Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘David Foster Wallace

Friday Links!

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* Speaking of which! This Saturday morning! Infinite Jest at 20! Join us!

* In my mailbox: Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and the Environment. I’m a contributor; my word was “addiction.”

Four Futures: using science fiction to challenge late stage capitalism and Thatcher’s “no alternative.”

* CfP: The 14th Annual Tolkien Conference at University of Vermont.

* Rebekah Sheldon: Save Us.

* How did the Soviet Union imagine 2017?

When Colleges Rely on Adjuncts, Where Does the Money Go?

Another Big Drop in History Majors.

* Make College Football LD Again.

A mystery player causing a stir in the world of the complex strategy game Go has been revealed as an updated version of AlphaGo, the artificial-intelligence (AI) program created by Google’s London-based AI firm, DeepMind.

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* GOP legislators in Wisconsin basically want line-item approval over syllabi at this point.

Obama Leaves the Constitution Weaker Than He Found It.

Registered Voters Who Stayed Home Probably Cost Clinton The Election.

* James Joyce and the Jesuits.

* Republicans want to kill the mortgage interest deduction. So I’m bankrupt now, I think.

House Republicans revive obscure rule that allows them to slash the pay of individual federal workers to $1.

But while cinephiles have long become used to shelling out their hard-earned wonga to watch the same movie several times over, a new interview with the editors of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hints that Hollywood’s habit of regurgitation goes further than we imagined. It reveals the film’s initial “cut”, designed to map out the movie before any shooting took place, was cobbled together by editor Colin Goudie using footage from hundreds of other existing films.

George Lucas Can’t Give His $1.5 Billion Museum Away.

Princess Leia Was Going to Play a Large Role in Star Wars: Episode IX.

* Some details on the supposed twelve-movie plan for Star Wars I’d never seen before.

* On chicken intelligence.

* Today in “virtually”: The storage chamber would be much deeper than Lake Huron and the company says there is virtually no chance of radioactive pollution reaching the lake, which is less than a mile away. This is a nice variant on the theme: Democrats to Fight Almost Any Trump Supreme Court Nominee: Schumer.

* Teaching the controversy: MIT Researchers Say 2016 Didn’t Have More Famous Deaths Than Usual. Give 2017 some exciting room to expand.

We don’t, in fact, know what works in teaching composition. This one was more polemical, but good too I thought: The costs of social capture.

Among other things, whiteness is a kind of solipsism. From right to left, whites consistently and successfully reroute every political discussion to their identity. The content of this identity, unsurprisingly, is left unexamined and undefined. It is the false foundation of the prototypically American model of pseudo-politics.

The Troublesome Women of Sherlock.

* Modularity and the Seinfeld theme.

* A horrific hate crime in Chicago.

* Drugs and the spirit of the times.

* Trump vs. the CIA: whoever wins, we lose. Donald Trump’s Twitter Account Is A Security Disaster Waiting To Happen. And then there’s this.

* How in Milwaukee’s cold hell did we only get #7?

* And the Monty Hall Problem, explained.

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 6, 2017 at 9:00 am

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Wednesday Links!

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* Some CFPs I posted yesterday: Buffy at 20! SFFTV Call for Reviewers! And Paradoxa 28: “Global Weirding” has officially appeared in the world as well; see a table of contents and our introduction, and then get one of your very own…

* I’m still gathering the loooooing list for the Pioneer Award — so let me know if you know of a peer-reviewed edited collection in SF studies broadly conceived, published in 2016, or a peer-reviewed article on SF published in a non-SF-studies journal, also in 2016!

* Visiting MLA 2017? Can I interest you in #s444?

444. Infinite Jest at Twenty

Saturday, 7 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 112A, Pennsylvania Convention Center

A special session

Presiding: Gerry Canavan, Marquette Univ.

1. “Infinite Jest‘s Near Future,” Lee Konstantinou, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

2. “Aesthetics of Trauma in Infinite Jest,” Carrie Shanafelt, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ., Teaneck

3. “No Year of Glad: Infinite Jest after 9/13/2008,” Gerry Canavan

Responding: N. Katherine Hayles, Duke Univ.

* I shared that one, so here’s the debunking: The Bad Research Behind the Bogus Claim That North Carolina Is No Longer a Democracy. I guess I relied on the journalistic summaries (classic blunder) didn’t realize how bad the base research was. North Carolina is still not a legitimate democracy, though.

* And while we’re on the subject: The Constitution has strangled American democracy for long enough. We need a constituent assembly.

Drexel, Twitter and Academic Freedom.

* Oh boy: A Turning Point in the Campus Culture Wars? For Some, Trump Raises Hopes.

* Rethinking the legacy of writers who worked with the CIA.

Why saving the congressional ethics office isn’t as big a victory as it seems. At least it was a win!

* Here’s How We Prepare to be Ungovernable in 2017. Six policy ideas that can lay the groundwork for a more progressive America.

Why liberals need to get a grip on Russia.

The coming restaurant crash.

The End of Progressive Neoliberalism.

Rogue One editors reveal which scenes were part of reshoots. Women’s Health and the Fall of the Galactic Republic.

An Interactive Visualization of Every Line in Hamilton.

The 16 Black Panthers Still Behind Bars.

* Twilight of the curly quote.

47% of Jobs Will Disappear in the next 25 Years, According to Oxford University.

* Counterpoint: Why Star Trek: Discovery Belongs on CBS All Access.

* An oral history of the Sokal hoax.

* Towards an abolition ecology.

* Darkest timeline watch: Wisconsin Senate leader says he’s open to toll roads.

* And with 2016 over, a toddler has now shot a person every week in the US for two years straight. We did it, everyone. We did it.

New Year’s Links!

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* A nice endorsement of Octavia E. Butler from Steve Shaviro. Some bonus Shaviro content: his favorite SF of 2016. I think Death’s End was the best SF I read this year too, though I really liked New York 2140 a lot too (technically that’s 2017, I suppose). I’d also single out Invisible Planets and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, both of which had some really good short stories. In comics, I think The Vision was the best new thing I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot I bought this year and didn’t have time to look at yet, though, so maybe check back with me in 2019 and I can tell you what was the best thing from 2016.

* Kindred: The Graphic Novel.

* Introducing the David Foster Wallace Society, including a CFP for the inaugural issue of The Journal of David Foster Wallace Studies.

Call for Papers: The Poverty of Academia.

* Oh, fuck this terrible year.

30 essential tips for succeeding in graduate school.

* The University in the Time of Trump.

Making the grade: a history of the A–F marking scheme.

* Who’s Afraid of the Student Debt Crisis?

Duke warns professors about emails from someone claiming to be a student, seeking information about their courses — many in fields criticized by some on the right. Some Michigan and Denver faculty members have received similar emails but from different source.

* The age of humanism is ending.

The New Year and the Bend of the Arc.

* The Front of the Classroom.

Marina Abramović and Kim Stanley Robinson perform “The Hard Problem.”

Osvaldo Oyola reads Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther.

* Leia Organa Solo: A Critical Obituary.

* Trump’s Arrival.

* Let them drink blood.

* BREAKING: There Is No Such Thing as “White Genocide.” Academic Freedom, Again. Buffalo skulls.

* I don’t think Children of Men was ever actually “overlooked” — and I’m shocked it was considered a flop at a time — but it certainly looks prescient now.

From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck. Remembering Caravan of Courage, the Ewok Adventure Star Wars Would Rather You’d Forget. Anti-fascism vs. nostalgia: Rogue One. How to See Star Wars For What It Really Is. And a new headcanon regarding the Empire and its chronic design problems.

Good News! Humans No Longer Caused Climate Change, According to the State of Wisconsin.

* How did A&E let this happen?

* On fighting like Republicans, or, the end of America.

* Scenes from the class struggle in Berkeley. And in Chillicothe, Ohio.

The seduction of technocratic government—that a best answer will overcome division, whether sown in the nature of man or ineluctable in capitalist society—slides into the seduction in the campaign that algorithms will render rote the task of human persuasion, that canvassers are just cogs for a plan built by machine. And so the error to treat data as holy writ, when it’s both easier and harder than that. Data are fragile; algorithms, especially when they aggregate preferences, fall apart. Always, always, power lurks. The technocrats have to believe in mass politics, believe for real that ordinary people, when they organize, can change their own destinies. Whether that happens depends on the party that gets built, and the forces behind it.

Four Cabinet nominations that could blow up in Donald Trump’s face. Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances. Why Donald Trump Might Not Be All That Good for Art. How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. This all certainly seems on the up-and-up. And today in teaching the controversy: Nuclear diplomacy via Twitter is a bad idea.

* Democrats: Time to Win! Why the Democrats’ 2017 comeback dream is like nothing we’ve seen before.

The Russia Conundrum: How Can Democrats Avoid Getting Entangled in a Losing Issue?

House Republicans will ring in the new year with a plan to permanently cripple government.

Characters Are Not A Coloring Book Or, Why the Black Hermione is a Poor Apology for the Ingrained Racism of Harry Potter.

The Great Harvard Pee-In of 1973.

* Against jobs.

* Against Batman.

The UBI already exists for the 1%.

* The arc of history is long, but Google Search will not longer return Holocaust-denying websites at the top of page one.

* Same joke but about not being allowed to ban plastic bags in Michigan anymore.

The Champions of the 401(k) Lament the Revolution They Started.

* “It was a pleasure to cull.”

* Geoengineering could ruin astronomy.

* Haiti and the Age of Revolution.

