Posts Tagged ‘comedy’
* I had two short pieces come out this weekend: a review essay on Star Trek: Beyond at LARB and a flash review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child right here at WordPress.
* Point: Earwolf has a new Hamilton podcast, seemingly along the lines of The Incomparable’s but with higher profile guests. Counterpoint: You Should Be Terrified That People Who Enjoy “Hamilton” Run Our Country.
* Peak Thinkpiece? “Centuries ago, explorers like Columbus and Vasco da Gama played a real-life version of Pokémon Go.” When colonialism is a game. Pokémon Go: Who owns the virtual space around your home? Werner Herzog: Would You Die for the Pokémons? Would You Kill?
* The good news is, we’re all going to live. Here’s the bad news.
* 6 Human Activities That Pose The Biggest Threat To The World’s Drinking Water. America Has Never Seen a Hot Weather Outlook Like This. And an upcoming conference at Marquette: Public Policy and American Drinking Water.
* Zombie bacteria that awaken from old corpses might sound like the stuff of an “X-Files” episode. The premise is far from a complete fiction, however.
* Metaphors too on the nose: rise of the corpse flowers.
* Elsewhere on the zombie beat: The Walking Dead Comic Nearly Ended a Lot Sooner Than Anyone Expected. That’s sort of amazing, honestly.
* News you can use: How to land a passenger jet without any flight controls.
* This Rick and Morty clip reading from an actual trial transcript shows what how weirdly perfect the two voices work as a comedic duo, independently of any narrative context.
* I say the teach the controversy.
* The Syllabus as a Contract: How do you deal with clever students who find loopholes you didn’t intend?
* I grew up thinking journalism was just for rich white people. I was mostly right.
* They told me capital was a vampire, and man, they nailed it.
* Politics roundup! State roll calls: What RNC and DNC delegates want you to know. Electoral Map Gives Donald Trump Few Places to Go. Trump’s Likeliest Path to Victory May Be an Electoral College Tie. Bounce! Disability Rights at the DNC. Seven Minutes. The GOP’s Dilemma: How Low Can He Go? Why does it matter that Donald Trump is not a novelty? All the same, a pretty incredible chart. From the archives: Norman Mailer Goes to the RNC. How And Why Trump Will Try to Ditch the Debates. Donald Trump as a One Man Constitutional Crisis. An Anti-Trump Electoral Strategy That Isn’t Pro-Clinton. Revenge of the Ghostwriters. A Historic Dud. Obscene Media Spectacle. American Horror Story. Is Donald Trump OK? “Hegel remarks somewhere,” Marx wrote, “that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” We are the 5%. And we’re still allowed to vote.
* And the kids are all right: Trump, Clinton more disliked by millennials than Voldemort.
* So what do I mean by claiming that there is no future to the study of culture in the 21st Century? My thesis is that we are (or should be) nearing the end of the study of culture, and that to continue to study it as we have will run the risk of irrelevance, or worse. In this talk I maintain that there is no future for the study of culture if it does not include the study of key concerns of the 21st century, including especially those ecological, geopolitical, and economic issues which threaten the existence of culture as we know it.
* I thought the first episode of Harmonquest was pretty promising. I’ve also been enjoying The Union of “The State” for the full 90s flashback experience. And why not wash it down with Dana Carvey’s Nano-Impressions?
* The parental misery index. Whenever I see this studies I really think that “happiness” is the wrong value to be trying to measure; being a parent is unquestionably the best thing I’ve ever done, whether it makes me quantifiably “happier” moment-to-moment or not.
* No more half measures: only the total elimination of the university can protect students and teachers from each other.
* The route Google Maps recommends if you’re headed to Ferrum College from the west involves what may be the loneliest and most roller-coaster-like stretch of roadway ever to earn a state route number from Virginia. It’s a narrow ribbon of pavement with no center line, a twisting trail you drive imagining that if you go over the edge, weeks could pass before anyone found the wreckage. Only at the other end do you spot a yellow sign that reads, “GPS Routing Not Advised.” Small, Rural Colleges Grapple With Their Geography.
