Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Chinua Achebe

March 1 Links! March 1 Only and Then They’re Gone!

leave a comment »

tumblr_om224d56iq1sqep2mo1_500Contemporary African literature as taught in today’s classrooms is pathetically 20th century. The keepers of those gates overwhelmingly think of contemporary African literature as the three A’s: Achebe, Adichie, Abani. When pressed, they add Habila. It is pathetic, really. The bulk of our literature is on the Internet and ancient professors are still photocopying what Achebe wrote in 1958.

We are possibly witnessing the implosion of American capitalism (i.e., neoliberalism) and hopefully its empire as well. Liberals, those who are protesting today, did not protest the mass incarceration and forceful expulsion of individuals who had been in this country for decades, did not protest the drone wars and illegal killings and fomenting of civil wars and mass displacement under our auspices ever since 9/11. The Obama presidency is destined to go down in history as a footnote; we are simply picking up fascist steam now from where we left off in 2003, before the Iraq War started going awry. The world war that began on 9/11 has resumed. We never left it in the intervening years, because we never sought accountability. The case for moral disengagement from politics in the age of Trump. I found this a brutal, sobering read. Obviously we have to fight in whatever ways we can fight — but I’m sorry to say the predictions laid out here seem much more likely to me than any notion of heroic #Resistance on the part of institutional Democrats or liberals more generally.

* Meanwhile, the media.

tumblr_om54bbhzq41romv9co1_540

The basic critique of Bruenig et al is right: The leadership of the Democratic Party, nationally and in most states, has resisted acknowledging the failures of the Obama years.

Now seems like a fine time to listen to Kurt Vonnegut’s sermon on nuclear annihilation.

* Keep America weird: Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge wins UFO Researcher Of The Year award.

* The Hunt for the Perfect Sugar.

Why You Can’t Ever Call an Enslaved Woman a “Mistress.”

* This actually raises a ton of questions for me about how C-3PO’s mind works, how protocol droids prioritize their storage resources, and what people in the Star Wars galaxy consider “communication.”

* Some investigative details on the horrifying wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish centers.

* If you’re really asking: yes.

* And it’s not all bad news: Black Holes Devour Stars a Lot More Frequently Than We Thought.

 

All The Wednesday Links!

leave a comment »

* I got some really good news the other day: an NEH Summer Stipend! Here’s the full list of $22.8 million in awards and offers for 232 humanities projects.

* Two of the poems from the award-winning first collection of my partner, Jaimee Hills, are up at Waywiser Press: “Synaesthesia” and “Derrida Eats a Dorito.”

* I taught #GamerGate in my video game class yesterday. It wasn’t my favorite day of the semester, not by a long shot, but TNI‘s “Gaming and Feminism” post was a great help, particularly the link to Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games: Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 and Playing with privilege: the invisible benefits of gaming while male. I didn’t spend that much time on it, but I’m still tickled by Why So Few Violent Games?

Salvage-Marxism embraces the Socialist rococo, the feel-good where we can and the feel-bad where we must, the utopian and the unflinching. Salvage will bring together the work of those who share a heartbroken, furious love of the world, and our rigorous principle: Hope is precious; it must be rationed.

An ontology of the present is a science-fictional operation, in which a cosmonaut lands on a planet full of sentient, intelligent, alien beings. He tries to understand their peculiar habits: for example, their philosophers are obsessed by numerology and the being of the one and the two, while their novelists write complex narratives about the impossibility of narrating anything; their politicians meanwhile, all drawn from the wealthiest classes, publicly debate the problem of making more money by reducing the spending of the poor. It is a world which does not require a Brechtian V-effect since it is already objectively estranged. The cosmonaut, stranded for an unforeseeable period on this planet owing to faulty technology (incomprehensibility of set theory or mathemes, ignorance of computer programmes or digitality, insensibility towards hip-hop, Twitter, or bitcoins), wonders how one could ever understand what is by definition radically other; until he meets a wise old alien economist who explains that not only are the races of the two planets related, but that this one is in fact simply a later stage of his own socio-economic system (capitalism), which he was brought up to think of in two stages, whereas he has here found a third one, both different and the same. Ah, he cries, now I finally understand: this is the dialectic! Now I can write my report! Fredric Jameson, “The Aesthetics of Singularity.”

