Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘George Saunders

Closing Every Tab Because My Computer Will Barely Work Right Now Links

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Sorry I’ve been so quiet! Between summer teaching and wrapping up a few big projects it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. Here’s every tab I had open!

* CFP: Hamilton: A Special Issue of Studies in Musical Theatre.

* 2016 World Fantasy Award Finalists and Shirley Jackson Award Winners.

Marquette one of five universities in nation selected for the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.

Graduate students in literary studies may often feel despair, even deadness and meanness, but an excess of cool seems like an especially implausible explanation. Far more damaging are bad mentoring, crippling overwork, social and geographic isolation, and the absence of opportunities to join the profession after spending a decade training. For too many graduate students, whether critical or postcritical, earning a PhD is the end — not the beginning — of a promising academic career. The skepticism that threatens graduate students and young faculty members results, therefore, not from the skepticism of academic theorists but from the skepticism of legislatures, administrators, donors, austerity-loving think tanks, and taxpayers. The Hangman of Critique.

* Jeff Vandermeer: Hauntings in the Anthropocene.

The Legendary Ted Chiang on Seeing His Stories Adapted and the Ever-Expanding Popularity of SF.

The Year’s Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories Have Been Determined.

100 African Writers of SFF.

* The Best of Science Fiction (1946) and The Big Book of Science Fiction (2016).

* Cleveland Police Are Gearing Up for Mayhem at the GOP Convention. Case Western in the News: Changes to campus operations during RNC. What’s a University For? Meet the Student Fighting Case Western U. for Shutting Down Campus to House 1,900 Police Officers.

* At least the convention went great.

* “Secretary Clinton Is A Different Person Than Donald Trump,” Says Bernie Sanders in Ringing Endorsement. GOP Establishment Relieved After Conventionally Abhorrent Beliefs Make Way Onto Presidential Ticket.

* Clinton has 945 Ways to Win. Trump Has 72.

* A Brief History of Turkey and Military Coups. The view from inside the bunker. Turkey ‘suspends 15,000 state education employees’ after attempted coup, including 1,577 deans at all universities.

US air strike in Syria kills nearly 60 civilians ‘mistaken for Isil fighters.’

* Bleeding the poor with fees and fines, Virginia edition.

* The end of Roger Ailes. The Drudge Era.

* Now, Baton Rouge. A 538 Special on Gun Deaths in America. The Tamir Rice Story: How to Make a Police Shooting Disappear. “One group is responsible for America’s culture of violence, and it isn’t cops, black Americans, Muslims or rednecks.” No lives matter. And from the archives: A Manifesto from People Reluctant to Kill for an Abstraction.

* Donald Trump’s Deals Rely on Being Creative with the Truth. Donald Trump Heads Into The Convention With Barely Any Campaign At All: Many of the numbers listed for his state offices don’t even work. Did you ever have to make up your mind? Donald Trump’s Announcement of Mike Pence in 18 Tweets. “Trump’s campaign logo mocked on Twitter.” He’s Really Pretty Bad at This. Being Honest about Trump. Jeb! We Play the Trump Board Game So You Don’t Have To. Republicans Keeping Their Dignity.  Teach the controversy: Is Trump Working for Russia? Understanding Trump Supporters: The Machine of Morbius. Back to the Future in Cleveland. The Last GOP President?

Won’t it be great when Donald Trump becomes president because you wrote a fucking BuzzFeed article daring him to run? Confessions of Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter.

Donald Trump Said Hillary Clinton Would ‘Make a Good President’ in 2008. Donald Trump should talk about Hillary Clinton’s email all the time. Here’s why. Pollster Frank Luntz: GOP has ‘lost’ the millennial generation.

There are about 20 households where she now lives. Like Susie, most of the residents in Snowflake have what they call “environmental illness”, a controversial diagnosis that attributes otherwise unexplained symptoms to pollution.

* Newborn Ducklings Judge Shape and Color.

* Small Arms, Long Reach: America’s Rifle Abroad.

