Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘feudalism

Happy Valentine’s Day Links!

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* Very excited to welcome Adam Kotsko to Marquette later this week for his talk “Animated Nihilism: Rick and Morty, BoJack Horseman and the Strange Fate of the Adult Cartoon.”

* There was a nice interview with me at the ArchivesAWARE! site, kicking off a new series on Archives and Audiences.

* SFRA Review #323 is out! Check out the details on the upcoming SFRA conference in Milwaukee.

* CFP: The Journal of Dracula Studies. CFP: Žižek Studies special issue on “Žižek: What Went Wrong?”

* The Simpsons: What Went Wrong?

* A science-fiction narrative imagining an alternate universe in which Donald Trump never became President: he’s just a regular guy in New York City.

The Problem With Annihilation’s Messy Release.

Fantastic Beasts and What Could Have Been. They’re really not nailing this.

* Kim Stanley Robinson: The Radical Philosophy Interview.

KSR: Capitalism is still very feudal in its distribution of wealth. One of the great triumphs of Marxist historiography is to describe accurately the transition from feudalism to capitalism, why it happened and the differences. At a presentation I once gave with Jameson, I said something like capitalism is just feudalism liquidified. In the break he said, ‘Kim, it’s actually a big accomplishment for Marxists to be able to describe the change from feudalism to capitalism.’ I then brought up something he had taught me, Raymond Williams’s concept of the residual and the emergent, and said, ‘but there’s a lot more residual than people have imagined.’ That’s one of the only times I saw Fred startled by something I said. Although I think there’s an exchange of ideas between us, mainly he’s the teacher, I’m the student. He’s explained things that I never would have understood, and I treasure him for that. So it was nice to see him think, ‘Mmm, that’s an interesting thought.’

The residuals out of feudalism would be the power gradient and the actual concentration of wealth per se. In the feudal period, kings might not even have been as proportionally rich as top executives are now in relation to the poor. And if peasants weren’t murdered by passing soldiers, they were living with their food source at hand and working a somewhat decent human life. That isn’t largely true now of the dispossessed. So, capitalism is like feudalism in that, but worse.

* The Good Place and Divine Justice. Meet the Philosophers Who Give ‘The Good Place’ Its Scholarly Bona Fides. TV’s Dystopia Boom. Breakfast and Groundhog Day. Rod Serling: human rights activist as science fiction showrunner. Why the Culture wins. Netflix created a monster with its Cloverfield stunt, and Altered Carbon won’t be the last victim. Reproductive Futurism and Its (Dis)contents. Why I barely read SF these days. Against dystopia.

* My Butch Lesbian Mom, Bruce Springsteen.

* The Sublimated Grief of the Left Behind. How Academe Breeds Resentment. International Grad Students’ Interest in American Higher Ed Marks First Decline in 14 Years. Columbia University Gets In Bed with Trump. I’m a Stanford professor accused of being a terrorist. McCarthyism is back. How Hard Do Professors Work? Shameless and Hypocrisy at the MLA. And meanwhile, on the Singularity beat: Teaching assistant robots will reinvent academia. Universities in the Age of AI.

Humanities Grads Gainfully Employed and Happy.

White Supremacists Are Targeting College Students ‘Like Never Before.’

* The Olympic hero for our time.

* To U.S. Border Patrol, the Canadian border is 100 miles wide. A good overview of how Trump’s ICE differs, and doesn’t, from Obama’s; the major distinction seems to be empowering street-level officer to make policy-level determinations about enforcement. A Short, Brutal History of ICE. ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump. ICE Grants Stay To Arizona Father Whose 5-Year-Old Son Is Battling Cancer. Kansas chemistry instructor arrested by ICE while taking his daughter to school. ICE detains man at traffic court after DACA status expires, then frees him after outcry. Public Defenders Walk Out Of Bronx Courthouse After College Student Detained By ICE. Cuban immigrant awaiting removal dies in ICE custody. Green card veteran facing deportation starts hunger strike. Trump administration considered testing “abortion reversal” on unwilling prisoner. Give all immigrants the right to vote.

* Know your police rape loopholes.

* How not to die in America. I Had to Bury My 26-Year-Old Son Because He Couldn’t Afford Insulin. Texas Woman Dies Because She Couldn’t Afford $116 Copay. What Aetna did here might not even be illegal.

* America: (Still) Not a Democracy. That’s not to say things still can’t get worse.

* In the richest country in human history.

FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered.

* Even the Democrats (still) won’t talk about climate change. Democrats’ ‘Resistance’ to Trump Is Eroding, and So Are Their Poll Numbers. What Happened To The Democratic Wave?

A map of the world after four degrees of warming. There’s even more good news below the map!

An Urgent Crisis of Leadership, Climate, and Water is Unfolding in South Africa.

* And in Kentucky: Sometimes they get no water. Other times just a trickle. Often, they say, their water is so discolored it resembles milk or Kool-Aid or beer.

The African Anthropocene.

* Floods and pollution.

