Posts Tagged ‘China Miéville’
* Posted earlier this morning: The Lives of Animals, Part Two and My Upcoming Courses at Marquette. And apropos of that second link, and today’s start of Infinite Winter: Everything About Everything: David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’ at 20.
* UC Berkeley faculty members are buzzing over news that University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the installation of computer hardware capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system. More from Remaking the University.
* The President says he’s talking about opportunities, but he’s also talking about outcomes. It’s one thing to want all kids to have access to advanced classes, music instruction, sports teams and volunteer work. It’s another to expect them to take advantage of all of them at the same time. President Obama described Antonio as “doing his part” with his full load of curricular and extracurricular activities, but every student can’t be prepared for college: There just aren’t enough seats. Because admission is limited and competitive, only the top two-thirds or so can be, by definition, prepared for higher education. No matter how hard they work, how brilliant they are, the lowest-scoring cohort will be labeled unprepared and accused of not “doing their part.”
* The university in ruins: The number of job postings the AHA received in 2014-15 was down 8 percent from the prior year. This is the third straight year for which the association is reporting a decline. Job listings are down 45 percent from the 1,064 that the association reported in 2011-12.
* Less than $1 of every $100 in revenue generated by major college athletic departments at public colleges is directed to academic programs, according to a Chronicle analysis of NCAA financial statements.
* We’ll never know for sure exactly what The Owl In Daylight would have looked like had Philip lived to put the story to paper, but it sounds like it would have been a rare happy ending in the Dick canon. “He considered this a sort of capstone to his career,” Tessa says. “The first novel that ends on a note of hope and love.”
* Matt Yglesias is Making Sense: This is a party that has no viable plan for winning the House of Representatives, that’s been pushed to a historic low point in terms of state legislative seats, and that somehow lost the governor’s mansions in New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois.
It’s a party, in other words, that was clearly in need of some dialogue, debate, and contestation over what went wrong and how to fix it. But instead of encouraging such a dialogue, the party tried to cut it off.
* Fan theory of the week: “Leia was sent to Tatooine not only to recruit Obi-Wan but also to be trained as a Jedi.”
* Game of the week: From the makers of the fantastic rymdkapsel, Twofold, Inc.
* And I truly find every aspect of this just totally mind-boggling: At Simon Fraser U, professors were stunned by video university posted on its website that suggested female faculty members could be viewed as sex objects — in the name of saving energy.
* Apropos of what I was saying before about Return of the Jedi: When Luke confronts the idea that his father is his enemy and that he is doomed to become him unless he can somehow accept him, it’s a thunderbolt as true and clear as any Jungian/Freudian missive can be clear. It’s not complicated, but Luke’s refusal at the end to murder his own shadow is underestimated as a watermark in the panoply of generally vengeful, bellicose popular entertainments. What Disney movie, for instance, ends with the embrace of the villain at something other than the tip of a righteous sword? No matter the degree that Lucas’s blinkered populism cripples Return of the Jedi, what remains is this guide to better living. Hard work is good. Courage in the face of entropy is good. Loyalty to your friends is good. Fear is bad. So is self-interest. This basic codification of rules resonating as it does is, after all, only what good cults do: provide a template, easy to follow, of commandments. May the Force be with you.
* China Miéville, “On Social Sadism.”
* A case study in the notion that academic freedom is not a blanket excuse for any and all antisocial behavior: College Moves To Fire Sandy Hook Truther For Allegedly Harassing Victim’s Family.
* “Speechbros” vs. The left should support speech rights because the left is weak. In my old age I’m really becoming more and more of an absolutist on this, alas, despite disliking absolutism and also liars, fools, and knaves.
* “Harvard placemat serves up social justice for Christmas.” Sorry for the Campus Reform link, I couldn’t find anything better.
* And another article on its contemporary reception for the next time I teach Lolita: Men Explain Lolita To Me.
* Huge, if true: While university presidents earn millions, many professors struggle.
