Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Fringe

At Marquette Next Week: The Rise of J.J. Abrams!

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POP CULTURE LUNCH #2: THE RISE OF J.J. ABRAMS
FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 12 PM – 1 PM
TORY HILL CAFE (IN THE LAW SCHOOL)

In the second of three pop culture lunches this semester, we’ll be discussing the meteoric rise of J.J. Abrams. Abrams (in addition to creating beloved television series like Felicity, Alias, Lost, Person of Interest, and Fringe) has now put in charge of both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises — a pop culture singularity that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. (He’s also recently signed deals attaching him to Mission Impossible and the film versions of Half-Life and Portal. He’s taking over.)

Fans and detractors of all Bad Robot Productions welcome!
As always, this will be a conversation, not a lecture!

Please email me if you think you’ll be coming, just so I can have a rough head-count.

Thursday Already?

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List of children killed by drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.

* Adam Kotsko calls for more specificity and rigor in discussing the student loan crisis.

It is hard for me to avoid the conclusion that the sensationalism surrounding the “student loan bubble” stems from the fact that the majority of writers for progressive publications are either relatively recent college graduates or people with vivid memories of their own student debt. Hence they jump on the issue, making themselves and people like them the center of attention — while ignoring the vast wave of proletarianization that is beginning to make the United States a major competitor in the global sweepstakes to attract capital with low wages (and in fact, many self-styled progressive writers seem to buy into Obama’s incoherent view that greater access to college will in itself somehow help with inequality and wage stagntation).

A comprehensive new Harvard University report on Americans under 30, the so-called Millennials, shows that the economy is having a crushing impact, with just 62 percent working, and of those, half are toiling at part-time jobs.

* Malcolm Harris reviews Haneke’s Amour, in the new TNI.

* This Tumblr post does a good job explaining what’s appealing about the Harmontown podcast while unhappily bracketing the racism and misogyny that can sometimes make the show a challenging listen.

* Also in Community news: Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs hype the new season of Community, starting tonight. Gillian Jacobs on Comedy Bang Bang. Yvette Nicole Brown on the Nerdist podcast, where she reveals her secret past as a member of the East Coast Family.

* Walter Bishop as the villain in Star Wars 7? Oh, all right.

* Airline mergers seem hard, y’all.

* Stephen King points out a Shining prequel is a really dumb idea. Alas, his Shining sequel doesn’t sound great, either.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal vs. Valentine’s Day.

* Of course you had me at time travel web comic: Paola-4.

* And spotted on Facebook: Postcolonial Space Explorer.

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Weekend Links

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* The Center for 21st Century Studies has announced its postdoc theme for 2013-2014: “Changing Climates.” Applications due March 1.

* What’s coming out with this UNC rape case is astounding. UNC’s Former Dean of Students Says She Was Forced to Underreport Sexual Assault Cases. And then this, from the assistant vice underprovost of sickening analogies:

“When I went to report my assault in 2007, I asked an administrator what the process would look like,” Clark said. “Instead, that person told me, ‘Rape is like a football game, Annie. If you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback and you’re in charge, is there anything that you would have done differently in that situation?’”

Being Married Helps Professors Get Ahead, but Only if They’re Male: A new study of history professors shows that married men get promoted faster than their single colleagues, while the opposite is true for women.

Man Has Alarming Level Of Pride In Institution That Left Him $50,000 In Debt, Inadequately Prepared For Job Market.

* The union at Kalamazoo Valley Community College launches a food drive for its own adjuncts.

* UC aims to bleed its grad students.

* “Fear and loathing in academia” and “Some historical notes on the decline of the universities,” from anthropologies issue 16: The Neoliberalized, Debt-plagued, Low Wage, Corporatized University. Also: Passing with Pills: Redefining Performance in the Pharmaceuticalized University.

* The CEO of Whole Foods is laughing at you.

* Naked Capitalism on Hayek’s Delusion: The Origins of Neoliberalism: 1, 2, 3. Via MeFi.