Education Department’s proposed rule for student debt forgiveness could threaten traditional colleges as well as for-profits, particularly over its broad view of what counts as misrepresentation. College and the Class Divide. Wicked Liberalism.

As a result, in one of the richest countries that has ever existed, about 15 percent of the population faces down bare cupboards and empty refrigerators on a routine basis.

* Dying in America, Without Insurance.

* When Not to Get Married: Some 19th Century Advice.

* The Ontology of Calvin and Hobbes.

* Understanding Cousin Pam.

The Fight Between Berkeley’s Academics And Its Football Team Is Getting Ugly.

* A Modest Proposal: Eliminate Email.

Black Dishwasher at Yale University Loses Job After Shattering “Racist, Very Degrading” Stained-Glass Panel. Yale Rehires. Broken window theory: Corey Menafee and the history of university service labor.

* Ghostbusters (2016) and The Fan. Fake Controversy, Terrible Comedy. Ghostbusters‘ nostalgia problem. And from the archives!

Ghostbusters more than any other film highlights the growing devaluation of public-sector jobs at the hands of privatized for-profit entities operating for mercenary reasons. The protagonists of this movie spend their time removing unwanted, unpaying residents from spaces they occupied their whole lives (and longer) and placing them into a form of prison at the behest of the current owners who can get more rent from more affluent persons and don’t like the neighborhood being ‘brought down’ by those now-undesirable who lived there first. Not only that, but budget cuts have forced the New York Public Library to retain the dead as current employees, cutting into what should have been their final retirement, and the entire crux of the film comes from belittling and mocking elected officials’ uselessness in the face of corporations who can solve the city’s problems for cash and without all the useless regulation tying up the mayor, firefighters and police. Ghostbusters is essentially Blackwater for the dead, cleaning up the town of its unwanted past, making life safe for the corporate oligarchies.

* A Zero Star Review of The Secret Life of Pets.

‘Pokémon Go’ and the Persistent Myth of Stranger Danger. If Pokémon Go could resemble the best of childhood, it might have some value. What it actually does is very different.

* We Are All Queer Now.

* Did Wes Anderson Design North Korea?

How Sexual Harassment Halts Science.

Why rich parents are terrified their kids will fall into the “middle class.”

* Prepare to cry: Appleton teen makes heartbreaking decision to die.

To recap, the idea behind the Reverse Turing Test is that instead of thinking about the ways in which machines can be human-like we should also think about the ways in which humans can be machine-like.

* “He noted that further research is needed”: Women Wearing Low-Cut Tops In Application Photos Are 19 Times More Likely to Land a Job Interview.

* Penn State Football really should have gotten the NCAA death penalty.

* Am I a man, dreaming he is a Pokémon, or am I a Pokémon dreaming he is a man? Here’s All the Data Pokémon (Was) Leeching From Your Phone. Resist Pokémon Go. And as Adorno said: To catch Pokémon after Auschwitz is barbaric.

* OK, just take my money: Nintendo’s next assault on nostalgia is a mini-NES with 30 built-in games.

* Canon Police: Sulu’s Sexuality. But, you know, let’s not lose our heads. J.J. Abrams Won’t Re-Cast Anton Yelchin’s Role in ‘Star Trek’ Movies. For Some Baffling Reason, This Star Trek Beyond TV Spot Spoils the Big Twist. But the next one will be good, we swear.

* That piece I’m writing on Star Wars and canonicity will just never, ever be finished: Grand Admiral Thrawn Joins Rebels and the New Star Wars Canon.

* The headline reads, “Gonorrhea may soon be unbeatable.”

* Cancer, or, death by immortality.

Hacking the brain in Silicon Valley.

This blind Apple engineer is transforming the tech world at only 22.

Comic Books Are More Popular Now Than They’ve Been in 20 Years.

* Presenting the Apollo 11 Code.

* 67 Years of LEGO — by the numbers.

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Darwin’s Kids Doodled All Over His “Origin of Species” Manuscript.

Neanderthals Ate Each Other and Used Their Bones as Tools.

* The Films Rian Johnson had the Episode 8 Cast Watch.

* This sizzle reel from Rogue One is the best.

