Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Don't blame me I voted for Kodos

Monday Morning Links!

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* ICYMI: A CFP for an upcoming issue of SFFTV devoted to Women in SF, keyed to the Frankenstein bicentennial.

We, the Undercommoning Collective, invite all those over whom the neoliberal, neocolonial university casts its shadow, all those who struggle within, against and beyond the university-as-such, to join us the weekend of October 14-16, 2016 for a global coordinated decentralized day of radical study and action.

* LARB reviews The Year 200, which I immediately bought.

* The end of the Republicans? How Donald Trump Broke The Conservative Movement (And My Heart). Trump’s Appetite for Destruction: How Disastrous Convention Doomed GOP. A 2% Convention Bump, It Looks Like.

* Not to be outdone, the Democrats are hard at work turning their convention into a debacle too.

* The Case for Tim KazzZZZZZzzzzzZZZz. Tim Kaine, and Other Faith-Based Politics. And here’s a piece from NRO that purports to explain why Tim Kaine wasn’t picked in 2008, which long-time readers may remember I’ve always wondered about. It’s pretty hard to make an electoral map where Trump wins without winning Virginia. And if you need it: My Official List of Approved Clinton-Kaine Puns.

* Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.

Neoliberalism Is a Political Project.

* “Trump and Putin: Yes, It’s Really a Thing.”

70 Years Ago, the U.S. Military Set Off a Nuke Underwater, And It Went Very Badly. Then they tried it four more times.

* “Ancient bottom wipers yield evidence of diseases carried along the Silk Road.”

* Science Corner: It Would Take a Lot of THC to Contaminate a Water Supply.

* An evolutionary history of menstruation.

Evolution Is Happening Faster Than We Thought.

* Precrime algorithms, coming soon.

How NYers Endured Unbearable Summers Before A.C.

* Parents, You’re Doing Summer Wrong. Elsewhere on the parenting beat: The Right Way to Bribe Your Kids to Read.

How one California university faked students’ scores, skated by immigration authorities — and made a fortune in the process.

Scientists Assert That Earth is Really Made of Two Different Planets.

This Is What Humans Would Look Like If They Evolved to Survive Car Crashes.

* English departments in 2016, if we’re being totally honest.

* And the arc of history is long, but Star Trek: Discovery Officially Takes Place in the Prime Universe. Here’s the ship.


Sunday Won’t Procrastinate Itself: Links!

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A City Where Everyone Works, There Is No Police, And The Salary Is 1200 Euros.

This piece and the comments (read both) constitute one of the only serious or substantive discussions of Laura Kipnis’s CHE pieces I’ve seen. I just finished a long and frustrating but possibly ultimately consensus-building Facebook debate about the minutiae of this thing, so I’m basically an expert on the case now.

* “With its new flavor, Save Our Swirled, Ben & Jerry’s is urging fans to dig their spoons into climate change activism.” That’s solve it!

California’s Snowpack Is Now Zero Percent of Normal.

* It’s so hot in India the roads are melting.

For those who want to build a stronger left in the US, there is no substitute for the work — however slow and painstaking it might be — of building social movements and struggles at the grassroots and of organizing a political alternative independent of the Democratic Party.

‘American Universities Are Addicted to Chinese Students.’

Black dolls and American culture.

* Jessica Springsteen, born to jump.

How Comedians Became Public Intellectuals.

PROFS Statement on Joint Finance Committee Action on UW System Budget. UW Struggle: Final Update. An Idiot’s Guide to the Tenure Process. Don’t mourn, organize. In all its glory.

* And then there’s Texas.

* Can academics really “have it all”?

* The fall of Rome.

To understand why and how often these shootings occur, The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty. The Post looked exclusively at shootings, not killings by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody.

* Boing Boing covers Rashida Jones’s “amateur porn” documentary Hot Girls Wanted.

* Science proves music really was better back then.

* It also proves nothing likes being eaten.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and Philosophy: 1, 2.

* The Wire, but for Israel/Palestine.

