’

Grad school is worse for public health than STDs.

No, Humanities Degrees Don’t Mean Low Salaries. The Humanities Must Go on the Offensive.

* These Students Want to Create a Required K-12 Racial Literacy Curriculum.

* Fall Enrollments Still on the Decline.

* Against Critical Thinking.

‘Adulting’ is hard. UC Berkeley has a class for that.

* One-book classes have been some of the best I’ve taught. I love it as a model and it works so much better than the cram-it-all-in method I started out using.

* Perhaps the greatest free speech mystery of them all: Trump Targets Anti-Semitism and Israeli Boycotts on College Campuses.

* The Decade Comic Book Nerds Became Our Cultural Overlords. Why do they have to be such sore winners?

* Speaking of Disney there’s a pretty good discussion on this episode of Podcast: The Ride about Disney claiming all cinema in a way I haven’t seen discussed anywhere — literally going back and rebranding Fox properties like Miracle on 34th Street as Disney’s Miracle on 34th Street.

* What’s Up With J.J. Abrams Seemingly Shading The Last Jedi? The Last Jedi didn’t break Star Wars. It Saved It. John Boyega just having an incredible week.

* A People’s History of Lube Man. If HBO makes a second season of ‘Watchmen,’ it should be about Vietnam.

So, when thinking about “Blue Monday” in context of the genre/format New Order basically helped found (i.e., post-punk and modern rock), the sixteenth-note/machine gun trope recalls the fact of lots of bad, imperialist things the U.S. did in the 80s and early 90s. But the whole point of this trailer is to provide audiences with the image or feeling of an American-ness that is actually grounded in something like truth and justice. Setting up a not-at-all-thinly-veiled ersatz Donald Trump as the film’s villain, this trailer gives audiences a scapegoat for the nation’s present and past wrongs: then as now, the problem lies in a really dastardly bad apple, not the system itself. 

* Pete Buttigieg makes his Jacobin debut.

How consulting companies like McKinsey optimized American inequality.

Joe Biden Still Can’t Answer Basic Questions About Hunter and Burisma.

* Self-help gurus all the way down: on Elizabeth Warren.

Why Trump’s path to reelection is totally plausible. On Depoliticization. Et Tu, U.K.? I’m Crying, You’re Crying. But Our Day Will Come. No False Consolations.

Finland forms government of five parties all led by women, with youngest prime minister in world.

Trump’s children must undergo mandatory training to learn how to avoid defrauding charities.

* People in the U.S. Are Buying Fish Antibiotics Online and Taking Them Themselves. Congress can’t get its act together on lowering drug prices or eliminating surprise medical bills. Insurance companies aren’t doctors. So why do we keep letting them practice medicine? AOC compares average paid family leave in US to time dogs stay with puppies. And this is a little on the nose.

* You’d think after a story like this the adults involved would simply die of shame.

These 91 companies paid no federal taxes in 2018.

House Democrats To Rich People: We Love You.

* Always money in the banana stand.

These moderators help keep Google and YouTube free of violent extremism — and now some of them have PTSD. TikTok Admits It Suppressed Videos by Disabled, Queer, and Fat Creators. Artificial intelligence will help determine if you get your next job.

Understanding The U.S. Economy: Lots Of Rotten Jobs.

People in Japan are wearing exoskeletons to keep working as they age.

* Stealing the election in plain sight: 234,000 voter registrations get tossed in Wisconsin after Republican lawsuit, overwhelmingly in Milwaukee and Madison. Whatever shall I do with this power?

* You don’t know Bernie.

* Mario Maker is a blessing we never deserved.

Perhaps the best example of how radical and reactionary horror tropes sprout from one another is John Carpenter’s 1988 classic They Live. In the movie, John Nada (Roddy Piper), a virtuous, optimistic, working-class protagonist, discovers that cadaverous aliens are living among us, controlling us with television messages that turn us into obedient, consuming drones. The movie is widely considered a critique of Reagan-era neoliberalism, and it is that. But it’s also a story about the virtues of genocide. A white guy discovers aliens who don’t look like him living in his town, and his first impulse is to murder them. Foreign shape-shifting immigrants, like vampires, are a standard anti-Semitic stand-in for Jews, and They Live can be read as a fascist conspiracy theory, in which brave working Americans finally recognize their racial oppressors, and respond with righteous cleansing violence.

Boots Riley Critiques ‘Joker:’ “These Superhero Movies are Cop Movies.”

* Another trainwreck behind the scenes of American Gods.

* Millennials Are Leaving Religion And Not Coming Back. False Idol — Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump. The Evangelical Mind.