Terry Pratchett: “Not having battles, and doing without kings.”

* Confabulation in the humanities.

Fantasy scholarship needs theory. Badly.

The first African science fiction short story? Leonard Flemming’s ‘And So It Came To Pass.’

* Adam Kotsko: Notes toward an overanalysis of a failed sci-fi spin-off.

Did the Anthropocene Begin with the Deaths of 50 Million Native Americans? Defining the Anthropocene. The Inhuman Anthropocene.

* Scars of the Anthropocene: Japan builds a sea wall.

Nestle Continues Stealing World’s Water During Drought. A $600-Million Fracking Company Just Sued This Tiny Ohio Town For Its Water.

Devastating report finds humans killed almost 3 million whales last century.

Costa Rica powered with 100% renewable energy for 75 straight days.

It’s May 2065, and Cornell’s Dean of Nonlitigable Revelry is angry. So good.

Welcome to Ohio State, Where Everything Is for Sale.

It’s true that some of the faculty opposed this deal (but only 84 percent,according to a survey), and it’s also true that since the Australian takeover, prices for parking permits have gone through the roof. But it is not true, as has been reported in some places, that faculty have formed hitchhiking co-ops because they can no longer afford to park on campus.

The important point here is that this deal puts the lie to the complaint we hear so often that college doesn’t prepare people for the real world. Our CFO, the guy who orchestrated this deal, has just landed a very lucrative job with the Australian firm he sold the parking to. It’s called synergy, baby! Look it up.

* Ayn Rand comes to UNC.

* UW Struggle: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Public Authority Edition. This Is What Wisconsin’s 2.5% Budget Cut Looks Like.

Sweet Briar Alumnae Outline Legal Case Against College.

U.Mass. Faces $3B in Debt. reclaimUC: “That’s nothing.” More links below the chart.

CA0K7-vUQAAnIp4

New York Attorney General Is Investigating Cooper Union’s Decision to Charge Tuition.

* “Why Tenure Matters.” Holy moly.

A former administrator at Chicago State University has accused its president and other officials of firing her in part because she refused their demands that she file a false sexual-harassment charge against a faculty member critical of the leadership.

University protests around the world: a fight against commercialisation.

* Free expression and academic labor.

It’s that mass contigency– the dramatic rise of at-risk academic labor like adjuncts and grad students– that creates the conditions that Cooke laments on campus. In the past, when a far higher portion of college courses were taught by tenured professors, those who taught college courses had much less reason to fear reprisals from undergraduates. They had the protection of the tenure system and often the benefit of faculty unions that could agitate on their behalf. But with so many instructors in a state of minimal institutional protection or authority, lacking long-term contracts, benefits, or collective bargaining, the risk of angered students multiplies. Adjuncts don’t even need to be fired; they can just not get any classes the next semester. Grad students don’t even need to be fired; they can just have their job applications placed on the deny pile. This is why I think the problem is actually probably much larger than the high-profile anecdotes would suggest. The greatest impediment to real pedagogical and political freedom on campus is self-censorship due to labor insecurity. Discussion of contingency is almost entirely absent in Cooke’s essay.

* Academics talking about money.

On the Meaning of “Natural Born Citizen.”

What If Education Reform Got It All Wrong in the First Place?

* Nearly a quarter century ago, “A Nation at Risk” hit our schools like a brick dropped from a penthouse window. One problem: The landmark document that still shapes our national debate on education was misquoted, misinterpreted, and often dead wrong.

Education is not a design problem with a technical solution. It’s a social and political project neoliberals want to innovate away.

What Happens When A 38-Year-Old Man Takes An AP History Test?

How one dad opted out his kindergartner from standardized testing.

Trying the 12-year-old “Slender Man” stabbers as adults is as illogical and barbaric as they are.