* A Utopia for the Deaf in Martha’s Vineyard.

Why the ‘Ghost Ship’ Was Invisible in Oakland, Until 36 Died.

Nine charts that show how white women are drinking themselves to death.

* The American bison is the new U.S. national mammal, but its slaughter was once seen as a way to starve Native Americans into submission.

* It wasn’t just your imagination: more famous people did die in 2016.

* How long can Twitter go on like this?

* The Porn Business Isn’t Anything Like You Think it Is. The Attorney Fighting Revenge Porn.

* Special ed and the war on education.

My Little Free Library war: How our suburban front-yard lending box made me hate books and fear my neighbors.

* Becoming Ugly.

* Happy Public Domain Day 2017.

Intricate Star Trek Klingon Warship Using 25,000 LEGO Bricks.

* And the scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 3, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Christmas and/or Fascism Megapost Forever and Ever Links – Part One!

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* I had a great time as the guest on this week’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy talking about my Octavia Butler book, which has gotten some nice attention lately, including an interview in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last weekend as well. I was also on Radio Free Marquette this week, talking Rogue One

* Another great Butler piece making the rounds right now: My Neighbor Octavia.

* A New Inquiry syllabus on Speculating Futures. Wired‘s first-ever science fiction issue.

Monday’s Electoral College results prove the institution is an utter joke. Original Sin: The Electoral College as a Pro-Slavery Tool. The Left and Long Shots. Trump Is Unambiguously Illegible to be President. Meanwhile, on the lawlessness beat: Gingrich: Congress should change ethics laws for Trump. Amid outcry, N.C. GOP passes law to curb Democratic governor’s power.

* Hunter S. Thompson, the Hell’s Angels, and Trump. Look, all I’m saying is let’s at least give Nyarlathotep a chance. The Government Is Out of the Equality Business. When tyranny takes hold. Now, America, You Know How Chileans Felt. It’s Trump’s America now. Time to get over our attachment to facts. And on that note: Too good not to believe.

* Not that we’re doing much better over here: Vox and the rise of explaintainment.

How to Defeat an Autocrat: Flocking Behavior. Grassroots organizing in the Age of Trump.

* Against Ivanka.

* The worst possible Democrat at the worst possible time, forever and ever amen. What the Hell Is Wrong with America’s Establishment Liberals? Of course they are. The Year in Faux Protests. And no, I’m not over it yet: The Last 10 Weeks Of 2016 Campaign Stops In One Handy Gif. How Clinton lost Michigan — and blew the election.

* My President Was Black. The Problem With Obama’s Faith in White America.

* I am terrified about where all this seems to be heading, on every level.

Colby-Sawyer Eliminates Five Majors to Stay Afloat. English was on the list.

* More on Hungerford and not-reading. Elsewhere at LARB: Graham J. Murphy on the Ancillary Justice trilogy.

* How Bad Was Imperial Cybersecurity in Rogue One? Why Jack Kirby is (Probably) the Forgotten Father of Star Wars and Rogue One. The Obscenely Complex Way the Rebels Stole the Death Star Plans in the Original Star Wars Expanded Universe. And behold the power of this fully operational alt-right boycott.

* More and more I find the unpublished and unwritten versions of stories as interesting or more interesting than the published versions — which is as true of Harry Potter as anything else.

* Dear tech community: your threat model just changed.

You were never actually accomplishing anything by watching the news.

You won’t believe how many Girl Scouts joined the Polish underground in WWII.

Milo Yiannopoulos at UWM.

In 2010, renowned string theory expert Erik Verlinde from the University of Amsterdam and the Delta Institute for Theoretical Physics proposed that gravity is not a fundamental force of nature, but rather an “emergent phenomenon.” And now, one hundred years after Einstein published the final version of his general theory of relativity, Verlinde published his paper expounding on his stance on gravity—with a big claim that challenges the very foundation of physics as we know it. Big question is whether gravity is a bug they haven’t patched yet, or if gravity is the patch.

TNT decides that a modern-day Civil War show doesn’t sound like fun anymore. But a show humanizing the KKK, sure….

* There’s only one story and we tell it over and over, sitcom edition.

* History in the Anthropocene.

* EPA: Oh, yeah, we were lying before.

Arms Control in the Age of Trump: Lessons from the Nuclear Freeze Movement. And some timely clickbait: How would you know if a nuclear war started?

* The end of Roe v. Wade.

* Trump and oxy.

* Understanding Chicago Dibs.

* Spoilers: What Really Happens After You Die?

* Fitter. Happier. More Productive. Comfortable. Not drinking too much. Regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week).

* More news from the future: Feds unveil rule requiring cars to ‘talk’ to each other.

* It can get worse, DC Cinematic Universe edition.

* Academic papers you can use: Where does trash float in the Great Lakes?

* And the war has even come to the Shire: Whitefish Bay to trap and remove coyotes.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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No Bad News Today Links

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tumblr_oi2rn0if1u1romv9co1_500The polar vortex is coming. Here’s what that means — and how cold it could get.

Where Black History and Floods Intertwine.

* I for one welcome our new Chicago overlords.

* CFP: The David Foster Wallace Conference has extended its deadline to January 15.

* thisisfine.jpg: Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House. Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says. White House orders intelligence report of election cyberattacks.

Chiafalo and Guerra are members of a group called “Hamilton Electors” that is seeking to convince Republican members of the Electoral College to reject Trump and agree on a consensus Republican alternative. They’re lobbying to persuade at least 37 Republican electors to join them, the minimum they need to block Trump from winning the Electoral College and send election to the House of Representatives. Democrats can stop Trump via the electoral college. But not how you think. The Electoral College Can and Must Stop Donald Trump. I’ll spare you the rants from my Twitter but it’s agonizing that this is legal, workable, doable, and no one is going to try.

* Interesting strategy to discredit Electoral College here; compulsory voting in NY and CA. And I missed this one: You could swing the presidential election by moving a single county between states.

* Donald Trump confirms he will violate Constitution his first day in office.

* Yes, Pence is preferable to Trump.

* What can I say, though, he’s winning me over: JUST IN: Lockheed Martin’s market value drops $4,000,000,000 after Pres.-elect Trump tweets on F-35 program.

* What Vichy France can teach us about the normalization of state violence.

* Reminded of this one every four years in November: On Cooling the Mark Out.

* The birthering of the Democrats.

For Bauerlein, Trump is a figure out of Hegel, a “world-historical figure” who arises at the right time to bring about a necessary change in society.

Japanese American Historical Plaza.

* Star Wars and Vietnam.

* The smoke break and solidarity.

* Robots and literary criticism.

Prince’s Closest Friends Share Their Best Prince Stories.

What Things Cost in an American Country Store in 1836.

The Libertarian Utopia That’s Just a Bunch of White Guys on a Tiny Island.

* Headlines that, uh, don’t seem right to me: Why conservatives might be more likely to fall for fake news.

* Charlie Stross vs. all media: Eleven Tweets.

Why Time’s Trump Cover Is a Subversive Work of Political Art.

* The Meta-Politics of Westworld.

How John Milton Invented Sci-Fi in the 1600s.

* The World According to Stanislaw Lem.

* The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill, the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time.

* This is some Black Mirror shit.

* Inside the NFL’s relentless, existential, Big Tobacco-style pursuit of your children.

* The troll has it both ways. He is magnificently indifferent to social norms, which he transgresses for the lulz, yet often at the same time a vengeful punisher: both the Joker and Batman.

* And okay, he’s won me back: Slavoj Žižek: ‘We are all basically evil, egotistical, disgusting.’

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who pounds a rubber-gloved fist on the podium so hard it knocks the Seal askew and declares that Dammit there just must be some people besides each other of us to blame

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The facial stills that Mario lap-dissolves between are of Johnny Gentle, Famous Crooner, founding standard-bearer of the seminal new ‘Clean U.S. Party,’ [C.U.S.P.] the strange-seeming but politically prescient annular agnation of ultra-right jingoist hunt-deer-with-automatic-weapons types and far-left macrobiotic Save-the-Ozone, -Rain-Forests, -Whales, -Spotted-Owl-and-High-pH-Waterways ponytailed granola-crunchers, a surreal union of both Rush L.– and Hillary R.C.–disillusioned fringes that drew mainstream-media guffaws at their first Convention (held in sterile venue), the seemingly LaRoucheishly marginal party whose first platform’s plank had been Let’s Shoot Our Wastes Into Space, C.U.S.P. a kind of post-Perot national joke for three years, until — white-gloved finger on the pulse of an increasingly asthmatic and sunscreen-slathered and pissed-off American electorate — the C.U.S.P. suddenly swept to quadrennial victory in an angry reactionary voter-spasm that made the U.W.S.A. and LaRouchers and Libertarians chew their hands in envy as the Dems and G.O.P.s stood on either side watching dumbly, like doubles partners who each think the other’s surely got it, the two established mainstream parties split open along tired philosophical lines in a dark time when all landfills got full and all grapes were raisins and sometimes in some places the falling rain clunked instead of splatted, and also, recall, a post-Soviet and -Jihad era when — somehow even worse — there was no real Foreign Menace of any real unified potency to hate and fear, and the U.S. sort of turned on itself and its own philosophical fatigue and hideous redolent wastes with a spasm of panicked rage that in retrospect seems possible only in a time of geopolitical supremacy and consequent silence, the loss of any external Menace to hate and fear.

When David Foster Wallace predicted Donald Trump.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 25, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Fall Break Links!