* Shocking slander of a female reporter in the Richard Jewell movie.

* Second verse same as the first.

* Second verse same as the first but in a good way.

* UNC’s self-inflicted humiliation just gets worse.

Stephen Miller is a white supremacist. I know, I was one too.

* No one could have predicted: Charter Fraud And Waste Worse Than We Thought.

* The age of Instagram face.

* Ectopic Pregnancies Are Not Viable Pregnancies, Period.

* Hardt and Negri: Empire, Twenty Years On.

What we know about you when you click on this article.

* U.S. lab chimps were dumped on Liberia’s Monkey Island and left to starve. He saved them.

52 Things Learned in 2019.

I’m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News, So I Illustrated 50 Of The Best Ones From 2019.

* You like doing this?

* Focus on a different kid every time you watch.

* And The Atlantic presents The Year in Volcanoes.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 16, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links, Plus a Very Canavan Podcast!

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There’s No Sheriff on This Planet: A Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson. The latest in my irregular series of conversations with KSR. The transcript is just the highlights — for the full effect you’ll have to listen.

* Extrapolation 60.1 is out! Articles on rape motifs in contemporary fantasy, Japanese print SF, and Nihād Sharīf’s The Conqueror of Time.

* Endgame ephemera! Avengers: Endgame, or, why this is all your fault. Avengers and the Endgame of Liberalism. And the Russo brothers are on a quest to make sure you know that Endgame being good had nothing to do with them.

* The Night King? Never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened. Bonus appearance by the coffee cup! If these are the final two choices, the only way to win the Game may be not to play.

* “Like Groundhog Day — and while we’re at it, like The Good Place — Russian Doll is Kafka played on easy mode.”

* Watch The Wandering Earth on Netflix!

* Ted Chiang has a new book, why haven’t you bought it yet?

* A new climate change story from Paolo Bacigalupi at MIT Technology Review. Killer ending.

* Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life. One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns. Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace. An open letter to David Wallace-Wells. We are ruled by psychopaths.

* Greta Thunberg, autism, and climate activism.

* For roughly 18 months, AirPods play music, or podcasts, or make phone calls. Then the lithium-ion batteries will stop holding much of a charge, and the AirPods will slowly become unusable. They can’t be repaired because they’re glued together. They can’t be thrown out, or else the lithium-ion battery may start a fire in the garbage compactor. They can’t be easily recycled, because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell. Instead, the AirPods sit in your drawer forever. AirPods Are a Tragedy.

It’s time to speak about batshit jobs.

Today, batshit jobs are more widespread than ever. You’re likely doing a batship job if you’re working in advertising trying to maintain mass consumption, in air traffic, industrial farming and forestry, in mining, in the car industry, and first of all if you’re working in oil drilling, fracking, coal mining.

To become dilligent batshit workers we have to be trained, and we have to be able to block out the harm that our work participates in. The beauty of the school strikes is that a generation of young people are preparing themselves to refuse batshit work.

*  It seems to me that anyone who considers this for more than ten minutes has to recognize that “student demand” is a construct: it is the product of a pervasive, cross-institutional pedagogy in social and educational value in which students are immersed from (at least) primary school onward.  If students are demanding STEM in record numbers, this is a because they have been systematically invited to embrace a number of interlocking beliefs: that

  1. STEM fields matter to the welfare and future of human societies more than other fields — that social problems respond best to technocratic solutions; 
  2. college is a course of career training; 
  3. college is an investment that ought to be maximized in order to yield the highest possible return in the form of lifelong higher income;
  4. STEM fields represent areas of continuing high-growth, recession-proof employment. 

“Student demand” is a fact insofar as it reproduces these assumptions, which are already endemic to the privatized, market-driven university.  Other forms of “student demand” (for example, demands for a more racially and ethnically diverse faculty that better reflects regional and national demographics) are routinely ignored.

* Marquette Academic Senate calls for administration neutrality on unionization.

* Measuring the tenure-track success of pre-2009 Ph.D.s is like measuring the ice stability of Greenland’s glaciers before industrialization. Researcher’s suicide reflects bleak prospects for post-Ph.D. life. Adjuncts and Freelancers: Reading Signs of Eventual Destruction.

* Turning Point USA’s dark coup on college campuses.

A lot of older academics will point to the 1970s or the 1990s to say that crisis has always been the default, and there’s truth to this. But they didn’t have the same debt loads back then.

* “Second Chance: Life without Student Debt.”

* For Colleges, Climate Change Means Making Tough Choices.

* People Are Clamoring to Buy Old Insulin Pumps.

What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right. As capitalism starts to crumble, hate finds a familiar foothold.