Plane Safety Cards Explained.

*A University of Calgary professor has written “the first scholarly study of the Archie comic,” titled Twelve-Cent Archie. Though some of his colleagues were skeptical, his motivation, Bart Beaty explains, was “to really challenge the kind of snobbery that’s inherent in the way that comics aren’t studied.” 

* Meanwhile, we live in very weird times: Archie vs. Predator.

* Ted Cruz, I think, speaks for us all: “My music tastes changed on 9/11.”

Lead prosecutor apologizes for role in sending man to death row.

* BREAKING: your weed killer is poisonous.

America’s race problem has been solved, and it was easier than you would have thought.

SF Bishop Sorry Sprinklers Installed To Roust Homeless Were Discovered ‘Misunderstood.’

* SMBC explains Heaven.

* Worst person in the world speaks.

* If you give a lion a CAT scan.

This Floating McDonalds Has Sat Empty For 28 Years.

* There goes my Plan B: Business Owner Millions in Debt Arrested Two Years After Faking Death.

Bruised Woman On Billboard Heals When People Look At Her, Reminds Passersby Of Dangers Of Ignoring Abuse.

* “As They Lay Dying”: Two doctors say it’s far too hard for terminal patients to donate their organs.

1. An Unknown Alien Being acquires a child’s forgotten book and mistakenly beliefs that it depicts proper protocol for interaction with the human world. Mustaba Snoopy.

Texas’ brazen attempt to silence one of its most effective death penalty defense lawyers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the leading trade group for compound pharmacists is now discouraging its members from supplying the drugs necessary for lethal injections — in what represents the first official stance the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) has ever taken on death penalty issues. Relatedly.

* I’m not one for tech solutions generally but they should figure out a way to put microlocal cell phone jammers in cars. Nothing else is going to stop this from happening.

* The best description of social media I’ve ever seen:

Podcast: Government Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know FBI Agents Can See They’re Creating Terrorists.

Why Health Care Tech Is Still So Bad.

The strange things people Google in every state. The most common job in every state.

Before Judges, the Godfathers Become Sick Old Grandfathers.

H-Bomb Physicist Ignores Federal Order to Cut 5,000 Words From Memoir.

​The Apple Watch Is the Perfect Wrist Piece for Dystopia.

* The Second Death of Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe, no longer at ease.

* Nothing gold can stay: The Zelda TV show isn’t going to happen.

* And it’s not all death and destruction: There are more museums in the U.S. than there are Starbucks and McDonalds – combined.

1427037145-20150322

 

Written by gerrycanavan

March 25, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday Morning

leave a comment »

tumblr_mk25lxdV3w1rqkjy0o7_r1_400* In case you missed it: North Carolina lawmkers are threatening to shut down one or two UNC campuses. Save Our State event next week at Duke.

The Silicon Valley-based company said to be revolutionizing higher education says in a contract obtained by Inside Higher Ed that it will “only” offer classes from elite institutions – the members of the Association of American Universities or “top five” universities in countries outside of North America – unless Coursera’s advisory board agrees to waive the requirement.

* Financialize everything: “The principle behind it, which is unique and could be far-reaching in the state and the country, is to say to private industry ‘you can do better financially by investing in high schools than you do investing in Wall Street,'” Steinberg said.

* I’ve always said the same thing about The Tonight Show. If this works out for New York it could really put them on the map.

Iraq + 100 is — or will be — a collection of 10 short stories set in different cities around Iraq, written by 10 different Iraqi authors, all with this particular twist: They must be set 100 years after the 2003 invasion.

Chinua Achebe has died. Chinua Achebe and the Invention of African Culture.

* And the headline reads, “Don’t fear babies made with genes from three parents.”

Why Hasn’t Somebody Made Sunday Reading an Internet Tradition?

leave a comment »

Less than 24 hours after last night’s Powerball drawing, reports confirmed that the two winners of the $587 million jackpot are both already divorced from their respective spouses, alienated from their friends and families, and completely bankrupt.

* Calvin and Hobbes search engine. Get it before it’s DCMA’d!