* Treaty loophole might let someone claim ownership of the Moon.

Should You Quit Your Job To Go Make Video Games?

* Understanding endings.

A civil servant missing most of his brain challenges our most basic theories of consciousness.

* And Mightygodking pitches the dark, gritty Sesame Street reinterpretation you didn’t know you needed.

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 22, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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So, So, So Many Wednesday Links!

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* Just in time for my next trip to Liverpool, the research from my last trip to Liverpool five years ago is finally published! “‘A Dread Mystery, Compelling Adoration’: Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker, and Totality.”

* Social Text interviews Fredric Jameson: “Revisiting Postmodernism.”

Is this sympathy for these arts of the past why in your recent work you returned to questions of modernism and realism?

The series you are alluding to [The Poetics of Social Forms] was always planned that way. I mean, I started with utopias, that is, science fiction and the future; then I went to postmodernism, which is the present, and so I’m making my way back into a certain past—to realism and then on to allegory and to epic and finally to narrative itself, which has always been my primary interest. Maybe indeed I have less to say about contemporary works than about even the recent past; or let’s say I have built up a certain capital of reading but am not making any new and exciting investments any longer. It’s a problem: you can either read or write, but time intervenes, and you have to choose between them. Still, I feel that I always discover new things about the present when working on these moments of the past. Allegory, for example, is both antiquated and surprisingly actual, and the work on museum pieces suddenly proves to make you aware of present-day processes that you weren’t aware of.

* George Saunders has finally written a novel, and I’d bet it’s not what you were expecting.

* Marquette will pilot a J-term.

* Earth First, Then Mars: An Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson.

* Relatedly: Would it be immoral to send out a generation starship?

The Tuskegee Experiment Kept Killing Black People Decades After It Ended.

* A Brief History of Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses. Nabokov’s Hand-Drawn Map of Ulysses.

ClcQJJfWQAA_kon* Donald Trump Far Behind Hillary Clinton in Campaign Cash. More. More. More! The only credible answer is that it is difficult or perhaps even impossible for him to produce these comparatively small sums. If that’s true, his claim to be worth billions of dollars must either be a pure sham and a fraud or some artful concoction of extreme leverage and accounting gimmickry, which makes it impossible to come up with actual cash. Even the conservative NRO! Unraveling Con. The United States of Trump. Will Trump Swallow the GOP Whole? This number in Donald Trump’s very bad fundraising report will really worry GOP donors. The Weird Mad Men Connection. There is “Incredibly Strong Evidence” Donald Trump Has Committed Tax Fraud. And these had already happened before the FEC report: Ryan Instructs Republicans to Follow Their ‘Conscience’ on Trump. Scott Walker agrees! Top GOP Consultant Unleashes Epic #NeverTrump Tweetstorm. Donald Trump Agreed to Call 24 Donors, Made It Through Three Before Giving Up. And the polls, my god, the polls. There Is No Trump Campaign. If things go on this way, can the Democrats retake the House? Endgame for the grift, just as Alyssa Rosenberg tried to warn us. How to Trump.

But this one is still my favorite:

* Meanwhile, the DNC’s oppo file on Trump seems surprisingly thin. This Is the Only Good Oppo Research the DNC Has on Trump.

In a Chicago Tribune article from 1989 (which Buzzfeed actually discovered just under a week ago), Donald Trump reveals that he “doesn’t believe in reincarnation, heaven, or hell.” As far as the DNC is concerned, though, it’s Trump’s apparent lack of faith in God’s eternal kingdom, specifically, that’s damning enough for use as ammo.

* Read Sonia Sotomayor’s Atomic Bomb of a Dissent Slamming Racial Profiling and Mass Imprisonment.

* Cognitive dissonance watch: Could Congress Have Stopped Omar Mateen From Getting His Guns? Gun control’s racist reality: The liberal argument against giving police more power. How I Bought an AR-15 in a Five Guys Parking Lot.

Anti-Brexit British MP Assassinated on the Street.

Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation.