Liberalism: the other God that failed. The Senate is a much bigger problem than the Electoral College. Here’s how many millennials get help from their parents to pay rent and other bills. Twitter users answer the question: “When did you become radicalized by the U.S. health care non-system?” 42% of Americans are at risk of retiring broke.

* America smartly sets its sights on the one flaw in the Constitution the Founders actually bothered to fix.

* If the president does it, it’s not obstruction.

* This seems heathy. This too! Things are great.

The forgotten history of how Abraham Lincoln helped rig the Senate for Republicans.

* Dialectics of Milwaukee: ‘It’s clear that the secret is out about Milwaukee,’ increased tourism spending shows. There seems to be a surge of unsettling things happening on the Milwaukee education landscape, some of them just more of the same (low student achievement, divisive politics) and some of them not so typical (corruption). Glendale would provide $37 million to help redevelop struggling Bayshore — with $57 million debt paid off.

Sandra Bland, It Turns Out, Recorded Her Own Video of Traffic Stop Confrontation. ICE provides local police a way to work around ‘sanctuary’ policies, act as immigration officers.

* On April 30, my Liberal Studies class, framed as Anthropology and Philosophy of Science, was the site of a horrific event. Two of my students were killed while four more were injured.

Study: Therapy dogs reduce children’s fear, anxiety during dentist appointments.

Aging baby boomers are about to push Alzheimer’s disease rates sky high.

The Saga Of ‘Star Citizen,’ A Video Game That Raised $300 Million—But May Never Be Ready To Play.

* Dystopia watch: Oh Good, a Subway System Is Making Riders Stare at Ads Before They Can Buy a Ticket. Amazon’s staffing up a news vertical full of crime stories designed to scare you into buying a spying, snitching “smart” doorbell. We’ve lived so long that the founding of Amazon Prime is something we can be nostalgic about now.

* Let’s just go with a daily reminder that Philip K. Dick wrote a novel where all films were just called disneys.

* Who Owns the Moon Watch: Why the Moon Is Suddenly a Hot Commodity.

* How angry pilots got the Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings.

* And the biggest danger about an asteroid strike? Lawyers.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 7, 2019 at 12:31 pm

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Thursday Afternoon Links!

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* Mark Z. Danielewski has written a pilot for a potential House of Leaves TV series. It’s good! The question of adapting the novel wound up being a minor subtheme in our discussion of the book in my summer grad class last month, so I was gratified to actually get to see the script — and directly incorporating the novel into the storyworld of the TV series seems like an intriguing solution to the book’s basic unfilmability. I think I hope someone makes it!

* I haven’t had a chance to see Ant-Man and the Wasp yet, so I’m gratified someone went ahead and wrote my triennial rant about franchise fictions and narrative closure on my behalf.

* Texas Studies in Literature and Language has a special issue on Wes Anderson.

* CFP for the SFRA guaranteed panel at ASLE 19. ASLE 19 (in Davis, CA) is a week after the planned dates for SFRA 19 in Hawaii, so if you’re going to the West Coast anyway it could be almost like a two-for-one…

* The second issue of Fantastika Journal is now available.

* That the things that gave my life meaning growing up have all become vectors for recruitment to misogynistic and white nationalist hate groups is the bitterest surprise of my middle age. That and Trump. Two bitterest surprises.

Nominations Are Open for the 2018 Brittle Paper Awards.

Ken Liu Presents Broken Stars, A New Anthology of Chinese Short Speculative Fiction.

* The Fall of Wisconsin. How to win Wisconsin back.

* Shakespeare in the state parks.

* Specialized program for Marquette undergraduates with autism disorders gifted $450,000, set to launch fall 2019.

“In some ways, I now think that one of the primary functions of the university, for the ruling class, is precisely to train a generation in indebtedness, in a state of being in debt.”

The Self-Helpification of Academe: How feel-good nostrums cover up the university’s cruelty.

* Another piece on searching for work outside academia.

* Professor Faces Fraud Charges for False Job Offer. Reading the confession letter just makes me cringe.

His University Asked Him to Build an Emoji-Themed Parade Float. Then It Fired Him.

* Why Donald Trump Nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh Will Mean Challenging Times For Environmental Laws. The Vice Report. The Coming Era of Forced Abortions. The end of net neutrality. The imperial presidency 2.0. Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Spell a Fresh Hell for Workers’ Rights. Brett Kavanaugh Ruled Against Workers When No One Else Did. The issue with Kavanaugh is that he seems completely reactionary, bouncing from one indefensible position to another, without applying any judgment whatsoever. Liberal media in full effect. The Liberal Case for Kavanaugh Is Complete Crap. He’s a very normal Republican pick — that’s the problem. Establishment Extremist. What’s coming. It’s bad y’all. Someone investigate precisely how this deal was made and what the terms were. And from the archives: The Three Alitos.

