Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19

Carefully Curated Spring Break Links! Definitely Not Too Many!

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Why, I say, oh why, is it so hard to simply serve the concept and write the adventures of a smart, creative and kind-hearted teenage girl with superpowers? What purpose earthly or unearthly is served by making this character an embittered space tyrant?

… I questioned the desire to attribute the worst aspects of human behaviour to characters whose only useful function, as I see it, aside from simply entertaining young people and anyone else who fancies an uplifting holiday in a storybook world far from the grinding monotony of pessimism and disillusion, is to provide a primary-coloured cartoon taste of how we all might be if we had the wit and the will and the self-sacrifice it takes to privilege our best selves and loftiest aspirations over our base instincts. While that great day is unlikely to happen any time soon in any halfway familiar real world, why not let comic book universes be playgrounds for the kind of utopian impulses that have in the past brought out the best in us?

Written by gerrycanavan

March 12, 2022 at 6:38 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Reading!

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* CFP: Folk Horror. CFP: Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2022.
* Four Tiny Essays on SF/F.
* The Future Is Black, Not Bleak: On Afrofuturist Poetry.

* Notes on Contemporary University Struggles: A Dossier.
* The Great Faculty Disengagement: Faculty members aren’t leaving in droves, but they are increasingly pulling away.
* Hustling to get by: side jobs in grad school. Great Books, Graduate Students, and the Value of Fun in Higher Education.
* Microsyllabus: The History of Campus Policing.
* They fought critical race theory. Now they’re focusing on ‘curriculum transparency.’

* Two years since Covid was first confirmed in U.S., the pandemic is worse than anyone imagined. America’s second pandemic winter: More virus, less death. Parents and caregivers of young children say they’ve hit pandemic rock bottom. Students are protesting covid policies — and the adults who won’t listen to them. America’s youth turn left.
* Families are in distress after the first month without the expanded child tax credit.
* ‘If I Die, I Die’: Meat Loaf Spurned COVID Rules Before Death. Inside Meat Loaf’s Health Troubles, Including Vocal Strain, Alcoholism and Onstage Collapses. Meat Loaf Was My Softball Coach.

* America’s shift to the right in 2021 is worse news for Democrats than it seems. The long slide: Inside Biden’s declining popularity as he struggles with multiple crises. ‘The Lowest Point in My Lifetime’: How 14 Independent Voters Feel About America. Joe Biden Promised Change. He Hasn’t Delivered.

* What Does It Mean If Republicans Won’t Debate?
* Read the never-issued Trump order that would have seized voting machines. Georgia Has a Very Strong Case Against Trump. Would Trump Throw His Own Kids Under the Bus to Save Himself? We May Soon Find Out.
* Florida Advances Bill That Would Ban Making White People Feel Bad about Racism, and No, That’s Not a Joke.
* Scientists Warn that Sixth Mass Extinction Has ‘Probably Started’. How to Prepare for Climate Change’s Most Immediate Impacts. Don’t Look Up Is Missing What We Really Need From Climate Change Movies.
* Scientists Are Racing to Understand the Fury of Tonga’s Volcano. Tonga volcano: islands covered in ash as three deaths confirmed.
* “When my last movie UHF came out in 1989, I made a solemn vow to my fans that I would release a major motion picture every 33 years, like clockwork. I’m very happy to say we’re on schedule,” said Yankovic in a statement. “And I am absolutely thrilled that Daniel Radcliffe will be portraying me in the film. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for.”
* The Moon Knight moment.
* The Star Trek century.
* Do you know what’s cooler than One Ring?

* Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Looks Absolutely Incredible, But… Crunch and TT Games.
* Men Are Creating AI Girlfriends and Then Verbally Abusing Them.
* Smedley Butler Helped Build American Empire. Then He Turned Against It.
* The Fall of NC Mutual.
* Mother sues Meta and Snap over daughter’s suicide.
* Where’s the snow? Milwaukee is nearly 15 inches below its average this season.
* At-will employment in Wisconsin apparently means that you can be fired at any time for any reason but you need your boss’s permission to take a new job.
* Acting Mayor Johnson announces public safety plan to tackle gun violence, car thefts and reckless driving in Milwaukee.
* Discrimination has cost Black home owners of billions of dollars of generational wealth. What can change that?
* Huge, if true: Cryptocurrency Is a Giant Ponzi Scheme.
* Shakespeare Noir. The Tragedy of Macbeth Is a Cinematic Feast for Starving Film Lovers.
* 6 Dysfunctional Family Roles and Their Characteristics.
* New Bad Art Friend / West End Caleb mashup just dropped.
* Alcohol consumption can directly cause cancer, new genetic study finds.
* The Medieval Vegetarian.
* The Battle over Howard the Duck.
* This is your only friend in the world right now. It’s gonna be a long night.
* tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life
* They stan.
* We stan.
* What are the most compelling and readable “plotless” novels you’ve ever read? My answer.
* And it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t be better with the pizza in hand.

Lost in January Links

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* Out now: Extrapolation Volume 62.3 explores the representation of cyborgs in Pat Cadigan’s Synners, care in Gen Urobuchi’s science-fiction, and the critique of Western technoscience in Welcome to Night Vale.
* CFP: Medical Humanities and the Fantastic: Neurodiversity and Disability. CFP: Push: Childbirth in Global Screen Culture.
* Is there a dominant mode of current science fiction? Notes on Squeecore. Portrait of the Author As a Component of a “Punk-Or-Core” Formulation. Science Fiction Is Never Evenly Distributed. The sci-fi genre offering radical hope for living better.

* Science Fiction is a Luddite Literature.
* Notes on the Forum of the Simulacra.

* How To Develop A Planetary Consciousness.
* How climate catastrophe has consumed popular culture. Ride or Die? Mark Bould and the Fast-and-Furiocene.
* Is Geoengineering the Only Solution?: Exploring Climate Crisis in Neal Stephenson’s “Termination Shock.” Neal Stephenson Thinks Greed Might Be the Thing That Saves Us. Coming back from a time of illness: how finance can learn from climate change fiction. Melancholy Utopianism: The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. We Can’t Just Grow Our Way Out of This Climate Mess.
* Climate Realism, Capitalist and Otherwise.
* Pop culture can no longer ignore our climate reality.
* Marvel Movies Made 30% Of The Total Box Office.
* Nnedi Okorafor on SF through an African Lens.
* The Matrix Resurrections and trans life (and death). Unpacking the Hidden Meanings in The Matrix Resurrections. A Muddle instead of a Movie.

* Games Studies Studies Buddies is such a good podcast and this is an exemplary episode. Like and subscribe!
* Joss Whedon fully burns down what’s left of his career. The Joss Whedon Era: A Look Back.
* Why so much Obama-era pop culture feels so cringe now.
* Have We Forgotten How to Read Critically?
* From lynchings to the Capitol: Racism and the violence of revelry.
* California’s Forever Fire.
* California, Arizona and Nevada agree to take less water from ailing Colorado River.
* The heat stays on: Earth hits 6th warmest year on record. The Oceans Are Now Hotter Than At Any Point in Human History, Scientists Warn. Here’s how hot Earth has been since you were born. The Supreme Court Case That Could Upend Efforts to Protect the Environment. US hit by 20 separate billion-dollar climate disasters in 2021, Noaa report says.
* As Tax Credit Expires, “Huge Increase” in Child Poverty Feared Amid Omicron Wave. How Did We Go From Stimulus Checks to “Go to Work With COVID”?

