Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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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Closing Every Tab Not In Anger But In Disappointment Links

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* I have a new essay out on zombies and the elderly in this great new book on zombies, medicine, and comics: The Walking Med: Zombies and the Medical Image. And if you’re interested in my Octavia Butler book, podcaster Jonah Sutton-Morse (@cabbageandkings) is going through it piece by piece on Twitter with #mmsfoeb. Also, check out this LARB interview with Ayana Jamieson on her work in the Butler archives!

* CFP: Comics Remixed: Adaptation and Graphic Narrative, University of Florida. CFP: ASLE 2017 (Detroit, MI). CFP: Special Issue of Green Letters on Crime Fiction and Ecology. CFP: Global Dystopia.

* Maybe the best thing you’ll read this year: Clickhole’s Oral History of Star Trek.

* Wes Anderson made a Christmas commercial. Updated Power Rankings coming soon!

‘Feast or Famine’ for Humanities Ph.D.s.

Las Vegas is a microcosm. “The world is turning into this giant Skinner box for the self,” Schüll told me. “The experience that is being designed for in banking or health care is the same as in Candy Crush. It’s about looping people into these flows of incentive and reward. Your coffee at Starbucks, your education software, your credit card, the meds you need for your diabetes. Every consumer interface is becoming like a slot machine.”

Jesuit university presidents issue statement supporting undocumented students. Catholic college leaders pledge solidarity with undocumented students. Dissent on sanctuary cities.

* Public universities and the doom loop. UW-Madison drops out of top five research universities for first time since 1972. Student visas, university finances, and Trump.

* Stealing it fair and square: In split decision, federal judges rule Wisconsin’s redistricting law an unconstitutional gerrymander. And so on and so on.

The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces.

How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red.’ Maybe the Internet Isn’t a Fantastic Tool for Democracy After All. Postelection Harassment, Case by Case. Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today. Making White Supremacy Acceptable Again. Trump and the Sundown Town. No one can stop President Trump from using nuclear weapons. That’s by design. If only someone had thought of this eight years ago! A time for treason.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-8-20-00-am* Texas Elector Resigns: Trump Is Not Qualified And I Cannot Vote For Him. Trump and the End of Expertise. On Taking the Electoral College Literally. Some Schmittian reflections on the election. Stop Calling the United States a Banana Republic. Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President. Emoluments. A running list of how Donald Trump’s new position may be helping his business interests. A billionaire coup d’etat. Wunderkind. Voting under the influence of celebrity. We have an institution that could stop this (no not that one), but it won’t. Wheeeeee! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

* And I’m afraid the news only gets worse.

If you were designing a political strategy with the goal of long-term defeat, I don’t think you could do better than actual existing Democrats. 

* “I would rather lose than win the way you guys did,” Ms. Palmieri said.” Respectfully disagree! The Myth of the Rust Belt Revolt. Who Lost the White House? Careful! We don’t want to learn anything from this.

* I was reminded recently of this post from @rortybomb a few years ago that, I think, got the Obama years right earlier and better than just about anyone. And here he is on the election: Learning from Trump in Retrospect.

* Maybe America is simply too big.

Inside the bizarre world of the military-entertainment industry’s racialized gamification of war.

* Trump’s already working miracles: Dykes to Watch Out For is out of retirement.

The Nitty-Gritty on Getting a Job: The 5 Things Your English Professors Don’t Teach You.

* Remembering Scott Eric Kaufman.

Huge Cracks In the West Antarctic Ice Sheet May Signal Its Collapse.

* Marx as food theorist.

* Four Futures: Life After Capitalism review – will robots bring utopia or terror?

* The Mobility Myth.

* I Was a Teenage Nazi.

If I developed a drug and then tested it myself without a control group, you might be a bit suspicious about my claims that everyone who took it recovered from his head cold after two weeks and thus that my drug is a success. But these are precisely the sorts of claims that we find in assessment.

A world map of every country’s tourism slogan. Here Are the Real Boundaries of American Metropolises, Decided by an Algorithm.

* The youth concussion crisis.

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Cheating at the Olympics Is at Epic Levels.

* Pardoning Edward Snowden.

Mr. Plinkett and 21st-Century Star Wars Fandom. An addendum.

* Moana before Moana. This one’s pretty great by the way, my kids loved it.

* From the archives: Terry Bisson’s “Meat.”