As I say, I have no dog in this race, except a belief that no one, in this sea of riches, should have to be poor. But staring dumbfounded at the lessons unlearned in Britain, Europe and the United States, it strikes me that the entire structure of neoliberal thought is a fraud. The demands of the ultra-rich have been dressed up as sophisticated economic theory and applied regardless of the outcome. The complete failure of this world-scale experiment is no impediment to its repetition. This has nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with power.

* Theater of Pain: Tom Junod on injury in the NFL.

The perspective of pain is what this story is about. For fans, injuries are like commercials, the price of watching the game as well as harrowing advertisements for the humanity of the armored giants who play it. For gamblers and fantasy-football enthusiasts, they are data, a reason to vet the arcane shorthand (knee, doubtful) of the injury report the NFL issues every week; for sportswriters they are kernels of reliable narrative. For players, though, injuries are a day-to-day reality, indeed both the central reality of their lives and an alternate reality that turns life into a theater of pain. Experienced in public and endured almost entirely in private, injuries are what players think about and try to put out of their minds; what they talk about to one another and what they make a point to suffer without complaint; what they’re proud of and what they’re ashamed by; what they are never able to count and always able to remember

* An oral history of Fringe: 1, 2, 3, 4.

* Scandal in Lance-ville! Scandal in Gleetown!

Well, it’s been a month since @dronestream started and we’re up to January 2011. Two years left.

Claire Danes performs The Handmaid’s Tale.

* The kids are all right: Barbara Walters interviews a twelve-year-old transgender teen she first interviewed in 2007, when Jazz was six.

* A Lawyer’s Amazingly Detailed Analysis of Bilbo’s Contract in The Hobbit.

* Rules for kids: The book, discovered by a 20-year-old Walmart employee, Raymond Flores, became an Internet sensation after Flores contacted the media to try to find its owner and its touching rules – including the rules “Don’t bite the dentist” and “If you’re going to wet your bed, wear a pull-up” – went viral.

Two years before his death, legendary science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov kicked off a TV pilot dedicated to exploring the faint and ever-shifting boundary separating science from science fiction.

* And Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, on robots.

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Tuesday Night

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* The machine that runs the roulette tables in Vegas so you always lose is on the fritz.

* So it turns out Switzerland is rigged to explode if anything bad happens. The more you know!

* Elite New York publishing empire: no more elites!

In our pay-to-play society, many of those toward the bottom of the educational pyramid are getting fleeced; others, though, are getting a leg up. Because it’s callous and unreasonable to ask the disadvantaged to decline opportunities to advance, subverting credentialism must start at the top. What would happen to the price of a bachelor’s degree if the 42,000 high school valedictorians graduating this spring banded together and refused to go to college? And is it too much to ask the Democratic Party to refrain from running any candidate for national office who holds a degree from an Ivy League school?

Then there are our own credentials. Che Guevara once declared that the duty of intellectuals was to commit suicide as a class; a more modest suggestion along the same lines is for the credentialed to join the uncredentialed in shredding the diplomas that paper over the undemocratic infrastructure of American life. A master’s degree, we might find, burns brighter than a draft card.

Yeah, that’ll solve it.

The Romney 2012 campaign will be a big test for the national news media. Is it possible to stonewall and lie shamelessly throughout an entire presidential election campaign without being called on it in a significantly damaging way?

* To repeat: I resign. I want no part of this ongoing fiasco. More UVA here and here.

* A quick Fringe tease: John Noble told reporters that the final season will pretty much all take place in 2036 — with the occasional flashback or bit of “found footage” to fill in the tragic events of the present day.

* Don’t believe the hype! Arts Graduates Are Generally Satisfied, Employed.

* And In Focus goes to China.

More Thursday

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Closing All My Tabs Links

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* For all my brothers and sisters: “What did you do the summer before you went on the academic job market? What do you wish you had done?” Duke Lit’s Job Market Resources page has been ramped up considerably in the last year, which helps.