* Just six months from victory in Afghanistan.

Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases. Podcast listeners are the advertising holy grail. A Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy. slavery.amazon.com. Whole Foods as Amazon Hell. What Amazon Does to Poor Cities.

I’m the Wife of a Former N.F.L. Player. Football Destroyed His Mind. Concussion Protocol.

Here’s Everything We Used to Know About Han Solo’s Early Years. A Primer on All Things Wakanda.

* Monopoly: Cheaters Edition.

Arizona Man Sells His $6.5 Million Ranch Because Of Constant, Violent Alien Attacks.

Supercut of Instagram travel photo clichés. Photos of Total Strangers Pretending to Be in Serious Relationships.

Why is Civilization 5 still more popular than Civilization 6?

* The arc of history is long, but Hot sauce king Billy Mitchell is in danger of having his Donkey Kong records stripped away.

Why Woody Allen hasn’t been toppled by the #MeToo reckoning — yet. This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry.

* Suicide and the opioid epidemic.

* Cancel student debt and grow the economy. Let’s Stop Normalizing Student Debt.

* College compiles first-ever index of slaves and their enslavers in NY. Slavery and the American University.

* Nation of Second Changes: Stories of people who received a pardon from Barack Obama.

* The Alt-Right Is Killing People.

The Median Young Family Has Nearly Zero Wealth.

* #NeverTweet.

Why Antonio Gramsci is the Marxist thinker for our times.

* I call it my brand: Marxism as Organized Sarcasm.

Worf’s Dad Is Repeatedly Disgraced When Predictive Text Writes Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Nintendo’s new cardboard extensions for Switch are blowing users away.

* Case Western in the news!

* Can’t stop the signal: here come the Firefly novels.

* Pets allowed.

‘Speaking’ orca is further proof they shouldn’t be kept captive.

* The mutant crayfish that ate Europe.

* And this guy gets it: Nigel, the world’s loneliest bird, dies next to the concrete decoy he loved.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 13, 2018 at 10:01 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday!

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OK, let us persist in the notion that I am an American citizen. Let us persist in the notion that I am the citizen of a self-governing political commonwealth. Let us persist in the notion that I have a say — and important and equal say — in the operation of my government here and out in the world. Let us persist in the notion that, in America, the people rule. If we persist in these notions — and, if we don’t, what’s the fking point, really? — then there is only one question that I humbly ask of my government this week. Please, if it’s not too damn much trouble, can you tell me what’s being done in my name?

* Operation Troll the NSA.

* “Right to work” is the most dishonest phrase in American political discourse. It sounds like it’s defending people’s right to earn a living. But as used by its supporters, it means making it impossible for workers to form an effective union, couched in the language of “freedom” and “choice.”

* Neoliberalism has hijacked our vocabulary.

We Already Tried Libertarianism – It Was Called Feudalism.

* “A curious thing about the United States is that anticommunism has always been far louder and more potent than communism.”

But the problem of eviction runs deeper and reaches back further than even the beginning of the 20th century. Modern history starts with eviction.

* Justin D. Martin has graciously volunteered to be the first person to lose his job to a MOOC.

*  Remaking the university: Suffice to say that major cost savings cannot be the rationale for the Georgia Tech arrangement. In the ramp-up period, terribly high per-MOOC costs could be justified by mass enrollments, but unfortunately from the VC point of view the masses take these courses for free. These production costs also collide with increasing awareness of large faculty time inputs: Duke’s Dan Ariely and Cathy Davidson report 150 hours of their time per hour of “actual MOOC.”  Prof. Davidson’s phrase in a subsequent post is “insanely labor intensive”  — in exchange for a $10,000 stipend that she spent entirely on assistants. Many MOOC watchers are now concluding, as she does, that MOOCs do not have a way of making up for massive public funding cuts.

* The first issue of All-Star Superman is free from DC Comics today.

* And The Hobbit 2: Hardly Hobbitin’ has a trailer. My tentative reaction is pretty serious disappointment: however the final effects will look, at this resolution just about everything looks really fake, from the dwarf in the barrel in the river to Smaug to anything involving Legolas in any way. I like the one shot of Bilbo poking his head above Mirkwood, and that’s it. Nerd rant over! But for how long?

Tuesday Night Links

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A Scholarship of Resistance: Bravery, Contingency, and Higher Education.

Dear Professor James, #YOLO :). Riffing on this story, though this one is also in the background somewhere.

Fat profits at NCAA while athletes play for free.

* Against creative writing.

David Simon on America’s war on drugs and The House I Live In. Introduction to TNI‘s marijuana issue.

Open Casting Call for History Based Reality TV Show.

* Plot to rig the mayor’s race in New York City.

* The headline reads, “Pope’s foot-wash a final straw for traditionalists.” Elsewhere on the Catholic beat: A suspended Roman Catholic priest in Connecticut accused of making more than $300,000 in sales of methamphetamines is expected to plead guilty to one of the charges.