* Stanislaw Lem: The Man with the Future Inside Him.

* The genetics of success?

U.S. Military Preps for Gene Drives Run Amok.

* Fidel Castro: The Playboy Interview.

* Cap’n Crunch presents The Earliest Show.

* Coming soon: Saladin Ahmed’s Black Bolt. Grant Morrison’s The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ.

Parker Posey Will Play Dr. Smith and Now We Suddenly Care a Lot About Netflix’s Lost in Space. TNT fires up a Snowpiercer pilot. Behind the scenes of the new MST3K. The Cursed Child is coming to Broadway.

“Magneto Was Right”: Recalibrating the Comic Book Movie for the Trump Age.

* Now my childhood is over: both Florence Henderson and Joe Denver have died.

* Of course you had me at “Science fiction vintage Japanese matchbox art mashup prints.”

* A brief history of progress.

* The first, last, and only truly great object of our time.

* And say what you will about OK Go, this one’s pretty damn good.

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

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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Labor Day Weekend Links!

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20121130* Aliens! Aliens! Not really. But it’s never too early to panic.

* This truly is the darkest timeline: Marquette signs new contract with Pepsi for on-campus beverage services.

Some Of The Best PC Games Ever Made Hit Steam This Week. Quest for Glory! Police Quest! Wow. Waiting now for the Mac port.

* Star Trek: Discovery really will follow Number One. Relatedly: The 2000s-era Star Treks we never saw. Star Trek Beyond, Reviewed by Tim Phipps.

Science Fiction World Building in a Capitalist Society: An Interview with Dan Hassler-Forest (Part One).

* The Exemption Packet.

Jason Scott Talks about Preserving Games with the Internet Archive.

* Be a rebel; major in English. A decent discussion of the fact-free moral panic involving choice of major, clickbait headline aside.

The Peculiar Success of Cultural Studies 2.0.

* How to Write an Effective Diversity Statement for a Faculty Job Application.

Mandatory Trigger Warnings at Drexel?

* Lockout at LIU.

* Symposium: Why Monster Studies Now?

* Nicholson Baker, substitute teacher. Welcome to Terror High.

The most important lesson to take from all this is that there is no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem, in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and privatisation, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various systems of othering needed to sustain them all.

* Improv as self-help philosophy, as scam, as fad, as cult. (via) I’ve never taken an improv class, but my nonstop consumption of improv-based comedy podcasts has seriously helped my teaching by helping me see the importance of adopting the yes-and stance in the classroom.

Professor hunger strikes against denial of tenure.

Islam and Science Fiction, the long-running website dedicated to “fill[ing] a gap in the literature about Muslims and Islamic cultures in Science Fiction,” has just published Islamicates: Volume I, as a free-to-download release.

Check Out These Amazing Soviet Maps Of D.C.

That’s a serious charge, worthy of being considered seriously. Although easy access to inexpensive Mexican food would be a boon for hungry Americans, what would the inevitable presence of those trucks do to the American economy? How could our country accommodate an explosion of trucks at that scale? The national economic implications of a taco truck on every corner.

* Stranger Things and the spirit of play.

Here’s why: it’s about play. We have good reasons to overthink TV shows, to take them too seriously: it helps us reclaim from them all that they take for granted, all the ideology in which we find ourselves implicated as we enjoy works produced by a capitalist, patriarchal, racist culture, etc. If your fave is problematic, it’s worth thinking about why, not because you or it are bad and should feel bad, but because our world is fallen and all is vanity and what does humanity gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun, etc. Or something like that. Art has baggage; criticism is about rummaging through that bag to see what’s inside, and what you want to do with it.

* Girls feel Stranger Things, too.

Fortunately, those of us who grew up in the 80s also experienced the 90s, where Dana Scully and Buffy Summers awaited us. But with its flawlessly staged setting and piled-up homages to 80s movies, Stranger Things has performed a kind of time travel: it has reached back into my memories,Total Recall-like, and inserted characters who now seem as though they were there all along. Nancy, the nerd-turned-monster killer who can like more than one boy at once. Barb, the buttoned-up babygay whose best friend won’t let her be disposable. Eleven, the terrifying, funny, scared, brave, smart weirdo whose feelings could save the world.

Global Capitalism, Fan Culture, and (Even) Stranger Things. The Strange Motivations of Stranger Things. Sticking a tough landing: Stranger Things Season Two Will Add New Characters, New Settings, and Sequel Sensibility.