The TSA Is Bad Because We Demand That It Be Bad. One Woman’s Case Proves: It’s Basically Impossible to Get Off the ‘No-Fly List.’

* The hack that could take down New York City.

* Rethinking teaching evaluations.

* Study Finds 1 out of 10 Cal State Students is Homeless.

What Are College Governing Boards Getting From Their Search Firms?

Saying victims are to blame, at least in part, for their sexual assaults is a legal tactic used by many colleges accused of negligence.

How Not to Write About College Students and Free Speech.

* Once they killed a president with a diet of beef bouillon, egg yolks, milk, whiskey and drops of opium, delivered rectally.

* A map of North America, in Tolkien’s style. Keep scrolling! There’s many more links below.

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On Thursday, Philadelphia became the first major US city to adopt a tax on carbonated and sugary drinks. I’d rather see an outright ban than an attempt to turn it into a permanent revenue stream. New “soda tax” measures show just how narrow the liberal vision has become.

* Missing Barnes and Noble.

It’s not the right question to ask “how do I get 200 students with laptops in a lecture hall to learn my course material?” Why are they in a lecture hall for 50 minutes, three days a week for 15 weeks or whatever the schedule is? Why do they need to learn the material in your course?

* The illusion of progress: Ditching the headphone jack on phones makes them worse.

* The mind behind UnREAL.

* We’re All Forum Writers Now.

Space Travel Has ‘Permanent Effects,’ Astronaut Scott Kelly Says.

* Sherryl Vint on China Miéville’s The Census-Taker, a book that wasn’t especially well-received by the other critics I’ve read.

At the moment, Netflix has a negative cash flow of almost $1 billion; it regularly needs to go to the debt market to replenish its coffers. Its $6.8 billion in revenue last year pales in comparison to the $28 billion or so at media giants like Time Warner and 21st Century Fox. And for all the original shows Netflix has underwritten, it remains dependent on the very networks that fear its potential to destroy their longtime business model in the way that internet competitors undermined the newspaper and music industries. Now that so many entertainment companies see it as an existential threat, the question is whether Netflix can continue to thrive in the new TV universe that it has brought into being.

* Waukegan group offers tours to raise awareness for proposed Ray Bradbury museum.

* What’s happening in Oakland is incredible.

* #TheWakandaSyllabus. Trump 101. A response to the Trump Syllabus.

* Secrets of my blogging: Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.

Homeless in Seattle: five essays.

* Jay Edidin on How to Be a Guy: After Orlando.

* Cunning Sansa, or Dim Sansa? Game of Thrones’ bungled Arya plot explains why George R.R. Martin’s taking so long to finish the books.

* Presenting the world’s ugliest color.

The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife. I want to believe!

* “People believe that a plane is less likely to crash if a famous person is among the passengers.”

* Death of a startup.

* Such a sad story: Alligator Drags Off 2-Year-Old at Disney Resort in Orlando. My son turns two today, which is almost too much to bear in juxtaposition with this headline.

* The Pixar Theory of Labor.

* The boys are back in town. It’s too late for you. It’s too late for all of us now.

Now new research helps explain the parental happiness gap, suggesting it’s less about the children and more about family support in the country where you live.

The Microsoft founder and philanthropist recently said he would donate 100,000 hens to countries with high poverty levels, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa but including Bolivia. Bolivia produces 197m chickens annually and has the capacity to export 36m, the local poultry producing association said.

* “Why Chris Pine says you can’t make Star Trek cerebral in 2016.” Respectfully disagree. Meanwhile, sad news in advance of next month’s release of Star Trek Beyond.

That Scrapped Star Wars TV Show Would’ve Starred a Sympathetic, Heartbroken Emperor. Sounds like they were aiming at a version of Daredevil‘s Kingpin plot.

* Laying down my marker now that Flashpoint won’t save The Flash from its downward spiral. Meanwhile, DC seems utterly spooked by the failure of Batman v. Superman and has opened the set of Justice League to reporters to try to spin a new narrative. Lynda Carter is your new POTUS on CW’s Supergirl. Syfy’s Krypton Show Already Sounds Goofy as Shit.