* The Supreme Court: still bad.

* Capitalism is ruining science. The Business Veto: The demise of social democracy shows the precariousness of any project of reform under capitalism.

* Here come the DIY guns.

Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras.

Technoleviathan: China, Silicon Valley, and the rise of the global surveillance state. How Artificial Intelligence Will Reshape the Global Order.

Silicon Valley Is Bending Over Backward to Cater to the Far Right.

* How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System. Rule-Making as Structural Violence: From a Taxi to Uber Economy in San Francisco.

* It’s amazing that US governmentality has finally crossed the threshold where its obvious illegitimacy can be spoken about in public.

Former Obama Officials Are Riding Out The Trump Years By Cashing In.

* The end of NATO. ‘They Will Die in Tallinn’: Estonia Girds for War With Russia.

* Trump is set to separate more than 200,000 U.S.-born children from their parents. Trump’s Office of Refugee Resettlement Is Budgeting for a Surge in Child Separations. ‘Don’t You Know That We Hate You People?’ ICE is lawless, racial profiling edition. Where Cities and Counties Are Detaining Immigrants. Pregnant Women Say They Miscarried In Immigration Detention And Didn’t Get The Care They Needed. Government Told Immigrant Parents to Pay for DNA Tests to Get Kids Back, Advocate Says. As Migrant Families Are Reunited, Some Children Don’t Recognize Their Mothers. Deported after Trump order, Central Americans grieve for lost children. ‘What if I lose her forever?’ Undocumented Grover Beach mother deported despite community rallying in her support. Facing a Tuesday deadline to reunite about 100 migrant toddlers with their parents, feds say they’ve reunited 2. Inside The Courts Where Some Immigrants Plead Guilty Without Knowing What’s Happening. Now they’re coming for grandmas.

* Woman arrested in assault of 91-year-old Mexican man who was told to ‘go back to your country.’

* Weird coincidence.

There’s been a spate of violent far-right extremism since the 2016 election.

* If you’re anti- antifa, that must mean…

* Andrew Cuomo and ICE.

It’s Not Civil Disobedience if You Ask for Permission.

Liberalism, legitimacy, and loving the Parkland kids.

Eleven Theses on Civility.

Why Marx’s Capital Still Matters.

* Nixon’s $7B carbon tax forms centerpiece of energy agenda.

* The Industrial Age May Have Actually Been Kind of a Bad Idea.

* An interview with Julia Salazar. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, In Her Own Words. Cynthia Nixon: I’m a democratic socialist. Meanwhile our old pal Joe Crowley looks like he’s trying to get away with something.

We Should Embrace the Ambiguity of the 14th Amendment.

* Sure, why not?

* Alan Dershowitz is ALL IN on Trump. But he’s not the only person with some truly around-the-bend ideas of what lawsuits can do.

* Weird science: Girls sometimes inherit almost two full sets of their dad’s genes, which seems to cause rare cancers.

The Art and Activism of the Anthropocene, Part III: A Conversation with Helen Phillips, Amitav Ghosh, and Nathan Kensinger.

An Arkansas man complained about police abuse. Then town officials ruined his life.

* Did… did Milwaukee write this?

Jeff Bezos Is Now $50 Billion Richer Than Anyone Else on Earth.

All 12 Thai Boys Successfully Rescued from Cave after Third Dangerous Mission. The only person unhappy is Elon.

WHO’s Language on Breastfeeding Really Is Flawed. This was our experience with breastfeeding  for sure; I’m sure it’s great for a lot of people but we needed formula as a supplement from the first night on. That said, the corporate forces that promote formula over breastfeeding are utterly gross.

* When the relationship status truly is complicated.

* Nabokov’s dreams.

* Scotland’s official plan if the Loch Ness Monster is found.

* Brexit: It’s bad!

* Being Bobcat Goldthwait.

* Billy Dee is back.

* Japan and the stay-at-home dad.

* Reality Winner and the espionage act.

* My Best Friend Lost His Life to the Gig Economy.

* When your child reveals sexual abuse from your parent.

The Socialist Case for School Integration.

* Factchecking David Brooks.

* Your town tomorrow: Kure residents cut off from outside world due to flooding.

* Nope, no thanks.

* I knew wearing a tie was making me stupid.

* Bad subtitling is a daily problem for deaf viewers.

* Melt Monument Ave.

How swimming pools became a flashpoint of racial tension in America.