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* CFP: The Fourth Annual David Foster Wallace Conference, June 2017. CFP: The Marxist Reading Group 2017.

* Tolkien news! Beren and Lúthien coming in 2017. Elsewhere in things from my childhood that I’ll almost certainly repurchase: Inside the new D&D Monster Manual.

* “Whoa,” said the gangster/minotaur, awed at how close he’d just come to losing his forearm. He was beginning to understand that this wasn’t the relatively straightforward world of street-level dope dealing anymore; this was Dungeons and Dragons.

* I’m glad somebody finally paged KSR: “Why Elon Musk’s Mars Vision Needs ‘Some Real Imagination.'”

* Forget Mars. Here’s Where We Should Build Our First Off-World Colonies.

“People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.” This is how computer scientist Pedro Domingos sums up the issue in his 2015 book The Master Algorithm. Even the many researchers who reject the prospect of a ‘technological singularity’ — saying the field is too young — support the introduction of relatively untested AI systems into social institutions.

* TFW you cut down a 600-year-old tree.

* On translating Harry Potter. Harry Potter by the Numbers. And did you know Harry Potter was nearly a major cultural phenomenon?

* On The Strange Career of Steve Ditko.

* If you want a vision of the future.

* Mistake on a Lake: In Michigan, privatization and free-market governance has left 100,000 people without water.

* One teaching artist sees it differently. “There will always be bad artists with a lot of money who want to go to art school,” she said. On the Future of the MFA.

* The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job.

2016_1018b_2* The Secret History of Leftist Board Games.

* There’s More to Life Than Being Happy: On Viktor Frankl and Man’s Search for Meaning. Relatedly: The World’s Happiest Man Wishes You Wouldn’t Call Him That.

Degree programs in French, geology, German, philosophy and women’s studies are suspended, effectively immediately. Eight additional majors within existing departments, six teaching programs and four graduate programs have been shut down. The university is planning a teach-out program for currently enrolled students. Tenured faculty members in affected programs will be reassigned to different departments. The future of the campus’s nursing, dental education and medical imaging programs is still under discussion. Degree programs in environmental geology and environmental policy were cut previously, in July.

* Advice for how to use Twitter as an academic. Of course, as everyone knows, the only winning move is not to play.

* From David M. Perry: “My non-verbal son communicates through ‘Hamilton.'”

* From Adam Kotsko: From his rebellious debut to modern day, the devil has always been a political figure.

* Dylan, Christ, and Slow Train Coming. Teaching the controversy: Kurt Vonnegut in 1991: “Bob Dylan Is the Worst Poet Alive.” Imperialism-in-Artistry: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Win Is Proof Adichie Is Right about Beyonce. Local Boy Makes Good. But not too good: The Nobel Prize Committee Have Given Up on Trying to Get in Touch with Bob Dylan.

* Game of Thrones is even whiter than you think.

* The self-driving car, Baudrillard, and America.

* On the history of fantasy scholarship.

* Free speech and the kids.

* David Letterman and his beard.

* My friend Sam.

* The LSAT and class struggle.

* Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks. ‘What Kind of Mother Is 8 Months Pregnant and Wants an Abortion?’ No, There Are No Ninth Month Abortions.

The notion that American literature might have an imperial bent—that it might be anything other than a string of lightly co-influential works of “imaginative power,” and might itself reflect our national desire to dominate—is lost on its critics, both right and left.

* America dreams of rivers.

* Another gerrymandering primer. I’m inclined to make a joke about Obama’s proceduralism even ruining his post-presidency but this really is a major issue worth throwing his weight against.

* Texas?

In The Hollow: The changing face of Appalachia—and its role in the presidential race.

Derek Black, 27, was following in his father’s footsteps as a white nationalist leader until he began to question the movement’s ideology.

* The Anthropocene and Empire.

* How Trump’s Casino Bankruptcies Screwed His Workers out of Millions in Retirement Savings.

* Atlas Obscura: The Land of Make Believe.

* A People’s History of John Stewart, Green Lantern.

Fear of a Feminist Future.

* And then there’s this one: Earlier this October, at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice, London paid its rent to the Queen. The ceremony proceeded much as it had for the past eight centuries. The city handed over a knife, an axe, six oversized horseshoes, and 61 nails to Barbara Janet Fontaine, the Queen’s Remembrancer, the oldest judicial position in England. The job was created in the 12th century to keep track of all that was owed to the crown.

* Breastfeeding as captivity narrative.

* The Fear of Having a Son.

* Joss supports Spuffy.

* I’ll allow it, but know that you’re all on very thin ice.

By 2050, it’s likely that plastic in the oceans will outweigh all the oceans’ fish. Some reports predict 850-950 million tons of plastic (the equivalent in weight of 4.5 million blue whales).

* Thank god the Mac version isn’t ready yet: Civ VI is out.

* A dark, grittier Captain Planet: Leonardo DiCaprio wants to make a Captain Planet movie.

* Hungerford makes Infinite Jest represent how commercial publishers and their enablers in the mainstream media engineer a novel into a canonizable success. The market is corrupt, she says. But is it any more corrupt or distasteful than the publication and marketing of her university press book? “Post 45” is a scholarly association; Hungerford is one of nine Board members. Two other Board members are the series editors for the “Post 45” imprint. The “Advance Praise” for Making Literature Now includes effusive comments by two people whom Hungerford praises in the book, a blurb by a former colleague at Yale, and other comments so hyperbolic that they appear to have been written under the influence of laughing gas. Hungerford put out a misleading trailer for the book in the Chronicle, excising the misogyny charge that’s essential in her closing chapter, perhaps because she feared anyone who had read Infinite Jest would see through that charge and not order Making Literature Now. Her title is grandiose because her data is extremely limited. Rather than the survey that the title implies, Making Literature Now is literary tourism combined with two takedowns.

* Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference.

* Student writing in the digital age.

* Live long and trick or treat.

* I’m telling you, the simulation is crashing.

* And ours is truly a fallen world.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links! Just for You

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* My review won’t appear in The New Inquiry for a couple weeks, but Liu Cixin’s Death’s End is finally out today. I read it this summer and it’s great. Go get it!

* A local talk I’ll be giving this Saturday afternoon at the Milwaukee Public Library: 150 Years of H.G. Wells in Milwaukee.

* Elsewhere on the Milwaukee Public Library beat! Milwaukee Public Library to forgive fines for patrons who visit the library.

* CFP: Flannery O’Connor and Popular Culture. CFP: Modern Fiction Studies: The Anthropocene: Fiction and the End(s) of Human Ecologies. CFP: Essays on the Evil Dead Anthology. CFP: ICFA 2017.

Star Trek: Discovery Has Been Delayed Until May 2017. I never saw how they’d make January, even before it was nearly October and they didn’t have a cast yet.

‘It’s like hitting a painting with a fish’: can computer analysis tell us anything new about literature?

Good News Liberal-Arts Majors: Your Peers Probably Won’t Outearn You Forever.

* Professor Cottom’s Graduate School Guidance.docx

How to Do a Better Job of Searching for Diversity.

Too Much and Too Little: A History of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.

With outcomes so uneven, it is no wonder that MFAs are the bastard children of English departments.

* Victory at LIU.

* Saint Louis University must pay $367,000 in damages to a former professor who alleged she was denied tenure because of her gender. That’s what a Missouri court decided late last week following a trial by jury. The university says it’s “disappointed” in the verdict and is reviewing its options.

Dozens of higher education institutions in New York state will stop asking applicants whether they have past criminal convictions.

What does it cost to run a department at UCLA for a year? or, who will pay the salary of the English department?

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This book is dedicated to the Soviet Space Dogs, who played a crucial part in the Soviet Space program. These homeless dogs, plucked from the streets of Moscow, were selected because they fitted the program’s criteria: weighing no more than 15 pounds, measuring no more than 14 inches in length, robust, photogenic and with a calm temperament.

New York’s Attorney General Has Opened An Inquiry into Donald Trump’s Charity.

Haitian-American Roxane Gay Becomes First Black Woman Writer for Marvel Comics.

* From 2014: The Future According to Stanisław Lem.

* Parenting and moral panic, 2016.

If You Change a Baby’s Diaper in Arizona, You Can Now Be Convicted of Child Molestation.

* “Very pessimistic.” The idea that they could actually somehow manage to blow the lead they’d built up over the summer is horrifying.

* It Sure Seems Like Hillary Clinton’s Tech Guy Asked Reddit for Email Advice.

* The law, in its majestic equality: Defendants who can’t afford bail more likely to plead guilty as a way out, studies show.

Police Accidentally Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester. After court threat, state of Michigan removed Flint’s power to sue. WashPost Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer). 37 Years in Solitary Confinement and Even the State Can’t Explain Why. Nation’s largest police union endorses Trump. And right here in Milwaukee: An Inmate Died Of Thirst In A Jail Run By A Loudly Pro-Trump Sheriff.

* A Prison Literature Syllabus.

* The total U.S. budgetary cost of war since 2001 is $4.79 trillion, according to a report released this week from Brown University’s Watson Institute. That’s the highest estimate yet.

How the failed politics of “humanitarian intervention” were born in 1980s Afghanistan.

Neither Zuckerberg nor the Pope, but international digital socialism.

* Twilight for C.M. Punk.

* The Fall of Chyna.

* Romeo and Juliet in Wisconsin.

The strange story of how internet superfans reclaimed the insult ‘trash.’