* And the arc of history is long, but production on TRON 3 has been shut down.


Choose *and* Lose

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While young people turned out in unusually high numbers to support Barack Obama in 2008, MTV’s research into Choose or Lose found that many felt they had lost anyway. Via Student Activism.

We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

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We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom! More on today’s No More Apologizing! campaign from Michael Steele, who instructs us to imagine what Ronald Reagan might have to say about all this looking backwards. The Washington Independent notes this is the seventh attempt to reboot the GOP since November.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

The Big Dog, Betrayal, Principles, Narcissism, and 1976

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In the comments from last night’s “Ugh” post, Mike Young makes a point I wanted to follow up on:

I’d vote Mccain before Clinton. A lot of my under 30 friends would probably vote an independent Ron Paul ticket or Bloomberg before Clinton. I’ve never met any passionate political participant who grew up in the 90s–liberal, conservative, religious, agnostic, blonde, or tall–who likes or even doesn’t despise Hillary Clinton. She’d probably still win the general (they’re the Clintons, dummy) but she’d do it by setting fire to the future of the Democratic Party.

I’ve think I may have met a few here and there, but it’s definitely not the overwhelming sentiment. I was thinking about this today in connection with reports that even party bigwigs like Ted Kennedy and Rahm Emanuel are now calling on Bill to reign it in. Of course he won’t. When has he ever been persuaded to reign any of his excess in?

I’m reminded of a pair of columns I wrote back as a undergrad for the student newspaper in January and February of 2001. The first one tried to come to peace with Clinton, with whom I always had a rocky love-hate relationship with while he was president. It starts, “I like Bill Clinton. I haven’t always,” and goes on to talk in generally pro-Clinton terms about my conflicted feelings about the Lewinsky scandal. Just two weeks later, I was moved to write this fiery excoriation after yet another indignity and betrayal—the pardon scandals, remember those? We’ll get the mother of all replays exactly one year from today—from the man who was a master of the form:

Conservatives are falling over themselves to point out the “hypocrisy” in Democrats; you loved him while he was president, they ask, so why don’t you love him now? The answer is that this infraction is of a darker character than the other scandals — and the answer is also that this is the last straw. We could forgive the man for Whitewater, for Monica, for all the petty and insignificant scandals trumped-up by Clinton’s enemies in the right wing. We could forgive the man for causing embarrassment to the Democratic Party and to the country, for allowing his own personal foibles to overshadow the governing of a nation, and for failing to back up his acclaimed status as “Best Politician Ever” with substantive reforms and meaningful acts. We were content to look back with a wry smile on the Clinton years and wonder what might have been, as George Stephanopoulous does in his memoir, “if the President had been a better man.” Clinton may never have been remembered as a great president, but he probably could have been remembered as a good one.

The pardons change all that. The pardons are a parting shot at everyone who ever supported him during the trumped-up impeachment and years of Republican-sponsored scandals. The eleventh-hour abuse of the pardon power, for no reason that he could readily cite, to benefit a man who has indirectly pumped a significant sum of money into Clinton’s hands, is more than just the latest in a series of scandals; it is the definitive scandal. It is the final proof that William Jefferson Clinton cares about no one but himself and no thing but his own immediate advantage. It is the abuse of power for its own sake.

It’s over, Bill. Pack up your things, leave your key on the table, and get out of my house. I don’t want to see you anymore.

The possibility that the Clintons will return to the White House and inflict their narcissism and neuroses on the country and on the left for another 4-8 years is still too much to contemplate. It’s honestly hard for me to say—and I say this as someone who more than once in the past has railed against not voting for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is—whether a return to Clintonism would really be better for the left in the long run than four years of McCain followed by the election of an actual progressive (Obama! Gore!) in 2012. Maybe I’m right and Obama is the Democratic Party’s Reagan, but it’s 1976, not 1980; maybe things still have to get even worse before people finally wise up.