* Teasing the Fall 2016 Pop Culture series at Marquette: Harry Potter, Tarantino, and (yes) Stranger Things.

* $600,000 humanities endowment account at CUNY turns out to be a mere $599,924 dollars short.

* Learn to Write the Vandermeer Way. Keep scrolling!

VanderMeer-Zerfoss

Virtually every decision made by Warner Bros. with regards to its DC superhero movies has been bad. But it’s been so desperate to recreate Marvel’s success that it keeps running forward, trying to constantly course correct, when what it really needs to do it take a break, a deep breath, and start over from scratch with a long-term plan that it will actually stick to.

Jack Kirby’s long-lost, incomplete “The Prisoner” comic book.

The Myth of the Millennial as Cultural Rebel.

Apartment Broker Recommends Brooklyn Residents Spend No More Than 150% Of Income On Rent.

Airlines are surprisingly ill-equipped to handle accusations of sexual assault on their planes.

This small Indiana county sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C., combined. Why? Yes, the word “oxy” appears in the first sentence.

Creepy Clown Sightings in South Carolina Cause a Frenzy.

* Tracing the history of the phrase “office-involved shooting.”

How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media. Why Isn’t It a Bigger Deal That Trump Is Being Advised by Sadistic Pervert Roger Ailes?

Democrats really might have a shot at taking the House. Here’s the math.

* Because you demanded it! CBS is developing a scripted drama based on the life of Judge Judy. It’s also graciously decided to allow you to pay extra for an ad-free experience on its subscription service.

* Ah, the good old days. Still not done yet!

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Meet Moya Bailey, the black woman who created the term “misogynoir.”

* Dialectics of Superman: The Old Lois Lane Really Doesn’t Like the New Lois Lane. The Rise and Fall of Axiom.

* Math is cool: The absent-minded driver’s paradox.

Solar Power Plant Can’t Figure Out How to Stop Frying Birds.

Georgetown University Plans Steps to Atone for Slave Past. Georgetown’s slavery announcement is remarkable. But it’s not reparations.

Deep in the Swamps, Archaeologists Are Finding How Fugitive Slaves Kept Their Freedom.

* “A short story in English is a story in which the letter e occurs no more than 5715  times.”

* How far are you from an In N Out Burger?

* Works for academic papers too.

* RIP, Gene Wilder.

Debating the Legality of the Post-9/11 ‘Forever War’ at the Council on Foreign Relations.

* Whiteness without white supremacy?

Football and the Buffalo both owe some of their survival today to Teddy Roosevelt, who loved them both because they were accessories to one of his first loves: violence, which he and others of his time and a lot of people living right now believe tempers men into steel.

Avengers: Full House.

* Sold in the room: Alison Brie Will Star in Netflix’s ’80s Lady-Wrestling Series G.L.O.W. And that’s before I even found out Marc Maron would be on it too.

* I’m also excited to option this one: Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker.

* The L.A. Times is running a six-part story on that framing of a PTA mom in California.

* Screens in Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax.

* Socialize the EpiPen.

* The critics are saying Arrival (née Story of Your Life) is the real deal.

* The art of Biff Tannen.

* Breaking: Warner Brothers wants another five billion dollars.

Few baseball fans have heard of the tiny Pacific Association, an independent league founded in 2013. But in 2015, during the Stompers’ sophomore season, the team fielded pro baseball’s first openly gay player, Sean Conroy. Then, in the off-season, the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola approached the team to talk about making his Virginia Dare Winery, based in nearby Geyserville, one of its sponsors. That proposal came with another: he wanted the team to recruit female players.

* Understanding Prenatal Depression.

* It’s weird that 911 has an off switch, isn’t it?

* Web comic of the week: Ark.

* Short film of the week: Movies in Space. Chris and Jack’s other stuff is pretty great too.

The New York Times Reassures Parents That Their Sons’ Penises Are Probably Totally Fine.

* And I really think just one more year ought to do it.

in-n-out

Written by gerrycanavan

September 3, 2016 at 8:43 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Links and Every Tab Is Closed, Forever and Ever Amen

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Second, and more surprising to me: Most papers simply lacked a soul—a compelling and well-articulated reason to exist.