There really was a creepy fifth housemate lurking in cult British TV show The Young Ones.

* In praise of She-Ra.

* Two thousand miles away from the U.S. A-bomb tests in 1945, something weird was happening to Kodak’s film.

Why NASA sent 3 defenseless Legos to die on Jupiter. Earth’s New ‘Quasi’ Moon Will Stick Around for Centuries. Astronomers say there could be at least 2 more mystery planets in our Solar System.

Proportional Pie Chart of the World’s Most Spoken Languages.

* True stories from my childhood having purchased the wrong video game system: 10 of the best Sega Genesis games that deserve a comeback.

* Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

* And Quantum Leap is back, baby! I have five spec scripts in my desk ready to go.

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Written by gerrycanavan

June 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Getting into the Real Good Procrastination Now Links

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* Bush-era flashback and general-election-2016 flashforward, courtesy of Chris Hayes: George Saunders’s The Braindead Megaphone.

* Today in stadium boondoggles: St. Louis has stadium debt, but doesn’t have a team.

* An ecological argument sure to catch fire: What we can do is learn to offer each other patience, compassion, courage, and love. We can learn to accept that just as every human life has its natural end, so too does every civilization. Contrary to what Purdy argues, we don’t need more politics. We need more hospice. We need to learn how to die.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. While neoliberal capitalism has been remarkably successful at laying claim to the future, it used to belong to the left — to the party of utopia. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’s Inventing the Future argues that the contemporary left must revive its historically central mission of imaginative engagement with futurity. It must refuse the all-too-easy trap of dismissing visions of technological and social progress as neoliberal fantasies. It must seize the contemporary moment of increasing technological sophistication to demand a post-scarcity future where people are no longer obliged to be workers; where production and distribution are democratically delegated to a largely automated infrastructure; where people are free to fish in the afternoon and criticize after dinner. It must combine a utopian imagination with the patient organizational work necessary to wrest the future from the clutches of hegemonic neoliberalism.

tumblr_nzx16hOyNR1qap9gno1_500* Eugene V. Debs, accelerationist.

Keep your scythe, the real green future is high-tech, democratic, and radical.

Inside the Police-Industrial Complex.

* Sesame Street has heard your gentrification jokes, and they have decided they are really into it.

* From my friend James Tate Hill: On Being a Writer Who Can’t Read.

* On the Run on trial.

* Keywords for the Age of Austerity 25: Competencies.

Before I Can Fix This Tractor, We Have to Fix Copyright Law.

* Relax, nerds: It Turns Out the Next Game of Thrones Book Isn’t Late at All.

* The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. A counterpoint.

* My favorite little bit of fan fiction/overthinking from The Force Awakens, I think. Elsewhere on the Star Wars front: The 13 Most Nonsensical Theories About The Identity of Supreme Leader Snoke.

* The end of Mad Max?

MST3K is that for me. It saved my life, at least twice.

* An interview with Ahmed Best. From the archives.

* Successful squirrel cyber attacks as of January 2016.

Angry Militia Leader: Stop Mailing Us Dildos.

* Life in Wisconsin: Was it a ‘frostquake’ or an Air Force sonic boom? And then there’s the education beat.

* If left-liberal people don’t stop embarrassing themselves with this Ted Cruz eligibility stuff I might vote for Cruz in protest. Okay, no, but seriously this is embarrassing.

More Than Half of Americans Reportedly Have Less Than $1,000 to Their Name.

This Professor Fell In Love With His Grad Student — Then Fired Her For It. And you’ll never guess what Caltech did next!

* I’m considered adding a running closer to these link posts that’s just headlines from the day’s Journal-Sentinel that amuse me. Today, that’s Shorewood man pursues insanity defense in voter fraud case.

* But for now, nothing gold can stay: Mysterious Wow! Signal Came From Comets, Not Aliens, Claims Scientist.

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Monday! Morning! Links!

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* Jaimee’s lesson on the letter L, “Lo Lee Ta,” is up at Red Paint Hill.

How to prepare your campuses for a queen sacrifice: a handy guide from Connecticut.