* Old and busted: AI. New hotness: IA.
* As an added experiment, the researchers applied their model to the current distribution of human populations on Earth. They found that, under all the same assumptions, 12.5 percent of the global population would be forced to migrate at least 1,000 kilometers, and up to a third of the population would have to move more than 500 kilometers.
* In a paper published in the May issue of the journal Astrobiology, the astronomer Woodruff Sullivan and I show that while we do not know if any advanced extraterrestrial civilizations currently exist in our galaxy, we now have enough information to conclude that they almost certainly existed at some point in cosmic history.
…what our calculation revealed is that even if this probability is assumed to be extremely low, the odds that we are not the first technological civilization are actually high. Specifically, unless the probability for evolving a civilization on a habitable-zone planet is less than one in 10 billion trillion, then we are not the first.
* Because poetry is considered so small, so irrelevant, it’s tempting for poetry critics to look for the BIG themes in poems to demonstrate that poetry matters. I continue to learn from critics who take on this labor. However, because ALL African literary criticism is assumed to matter the more it focuses on the BIG SOCIOPOLITICOECONOMICDISASTERTHATISAFRICA, I am inclined to turn to quieter moments—spaces for the intimate, the friendly, the quiet, the loving, the depressed, the depressing, grief, and melancholy. I’m drawn to the register that is not the shout, and never the headline. I linger at the quotidian to insist that the African imagination considers livability and shareability.
* For everyone, he claims, is shortchanged when the guiding principle and “key driver” of the institution is no longer thought, but money (ix). Faculty are silenced, yes, by the drive to conformity and homogeneity. But students are also cheated when they are treated simply as “human capital”: “When the university is reduced to the function of preparation for jobs and not for life, life itself gets lost under the jobs” (85). Most broadly and seriously of all, society as a whole suffers as the university abandons its traditional role as “that institution that has a responsibility to counter the incipient violence of natural force” (40). The fate of the university is bound up with the fate of democracy and citizenship at large. If society is to change, and injustice and inequality challenged, we need now more than ever an institution whose role is to be “’critical’ of the existing world state of affairs, dissident with respect to it” (6).
* White supremacist PACs and Trump. The stain of Trump. “A GOP senator might vote for Hillary Clinton. Here’s how rare that is.” Trump has underperformed the real estate market by a mere 57% since 1976. Alas, Mitt.
* I’m calling it: Trump will drop out of the race by July 5 at the latest. He will blame the unfair media and political correctness, allude to some wack-ass conspiracy involving Black Lives Matter and/or Hezbollah, and go to his grave telling everyone he knows that if he had stayed in the race, he would’ve beaten Clinton.
* You may be done with your quasi-legal homebrew server, but your quasi-legal homebrew server is not done with you: The FBI has been conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information for months.
* We narrowed Clinton’s vice-presidential possibilities to 27. Now you pick one. For a long time I’ve thought it definitely be one of the Castro brothers, probably Julian, but Elizabeth Warren has made such a push lately I’ve started to think it could actually be her. Of course you can pick Trump’s too, from such a weak field it includes his own daughter.
* Let me close with a broad statement. In the news you will see some rather hysterical statements about how all bets are off this year. That is true to an extent: on the Republican side, the national party’s positions and their rank-and-file voters’ preferences are far out of whack. In a deep sense, their decision process in 2016 became broken. But that does not mean that opinion is unmeasurable. Far from it. In the aggregate, pollsters still do a good job reaching voters. And voters are still people whose opinions move at a certain speed. To my thinking, polls may be the best remaining way to assess what is happening.
* But just in case: I Spent the 90s Fighting Fascists on the Streets of Warsaw.
* If you’re not sick of these yet: What Hamilton Forgets About Hamilton.
* Because you demanded it! Kevin Smith Says That His Mallrats Sequel Will Be a 10-Part TV Series.
* Same joke but for The Passion of the Christ 2.
* Sixty Million Car Bombs: Inside Takata’s Air Bag Crisis: How the company’s failures led to lethal products and the biggest auto recall in history.