“I await an apology from Chancellor Dirks, and Dean Hesse,” explained Hadweh. “The university threw me under the bus, and publicly blamed me, without ever even contacting me. It seems that because I’m Palestinian studying Palestine, I’m guilty until proven innocent. To defend the course, we had to mobilize an international outcry of scholars and students to stand up for academic freedom. This never should have happened.”

I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim—and Then I Promptly Went Broke.

* The Woman Who Is Allergic to Water.

* Feral Cats and Ecological Disaster.

* Never talk to journalists.

The name of the character in the excerpt, GBW Ponce, comes actually from the Ponzi scheme, among other things. There’s a Thomas Frank piece that I once read somewhere (I think it was Harper’s), where he said that civilization is basically a gigantic ponzi scheme. With our obsession with data and with predicting the future, it’s as if we were trying to cancel the future and its uncertainties, in order to make the present feel safer. The IMF has projections for the growth of EVERY economy on the planet which stretch to two-three-four and even more years: why let reality run its course when we can model it and predict it, right? So, the idea behind that character was that by “scientifically” predicting every inch of life, it’s as if we borrowed against our unknown future to live the present with fewer uncertainties and anxieties. But that’s precisely what causes more anxiety, this idea of a life that could fit entirely in an Excel spreadsheet.

Moderator Announces Topics for First Presidential Debate.

* Definitely, definitely, definitely aliens.

All 314 Bruce Springsteen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. Shame to get all the way through 312 and then swap #1 and #2…

* Elsewhere in the numerical sublime: Every He-Man and the Masters of the Universe action figure, ranked.

* Teach the controversy! “Peter Thiel Would Make A Great Supreme Court Justice.”

* Booze against pot.

The Bonkers Real-Life Plan to Drain the Mediterranean and Merge Africa and Europe.

Someone Removed The Music From ‘Dancing In The Street’ And I Can’t Stop Laughing.

* Run it like a sandwich: After Texas high school builds $60-million stadium, rival district plans one for nearly $70 million.

The luxury suites in modern stadiums are reminders that capitalist society values elite consumption over public enjoyment.

Class size matters a lot, research shows.

Is Artificial Intelligence Permanently Inscrutable?

* Page B13: Arctic death spiral: Icebreakers reach North Pole as sea ice disintegrates.

* Don’t tweet your heroes.

* And never forget that the Monkees are DCU canon.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 20, 2016 at 8:32 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Seven Pounds of Sunday Links in a Three-Pound Bag

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cr2zpcrw8aa7gey* If you missed it, my contribution to the thriving “Star Trek at 50″ thinkpiece industry: “We Have Never Been Star Trek.” And some followup commentary on First Contact and the Rebootverse from Adam Kotsko.

* Elsewhere: To Boldly Imagine: Star Trek‘s Half Century. 13 science fiction authors on how Star Trek influenced their lives. 50 Years of Trekkies. Women who love Star Trek are the reason that modern fandom exists. What If Star Trek Never Existed? In a World without Star Trek The Star Trek You Didn’t See. How Every Single Star Trek Novel Fits Together. What Deep Space Nine does that no other Star Trek series can. Fighter Planes vs. Navies. Fifty years of Star Trek – a socialist perspective. Star Trek in the Age of Trump. Star Trek Is Brilliantly Political. Well, It Used To Be. Sounds of Spock. A Counterpoint. Catching Up with Star Trek IV’s Real Hero. The Workday on the Edge of Forever. A few of the best images I gathered up this week: 1, 2. And of course they did: CBS and Paramount Royally Screwed Up Star Trek‘s 50th Anniversary.

* And some more Star Trek: Discovery teasing: Time to rewatch “Balance of Terror.” And Majel might even voice the computer.

Deadline Extended for the 2016 Tiptree Fellowship. The Foundation Essay Prize 2017.

* CFP: Speculative Finance/Speculative Fiction. Editors David M. Higgins and Hugh Charles O’Connell. Call for Chapters: Transmedia Star Wars. Editors Sean A. Guynes and Dan Hassler-Forest.

* Not a CFP, but I’m glad to see this is coming soon: None of This is Normal: The Fiction of Jeff VanderMeer.

* Polygraph #25, on sound and the modes of production, is now available.

* Tolkien once said that fantasy can’t work on stage. Katy Armstrong argues that The Cursed Child only works on stage. Harry Potter and the Conscience of a Liberal.

* On Utopia and Reaction.

* Poetry and Class Struggle.

* This LARB essay on scholars fighting about King Lear is as spellbinding as everyone said.

Here is a list of things that I am including in this book. Please send me my seven-figure advance. An Easy Guide to Writing the Great American Novel.

Concerns Over Future of UMass Labor Center.

Lockout at LIU. The Nuclear Option. Unprecedented. This is the first time that higher-ed faculty have ever been locked out. Lockout Lessons. Students Walkout. As Lockout Continues at Long Island U., Students Report Meager Classroom Instruction. This has been, to say the least, an amazing story.

Decline of Tenure for Higher Education Faculty: An Introduction.

Salaita’s Departure and the Gutting of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois.

Inmates Are Planning The Largest Prison Strike in US History. ‘Incarcerated Workers’ stage nationwide prison labor strike 45 years after 1971 Attica riot. Your Refresher on the 13th Amendment.

The long, steady decline of literary reading. History Enrollments Drop. Werner Herzog Narrates My Life as a Graduate Student. My dirty little secret: I’ve been writing erotic novels to fund my PhD.

Quebec’s massive student strikes emerged from an organizing model that constantly trains new generations of activists.

Retirement Plan Roulette.

* The First Trans*Studies Conference.

* Donna Haraway: “Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene.”

The unfinished Chthulucene must collect up the trash of the Anthropocene, the exterminism of the Capitalocene, and chipping and shredding and layering like a mad gardener, make a much hotter compost pile for still possible pasts, presents, and futures.

A bit more here.

* Elsewhere in the Anthropocene: Montana declares state of emergency over pipeline spill, oily drinking water. The Gradual Atlantis (and see Dr. K.S. Robinson for more). Fast Fashion and Environmental Crisis. The Planet Is Going Through A ‘Catastrophic’ Wilderness Loss, Study Says. The Oceans Are Heating Up. A Monument to Outlast Humanity. New genus of bacteria found living inside hydraulic fracturing wells. And from the archives: Louisiana Doesn’t Exist.

The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. What Should a Four-Year-Old Know? How to Raise a Genius.

* Michael R. Page on the greatness of The Space Merchants. Bonus content from University of Illinois Press: Five Quotes from Frederik Pohl.

The problem with this reasoning, at least as it relates to graduate students, is that we have had fifty years to find out if unions destroy graduate education. They don’t.

How Unions Change Universities. Scabbing on Our Future Selves.

Of Moral Panics, Education, Culture Wars, and Unanswerable Holes.

The Death of ITT Tech, Part One: What Happened?

* Audrey Watters on the (credit) score.

* Clemson’s John C. Calhoun Problem. And Jack Daniels’s.

* Welcome to Our University! We’re Delighted to Have You, But If You Think We’re Going to Cancel the Ku Klux Klan Rally, You’ve Got Another Think Coming. Cashing in on the Culture Wars: U Chicago.

* The things English speakers know, but don’t know they know.

* Raymond Chandler and Totality.

* Writing Like a State.

Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde.

Capitalist Saboteurs.

Why ‘The Stranger’ Almost Didn’t Get Published.

It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Deny That Football Is Doomed.

After Richmond Student Writes Viral Essay About Her Rape Case, the University Calls Her a Liar.

* Milwaukee vs. Pikachu. The World’s Most Dangerous Game: Pokémon’s Strange History with Moral Panics.

Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives.

British artist Rebecca Moss went aboard the Hanjin Geneva container ship for a “23 Days at Sea Residency.” But the company that owns the ship went bankrupt on August 31, and ports all over the world have barred Hanjin’s ships because the shipping line is unable to pay the port and service fees. Artist-in-residence stuck on bankrupt container ship that no port will accept.

* Christopher Newfield talks his new book on the collapse of the public university, The Great Mistake.

Bill de Blasio’s Pre-K Crusade.

* The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee.

* FiveThirtyEight: What Went Wrong?

The Lasting Impact of Mispronouncing Students’ Names.

* The law, in its majestic equality: Black Defendants Punished Harsher After A Judge’s Favorite Football Team Loses.

* Fred Moten on academic freedom, Palestine, BDS, and BLM.

* Being Nadja Spiegelman.

* The Night Of and the Problem of Chandra.

The Book of Springsteen. Relatedly: Bruce Springsteen’s Reading List.

* Defining Unarmed.

New research suggests that humans have a sixth basic taste in addition to sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. It’s starchiness.

* Against Theory.

Differently from philosophy, which functions under long, frustrating timings, and very rarely reaches any certainty, theory is quick, voracious, sharp, and superficial: its model is the “reader,” a book made to help people make quotations from books that are not read.

* The largest strike in world history?

* The Walrus has an absolutely wrenching piece on stillbirth.

How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead.

“Science thought there was one species and now genetics show there are four species,” Dr. Janke said. “All zoos across the world that have giraffes will have to change their labels.”

The Mysterious Ending of John Carpenter’s The Thing May Finally Have an Answer.

* Teach the controversy: No Forests on Flat Earth.

* The clash of eschatologies.

Wisconsin appeals Brendan Dassey’s overturned conviction.

* Abolish the iPhone. How Apple Killed the Cyberpunk Dream. It’s not much better over there.