From Inside Higher Ed and excellent reporting by Colleen Flaherty, we start with a series of proposals to cut back faculty autonomy and increase administrative power over instructors.  The central, multi-campus administration can fire tenured profs more easily, and also move them to other campuses in the system:

tenured faculty members may be moved to another regional university without their consent, without the guarantee of tenure there. Tenured faculty members could be terminated, not just in cases of financial exigency, as is now the case, but if the administration “believes economic or programmatic conditions exist” for retrenchment. And tenured faculty members also could be fired without the chance to appeal for breaking any local, state or national law, ethical standard or policy statement…

Moreover, “faculty members would have to be ‘professional’ and ‘collegial,’” i.e.,, more easily disciplined. Additionally, a significant union-managed faculty grant program would end, making professors more dependent on the administration.

On Campus, Older Faculty Keep On Keepin’ On. Far out man.

Maryland Debacle Shows Why We Must Get Football Out Of Our Universities.

Cheat-Sheet for a Non (or Less) Colonialist Speculative Design.

The Voice Trap: On the Perils of Authorial Parochialism.

* Disaster citizenship.

Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.

* Profiting from the “cop cloud.” From TNI‘s “Cops 2” issue.

* “It is my conclusion that Officer Loehmann’s use of deadly force falls within the realm of reasonableness under the dictates of the Fourth Amendment.”

* Inspiring.

Inside the Intense, Insular World of AOL Disc Collecting.

See the Sketches J.R.R. Tolkien Used to Build Middle-Earth.

* Malicious defamation lawsuit against Mother Jones ends in exoneration, $2.5 million dollar legal bill.

Pretty vacant: the glory of abandoned spaces. Bonus: photos of empty Chinese amusement parks.

There is a long tradition in the West of dancing on the Soviet grave in order to celebrate Western values, and so it comes as no surprise that the focus on Soviet historical artifacts is a focus entirely on the dead and decaying.

* Bring on the climate trials.

* But don’t worry, a bioethics professor at NYU has the solution: stunt child growth to use fewer resources. Got it in one.

* BREAKING: Slavery in America was much worse than you probably imagined.

* Designing the space suit to explore Mars.

* RESPECTFULLY DISAGREE.

Hope Is the Enemy: Caring for a patient suffering from dementia means coming to terms with the frustrating paradoxes of memory and language.

We’re flushing all these antidepressants into our water. How big is the problem?

* From the mammography files.

Masculinity Is an Anxiety Disorder.

Donald Trump Reviews The Lord of the Rings.

* Happy Columbus Day everybody. Here’s your roundup.

* The two Sacagaweas.

* Oh, I don’t know that I’d say that I’m a genius.

* I’ll allow it, but you’re on thin ice: Wes Anderson’s Next Project Is a Stop-Motion Movie About Dogs.

* And the last alphabet you’ll ever need.

Sunday Links

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Suff1(some shamelessly borrowed from you-know-who)

* Britain paid reparations for slavery? That’s fantast–oh god.

The true scale of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country’s wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.

Fathers matter, but so do grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Indeed, it may take as long as 300-500 years for high- and low-status families to produce descendants with equal chances of being in various parts of the income spectrum.

* The Ambition Gap: When researchers have studied the ambition gap, they’ve discovered something peculiar: It’s not there. Women do ask for more. They just aren’t rewarded for it. Via Feminéma.

7 Obscure Children’s Books by Authors of Grown-Up Literature. Joyce! Twain! Woolf! Eliot! Shelley! Tolstoy! Wilde! 7 (More) Obscure Children’s Books by Famous “Adult” Lit Authors. Huxley! Stein! Thurber! Sandburg! Rushdie! Fleming! Hughes!

* Actually existing media bias: Glenn Greenwald on what’s become of MSNBC.

I wonder: does someone who goes from being an Obama White House spokesman and Obama campaign official to being an MSNBC contributor even notice that they changed jobs?

* Mentoring and cruel optimism.

* Race and the cuts at Emory.

* Rehabilitating Zero Dark Thirty.