* California brings emissions down below 1990 levels. But it’s not all good news.

Feminist Apparel CEO Fires Entire Staff After They Learn He’s An Admitted Sexual Abuser. RIP, Papa John.

There is too much uncertainty in sports; even if you bribe the officials, something unaccounted for could still cause the “wrong” result. It can be a bad idea to gather large crowds opposed to your team (and, by extension, your dictatorship). During Franco’s rule, Barcelona FC’s stadium was the only place the Catalans could wave their flag and sing their songs. Dictators are better off with tyranny and oppression. Football is for people who can accept a loss.

David Graeber’s new book argues that many of us are toiling in dummy jobs with no ostensible purpose. Any poll will show you he has a point. But his thesis is built on scant evidence and dubious claims of a ruling class conspiring to keep us busy. Bullshit jobs exist not due to orchestrated oppression but because of something altogether simpler: bad managers. 

* An even tougher review of a book that seems like a big step down from Debt.

* The SAT, constantly innovating new ways to make teenagers unhappy.

* “I sort of feel like I’m taking the bait on this, but: Can you imagine the copy they *rejected* for this Handmaid’s Tale pinot noir?”

Through such characters, Muluneh’s work explores the layered psychic realms of blackness and womanhood that the African-American science fiction writer Octavia Butler, whom she cites as a major influence, explored through her otherworldly prose. In the process, Muluneh’s work has helped reorient the way black women are perceived. “As women, especially as African women,” Muluneh said, “we forget—and the world forgets—our positioning in history and religion and culture.”

And amusing ourselves to death: 12 theme parks where the danger is real.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 12, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday! Morning! Links!

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* CFP: “Hobgoblins of Fantasy: American Fantasy Fiction in Theory,” Special Feature in The New Americanist.

* CFP: Historical Fictions Research Network, “Radical Fictions.”

We are almost certainly underestimating the economic risks of climate change.

* I had suicidal depression. I got better. Here’s how.

My father’s was a textbook case: Depressed white male with gun offs himself in May.

* Manson bloggers and the world of murder fandom.

Nearly 1,800 families separated at U.S.-Mexico border in 17 months through February. 1,358 Children Separated at Border. Torture at the border. ‘The Worst Place Ever’ Is ICE’s Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama. ICE’s Rejection of Its Own Rules Is Placing LGBT Immigrants at Severe Risk of Sexual Abuse. A family was separated at the border, and this distraught father took his own life. Down on the border, a new trail of tears. ‘They just took them?’ Frantic parents separated from their kids fill courts on the border. ICE detainee commits suicide while in transit to home country. Restaurants Boycott Army Base That Called ICE on Pizza Delivery Man. Federal judge temporarily blocks deportation of pizza worker. ICE Deserves Every Bit Of Our Contempt.

In Academia, Professors Coming On to You Is on the Syllabus. Be better than this.

6 current, former MSU employees with ties to Nassar scandal under state licensing inquiries.

Mizzou’s Freshman Class Shrank by a Third Over 2 Years. Here’s How It’s Trying to Turn That Around.

The Rich Are Planning to Leave This Wretched Planet.

* Black Mirror was a documentary.

* Solo vs. The Force Awakens.

* Bold new horizons in cheating to win. Not that they need the help, with Democrats like these…

* Lucky break: Cozy land deals meant big money for Trump family and friends.

* Great moments in government.

Some women “wouldn’t know what masculinity was if it hit them in the face.”

* Twilight of the bots.

White People Are More Likely to Get the Raises They Ask For.

* Stories like the one in this thread are so striking because we live in a society that prevents us from taking care of each other. Defying Prevention Efforts, Suicide Rates Are Climbing Across the Nation.

Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children.

* What is hope for?

The Next Pseudoscience Health Craze Is All About Genetics.

* From the archives: “Sum,” an afterlife fiction.

In the afterlife you relive all your experiences, but this time with the events reshuffled into a new order: all the moments that share a quality are grouped together.

You spend two months driving the street in front of your house, seven months having sex. You sleep for thirty years without opening your eyes. For five months straight you flip through magazines while sitting on a toilet.

You take all your pain at once, all twenty-seven intense hours of it. Bones break, cars crash, skin is cut, babies are born. Once you make it through, it’s agony-free for the rest of your afterlife.

* Despite this, Graeber has convincingly called “bullshit” the nature of work today and reveals how – in his words – “economies have become vast engines for producing nonsense”. To his ideological opponents, convinced of the efficiency of free markets, his most devastating attack is to reveal how inefficient these systems can be. I suspect millions of workers around the world will instantly recognise the nonsense and inefficiency he describes. Whether they do anything about it is another matter. A more lukewarm review at the New Yorker.