* The Ticking Bomb of Crypto Fascism. Tech Startup Wants To Gamify Suing People Using Crypto Tokens.
* Family Capitalism and the Small Business Insurrection: The growing militancy of the Republican right is less about an alliance of small business against big business than it is an insurrection of one form of capitalism against another: the private, unincorporated, and family-based versus the corporate, publicly traded, and shareholder-owned.
* Ultras.
* Democrats will have to do more to save democracy from Trump. The January Sixers Have Their Own Unit at the DC Jail. Here’s What Life Is Like Inside. The January 6th Republicans (from Jonah Goldberg no less). Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes charged with seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Isn’t it pretty to think so?
* The Rise and Fall of Latinx.
* Don’t Look Up Is a Terrible Movie. Really bad. I ranted.
* The Jewish Roots of ‘Star Trek’. Why ‘Star Trek’ made San Francisco the center of the universe.
* A Grieving Family Wonders: What if They Had Known the Medical History of Sperm Donor 1558?
* Percentage that would visit the Moon as a tourist, if money were not a factor.
* On the Legacy of Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo Journalism.
* The end of the pandemic? Study: Omicron associated with 91% reduction in risk of death compared to Delta. Hospitals Are in Serious Trouble. America’s COVID Rules Are a Dumpster Fire. We are the 3.2%.

* School Closures Led to More Sleep and Better Quality of Life for Adolescents. After last year’s learning loss, we need a plan for students with disabilities. Ideology and school closings. Who is this gentleman, Dude?

* The Mangle of Federalism.
* Book bans in schools are catching fire. Black authors say uproar isn’t about students.
* Becoming Martian.
* Last Year’s Longest Strike Just Ended in Victory.
* Yale, Georgetown, Other Top Schools Illegally Collude to Limit Student Financial Aid, Lawsuit Alleges.

* Dismissive Incomprehension: A Use of Purported Ignorance to Undermine Others.
* This Is the Way the Humanities End.
* A professor welcomed students to class by calling them ‘vectors of disease to me.’ He has been suspended.
* These Tenured Professors Were Laid Off. Here’s How They Got Their Jobs Back.
* So you want to work in academic publishing.
* As Afghanistan’s harsh winter sets in, many are forced to choose between food and warmth.
* US inflation reached 7% in December as prices rise at rates unseen in decades.
* Bernie Sanders says Democrats are failing: ‘The party has turned its back on the working class.’
* A simple plan to solve all of America’s problem.
* Sea Power, ‘Disco Elysium’, and the importance of being miserable.
* HBO’s Station Eleven Surpasses the Novel.
* Oh boy, they’re finally rebooting Quantum Leap.
* I’d never known this: Schrödinger, the Father of Quantum Physics, Was a Pedophile.
* Wes Anderson’s next sounds like another mistake.
* Haruki Murakami’s Monopoly.
* ‘Invincible’ Animated Series Sparks Profits Suit Against Robert Kirkman.
* What Elmo’s Viral Moment Tells Us About How Parents Watch Kids’ TV.
* A people’s history of the Beatles logo.
* If you want a vision of the future.
* Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park Is a Terrible Masterpiece.
* The Wire as copraganda.
* BEHOLD! MEGA-MANHATTAN!

* The Strange Literary Puzzle Only Four People Have Ever Solved. And welcome to the Wordle century.

Monday Morning Links!

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Friday Links!

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Wednesday Night Links!

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* Somehow, Grad School Vonnegut has returned.

* I’ll be giving a talk at UCSB next Tuesday as part of my ongoing Aurora project. Email me for details if you want them!

* What Is It Like to Be a Robot Fish Man? A Conversation with Ted Chiang.

* The Personal Works of Samuel R. Delany.

* She’s appeared in over 100 Star Trek episodes and three films — meet Tracee Cocco.

* The Planet after Geoengineering, at Biennale Architettura 2021.

* ‘A Watershed Moment’ for Shared Governance. AAUP Report: Survey Data on the Impact of the Pandemic on Shared Governance. Austerity Pedagogy and Unilateral Leadership Decisions. University of California Lecturers Unanimously Authorize Potential Strike. Why does college cost so much? Don’t save the university — transform it.