* In Historic Paris Climate Deal, World Unanimously Agrees To Not Burn Most Fossil Fuels. “A long-shot chance to save the planet.” And on the neg: Grand promises of Paris climate deal undermined by squalid retrenchments.
* In a security video obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Strickland is seen in handcuffs, barely conscious and being dragged along the floor by officers, while a prison nurse standing close by does nothing. Even as he lies face down on the floor, near death, guards can be heard shouting, “Stop resisting.”
* For Fury Road’s fluid editing, Miller called upon his wife, Margaret Sixel, who had spent most of her career editing documentaries and had never cut an action movie before. “We’ve got teenage sons, but I’m the one who goes to the action movies with them!” laughed Miller. “So when I asked her to do Mad Max, she said, ‘Well, why me?’ And I said, ‘Because then it’s not going to look like other action movies.’” And it doesn’t. Compare the smart, iterative set pieces of Fury Road to one of the incoherent car chases in Spectre, for example, and you’ll see that Sixel prizes a sense of spatial relationships that has become all too rare in action movies. “She’s a real stickler for that,” said Miller. “And it takes a lot of effort! It’s not just lining up all the best shots and stringing them together, and she’s very aware of that. She’s also looking for a thematic connection from one shot to the next. If it regressed the characters and their relationships, she’d be against that. And she has a very low boredom threshold, so there’s no repetition.”
* Jacqui Shine at LARoB reviews We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s.
* MST3K breaks Kickstarter records, secures 14 new episodes. Let the backlash commence!
* We’re apparently getting two China Miéville novels this year, and the second one sounds incredible.
THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS is an intense and gripping tale set in an alternative universe: June 1940 following Paris’ fall to the Germans, the villa of Air-Bel in Marsailles, is filled with Trotskyists, anti-fascists, exiled artists, and surrealists. One Air-Bel dissident decides the best way to fight the Nazis is to construct a surrealist bomb. When the bomb is accidentally detonated, surrealist Cataclysm sweeps Paris and transforms it according to a violent, weaponized dream logic.
* He said the solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland.
* Teach the controversy: The sealed mausoleum believed to be a fully-functioning time machine.
* Your short of the week: “Lost Property.”
* I have a pair of appearances in the new Eaton Journal of Archival Research in Science Fiction: one the transcript of the archival research panel at the last ICFA, and the other a writeup of the Octavia E. Butler papers at the Huntington. Boing Boing liked it, so should you!
* Deadline extended: “In More’s Footsteps: Utopia and Science Fiction.”
* The reason for the season: China Miéville: Marxism and Halloween – Socialism 2013.
* The layoffs and program reductions will save Rider close to $2 million annually once the changes take effect next school year, the university said. The university has a $216 million operating budget and faces a current deficit of $7.6 million, a school spokesman said.
* School and prison, school as prison, yes. But the most troubling possibility, I think, is school or prison. By using this locution, I don’t intend to invoke the uplift narrative that posits education as a means of avoiding criminality or, really, criminalization—a narrative that the “school-to-prison pipeline” concept has already undone. The or of my “school or prison” marks not a choice between alternatives but an identity produced through the indifferent interchangeability of functions.
* Penny booksellers are exactly the sort of weedy company that springs up in the cracks of the waste that the Internet has laid to creative industries. They aren’t a cause; they’re a small, understandable result. Penny booksellers expose the deep downside to efficiency capitalism, which is that everything, even literal garbage and rare high art, is now as easy to find and roughly as personal as a spare iPhone charging cable.
* Teach the controversy: “The destruction of Alderaan was completely justified.”
* Chimera watch: A Man is His Son’s Uncle, Thanks to a Vanished Twin.
* I’ll allow it, but listen, you’re on very thin ice: Wes Anderson would like to make a horror movie.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 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.
* 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.
* Firstborn Girls Are the Best at Life. Any Zoey could have told you that!
* 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.