* Atwood and comics.

The NEH’s chairman, Bro Adams, tries to make a case for the humanities. Is anyone listening?

* Britain isn’t doing a super great job with Brexit.

* No other image has better captured the struggle that is simply living every day: Drunk Soviet worker tries to ride on hippo (Novokuznetsk, in Kemerovo, 1982). Yes, there’s still more links below.

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* The DEA vs. Kratom. Why Banning the Controversial Painkiller Kratom Could Be Bad News for America’s Heroin Addicts.

*Never-Ending Election Watch: How Donald Trump Retooled His Charity to Spend Other People’s Money. Trump pays IRS a penalty for his foundation violating rules with gift to aid Florida attorney general. A Tale of Two Scandals. That Clinton Foundation Scandal the Press Wants Exists, But they Won’t Report it Because it’s Actually About the Trump Foundation. Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘honorary chancellor’ of a for-profit college. No More Lesser-Evilism. And Vox, you know, explaining the news.

* Dominance politics, deplorables edition.

* And put this notion in your basket of deplorables: Darkwing Duck and DuckTales Are in Separate Universes and This Is Not Okay.

How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.

* Yes, Here Comes Trump TV.

* Corporal Punishment in American Schools.

* Black Teachers Matter.

* I say jail’s too good for ’em: US library to enforce jail sentences for overdue books.

Bugs Bunny, the Novel, and Transnationalism.

* Understanding Hellboy.

* The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad. The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes.

* What’s the Matter with Liberals?

* Alan Moore Confirms Retirement from Comic Books. An interview in the New York Times where, lucky for me, he talks a lot about David Foster Wallace.

The Need For Believable Non-White Characters — Sidekicks, Included.

What Your Literature Professor Knows That Your Doctor Might Not.

Geologic Evidence May Support Chinese Flood Legend.

Fully Autonomous Cars Are Unlikely, Says America’s Top Transportation Safety Official.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal roundup: The Clockmaker. Science Journalism. I Am No Longer a Child. Teach a Man to Fish. How Stress Works. On Parenting. You haven’t hit bottom yet. Keep scrolling!

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* Today in unnecessary sequels: Mel Gibson confirms Passion Of The Christ sequel. And elsewhere on the unnecessary sequel beat: We Finally Know What the Avatar Sequels Will Be About.

* At least they won’t let Zack Snyder ruin Booster Gold.

* Poe’s Law, but for the left? Inside the Misunderstood World of Adult Breastfeeding.

* The Revolution as America’s First Civil War.

* Mike Konczal on Eviction.

* What Happens When We Decide Everyone Else Is a Narcissist.

45,000 Pounds of Would-Be Pennies Coat Highway After Delaware Crash.

* ‘Illegal’ Immigration as Speech.

* Second Thoughts of an Animal Researcher.

* Conspiracy Corner: Obama and the Jesuits.

On Sept. 16 the opera “Happy Birthday, Wanda June,” based on Vonnegut’s play, will have its world premiere in Indianapolis. A dayslong celebration of, and reflection on, the best-selling author’s works called Vonnegut World will precede it.

* The Unseen Drawings of Kurt Vonnegut.

* The Science of Loneliness. Loneliness can be depressing, but it may have helped humans survive.

* Once more, with feeling: On the greatness of John Brunner.

* Let us now praise Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

* Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: Man Dies, Leaving Behind a Sea Of Big-Boobed Mannequins. Yes, it’s a Milwaukee story.

Play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Video Game Free Online, Designed by Douglas Adams in 1984.

* Taking a Stand at Standing Rock. Life in the Native American oil protest camps.

* Earth First: The Musical.

The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile.

* Hitchens wept.

* Rebel propaganda. All the Ewoks are dead.

* Finally.

* Salvador Dali Illustrates Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

* Where the Monsters Are. The Wonderful World of Westeros.

* And I’ll be bookmarking this for later, just in case: A lively new book investigates the siren call—and annoying logistics—of death fraud.

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Last Weekend Before the Semester Links!

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* ICYMI: My new syllabi for the fall! Infinite Jest and Alternate History. There’s also a new version of my “Video Game Culture” class, set for a new eleven-meeting schedule and with a “Capitalism” week added centered on Pokémon Go (what? oh, that thing). Relatedly: Milwaukee County Parks are trying to remove Pokemon Go from Lake Park.

* The NLRB has ruled that graduate students at private universities can unionize. How letting grad students unionize could change the labor movement and college sports. The NLRB Columbia Decision and the Future of Academic Labor Struggles. The Union Libel: On the Argument against Collective Bargaining in Higher Ed. But elsewhere in academic labor news: Adjuncts in Religious Studies May Be Excluded From Religious College Unions.

* Are PhD Students Irrational? Well, you don’t have to be, but it helps…

The point, then, is that a rational choice theory of PhD pursuit is self-sealing: by allowing the job market, and the job market only, to police our understanding of what’s rational, we’re ignoring that doctoral study is a way of accomplishing what the market typically cannot — a long-term, self-directed research project.

* Colleges hire more minority and female professors, but most jobs filled are adjunct, not tenure track, study finds.

* This morning everyone’s fighting about academic freedom and trigger warnings at the University of Chicago.

* I thought I was the only prof who didn’t really care about deadlines. But apparently there are dozens of us!

* That’ll solve it: Replace college instruction with Ken Burns movies.

A New Academic Year Brings Fresh Anxiety at Illinois’s Public Colleges.

Poor and Uneducated: The South’s Cycle of Failing Higher Education.

* Actually, I’m teaching these kids way more than they’re teaching me.

* I’ve dreamed about this since I was a kid: An Epochal Discovery: A Habitable Planet Orbits Our Neighboring Star. Time to teach The Sparrow again…

* Philosophical SF.

* CFP: Futures Near and Far: Utopia, Dystopia, and Futurity, University of Florida.

Cuban science-fiction redefines the future in the ruins of a socialist utopia.

Puppies, Slates, and the Leftover Shape of “Victory.” On that Rabid Puppies thing and my Hugo Award-winning novella Binti.

It was a long time before anyone realized there was something not the same about her.

From all indications, the next X-Men movie will hew closer to Claremont’s original Dark Phoenix story than the previous cinematic effort. But any sense of authenticity it achieves will only arouse and prolong the desire for closure of the loss not only of a treasured character who might have lived endlessly in the floating timeline, but also of the very narrative finitude in which this loss could only happen once. Comic Book Melancholia.

* Bingewatching vs. plot.

* A new book series at Rowman and Littlefield explores Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations.

Hot Tomorrow: The Urgency and Beauty of Cli-Fi.

Do Better: Sexual Violence in SFF.

* The real questions: How Long Would It Actually Take to Fall Through the Earth?

How did an EpiPen get to costing $600? Earned every penny. A Case Study in Health System Dysfunction. But, you know, it’s all better now.

* Amazing study at Duke: Virtual Reality and Exoskeleton Help Paraplegics Partially Recover, Study Finds.

The Epidemic Archives Of The Future Will Be Born Digital.

How One Professor Will Turn Wisconsin’s Higher-Ed Philosophy Into a Seminar.

* Becoming Eleven. Concept Art Reveals Barb’s Original Stranger Things Fate and It Will Depress You. We Will Get ‘Justice for Barb’ in a Second Season of Stranger Things. This Stranger Things fan theory changes the game.

Arkansas City Accused Of Jailing Poor People For Bouncing Checks As Small As $15. An Arkansas Judge Sent A Cancer Patient To ‘Debtors’ Prison’ Over A Few Bounced Checks.

* And elsewhere: Drug Court Participants Allegedly Forced To Become Police Informers.

The times of year you’re most likely to get divorced. Keep scrolling! We’re not done yet.

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Are these the best films of the 21st century? I’m not sure I enjoyed or still think about any film on this list more than I enjoyed and think about The Grand Budapest Hotel, though There Will Be Blood, Memento, Caché, and Children of Men might all be close.

CBS is bound and determined to make sure Star Trek: Discovery bombs.

Dr. Strangelove’s Secret Uses of Uranus.

* An Instagram account can index depression.

* After neoliberalism?

* Parenting and moral panic.

How Screen Addiction Is Damaging Kids’ Brains.

The technical language obscured an arresting truth: Basis, which I had ordered online without a prescription, paying $60 for a month’s supply, was either the most sophisticated fountain-of-youth scam ever to come to market or the first fountain-of-youth pill ever to work.

* Nazis were even creeps about their horses.

tumblr_nc27oekkA11t3cxt2o1_500* The Republicans were right!

* Mapping the Stephen King meganarrative.

* Good news for Dr. Strange: Dan Harmon wrote on the reshoots.

* My colleague Jodi Melamed writes in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on white Milwaukee’s responsibility.

The Man Who Stole Himself: The Slave Odyssey of Hans Jonathan. Translated from the Icelandic.

* Saddest postjournalism story yet: “Vote on the topic for a future Washington Post editorial.”

Katherine Johnson, the human computer.

* I arrived at my friend’s party. A few hours later she died, exactly as planned.

* Uber loses a mere 1.2 billion dollars in the first half of 2016. Can there be any doubt they are just a stalking horse for the robots?

* It’s been interesting watching this one circulate virally: Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink.

William Shatner Is Sorry Paramount Didn’t Stop Him From Ruining Star Trek V. Apology not accepted.

Hillary Clinton will likely have a unique chance to remake the federal judiciary. How the first liberal Supreme Court in a generation could reshape America.

Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State. You don’t say… 4 experts make the case that the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising was troubling.

* Does he want a few of mine? Donald Trump Used Campaign Donations to Buy $55,000 of His Own Book.

Curt Schilling Is the Next Donald Trump. Hey, that was my bit!

* Oh, so now the imperial presidency is bad.

* Good news, everyone!

At least Democrats are currently on track to retake the Senate.

* Scenes from the richest country in the history of the world: Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds. Raw sewage has been leaking into Baltimore’s harbor for five days, city says. It appears aquatic life — the moss that grows on rocks, the bacteria that live in the water and the bugs that hatch there — are the unexpected victims of Americans’ struggle with drug addiction. Ramen is displacing tobacco as most popular US prison currency, study finds.

No Man’s Sky is like real space exploration: dull, except when it’s sublime.

A.J. Daulerio, bloodied but unbowed. How Peter Thiel Killed Gawker. Never Mind Peter Thiel. Gawker Killed Itself. Gawker Was Killed by Gaslight. And if you want a vision of the future: A Startup Is Automating the Lawsuit Strategy Peter Thiel Used to Kill Gawker.

* Greenlit for five seasons and a spinoff: The astonishing story of how two wrestling teammates from Miami came to oppose each other in the cocaine wars — one as a drug smuggler, the other as a DEA agent.

* Also greenlighting this one.

* The legacy board games revolution.

25 1/2 gimmicky DVD commentary tracks.

The millennial generation as a whole will lose nearly $8.8 trillion in lifetime income because of climate change. The children of millennials will lose tens of trillions.

* When Icon fought Superman.

* Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks.

An Exciting History of Drywall.

* Title IX: still under serious threat.

* And it’s not a competition, but Some Turtles See Red Better Than You Do.

ldevuxo4dp0ao0ume4fv

Written by gerrycanavan

August 26, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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New Fall Syllabus #2: INFINITE JEST!

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And here’s the Infinite Jest syllabus. This one turned out to be a surprisingly difficult puzzle to put together, just because I felt strongly that the book absolutely had to be finished by the class period before the class period before Thanksgiving (and later determined that we really needed a whole week to talk about the book just as a whole) — while I also felt (after the experience of the Tolkien class was so great) that it would be really good to have a slow start where we talked a bit about Wallace as a thinker and read some of his other work. This seemed especially urgent to me because of the fact of the suicide, which really does seem to risk retrospectively poisoning some aspects of the book and Wallace’s larger career (I’ve included the MLA panel we’re doing explicitly in the course as a last-day exercise, though I realized yesterday while prepping the course that I seem to have completely cryptomnesically ripped off Tom Bissell in my panel abstract — very embarrassing).

I decided early on that “beginning with the end” was the way to do this course, discussing the suicide openly and concretely at length at the very start of the class. My workshopmates in my Jesuit pedagogy seminar last semester very helpfully suggested some strategies for making the course a comfortable place to talk about some very uncomfortable things, and strongly suggested that I include an explicit content note in the syllabus (which as you can see, I did, a fairly lengthy one; I don’t think I’ve ever done one before, except in briefly offering the possibility of an alternate assignment for Lolita in a sophomore-level survey).

The result of all this is a syllabus that I’m pretty happy with and that I hope won’t be too demanding. I’ve thought a lot about not just trying to generate buy-in and a spirit of shared endeavor, but also how to make sure I don’t lose a ton of people along the way. In the end, with a MW class meeting trying to read a 1,079-page novel in nine weeks while leaving space at the beginning and end for other conversations about Infinite Jest, I decided I just couldn’t do much better than around 50-70 pages per class period for the long haul, especially in the back half. I hope the assignments and the structure of the course pull them through, and give them space to get something valuable out of it, even if (as seems inevitable) some number of them completely hate both the book and me by the end…

As before, full syllabus with course procedures and all assignments at the link, but here’s the day-by-day schedule:

M Aug 29 FIRST DAY OF CLASS

 

audiobook: “This Is Water” (Commencement Address to the Kenyon College Class of 2005) (in class)

W Aug 31 “Alas, Poor Yorick” monologue from Hamlet, Act V, sc. i [D2L]

 

George Saunders, “Informal Remarks from the David Foster Wallace Memorial Service in New York on October 23, 2008” [D2L]

Jonathan Franzen, “Informal Remarks from the David Foster Wallace Memorial Service in New York on October 23, 2008” [D2L]

 

roundtable discussion: How to Talk About Sad Things, Together

 

(after class) Mandatory D2L Post #1

M Sep 5 LABOR DAY—NO CLASS
W Sep 7 David Foster Wallace, “The Planet Trillaphon as It Stands in Relation to the Bad Thing” (1984) and Afterword by Kevin J. H. Dettmar (2016)
M Sep 12 David Foster Wallace, “Octet” (1997/1999)

Guest Lecture: Tom Moore

 

(after class) Mandatory D2L Post #2

W Sep 14 David Foster Wallace, “Octet” discussion continues

 

Infinite Jest forewords by Dave Eggers (2006) and Tom Bissell (2016) [D2L]

 

roundtable discussion: How to Talk About Literature, Art, Artists, Genius, Greatness, Pretension, Ambition, “Trying Too Hard,” Success, Failure, Annoyance, Fondness, Commitment, Honesty, Community, Solitude, Work, Intellectual Experiences That Might (or Might Not) Change Your Life, &c.

 

(after class) Mandatory D2L Post #3

 

INFINITE JEST

IJPPD(A)(NCF)*
M Sep 19 Infinite Jest through p. 17

 

brief primer: How to Read Infinite Jest [in class]

14
W Sep 21 Infinite Jest through p. 63 46
 
M Sep 26 Infinite Jest through p. 127 64
W Sep 28 Infinite Jest through p. 171 44
M Oct 3 Infinite Jest through p. 226 55
W Oct 5 Infinite Jest through p. 283 57
 
M Oct 10 Infinite Jest through p. 342 59
W Oct 12 Infinite Jest through p. 398 56
 
M Oct 17 Infinite Jest through p. 450 52
W Oct 19 Infinite Jest through p. 503 53
 
FALL BREAK
 
M Oct 24 Infinite Jest through p. 589 86
W Oct 26 Infinite Jest through p. 648 59
 
M Oct 31 Infinite Jest through p. 711 63
W Nov 2 Infinite Jest through p. 775 64
 
M Nov 7 Infinite Jest through p. 845 70
W Nov 9 Infinite Jest through p. 911 66
 
M Nov 14 Infinite Jest through p. 981

“CONVERGENCE” DUE

70
W Nov 16 Samuel Cohen, “To Wish to Try to Sing to the Next Generation: Infinite Jest’s History”

N. Katherine Hayles, “The Illusion of Autonomy and the Fact of Recursivity: Virtual Ecologies, Entertainment, and Infinite Jest

OPTION #3 PROSPECTUS DUE BY TODAY

 
M Nov 21 Research Workshop with Heather James (Raynor)

Bring in the general topic you think you might want to write about, as well as some useful research questions.

     
    THANKSGIVING BREAK

* Infinite Jest pages per day (approximate) (not counting footnotes)

 

CODA: AFTERLIVES

M Nov 28 OPTION #1 and #2 PROSPECTUS DUE TO ME ON D2L

 

Michael Pietsch, editor’s note, The Pale King (2011) [D2L]

David Foster Wallace, “Good Old Neon” (2001) [D2L]

W Nov 30 Lee Konstantinou, “No Bull: David Foster Wallace and Postironic Belief” [D2L]

Adam Kelly, “David Foster Wallace and the New Sincerity in American Fiction” [D2L]

M Dec 5 Ed Finn, “Becoming Yourself: The Afterlife of Reception” [D2L]

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, “Infinite Summer: Reading, Empathy, and the Social Network” [D2L]

MetaFilter.com, “RIP, DFW” [Web]

The Howling Fantods, Wallace-L, etc.

W Dec 7 FINAL THOUGHTS: MLA 2017 panel: “Infinite Jest at 20” [D2L]

 

PROJECT WORKSHOPS

Bring in four copies of the prospectus for your final project.

 

LAST DAY OF CLASS

W Dec 14 FINAL PROJECT DUE BY 12:30 PM

Thursday Links, Just for You

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tumblr_nz7vbeDGSf1tjrwu3o9_r1_5408 Characters I Created To Teach My Kid About Dental Hygiene That Have Unfortunately Come To Life.

* There’s organized crime, and then there’s organized crime.

Now, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a device that also allows them to seize money in your bank account or on prepaid cards.

It’s called an ERAD, or Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine, and state police began using 16 of them last month.

Here’s how it works. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money.

This is literally highway robbery.

In Rochester, a paid informant went undercover and drove a man suspected of being an Islamic extremist, Emanuel Lutchman, to a Walmart in December to buy a machete, ski masks, zip ties and other supplies for a would-be terrorist attack on New Year’s Eve. Because Mr. Lutchman, a mentally ill panhandler, had no money, the informant covered the $40 cost.

* Even The National Review thinks Cuomo’s anti-BDS executive order is trouble.

Having a child is like rereading your own childhood.

On Eve of Graduation, University of Chicago Student President Faces Expulsion.

Inside the growing movement against campus militarization.

* Five eye-opening figures from the U.S. Education Department’s latest civil rights data dump.

1. In the 2013-2014 school year, 6.5 million children were chronically absent from school, missing 15 or more days of school.

2. 850,000 high school students didn’t have access to a school counselor.