* A New Hire, a Koch Grant, and a Department in Crisis. A Poisonous Atmosphere at the County College of Morris. What Do You Do with a BA in English? The Native Scholar Who Wasn’t. How Many Black Women Have Tenure on Your Campus? On Decolonisation and the University. Academic Freedom on the Ropes.

* COVID-19 left college students depressed and anxious. Who will pay for their therapy?

* Oklahoma teacher says summer class canceled due to bill that bans teaching critical race theory. Why Social Justice Triggers Conservatives. Words That Mean Nothing. The Republican Party, Racial Hypocrisy, and The 1619 Project. Nikole Hannah Jones, A Mega-Donor, and the Future of Journalism. Behind Nikole Hannah-Jones’s Tenure Case. “Cancel Culture,” Hypocrisy, and Double Standards. Cancel culture telephone. Wild.

* Imani Perry: Ok, here’s some of the CRT books that I’ve taught and read over the years.

* We’ll Innovate Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis or Die Trying. Prayer for a Just War: Finding meaning in the climate fight. Why two women sacrificed everything to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. Eight children and an octogenarian nun took the Australian Minister for the Environment to court, to establish whether there is a ‘duty of care’ to future generations. What’s Worse Than Climate Catastrophe? Climate Catastrophe Plus Fascism.

* Gymnastics, fresh from its nightmarish decades-long rape scandal, wants to make it so being one of the greatest gymnasts of all time doesn’t get you any points.

* We’re Not Ready for the Next Pandemic. The End IS Near. No, Seriously. The unseen covid-19 risk for unvaccinated people. New Mask Guidelines Don’t Take a Huge Number of Americans Into Account. Necrosecurity, Immunosupremacy, and Survivorship in the Political Imagination of COVID-19. How the Wuhan lab-leak theory suddenly became credible. If the Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis is true, expect a political earthquake.

* We Should Applaud the Cuban Health System — and Learn From It.

* Queer Girls in The Wilds: Refusing White Feminism’s Settler Colonial Fantasy.

* An Elementary School Teacher’s Secret Life As A White Nationalist Writer.

* 500+ Biden/Dem staffers call on Biden “to end the…occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion that led to this exceptionally destructive period in a 73-year history of dispossession and ethnic cleansing. The resulting status quo is…apartheid.” Biden Steps Back On Student Loan Debt Forgiveness, Leading To Major Criticism.

* The neoliberal order seems to be collapsing. A generation of young activists is trying to insure that it’s replaced by progressive populism, not by the fascist right.

* Crisis at the AP.

* Small Businesses Have Surged in Black Communities. Was It the Stimulus? What happened to the $45 billion in rent relief? Hospitality Workers Struggle to Find Reliable, Affordable Ways Home. Giving people money makes them happier and safer.

* The Graveyard Doesn’t Like: The Texas Winter Storm And Power Outages Killed Hundreds More People Than The State Says.

* We’re Being Worked to Death by Capital. Work Isn’t Fulfilling Because Capitalism Is a Death March. Bosses are acting like the pandemic never happened. The Luddites Were Right. The Blue Welfare State. On Chandler Bing’s Job.

* After 150 years of technological innovation, the problems facing the United States Postal Service are only getting harder.

* ‘No One’s Ever Talked to Me About This Before’: Social media creators are helping women and people of color identify possible symptoms of A.D.H.D., a disorder most often diagnosed in white boys.

* Hard to Read: How American schools fail kids with dyslexia.

* Wisconsin Republicans advance ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports.

* The Professor Who Became a Cop. The Lies Cops Tell and the Lies We Tell About Cops. And on the carceral futurism beat: How Will Radical Life Extension Transform Punishment?

* U.S. Soldiers Accidentally Leaked Nuclear Weapons Secrets Online: Report. Let’s hope the Russians haven’t heard about flashcards.

* The Spacefaring Paradox: Deep-space human travel is a lose-lose proposition.