* So that’s why they act that way: Refusing to apologize can have psychological benefits.

Did Pacific Islanders reach South America before Columbus?

As Canada scrambles to dig up some of the world’s dirtiest oil, a bush doctor tracks mysterious diseases, poisoned rivers, and shattered lives. From 2008. I’m sure we’ve sorted it all out by now.

* The Atlantic interviews Kim Stanley Robinson.

KSR: With capitalism, we can say that it has very strong residual elements of feudalism. It’s as if feudalism liquefied and the basis of power moved from land to money, but with the injustice of the huge hierarchical feudal differences between rich and poor still intact. What is emergent in capitalism is harder to identify, but there may be something to the idea of the global village, also the education of the entire world population, so that everyone knows the world situation and wants justice, that may be leading the way to a more just global society. Seeing and exaggerating these emergent elements is something utopian science fiction tries to do. So the dichotomy is a sort of x/y graph in a thought experiment.

* One night in the life of a Boston cabbie.

* Game of Thrones renewed for fourth of eighty planned seasons.

Drawing the impossible? Fully dressed Superheroines.

* Wake up, sheeple! Only 4% of voters say they believe “lizard people” control our societies by gaining political power.

* Presenting Adam Kotsko’s grading lexicon.

* Feminism for women who can’t cry at work.

* And your headline of the day: Why I Study Duck Genitalia.

Earth, Planet of Sadness

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The Los Angeles Review of Books has my review of Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest novel, the fantastic 2312.

But at the same time, 2312 could be Robinson’s least utopian novel — beginning, as it does, from the rejection of the “Mars Trilogy”’s happier historical trajectory in favor of a world(s)-system in which the ongoing historical struggle between the residual (feudalism), the dominant (capitalism), and the emergent (none dare call it communism) never crests, but just goes horribly on and on and on. Indeed, there is a suggestion late in the novel as pessimistic and unhappy as any I can recall Robinson making: that perhaps some people are just bad, that (worse still) perhaps true evil will only exist after scarcity.

“Before [post-scarcity], it could always be put down to want or fear. It was possible to believe, as apparently you did, that when fear and want went away, bad deeds would too. Humanity would be revealed as some kind of bonobo, altruistic, cooperative, a lover of all. … However you explain it, people do bad things. Believe me.”

A suggestion that the last thousand years of human history could be best described as “the late feudal period” is immediately countered by an even worse possibility: “What makes you think it’s late?” Another of Robinson’s interstitial chapters is simply a list of all the reasons that utopia can’t happen, from original sin to greed to “because it probably wouldn’t work” to “because we can get away with it.” Maybe things are bad, and people are bad, and maybe both will always stay that way…

Links from the Weekend!

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* Wes Anderson bingo. Meanwhile, Moonrise Kingdom is setting records.

* Great television contrarianism watch: Neoliberal Holmes, or, Everything I Know About Modern Life I Learned from Sherlock. In which I analyze my allergy to Sherlock.

* David Harvey: The financial crisis is an urban crisis.

* Utopia and dystopia in quantum superposition: New parking meters text you when time’s running out.

Facebook is not only on course to go bust, but will take the rest of the ad-supported Web with it.

* Shaviro reviews Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. LRB reviews Embassytown. LARoB reviews Railsea. The New Yorker reviews Game of Thrones.

But there is something troubling about this sea of C.G.I.-perfect flesh, shaved and scentless and not especially medieval. It’s unsettling to recall that these are not merely pretty women; they are unknown actresses who must strip, front and back, then mimic graphic sex and sexual torture, a skill increasingly key to attaining employment on cable dramas. During the filming of the second season, an Irish actress walked off the set when her scene shifted to what she termed “soft porn.” Of course, not everyone strips: there are no truly explicit scenes of gay male sex, fewer lingering shots of male bodies, and the leading actresses stay mostly buttoned up. Artistically, “Game of Thrones” is in a different class from “House of Lies,” “Californication,” and “Entourage.” But it’s still part of another colorful patriarchal subculture, the one called Los Angeles.

* Terrible news, state by state:

Louisiana Incarcerated: How We Built the World’s Prison Capital. Via MeFi.

* The Institute for Southern Studies covers North Carolina’s answer to the Koch brothers, Art Pope.

* Detroit shuts off the lights.

* Kansas Republicans reinstitute feudalism, deliberately bankrupting the state.

* Voter purges in Florida, again.

* Contemplating these dreary statistics, one might well conclude that the United States is — to a distressing extent — a nation of violent, intolerant, ignorant, superstitious, passive, shallow, boorish, selfish, unhealthy, unhappy people, addicted to flickering screens, incurious about other societies and cultures, unwilling or unable to assert or even comprehend their nominal political sovereignty. Or, more simply, that America is a failure.

* The New Yorker‘s science fiction issue is live. If you wanted to get me to read New Yorker fiction for the first time in years, well, mission accomplished…

* And we’re still pouring college money down the for-profit drain. Because never learning from your mistakes is the most important thing we have to teach.