* The case for Lady Stoneheart showing up in season six of Game of Thrones. Let me say I have my doubts.
* Coming soon: Adam Kotsko’s long-awaited book on the devil, The Prince of This World. And from Annie McClanahan: Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and Twenty-First-Century Culture.
* Important White House petition: “Include Adjuncts in Loan Forgiveness Program.”
* But here’s the rub: I am able to afford this faux middle-class life on $40,000 a year because I live around poverty. I didn’t write this, but basically anyone with a job like mine in a city like Milwaukee could have.
* Marquette University John McAdams and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty announced Monday that they have filed suit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court against the university for what the plaintiffs describe as “illegally suspending” McAdams more than a year ago.
* Clinton is the second-most disliked general election candidate in modern history. Guess who is #1. Using this approach, the probability that Trump can catch up by November is 9%, and the probability that Clinton will remain ahead of Trump is 91%.
* But in order to break into the top 10 percent of American drinkers, you would need to drink more than two bottles of wine with every dinner. And you’d still be below-average among those top 10 percenters.
* Suing? What for? The coffee was too cold. It’s supposed to be cold. Not THAT cold.
* Pop culture moment: we’ve been watching The People vs. O.J. Simpson and have been completely floored by how good it is. Thanks Lili Loofbourow for the rec!
* This month is also the Comedy Bang Bang live tour — with each date appearing on howl.fm the next day — so my pop culture dance card is kind of filled right now.
* I can’t decide if the White House Correspondents Dinner becomes more or less obscene when Obama is so good at it.
* Monkey bars alert: Playground concussions are on the rise. I’m really surprised parental use of cell phones isn’t suggested as a possible aggravating cause.
* Andrew Sullivan is back, and he says your precious democracy is doomed. Doomed!
* CFP for SLSA 2016. It’s in Atlanta this year.
* Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as he was mounting his run for president, was struck down Friday as violating the state constitution. But don’t get too excited.
* The Baffler goes deep inside the new man of 4chan.
* If you want a vision of the future: Sesame Street partners with a VC, will invest up to $1 million in a bunch of startups.
* And if you don’t: Photographed from a shuttle training aircraft, space shuttle Endeavour and its six-member STS-134 crew head toward Earth orbit and rendezvous with the International Space Station.
* I was on On Point on NPR last week to talk about Star Wars. How to tell if someone read the EU novels. What We Talk About When We Talk about Star Wars. Medieval Star Wars. Smash the Force. Humorless Marxist Reviews: The Force Awakens. Starkiller Base: The Contractor Memos. Star Wars as Pastiche. “We now have something like proof that life for the average citizen in the Star Wars universe would have been better off if the rebellion had failed.” The Force Awakens as Jedi rewrite. Star Wars and the monomyth of Silicon Valley. George Lucas’s Secret Weapon. The only element that actually got me excited about what another galaxy might look and feel like was Rey’s instant bread. We Need to Make Room For This Gingerbread Darth Vader in the Smithsonian. This Lifesize BB-8 Cake Is Almost Too Beautiful To Eat. ‘Star Wars,’ if it were directed by Ken Burns. #WheresRey. An inversion of stakes so monstrous that it makes the film actually despicable. Please Stop Spreading This Nonsense that Rey From Star Wars Is a “Mary Sue.” Anyway, it did okay. And from the archives: “Hobbits in Space,” 1977.
* A nine-month, non-tenure position teaching “What Is The Good Life?” to up to six hundred students. I’m not sure I know what the good life is but I think I can rule out at least one thing.
* That’s right. The same educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to—while at the same time obscuring—the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.
* The Star Wars Holiday Special Was The Worst Thing on Television Ever. Look for it on How Did This Get Made? this week.
* Immediately greenlit: Quentin Tarantino Almost Made A Luke Cage Movie And Wants To Create His Own Superhero.
* And I say teach the controversy: ‘Bleeding’ Communion Wafer Caused By Mold, Not A Miracle.