Susan Sontag once wrote that every mass art form is practiced and experienced as “a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.” Zero Dark Thirty’s critics, unwilling to understand themselves as the film’s intended audience, instead imagined that “real Americans” were being made tools of power through one of their most important social rites: moviegoing. What these critics did not confront was their own need to fend off anxiety. For Maya, as for many Americans, the anxiety has to do with the inadequacy of Osama bin Laden’s death as consolation for all of the disasters that preceded it. How else to explain the manic focus on proving that torture did not contribute to the search for bin Laden? It suggests a kind of desperation, a desire to hold up just this one episode as separate and different from the rest of the war. This desire is Zero Dark Thirty’s true subject, as well as the object of its critique.

‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis.’

The Princess and the Trolls: The Heartrending Legend of Adalia Rose, the Most Reviled Six-Year-Old Girl on the Internet. People are the worst. Jesus Christ.

* Texts from Pride and Prejudice. Texts from Don Quixote.

* Ten Little Suffragettes.

* George Saunders, lapsed Catholic.

* Papal Conclave 101.

Perhaps the classic expression of this idea belongs to none other than the outgoing pope, Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

Then the clincher:

There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

* Hayley Schafer chose her dream job at the age of 5. Three years later, her grandmother told her that if she wrote it down, the dream would come true. So she found a piece of blue construction paper and scrawled on it with a pencil: “Veterianian.” “No one told me how to spell it,” she remembers. “They just said, ‘Sound it out.’ ”

At the age of 30, she still has the sign, which is framed on her desk at the Caring Hearts Animal Clinic in Gilbert, Ariz., where she works as a vet. She also has $312,000 in student loans, courtesy of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Or rather, $312,000 was what she owed the last time she could bring herself to log into the Sallie Mae account that tracks the ever-growing balance.

* The Cost of Prison.

* A brief history of the car cup holder.

* Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male.

* Oscar Pistorius and the Media. The curious case of Reeva Steenkamp’s boyfriend. Inspiration porn and compulsory able bodiedness.

* Stay Free or Die Tryin’: Scenes from the student protests at Cooper Union.

Hidden behind a false wall and a fast-food restaurant, large black and brown images depict the faces of seven UCLA alumni, symbolizing the struggle of social activism and black history.

* Could a president use drones to kill journalists?

* Being David Bowie.

But what I wanted to talk about is the way that the Harlem Shake meme seems perfectly designed for the workplace.

Weekend Links – 2!

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Links for the Weekend

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What Search Committees Wish You Knew. This is a reasonably good article with one piece of deeply terrible advice. Do not tell a search committee anything about your personal life or your relationships that will harm your chances until after you have received a written offer. Being open and honest about your two-body problem will not help you in the least. UPDATE: When I posted this on Twitter, @academicdave had a much harsher take, and found the piece pretty wanting. I don’t know. I think it’s useful for applicants to try to humanize their imagination of the search committee a bit (which can be hard). And then of course once you’ve done that you have to put brakes on that impulse, because they’re still not your friends, and they don’t really care about you much at all.

* Ads without Products has a great pedagogical post on teaching writing and critical perversity. I think I’m going to steal some of this language for my course next semester.

So how do I teach “practical criticism”? In the seminar groups that I lead, I model and encourage the following “flow chart” of thought: Anticipate what other intelligent readers of this piece might say about it. Try to imagine the “conventional wisdom” about it that would emerge as if automatically in the minds of the relatively well-informed and intelligent. And then, but only then, figure out a perverse turn that you can make within the context of but against this conventional wisdom. “Of course that seems right, but on the other hand it fails to account for…” “On first glace, it would be easy and to a degree justifiable to conclude that…. But what if we reconsider this conclusion in the light of….”