3. 1.6 million students went to a school that employed a sworn law-enforcement officer, but no counselor.

4. Nearly 800,000 students were enrolled in schools where more than 20 percent of teachers hadn’t met state licensure requirements.

5. Racial disparities in suspensions reach all the way down into preschool: Black children represent 19 percent of all preschoolers, and 47 percent of all those who were suspended.

Everyone has celebrated how Beyoncé’s celebrity power has elevated Warsan Shire’s work to global attention. But African literature should not only attain universal value when endorsed by the west, argues Ainehi Edoro.

Dry Taps and Lagoons of Sewage: What America’s Water Crisis Looks Like.

* OrderOfBooks.com: Complete List of All Book Series in Order.

Talk grows of replacing Trump at GOP convention. Talk of a convention coup rattles Republican politics. Walker Agonistes. Advisors Fear Trump Will Suddenly Announce VP Pick on Twitter. Google GOP Dot Com Truth. Trump is really bad at this. Calm Down, Trump Won’t Be President. Trump and Weimar America. “For what it’s worth, however, I would suggest that the least bad option is for all career lawyers in the Justice Department—and career officials in other agencies—to stay put and serve in a Trump administration.”

* The Anointed One, or the Comeback Kid? It’s time to admit Hillary Clinton is an extraordinarily talented politician. Here Comes Hillary the Hawk.

The 11 states that will determine the 2016 election.

The general problem is that the modern liberal nation-state and its characteristic institutions are simply no longer capable of delivering on their baseline promises and possibilities to any national population anywhere. Even in nations that appear by most measures to be successful, the state withers due its lack of vision. Liberalism cannot handle the extension of its rights to all who are entitled, and its major alleged champions increasingly endorse depraved forms of military and economic illiberalism in the name of its defense. The brief moment of reform in which capital seemed to be harnessed to social democracy is very nearly over, and the difference between illicit and licit economies now seems paper-thin at best. Very little policy gets made because it’s the right thing to do; most policy is about transfer-seeking. Every dollar is spoken for. Every play is a scrum in the middle that moves the ball inches, never yards. Political elites around the world either speak in laughably dishonest ways about hope and aspiration or stick to grey, cramped horizons of plausibly incremental managerialism. Young people all around the world recognize that there is little hope of living in a better or more comfortable or more just world than their parents did, and their grandparents must often live every day with the possibility of losing whatever they’ve gained, that they are one lost job or sickness away from falling without a safety net. In the United States, what this all means in a more immediate sense is that Donald J. Trump is only the beginning.

* Alas, Bernie!

Welcome to the Party, America! 11 Muslim women who have been PM or President.

Here are the proposed names for the 4 newest elements on the periodic table.

There are some constraints to naming, however. The IUPAC rules stipulate new elements must be named after either

* “A mythological concept or character (including an astronomical object)”
* “A mineral, or similar substance”
* “A place or geographical region”
* “A property of the element”
* “A scientist”

Scientists Avoid Studying Women’s Bodies Because They Get Periods.

What everyone earns working on a $200m blockbuster.

* A new study produced by Cambridge University statistician David Spiegelhalter suggests the cause of declining sex trends over the past 30 years is Netflix.

What Happened to ‘The Most Liberated Woman in America’?

* Being Dinosaur Comics’s Ryan North.

Snow Crash and Infinite Jest Both Predicted Our Cyberpunk Present.

* Fighting salary compression at the University of Washington. This is such a tough problem everywhere; the situation sounds much worse on every level at Marquette, for instance, than even what the article describes at Washington.

For more than 20 years, actors and crew members stayed silent about mistreatment they suffered at the acclaimed Profiles Theatre. Now they’re speaking up, hoping to protect workers in non-Equity theaters across the country.

* Do Deaf Babies Need to be ‘Fixed’? I’ve found this debate utterly fascinating for years. I have no idea how to solve it.

* From Cleveland: Testing of backlogged rape kits yields new insights into rapists and major implications for how sexual assaults should be investigated.

* Behind Peter Thiel’s Plan to Destroy Gawker.

* Navigating WisCon.

* Of course you had me at “Biologists Have Learned Something Horrifying About Prairie Dogs.”

* Ours is a vale of tears.

* Star Wars stained glass.

And this could be the biggest case of treason involving cheese — ever.

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Close Every Tab from the Semester or Die Trying Links

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* Some nice conference acceptance news: My semester of David Foster Wallace will end with a panel on “Infinite Jest at Twenty” with Lee Konstantinou, Carrie Shanafelt, and Kate Hayles at MLA 2017. I’ve put the full panel description in the comments for anyone interested…

David Foster Wallace’s Famous Commencement Speech Almost Didn’t Happen. Guest appearance from my friend from grad school, Meredith Farmer!

* It’s been such a busy week I haven’t had time to crow about Jaimee’s poem appearing on Verse Daily.

* An obituary for my friend and Marquette colleague Diane Long Hoeveler.

* CFPs from Foundation: The Essay Prize (for graduate students and adjuncts) and a special issue on SF theater.

* Call For Papers: The Precariat & The Professor.

* For World’s Newest Scrabble Stars, SHORT Tops SHORTER: Nigerian players dominate tournaments with the surprising strategy of playing short words even when longer ones are possible.

Want to See Hamilton in a City Near You? Buy a Subscription and Wait Two Years. Okay, maybe I will!

How Hamilton Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Building A Brand For The Ages.

* google d&d player’s handbook truth: The Curious Case of the Weapon that Didn’t Exist.

Burlington College Will Close, Citing Longstanding Financial Woes. What Killed Burlington College?

* Ending HBCUs in North Carolina.

Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students. And on the Harry Potter Social Justice Wizard beat: a genderqueer student comes to hogwarts and…

* How Student Debt Reduces Lifetime Wealth.

* More data on learning and laptops — but you’ll never convince me that students benefit more from pen-and-paper notes than from a searchable, permanent archive of their entire academic career Spotlight can access and retrieve instantly.

* Many public universities now rely heavily on parents—particularly those with money, time, and connections—to meet their basic needs.

* Big-Time College Sports Neglect Academics, Deflect Blame.

* Huge, if true: In other words, the rush to embrace entrepreneurship is ideological rather than practical.

* Tenure as earned property.

* Diversity defunded in Tennessee.

UW English Chair Caroline Levine: Enough with Scott Walker and the GOP — I’m leaving.

Texas School District Votes to Build Totally Tasteful $62 Million High School Football Stadium.

A new documentary, Agents of Change, describes the five-month SF State protest and a similar strike at Cornell University through the voices of former students like Tascoe who were involved. The film is a gripping case study of the meticulous organizing, community engagement, and careful planning that went into two of the most effective student strikes in American history. Black Studies Matter.

* I was seriously thisclose to writing a #TeamCap blog post to comicsplain Civil War to the confused, but Mightygodking got there first.

* Milwaukee in the ne — oh for fuck’s sake.

Wisconsin communities dominate “Drunkest Cities” report.

Wisconsin woman has confirmed case of Zika virus.

“Rare detailed personal memory a burden, and ultimately a gift.”

* “This 90-Year-Old Lady Seduced and Killed Nazis as a Teenager.”

“Why do all old statues have such small penises?”

* Probably the most honest thing ever said about this election: 87-Year-Old Billionaire Endorses Trump, Says He Doesn’t Care If It’s A Mistake Since He’ll Be Dead. Meanwhile, this is just totally bananas: Donald Trump masqueraded as publicist to brag about himself.

What Would It Take for Donald Trump to Deport 11 Million and Build a Wall?

A First-Person Account of a Texas Artist’s Deportation.

* From what I can tell, the current Sanders campaign is riven between people who are increasingly upset or bewildered by what we might call the resurgent “burn it down” turn of Sanders outlook and others who are fully immersed in the feedback loop of grievance and paranoia that sees all the political events of the last year as a series of large and small scale conspiracies to deny the rectitude and destiny of Bernie Sanders. I’ve seen many, many campaigns. People put everything into it and losing is brutal and punishing. Folks on the losing side frequently go a little nuts, sometimes a lot nuts. The 2008 denouement really was pretty crazy. But it’s not clear that this time we have any countervailing force – adulthood, institutional buy-in, future careers, over-riding pragmatism to rein things in.

Why Pennsylvania Could Decide The 2016 Election.

http://mobile.twitter.com/AlexJamesFitz/status/732583842175975428

* Almost starting to see a pattern here, Disney: Shane Black reveals Iron Man 3 scrapped a female villain because of toy sales. Why Disney needs a gay princess.

From cooperation to black operation: A Conversation with Stefano Harney and Fred Moten on The Undercommons.

* A brief history of the giraffe.

“When you have a child with a life-threatening illness, you have an irrevocably altered existence,” Barbara Sourkes had told the Levys, and Esther feels that is true. She had always felt in control of her fate, but now she believes this to be a fiction. She finds it difficult to reconcile bitterness over the blight of Andrew’s illness with gratitude for the reprieve. “We are the luckiest of the unluckiest people in the world,” she says. “I truly believe that.”

With playdates replacing free childhood play, it’s upper-class families who set the social norms — and working-class families who pay the price.

Can Graduate Students Unionize? The Government Can’t Decide.

* TSA forever and ever amen.

* After all this time, who can say really who sent whom to Robben Island for 27 years.

* I too like to live dangerously: Uber Says Riders Will Pay the Most When Their Phone Battery Is Dying.

Small Beer Press to Publish 400-Year-Old SF Novel.