* Crowdfunding is killing board game expansions. Video games have turned my kids into wage slaves – but without the wages. The Shortest Possible Game of Monopoly.

* Amazon Prime Is an Economy-Distorting Lie.

* Question time: my life as a quiz obsessive.

* How many American children have cut contact with their parents?

* Disaster patriarchy: how the pandemic has unleashed a war on women.

* RIP, Eric Carle.

* When Watchmen Were Klansmen. Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood found prosperity after the 1921 massacre. Then the highways arrived. Tulsa and the Myth of Objectivity.

* Let’s review how Bill and Melinda Gates spent billions of dollars to change public education.

* “Effective Altruism” and Disability Rights Are Incompatible.

* Spare a Thought for the Billions of People Who Will Never Exist.

* Oh, you think?

* It has been hard to convey, through anecdotes or data, how bizarre the U.S. housing market has become.

* You can’t outrun a nightmare: The lasting trauma of rape.

* Dangerous Bodies & Dress Codes.

* This Mommy Blogger Is Under Fire For Refusing To Stop Writing About Her 9-Year-Old After The Girl Begged Her To.

* QAnon Now as Popular in U.S. as Some Major Religions, Poll Suggests.

* ‘Greater Idaho’ took one step closer to being a real thing as 5 more counties voted to explore leaving liberal Oregon for conservative Idaho.

* Potatoes exonerated. Cleared of all charges!

* Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health.

* Not great: The Age of Autonomous Killer Robots May Already Be Here. Yikes.

* The world’s riskiest project.

* Neuralink Brain Chip Will End Language in Five to 10 Years, Elon Musk Says. Well, if Elon Musk says it…

* The Oral History of A Different World.

* Spanish Civil War ends.

* And Wes Anderson’s next movie has a release date. Nature is healing.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 2, 2021 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Morning Links!

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* Paradoxa 32 has a cover.

* Boys don’t read enough.

* The era of high fertility is ending. Every child on their own trampoline. Police-Free Childhoods. The Seismic Generational Shift in Worldview: Millennials Seek a Nation Without God, Bible and Churches.

* Selfies, Surgeries And Self-Loathing: Inside The Facetune Epidemic.

* The Bullshit Jobs Boom.

* The empty brain. Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer.

* My theory, Philip K. Dick style, is that we didn’t survive the Cold War. All the evidence points that way.

* We still know basically knowing about COVID policy.

* Life Under Occupation: The Misery at the Heart of the Conflict.

* An interview with Emily Wilder, recent Stanford grad fired from AP job over criticisms of Israel.

* Science Fiction and Fantasy by Palestinian Authors.

* They tried to overturn the 2020 election. Now they want to run the next one. Republicans Move to Limit a Grass-Roots Tradition of Direct Democracy. 27 possible voter fraud cases in 3 million Wisconsin ballots. What if the Renegade Arizona Audit Declares Trump Won? Republicans Want You To Forget January 6 Ever Happened.

* Some Republicans may talk the talk, but this one walks the walk.

* Linkrot and you.

* How UFO sightings went from joke to national security worry in Washington. How Washington Got Hooked on Flying Saucers.

* California climate refugees. Indigenous Land Management Is The Solution to the Wildfire Crisis. World’s largest iceberg, nearly four times size of New York City, forms in Antarctica. If these trends continue…

* Civilization Battle Royale.

* Makes a biographer’s job a bit easier when they can destroy the primary sources when they’re done with them.

* Indigenous Cinema and the Limits of Auteurism.

* How could anyone doubt it? “Generous” Billionaires Are Part of the Problem.

* Rebellion in the Faculty Lounge. For Colleges, Vaccine Mandates Often Depend on Which Party Is in Power. Why Did a University Suspend Its Mandatory Diversity Course? Conservatives Control Public Higher Education: UNC Chapel Hill Edition. What is at stake with Nikole Hannah-Jones being denied tenure. The Real Reason UNC–Chapel Hill Is Withholding Tenure From Nikole Hannah-Jones. A Statement from the UNC AAUP. Guess Who’s Coming to the Lecture?