Students tend to demonstrate resistance, early on, to this practice. For one thing, especially in the first year, they don’t really (and couldn’t possibly) have a fully developed sense of what the “conventional wisdom” is that their supposed to be augmenting, contradicting, perverting. At this early stage, the process requires them to make an uncomfortable Pascalian wager with themselves – to pretend as though they are confident in their apprehensions until the confidence itself arrives. But even if there’s a certain awkwardness in play, it does seem to exercise the right parts of the students’ critical and analytical faculties so that they (to continue the metaphor) develop a sort of “muscle memory” of the “right” way to do criticism. From what I can tell, encouraging them to develop an instinct of this sort early measurably improves their writing as they move through their degree.

But still (and here, finally, I’m getting to the point of this post) there’s a big problem with all of this. I warn the students of this very early on – generally the first time I run one of their criticism seminars. There’s a big unanswered question lurking behind this entire process. Why must we be perverse? What is the value of aiming always for provocative difference, novelty, rather than any other goal?  Of course, there’s a pragmatic answer: Because it will cause your writing to be better received. Because you will earn better marks by doing it this way rather than the other. Because you will develop a skill – one that can be shifted to other fields of endeavour – that will be recognised as what the world generally calls “intelligence.” But – in particular because none of this should simply be about the pragmatics of getting up the various ladders and depth charts of life – this simply isn’t a sufficient response, or at least is one that begs as many questions as it answers. What are, after all the politics of “novelty”? What are we to make of the structural similarity between what it takes to impress one’s markers and what it takes to make in “on the market,” whether as a human or inhuman commodity? What if – in the end – the answers to question that need (ethically, politically) answering are simple rather than complex, the obvious rather than the surprising?

* A possible example of critical perversity from Deadspin: Everything You Need To Know About Pennsylvania’s Lawsuit Against The NCAA (And Why You Should Support It). Though frankly I’m pretty sympathetic to the claim that the NCAA has no jurisdiction over criminal conspiracies, much less that it followed a rational procedure to adjudicate competing claims in this case.

Bousquet asked the audience why police departments are far more diverse than English departments, by and large. Noting the silence in the audience following his question, Bousquet noted, “We have made it too difficult for those who are not advantaged” to enter the profession. Asked whether he believes faculty diversity is a priority for elite institutions, such as the one he now teaches at, Bousquet said such institutions are “constantly trying to work on the question of diversity.

“For me, the question is why do they fail so much, despite all of those efforts. And I think one of the reasons, amongst many, is the irrationalism of faculty compensation.” Bousquet adds, “Eighty percent of faculty are working like for $15,000 a year” taking into account adjuncts and graduate students.

* “Sustainable Teaching Fail”: The conditions of non-tenure-track faculty are setting us up to be failures as effective pedagogues.

* Lincoln explains the modern GOP.

“Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.”

* But don’t worry! There’s a hack for that! The self-evident Calvinball lunacy of this trillion-dollar-coin thing is all the proof I need that our system is broken and our elites are insane.

Politicians Should Learn Bigger Lessons From Their Pet Causes.

But too many politicians, and this especially includes self-described fiscal conservatives, simply can’t draw the obvious conclusion from all this: namely that you shouldn’t support help for the poor and the sick and elderly only if you personally happen to know someone who’s poor or sick or elderly. All of these people exist whether or not they happen to be family members.

* Blue Mars: What Mars would look like with oceans and life.

* A California appeals court has found that raping a sleeping woman isn’t illegal if she’s unmarried. I swear to God, I don’t even know where to begin with this bullshit anymore.

* Elsewhere in rape culture atrocities: Basically an entire town colludes to protect their football team from rape prosecution.

House GOP lets the Violence Against Women Act expire for first time since 1994. I mean really.

* Inside Chernobyl’s Abandoned Hospital.

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* More Evidence Shows That Pro Sports Teams Don’t Boost The Economy.

* There Are Two Law School Grads for Every Lawyer Job.

* The Original Star Wars Trilogy As Maps.

Commander Riker lorem ipsum.

* Everything that’s wrong with football, in ten seconds. WHAT A HIT! I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN WAIT TO SEE IF THE PLAYER HAS BEEN HURT OR KILLED! VIOLENCE! EXCITEMENT! YELLING!

* Google is not an illegal monopoly, so they can go on ruining all their products with dumb attempts to monetize your data. Hooray!

* And George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year. Sold!