* Vandana Singh interviews Ted Chiang.

Finally, can you tell us something about what you’re working on now?

I don’t want to talk too much about what I’m working on, so I’ll just say that it’s a story about memory and the written word.

Sold!

* Kurt Vonnegut’s term paper prompt.

As for your term papers, I should like them to be both cynical and religious. I want you to adore the Universe, to be easily delighted, but to be prompt as well with impatience with those artists who offend your own deep notions of what the Universe is or should be. “This above all …”

* Another round of analysis from Yves Smith on the Rolling Jubilee tax issue.

If Rolling Jubilee’s tax position is incorrect, the consequences would be ugly. In many cases, the people it claimed it was helping would be worse off than if it had done nothing.

The forgiven debt would be treated as taxable income. If the individual is a non-taxpayer (as in has too little income) the debt forgiveness could push them into owning taxes, and for anyone who was a taxpayer in the year the debt was forgiven, would result in additional taxes owed.

The worst of this is that in many cases, the debt forgiven by OWS would be invalid debt: past the statute of limitations, discharged in bankruptcy, disputed, paid off but for some reason not removed from a bank’s systems. In these cases, if Rolling Jubilee’s tax view turns out to be incorrect, the borrower will be considerably worse off, since he could have disputed the invalid debt (and debt collectors tend to roll easily) but will now have to disprove the validity of the debt to the IRS. The result is that this shifts the burden of proof: in debt collection matters, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, the debt collector, to demonstrate the validity of the debt and the amount owed. In disputes with the IRS, the burden of proof is with the taxpayer.

In addition, even if Strike Debt is correct in its gift argument, it would in some cases owe gift taxes. It does not appear prepared for this eventuality. Nor would winning on the gift question save it from running afoul of the private benefit question. Even a gift to an individual is a private benefit. If it were to lose its 501 (c)(4) status, Rolling Jubilee would owe additional taxes and penalties.

Rejected jokes submitted to a kids’ jokes site.

* The Inside Story of Pong.

* The Video Games Women Make.

Thomas Jefferson: American Fascist? The third president was a creepy, brutal hypocrite. And the very worst thing you’ll read today:

Jefferson, Finkelman tells us, was not a “particularly kind” slave-master; he sometimes “punished slaves by selling them away from their families and friends, a retaliation that was incomprehensibly cruel even at the time.” And he  believed that  ”blacks’ ability to reason was ‘much inferior’ to whites’ and that they were “in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.”  So what?  Really – so what?  If you want to think that he was a bad guy — or even a really bad guy, with truly grievous personal faults — you’re free to do so.  But to claim that that has something to do with Jefferson’s historical legacy is truly preposterous.

A growing if largely invisible community hard-hit by Sandy faces a unique challenge: Undocumented immigrants must get help to fix illegal apartments.

Chinua Achebe At 82.

The Sports Tax That Everyone Pays.

* People on the Internet are going to have to start self-diagnosing themselves with something else: Asperger’s Dropped As Separate Condition From DSM-V.

And the mint is considering eliminating $1 bills entirely. Yes, again!

Saturday Morning

leave a comment »

* Nevertheless, these arguments are potentially more intellectually coherent than the ones that propose that the race is “too close to call.” It isn’t. If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public. Obama has 431 ways to win; Romney has 76.

* “I Refuse to Cater to the Bullshit of Innocence”: a late Believer interview with Maurice Sendak.

* The Longform Guide to Climate Change.

* Kurt Vonnegut visits Biafra in 1979.

* Mark Hamil teases Star Wars: Episode IX, c. 1983.

* And Evan and China tear it up at the Memory Marathon.

‘I’m not quite sure I wrote it’

leave a comment »

The Washington Post interviews Chinua Achebe for the 50th anniversary of Things Fall Aart.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 12, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

leave a comment »

From Bookslut: Chinua Achebe (whose Things Fall Apart was twice-chosen as a definitive book of the 20th century by a committee of learned scholars) has won the Booker prize.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 13, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,