* Trump in Singapore.

Wisconsin reeling from tariffs coming from Mexico, Canada, Europe.

Golf is dying, many experts say. According to one study by the golf industry group Pellucid Corp., the number of regular golfers fell from 30 to 20.9 million between 2002 and 2016. Ratings are down, equipment sales are lagging, and the number of rounds played annually has fallen. Dead Golf Courses Are the New NIMBY Battlefield.

ZZZZzzzzZZzzzzzzzZzzz.

Monday Morning Links!

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Mary Karr Reminds the World That David Foster Wallace Abused and Stalked Her, and Nobody Cared.

* “I would just like to say that my inbox is full of accounts of Díaz’s behavior right now. And I mean full.”

They Revealed Harassment Claims Against a Professor, and Were Disciplined.

* Leaving Herland.

The Real Free-Speech Crisis Is Professors Being Disciplined for Liberal Views, a Scholar Finds.

* Bullshit Jobs in academia.

* Identification, Investigation, and Understanding of Ritualistic Criminal Activity (February 4, 1989).

Millennials Are Way Poorer Than Boomers Ever Were.

America’s teachers on strike: ‘We are done being the frog that is being boiled.’

The think piece doesn’t so much diminish art as render it wholly incidental. The mere existence of a work—and the contemporary proliferation of work after work after work—is enough to justify the think piece. The fundamental problem with so much  contemporary criticism is that the prospective critic is structurally encouraged to not care, to treat the value of one-or-another book/TV episode/movie as wholly irrelevant to the task of writing about it. Sontag wrote that desperate, interpretive searches for meaning constitute “the compliment that mediocrity pays to genius.” (One thinks of Henry James’s yearning lit-crit protagonist.) The think piece effectively inverts this formulation. Now it is more common to see genius (or perhaps “genius,” the work of people who, to nip a phrase from the controversial and cuttingly mean critic Armond White, “think they think”) pay compliments to mediocrity. The clarity of critical judgment alights on every rotten movie, grating pop singer, or paperback book written for awkward adolescents alive in the throes of their protean horniness, and dissolves, ultimately, into a sprawling field of meaninglessness. It’s not that, following Sontag, erotics has replaced bloodless hermeneutics. It’s that we’re now subject to soft, dopey forms of both. Enormously erudite and intelligent expositions about extremely stupid things have degraded both the standard for writing about serious things and the seriousness of those serious things themselves.

* Yeah, you better run: China bans Peppa Pig because she ‘promotes gangster attitudes.’

University apologizes to Native American students detained on college tour.

* The man who cracked the lottery.

Misreading the manufacturing statistics.

The key to reading paeans to McCain is realizing that they’re really just love letters from normative centrist militarism to itself.

* On lunar hay fever.

* RIP, Killmonger’s mom.

A team of scientists undertakes an ambitious experiment which could change thinking about welfare.

* “In America, you can be too poor to die.”

* And if you follow me on Facebook, you know that I’ve been raving all weekend about Nintendo Labo. Believe the hype! It’s truly great. Like Calvin’s magic cardboard boxes came to life. It’d buy three more kits if they were available, and might eventually buy a second robot one so my kids can play the Vs mode….

Christmas Eve Eve Links Links

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* There’s a lovely review of my Butler book by Nisi Shawl in the new Women’s Review of Books. It’s not available online so you’ll have to take my word for it, unless your library subscribes…

* And I’m so happy to report that Extrapolation 58.2-3 is finally out, the special issue on “Guilty Pleasures: Late Capitalism and Mere Genre” I edited with Benjamin Robertson. Check out the intro to see what it’s all about, and then check out articles on Dragonlance, the Star Wars and Star Trek expanded universes, Sweet Valley High, Blondie, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones and fantasy roleplaying games…

CFP: Academic Track at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention, San José, California. CFP: Punking Speculative Fiction. CFP: Histories of the Future: Proto-Science Fiction from the Victorian Era to the Radium Age. CFP: Chapter Proposals for “Ecofeminist Science Fiction.” CFP: Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards.

An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried.

* I thought this was great.

* Consider: Who pursues their goals with monomaniacal focus, oblivious to the possibility of negative consequences? Who adopts a scorched-earth approach to increasing market share? This hypothetical strawberry-picking AI does what every tech startup wishes it could do — grows at an exponential rate and destroys its competitors until it’s achieved an absolute monopoly. The idea of superintelligence is such a poorly defined notion that one could envision it taking almost any form with equal justification: a benevolent genie that solves all the world’s problems, or a mathematician that spends all its time proving theorems so abstract that humans can’t even understand them. But when Silicon Valley tries to imagine superintelligence, what it comes up with is no-holds-barred capitalism. Ladies and gentlemen, the great Ted Chiang.