* Right-wing media helped usher in the age of “cancel culture,” but now pretend it’s an invention of the left.

* ‘I am seeking justice’: Tulsa massacre survivor, 107, testifies to US Congress.

* Decolonizing Education: A Conversation with Linda Tuhiwai Smith.

* #ReleaseTheSteinbeckWerewolfThing.

* Has science fiction become too serious? Apocalypse movies need to imagine climate solutions, too.

* Bring on the Forgotten Realms!

* Bring on the Summer Slowdown!

* And I think I linked this one before, but we’re in the endgame now.

Thursday Links!

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* Call for Papers: Trans-Indigenous Science Fictions. CFP: Activism and Resistance at the London Science Fiction Research Community. And don’t forget about the mini-ICFA in October!

* In a lousy year, Phil Wegner’s Invoking Hope was something that made me feel really good about the work I do, and gave me hope for the possibilities of the university (despite its managers). Read my review at Ancillary Review of Books!

* On the other side of things: The Hopeless University: Intellectual Work at the end of The End of History.

* The New Republic has another review of the Butler LOA volume.

* Science Fiction & … Economic Crisis! with Sherryl Vint, Hugh O’Connell, and Malka Older.

* While I’m recommending stuff: my 21C students loved Zadie Smith’s 2020 mini-memoir Intimations — it was their favorite book of the semester — and I’ve had great fun playing Clank: Legacy and Scooby Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion with my third-grader lately.

* I also wanted to buy every game listed in this fun YouTube study of Tomb of Horrors, because I’m just that game-crazed right now.

* Gloomhaven sequel Frosthaven will change to address cultural bias.

* Teen Vogue: Colleges are right-wing institutions.

Conservatives continually cite statistics suggesting that college professors lean to the left. But those who believe a university’s ideological character can be discerned by surveying the political leanings of its faculty betray a fundamental misunderstanding of how universities work. Partisan political preferences have little to do with the production of academic knowledge or the day-to-day workings of the university — including what happens in classrooms. There is no “Democrat” way to teach calculus, nor is there a “Republican” approach to teaching medieval English literature; anyone who has spent time teaching or studying in a university knows that the majority of instruction and scholarship within cannot fit into narrow partisan categories. Moreover, gauging political preferences of employees is an impoverished way of understanding the ideology of an institution. To actually do so, you must look at who runs it — and in the case of the American university, that is no longer the professoriate.

* To whit. Exhibit B.

* new demographic cliff just dropped

* First the U. of Vermont Announced Cuts. Then Enrollment Spiked. Now What?

* North Carolina schools are re-segregating. A Wisconsin county completely loses its shit at the very idea of equality.

* The shocking MOVE bombing was part of a broader pattern of anti-Black racism.

* Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can’t?

* Cory Doctorow has been having some 🔥🔥🔥 threads on Twitter lately: 1, 2, 3…

* The Secret Life of Deesha Philyaw (or, why we need university presses).

* How Much Money Do Authors Actually Earn?

* Krakoa as libertarian haven. A Clockwork Orange and #MeToo. Fear of a Black Superhero. Putting an animated series on the blockchain seems like a Rick and Morty bit, doesn’t it? Apparently the Brontës all died so early because they spent their lives drinking graveyard water.

* For some Navy pilots, UFO sightings were an ordinary event: ‘Every day for at least a couple years.’

* Ominous: Alien life looks more and more likely. Catholics are ready.

* Africans in Space: The Incredible Story of Zambia’s Afronauts.

* The Strange Story of Dagobert, the “DuckTales” Bandit.

* Colson Whitehead and Margaret Atwood Discuss The Underground RailroadThe Handmaid’s Tale and the Challenges of Adaptation.

* Randall Kennedy and Eugene Volokh have the case for allowing the use of the n-word and other slurs in the classroom.