* On Kim Stanley Robinson and “solarpunk.”

Nate Moore, 37, is the lone African-American producer in the film division at Marvel Studios. And elsewhere in Marvel news: Agents of SHIELD Star Says Marvel Doesn’t Care Enough About Its Own TV Show.

* DC has, to all reports, done something utterly crazy. Big shakeup in their film division to boot. Can Booster Gold save the DC Cinematic Universe?

Not even $100 million can make Daniel Craig give a fuck about James Bond.

* World-famous ethicist isn’t.

* What terrible luck! The CIA has “mistakenly” destroyed the sole copy of a massive Senate torture report in the custody of the agency’s internal watchdog group, Yahoo News reported Monday.

Americans Don’t Miss Manufacturing — They Miss Unions.

* University title and salary generator.

Behind Some Campus Protests, a Team of Paid Professionals.

* The Sochi hoax.

* Attempt no landings etc: Europa Is Even More Earth-Like Than We Suspected.

* Outrageous slander: The Warriors Still Aren’t the Best Team Ever.

Liberal Think Tank Fires Blogger for Rude Tweets. Bruenighazi.

Against the Crowdfunding Economy.

In other words, Zootopia advances a sublimated theory of power that is strangely conservative, and — perhaps not so strangely — fundamentally allied with the project of economic neoliberalization. After a humiliating stint as a traffic cop, Judy Hopps is assigned to the case of a group of predators who have suddenly gone “savage,” which in this anthropomorphized universe means ripping off their clothes, dropping to all fours, and attacking other animals. It turns out that this crisis of respectability was engineered by the unassuming Bellwether, a champion of rabbits and mice who has dosed the predators with a weaponized narcotic that returns them to a “primitive” state of bestial violence. In order to bolster her own political prospects, Bellwether has engineered an interspecies crisis of what 1990s Clintonites called “super-predators” run amok. This is very close — if we pursue the allegory to its political ends — to alleging that the state has manufactured crises of, say, black masculinity in order to whip up the white public-safety vote and secure its own legitimacy. Now that would be an interesting intervention, if the film took us all the way there. And it really almost does.

What Kinds of Difference Do Superheroes Make?: An Interview with Ramzi Fawaz. Part Two.

NCDOT tries something new to thwart Durham’s Can Opener bridge.

The Most Successful Female Everest Climber of All Time Is a Housekeeper in Hartford, Connecticut.

* The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.

* Ted Chiang vs. Chinese logograms.

* Fracking comes to England.

An unorthodox anthropologist goes face to face with ISIS. Is the payoff worth the peril?

* CBS All-Access gets a second show. And that’s why The Good Wife had a terrible ending!

Mitch Hurwitz is still confident that another season of Arrested Development will happen.

* I’m feeling pretty on board with Luke Cage, I have to say.

* As with the comic before it, the film version of The Dark Tower will likely detail a different, later iteration of the series’s defining time loop.

“Perfect” Donkey Kong score achieved.

* The only Twitter account you need: @LegoSpaceBot.

No human alive has seen 7 months this hot before. Get with the program, Great Lakes!

What drought? Nestle plans $35 million plant to bottle water in Phoenix.

* Alas, Venezuela: There has never been a country that should have been so rich but ended up this poor.

* Project Earth is leaving beta.

* In the back room of the morgue.

* But it’s not all bad news: Our Solar System Could Remain Habitable Long After Earth Is Destroyed.

Happy graduation day, Marquette!

nasa-april-temp

Written by gerrycanavan

May 22, 2016 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links 2: Even Weekendier!

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A beard, said Whitman, is preferable in a man as “a great sanitary protection to the throat.” Walt Whitman’s lost advice to America’s men: meat, beards and not too much sex.

If defendants had well-funded, effective representation, our adversarial system would do what it is intended to do. What we have right now, however, simply is not adversarial: relatively well-funded, well-staffed prosecutor offices square off against public defenders whose caseloads defy imagination.

Hell’s Kitchens: Privatized Prison Mess Halls.

* The end of Howard University.

Everyone poops, and everyone pees, but no one should be stigmatized or criminalized when they answer nature’s call.

* Bring on the climate trials: When kids sue the government for failing to protect future generations against climate change, it’s a long shot. But on Friday, in King County, Wash., Superior Court Judge Hollis R. Hill ruled in favor of eight Seattle-area youth petitioners: The Washington State Department of Ecology must deliver an emissions reduction rule by the end of this year.

Living at the Edges of Capitalism.

The best podcasts, Ted Talks and academic papers about Beyoncé.

The PhDictionary: A Glossary of Things You Don’t Know (But Should) About Doctoral and Faculty Life.

Oddly enough, the late novelist David Foster Wallace, a friend of Franzen’s, appears to cast a shadow over the portrayal of Andreas, whom Franzen endows with personality traits he saw in Wallace — especially the idea that he was “unworthy” of love. Over his lifetime, Wallace suffered from various addictions and struggled with depression for years; like Andreas, he ultimately committed suicide. In his essay “Farther Away: ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ David Foster Wallace, and the island of solitude,” Franzen says that he “loved a person who was mentally ill.” Franzen attributes Wallace’s suicide, in large part, to the fact that Wallace felt there was something wrong with him and he was unworthy of love; “[a]nd this feeling was intertwined, ultimately to the point of indistinguishability, with the thought of suicide.” Inaccessible on his private island of self-laceration, believing there was something wrong with him, Wallace could never reach a farther shore, and nobody could reach him. Ultimately, Franzen speculates, his suicide was designed “[t]o prove once and for all that he truly didn’t deserve to be loved.”

* Lake Chad in the Anthropocene.

* Yahoo, when looked at in a certain way, is worth approximately -$8 billion.

* Who owns Klingon?

* Life in the 21st century: Fearing a nuclear terror attack, Belgium is giving iodine pills to its entire population. Creeps Are Using a Neural Network to Dox Porn Actresses. Black Teenage Boy Charged With Possession of Child Porn for Sexting With White Girlfriend. Julia Ioffe profiled Melania Trump. Then she started getting calls from Hitler.

The Untold Story of Canadian Super Heroes.

* A Japanese Map of European Stereotypes.

We must mine redheads for the secret of their immortality gene.

* That’ll solve it: “Crisis-hit Venezuela to push clocks forward to save power.”

* How many friends can a person have?

For the first three decades of the film industry’s existence, American “courts were not yet ready to consider motions pictures as speech worthy of constitutional protection.” And local and state governments were not ready to give up censorship as a form of good government. “In addition to the moral uplift, the logistics of film regulation were attractive. Regulation was a revenue generator; boards charged distributors for examination and approval and charged theaters for permitted exhibitions.”

Daniel J. Berrigan, Defiant Priest Who Preached Pacifism, Dies at 94.

* dontbepartoftheproblem.tumblr.com

New Course Descriptions for Fall 2016: “Alternate History” and “INFINITE JEST”

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So, this is what I’ll be teaching in the fall.

I’m a little swamped this morning so I can’t do the longer post on the Alternate History course I’ve been meaning too, but I wanted to thank the people on Twitter and Facebook who gave me such good ideas for additional texts in the course and really helped me expand my vision of what was possible. I’ll have a post about that sometime in the next couple of weeks, I hope…

ENGLISH 2000: LITERATURE AND GENRE

Course Title: Alternate History
Course Description: What if Hitler had never taken power? What if the United States had never dropped the atomic bomb on Japan? What if the 9/11 terror attacks had been foiled? What if Gore had beat Bush? What if slaves in the American South had successfully revolted, or China had discovered the New World, or the Black Plague had killed 99% of Europeans instead of only 25%? What if cloning had been invented and perfected in the 1970s? What if Superman’s rocket ship had landed in the Ukraine instead of Kansas? Is history made by Great Men, or by social movements, or by technological progress, or by random chance? Does history follow some set of laws or rules, or is it all just a bunch of stuff that happens? This course will explore all these topics and more through dedicated exploration of the literary genre typically called “alternate history”: stories of worlds that are exactly like ours, until some historical event, big or small, goes another way…
Readings: This course will explore the alternate history genre through a wide variety of media forms including prose fiction, film and television, comics, and games, but major readings for the course will include Mark Millar’s Superman: Red Son, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Abdourahman Waberi’s In the United States of Africa, Terry Bisson’s Fire on the Mountain, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven, and Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, among others.
Assignments: two 4-6-page papers; one 6-8-page final paper; online discussion forum; active class discussion; presentations

 

 

ENGLISH 4615/5615: TEXT IN CONTEXT

Course Title: Infinite Jest
Course Description: I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction’s job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves.… We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy’s impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. —David Foster Wallace

This course explores the literary, cultural, and intellectual legacy of David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), widely considered by admirers and detractors alike to be among the most influential and important writers of his generation. In particular we will study his magnum opus, Infinite Jest (1996), twenty years old this year, a book which not only continues to speak with shocking relevance and delightful irreverence to our present, but which seems, in many ways, to have accurately predicted it. Slowly and carefully reading Wallace’s epoch-defining novel together will open up a window on the last twenty years of American life, letters, entertainment, and art, while the unavoidable shadow cast by his 2008 suicide will raise important questions for us about literary celebrity, biographical criticism, and the often troubled relationship between public personae and the real, lived lives of writers and artists.
Readings: David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest; coursepack
Assignments: seminar paper (12-15 pages); two “thinkpiece”-length “mini-papers”; online reading journal; active class participation; presentations