At least there’s only a few more weeks of this before I know whether or not I’m going to be knocking on doors or holding my nose come November.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 20, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Wednesday, Wednesday

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Obviously posting took a backseat to real-life nonsense today. But I did look at the Internets. Here’s what I looked at.

* The House Next Door and SF Signal try to figure out whether this season of Heroes is back on track.

* Gang of 100? Via Lenin’s Tomb, Columbia president Lee Bollinger receives a “statement of concern” from over 100 faculty members partly in response to his poor behavior during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit.

* Nicholas Guyatt reviews Chris Hedges’s American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America for London Review of Books. I linked to Hedges a bit on the old blog earlier in the year, when this book was getting a lot of hype—I’m curious why this review comes so late. I’m also surprised to see Guyatt take such a skeptical attitude towards Hedges’s thesis. I haven’t read American Fascists, but my impression has been that the book is about the (very real) dominionist movement within American evangelicism, not an assertion that all evangelicals are dominionists. And what to make of this:

It would be a mistake to imagine that the religious right has controlled American politics for the past quarter-century. Despite the present spate of books decrying a fundamentalist takeover of the Republican Party, there has been plenty for evangelicals to complain about even since the triumphs of Bush and Karl Rove. As Thomas Frank argued in 2004 in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas?, the striking thing about the Republican alliance with evangelicals has been the thinness of their legislative achievements: abortion is still legal, campaigners for gay rights have made real strides and the wall between church and state remains largely intact in American classrooms. Frank suggested that legislators had pulled off a confidence trick in their courting of evangelicals.

The truth is precisely this: the religious right has controlled American politics for the past quarter-century without actually getting any of the things they want. What happens when they finally realize they’ve been hoodwinked? Hedges has this right; the business wing of the Republican Party is locked into an alliance with powerful and dangerous forces it will not necessarily be able to control forever.

* NYU students would trade their right to vote for an iPod. Can you blame them? In a country so completely gerrymandered on both a macro (Electoral College) and micro (Congressional district) scale, voting is more or less a fraud across the board. The vote of someone living in New York City isn’t even worth an iPod; the vote of someone in Florida or Ohio, maybe, but only just.

* Train passengers face routine airline-style bag checks and body searches as part of a new counter-terror crackdown announced by Gordon Brown. Next up, strip searches. Freedom isn’t free.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 15, 2007 at 4:39 am

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As with so many things I loved when I was young—the church, democracy, delicious Coca-Cola—I have an extremely complicated relationship with The Simpsons. Most days I just pretend it’s off the air. This may seem a bit surprising, especially given that for most of high school and college I had entire conversations (and occasionally newspaper columns) consisting of nothing but Simpsons quotes—but this actually appears to be the nearly universal experience for people in my particular demographic. Somewhere around year twelve or so we all suddenly realized that the show was no longer funny—and though I’m periodically assured by people I otherwise trust that it’s somehow become funny again, I’ve never taken the bait.

The idea that they’re still beating the dead horse after six additional years is more than a little inconceivable.

The Simpsons Movie, which Ryan and I saw today despite our better judgments, is a Simpsons movie only in the very limited sense that the characters in the movie look and sound like the Simpsons you remember. But this is in every other sense a kids’ movie; anyone looking for the grand satire of the glory years will be as disappointed as we were.

Afterwards we tried to figure out what went wrong, how this ever could have happened, and we think it might be this: The Simpsons always had a problem with the gooey family stuff, even in the best of times, unnecessarily cramming it into nearly every episode in a way that always threatened to crowd out the funny, subversive moments which were the only reason to watch. They needed the family stuff to sell the show to a mainstream audience, but having gotten the mainstream, they then needed to keep it, which meant more family stuff, which meant less subversion, and so on and so forth—which is how a show that I was forbidden to watch when it first came out has now put out a movie that’s just barely more adult than Shrek.

It’s a shame, and honestly something of a minor cultural tragedy—but then I suppose an earlier and equally cantankerous version of me might not have understood what happened to The Flintstones, either.

I sure do miss it, though.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 2, 2007 at 1:21 am