* To immerse yourself in literary theory as an impressionable young person is a little like squinting at a piece of toast until the face of Jesus materializes. It’s a slight perceptual shift (all you have to do is unfocus your eyes) but risky, because there’s no going back to plain toast after Jesus. Similarly, once you have engaged in enough feminist readings of “The Iliad” or performed close textual analyses of “Alf” or written papers limning the intertextual relationship between “Videodrome” and “Madame Bovary” — once, in other words, you’ve glimpsed the social, political, historical and ideological underpinnings of every text ever constructed — you’ll never again see stories the same way again. They’ll shed their innocence and expose their dirty secrets and reveal the world as a darker, more dangerous place than it once seemed. (Thanks, Lindsey Fiona!!)

* Recent college grads facing mal-employment, while incoming Duke students are rightly anxious about debt. Not anxious enough, frankly.

* Affirmative action for white kids: Asian-Americans and diversity today.

D.I.Y. Detroit: How the Alternative Press shaped the art of a city left for dead.

* At Mother Jones: The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science. Related: Kate Shepard explains the Climategate fraud. Also: Confessions of a Climate Change Convert.

* This CIA press release about their eco-friendly document destruction processes has got to be an Earth Day prank.

* Rule of law watch: Gov. Chris Christie Considers Defying Court Order.

* Debunking Trig Trutherism once and for all.

* A gaffe is when you accidentally say what you actually think: Minnesota state House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R), who is strongly pushing for passage of a voter ID law, has now backed away from comments he made in a radio appearance on Wednesday — when he said of the act of voting: “I think it’s a privilege, it’s not a right.”

* The great thing about neoliberalism is that it’s the answer to every question. The answer is the same regardless of whether your public institutions have too little money, or too much. More on how austerity works from Glenn Greenwald.

* Ideal and actual representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

* Inside Obama ’12. John Judis explores one area in which this will be a tough sell.

Obama has tried to carve a liberal niche within this retrograde political framework by charging that the Republican plan to cut the deficit would get rid of Medicare and would keep the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. That’s all well and good, but Obama is still playing on Republican turf. And it might not work. The last Democratic presidential candidate who based his campaign on deficits was Walter Mondale in 1984. Mondale probably would have lost to Ronald Reagan in any case, but he would have won more than Minnesota and the District of Columbia. The other Democratic candidate who tried to make deficits an issue was Al Gore in 2000, and he lost to a candidate he should have defeated easily. And you can be sure that Bill Clinton in 1992 didn’t focus on deficits in running against George H.W. Bush.

Via digby.

* I’d never heard of either Kiki Kannibal or StickyDrama, but I read this Rolling Stone article on her weird, tragic adolescence from beginning to end (a rarity for anything they publish not written by Matt Taibbi).

* Parallel worlds are still the hottest trope in SF: Here’s a trailer for indie drama Another Earth, and a description of SyFy’s next new terrible show.

Portal 2 news! The story is much more complicated and interesting than I noticed while I was playing.

* And mission (creep) accomplished: Unmanned drones now flying missions in Libya.

Friday Everything

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* Ralph Nader has found an awesome new way to troll the nation: he will campaign to kill athletic scholarships.

* Fox has renewed Fringe. This is great news—but I still haven’t forgive them for Firefly.

* Vermont’s not green, it’s red: Vermot House passes single-payer health care bill. It’s also expected to pass the state senate, too, which means things are about to get very interesting.

* I haven’t put up anything about Fukushima in a while, but suffice it to say things still sound very bad. (UPDATE: More here.) Nuclear power advocates—who I seem to recall assuring me that nothing bad could possibly happen at Fukushima because of updated, failsafe reactor designs—have now begun assuring me that what happened at Fukushima could never happen again because of updated, failsafe reactor designs. Okay, that ship turned out to be sinkable. But this one…

* Great moments in abuse of power: A deputy prosector in Johnson County, Indiana, has resigned his job after it was revealed that in February, during the large protests in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union bill, he e-mailed Walker’s office and recommended that they conduct a “false flag operation” — to fake an assault or assassination attempt on Walker in order to discredit the unions and protesters. Josh Marshall catches the most interesting angle: “the fact that he lists his 18 years of experience working in GOP politics as his experience for doing this sort of stuff.”

* Cheating scandal in the game of kings.

* Incomprehensible Shouting Named Official U.S. Language. It drives me crazy when people don’t speak it.

* And from Inside Higher Ed: Who’s in your fantasy research institute this season?