Science fiction when the future is now. With appearances from Kim Stanley Robinson, Ken Liu, and Lauren Beukes.

* The best anti-Last-Jedi piece I’ve seen is Alyssa Rosenberg’s at the Washington Post. And the best pro-Last-Jedi piece from Dan Hassler-Forest at LARB. Somewhere in the middle is Abigail Nussbuam’s excellent piece at Asking the Wrong Questions.

* Lightsabers, by the numbers. Secret history of the porgs. Star Wars from below. Thank goodness somebody realized how terrible this would be. The Last Jedi and the necessary disappointment of epilogues. The films that inspired The Last Jedi. Behind the scenes. In defense of Canto Blight. Anti-nostalgia and anti-salvation. Star Wars without the Empire. How to Read Star Wars.

* Winter Is Coming: Climate Change in Westeros.

* How the Sesame Street Puppeteers Play Their Characters. It was only a year or three ago that I realized that on a basic level I’d still believed Big Bird was real; I had never thought or processed the fact that his lips were being moved by a puppeteer’s hands.

* So old I can remember when Sweet Briar was an inspiring story about a college being saved.

* On faculty and mental illness.

Study finds humanities and social science Ph.D.s working outside academe are happier than their tenure-track peers.

* Podcast alert: how does Samuel R. Delany work?

* Bang. Pow. To the Moon.

* Comedy writers name their most influential episodes: 1, 2.

* SHOCK REPORT: The tax bill is bad.

This Congress’s clear priorities: corporations, not children.

* It’ll also tax large endowments. Meanwhile in the academy: We Will Not Be Your Disposable Labor: Graduate Student Workers’ Fight Goes Beyond the GOP Assault. ‘A Complete Culture of Sexualization’: 1,600 Stories of Harassment in Higher Ed.

* Defund every agency that had any part in this. Murder Convictions Overturned, Two Men Are Immediately Seized By ICE. What happens to children whose parents are deported? 92 Somali immigrants deported in “slave-ship” conditions. ICE is abusing immigrant detainees with strip searches and threats. Shock of shocks, it turns out legal immigration is bad too.

The majority of US workers live in “employment monopsonies” where there is little or no competition for workers.

Why Doug Jones’s narrow win is not enough to make me confident about American democracy.

* Ghosts of 2012.

* First #J20 defendants found not guilty.

* The media wealth of African Americans in Boston is $8.

* People are using Uber instead of ambulances.

* The New York Times oddly reports on a Harry Reid boondoggle in a way that makes it sounds like aliens might be real.

* The Fred Moten century.

The Adult Bodies Playing Teens on TV.

* Monopolies are bad, no matter how much you like the brands involved. Avengers vs. monopoly.

“Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet. It’s a real, powerful set of ideas.

* The madness of prison gerrymanders.

* Desegregation never happened.

* Climate refugees in Louisiana. Disability and disaster response in the age of climate change. Losing the wilderness.

* The FoxConn boondoggle gets worse and worse.

* The Next Crisis for Puerto Rico: Foreclosures.

* Revising agricultural revisionism.

* Against optimism.

* Against being born.

* On the sadcom.

Your Favorite Superhero Is Probably Killing the Planet.

* Professor X Is a Jerk!

* The Daily Stormer’s style guide.

* Opoids and homelessness. 3,000,000 pills to 3,000 patients in two years. The Opioid Crisis Is Getting Worse, Particularly for Black Americans. What happens after an American city gives a homeless person a one-way ticket out of town.

* The US gymnastics scandal somehow gets worse and worse.

‘The World’s Biggest Terrorist Has a Pikachu Bedspread.’

* The Forgotten Life of Einstein’s First Wife.

* The Ghost Economy.

* WHAT YEAR IS IT: How to prepare for a nuclear attack.

Lumberjanes’ Noelle Stevenson is Rebooting She-Ra for Netflix. Sir Ian McKellen Would Totally Play Gandalf In Amazon’s TV Tolkien Adaptations. The Next Bechdel Test.

* “Paradox,” by Naomi Kritzer.

* The Journal of Prince Studies.

* 80% of workers think managers are unnecessary. The other 20% mistakingly think they are managers.

* It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the one our Founders built: The Donald Trump droid is live at Disney World’s Hall of Presidents.

‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer. 55 Ways Donald Trump Structurally Changed America in 2017. Fascism has already come to America. Life expectancy declines for the second straight year. On brand.