* they say your first Amazon order defines your future

* Now you’re just being rude.

* Dick Van Dyke at 95.

* When you’re cancelled, you’re cancelled.

* At only $20,000/month, you’d be a fool NOT to rent it.

* Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes On Social Media, Research Shows.

* How the world missed more than half of all Covid-19 deaths. Is this the end?

* Meet the Nun Who Wants You to Remember You Will Die. No, I don’t think I want to!

* The Darkness.

* Decolonization is not a metaphor. Imperialism: A Syllabus.

* But on the miracles and wonders beat: 1st Group Enrolled in Trial of uniQure’s AMT-130 Gene Therapy for Huntington’s Disease.

Thursday Night Links!

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Drastic as the decision may seem, particularly given that Pokémon cards aren’t the only things people wait in line for hours to buy, it comes days following a fight in a Brookfield, Wisconsin Target’s parking lot in which four people attacked a man, who then pulled his legally-owned gun on his assailants, prompting them to flee before later being arrested by the police. Target’s decision also comes just weeks after the company implemented new policies to curtail people camping out overnight at their stores. Beyond telling people not to line up like this, an alleged note to employees asked them to consider calling the police in order to force people to disperse.

Ceremonial End of the Semester Tab Purge and Semi-Annual Apology for Being So Busy

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Between my research, service obligations, Zoom teaching, the kids’ virtual schooling, and getting a new puppy, I’ve been just incredibly busy. Another man might say: hey, this is the perfect opportunity to let the blog you’ve been updating continuously since 2004 die! But I am no ordinary man...

First, just a few things I’ve been doing:

And a carefully curated, deliberately and self-consciously incomplete list of some things I’ve been reading this spring:

Written by gerrycanavan

May 11, 2021 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet, Look at what I put on the Internet

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Teaching PARASITE!

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I’d solicited Parasite readings on Twitter and Facebook, and there was some interest in the results, so I figured I’d consolidate what i’m doing on the blog for anyone who wants to see what I’ll be doing.

This is for the course on the “hypercontemporary,” all texts that were either created or rose to prominence between 2019 and 2021. It’s one of two films the students chose for the film sequence in the course; the other one they picked is Soul, which makes for a nicely odd one-two punch.

I landed on a two-day structure. Day one is politics:

Day two is devoted to matters of form, both with respect to the way Bong puts the film together but also the complicated way we read Parasite as Westerners encountering a subtitled film from an Asian nation whose politics and culture are not especially well-known to the US and European audience:

The sandbox post is wide open this week but I do invite their thoughts about what the rumored HBO adaptation might do differently.

As I noted on Twitter, Parasite was the last film I saw in a movie theater before the world ended so this is very much a “nature is healing” moment for me personally. I can’t wait to talk about it.

I got a good question on Twitter: “Did you come across any pieces critical of the film?” Here’s the answer, such as it is…

Written by gerrycanavan

March 27, 2021 at 1:16 pm

Friday Links!

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March Links!

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 6, 2021 at 9:04 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Emergency Tab Closure Post – 2.9.21

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As Tolkien observed in an essay of the late 1950s, even Sauron’s motive was initially to attain a form of political utopianism: “He loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction.”46 As many characters are hopeful utopians in their political orientation, any opposition to this standard soon becomes a radical alternative: “It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope.”47 In this scheme, the utopian-political becomes the conventional, while the utopian-ontological becomes the radical; indeed, the latter’s radicality derives not from making different political choices but different personal ones. This is no clearer than in the case of Faramir who, unlike his brother Boromir and father Denethor, will not allow himself to be tempted by the Ring:

I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs.

In these positive characterisations, with their exemplary portrayal of heroic subjective values, we can identify aspects of Levitas’s argument for a utopianism of the wholeness of being and human flourishing. As Levitas suggests, many utopias do their work by advocating better ways of being rather than by illustrating better forms of social organisation.

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