* Heartbreaking interview with Heather Heyer’s mother.

* Jordan Peele, auteur.

* Dilbert: A Reckoning.

Still, it does make you ponder all the ways this industry works in service of power, and by extension those who abuse it. So many of comedy’s institutions are, at their core, PR machines. Branded content is Funny Or Die’s bread and butter. Every week SNL promotes someone’s new movie or TV show or album. Late night talk shows, with few exceptions, use jokes to bookend celebrity press tours. Comedians host awards shows because otherwise we might see them for the rituals they are—the wealthy and famous celebrating their own wealth and fame. Comedy normalizes power; it’s so successful at normalizing power that it feels weird to even write that as a criticism. Well, what’s wrong with normalizing power? Lots of things, but to start it lets monsters play the straight man in comedy sketches. It makes them relatable, which makes them less threatening. But power is always a threat, even more so when it seems innocuous, even more so when it seems… funny.

* 2018 is already terrible: there’ll be no more Zelda DLC.

* And remembering the reason for the season: Behold the official policy for destroying the head of Chuck E Cheese.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 23, 2017 at 10:06 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Every Tuesday Link! Every One!

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* Just a reminder that I’ll be in DC for a debate, Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs.

* The sad story of the São José.

* Against this backdrop, UW System leaders’ public statements in response to JFC’s omnibus bill—statements whose overriding tone is one of gratitude undergirded by obsequiousness—make perfect sense, even as they alternately disgust and infuriate the rest of us. Amid the general calamity for faculty, academic staff, classified staff, and students, there is an alignment of legislative priorities with administrative interests.

* It’s sad to say that when the administrators shut down any possibility for dialogue, when administrations withdraw into cocoon-like gated communities in which they’re always on the defensive, I think that it’s probably not unreasonable to say that this is not just about an assault, this looks like a war strategy. It looks like power is functioning in such a way as to both stamp out dissent and at the same time concentrate itself in ways in which it’s not held accountable.

* Bureaucracy: why won’t scholars break their paper chains?

* Recrimination in the language of the university is the image of a ruined hope that things would be different.

* Who’s getting Koch money today? University edition.

* Dispatches from dystopia. And one more from LARoB: Gender and the Apocalypse.

* Under these weird meritocratic dynamics, bourgeois characteristics make you more valuable not because they are good characteristics in themselves, but merely because they are bourgeois characteristics, and therefore relatable to the top of the economic hierarchy that directs the resources top spots in top firms are competing to get. This poses obvious problems for social mobility, which is the direction people usually take it, but it poses even deeper problems for the idea of “skills” more generally. Where “skills” refers, not to some freestanding objective ability to produce, but rather to your ability to be chummy and familiar to those with the money, they don’t actually seem to be “skills” in the sense most people imagine the term. Upper crust professionals no longer appear to be geniuses, but instead people who went to boarding school and whose manner of conducting themselves shows it.

* When a child goes to war. We talked about the Dumbledore issue a ton in my magic and literature class this semester. Stay tuned through the end for what is indeed surely the greatest editorial note of all time:

CGa7d1KWsAAEykw

* That Oxford decides its poetry chair by voting is just the craziest thing in the world to me.

* Mass Effect, Personal Identity, and Genocide.

* Ghostwriters and Children’s Literature.

* Shaviro: Discognition: Fictions and Fabulations of Sentience.

* Recent Marquette University grads staging Shakespeare in 13 state parks.

* The map is not the territory (from the archives): The Soviet Union’s chief cartographer acknowledged today that for the last 50 years the Soviet Union had deliberately falsified virtually all public maps of the country, misplacing rivers and streets, distorting boundaries and omitting geographical features, on orders of the secret police.

* When My Daughter Asks Me if She Looks Fat.

* Some discussion of the Hastert case that explains why his supposed “blackmailers” may not be facing any charges: it’s legal to ask for money in exchange for not suing somebody.

* Body Cameras Are Not Pointed at the Police; They’re Pointed at You.

* Of course FIFA knew.

* Wes Anderson’s The Grand Overlook Hotel.

* The poison is the cure: Amid the ruins of its casino economy, NJ looks to build more casinos. And that’s only the second-most-ridiculous debate currently rocking the state.

* “Do we really want to fuse our minds together?” No! Who wants that?

* The Time War was good, and the Doctor changing it was also good. Take my word for it, I’m an expert in these matters.

* Everything you want, in the worst possible way: Michael Dorn is still pitching Captain Worf.

* Uber, firmly committed to being the absolute worst, in every arena.

* The Learning Channel, horror show.

* And after a very uneven season the Community series (?) finale is really good. The end.