I’ve noticed, to my bewilderment, the question circulating of whether J. K. Rowling should have agreed to this project. What could be the case against it? That the play could dilute the accomplishment of the original series? That Rowling’s readers might revolt when asked to read a script? That characters and stories best beloved by readers no longer belong to their author?

* Into the Black: Stories of People Getting Out of Debt. Via MeFi.

* Babies Before Tenure?

* The three student loan crises.

* Five years on Skid Row from University of Chicago sociologist Forrest Stuart.

* Off to a great start: Rio officials had to open Olympic Stadium with bolt cutters after losing key. These Are the Actual Costs of the Rio Olympics. The ideology of the Olympics. A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases. With just days to go until the Rio Olympics begin, the AP—which has been testing viral levels since last year—reports water conditions are worse than ever. Inside the Gloria Marina, where the sailing races take place, adenoviruses per liter have jumped more than 42 percent since they first sampled it in March, 2015.

* Burn your money the higher education way.

* Elsewhere in obviously functional organizations: Recent construction of emergency exit near chancellor’s office for security reasons symbolizes closed-off nature of Dirks’ administration.

“As an alumnus of the college, I feel that I have been lied to, patronized and basically dismissed as an old, white bigot who is insensitive to the needs and feelings of the current college community,” Mr. MacConnell, 77, wrote in a letter to the college’s alumni fund in December, when he first warned that he was reducing his support to the college to a token $5.

“We call on the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a thorough examination into the prevailing practices of major American air carriers, including Delta Air Lines, and to develop policy guidelines on the objective factors that are to be considered when determining that a passenger may legally be removed from a flight,” CAIR-Cincinnati attorney Sana Hassan said.

* Clinton’s tuition plan and private colleges.

“Free college” is a moralistic ruse, in other words, used to smuggle in a market logic where it has no place without addressing the core question of exploitative, exorbitant college costs. It treats education like anything else you’d buy in a store, and scolds those who feel otherwise by pretending they want to get something without working for it. There ain’t so such thing as a free lunch, of course: students and the public have amply paid for it already. They’re just not eating.

* Ira Steven Behr has been working on a Deep Space Nine documentary that apparently somehow includes a “notional season eight.” And while we’re at it: Oh, That’s Where Carol Marcus Was During Star Trek Beyond. Rumor of the Day: Star Trek: Discovery to take place before The Original Series?

Roger Ailes Used Fox News Budget to Finance ‘Black Room’ Campaigns Against His Enemies. This story is just going to get more and more incredible as time goes on, I think.

* Seinfeld: “The Twin Towers.” An original spec script.

* Secrets of the Millennials Revealed: They’re Poor.

But in a consumer culture committed to prolonging adolescence at all costs, the boundaries demarcating child and adult experience have blurred to the point that it’s no longer obvious just who is imitating whom. The American state of play is terminally confused. Much of it feels grimly compulsory, and carries with it a whiff of preemptive failure to achieve the target level of revelry.

This Joke Was Off-limits at Donald Trump’s Comedy Central Roast. Who Lies More? The Answer May Surprise You. You Always Hurt the Ones You Love. On Veterans. On Unlikely Voters. The Shrinking Electoral Map. Georgia as Battleground State. Bloodthirstier than Cheney. If President Trump decided to use nukes, he could do it easily. Congressman Proposes Law To Prevent Trump From Being Able To Launch Nukes On His Own. Only in America could proposals to bomb at least three nations and indefinitely occupy another be labeled “isolationism.” Senior GOP Officials Exploring Options if Trump Drops Out. What Happens If Trump Drops Out? If Trump Drops Out, The Result Will Be A Horrible Legal Quagmire. Premediating a Loss. Just 92 More Days in the Bunker. Here’s what an 8% Clinton Lead Looks Like. Trump, or Political Emotions. A Fable, by Teju Cole. Of course there’s more links after the chart.

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Anagha Uppal, an activist at the University of Tennessee, describes the meal plan rule as “an exercise in tyranny.” Ms. Uppal has not used her plan — “I don’t purchase from Aramark,” she said between bites of chicken salad in pita (cost: $5.74) at the Golden Roast Coffeehouse. On her laptop: a Food Recovery Network sticker; she’s a campus coordinator for the network, a national student group that fights food waste. It was Ms. Uppal who prodded officials to start the Big Orange Meal Share to let students donate swipes.

* google flossing truth

* Possibilia, or, Love in the Multiverse.

* Why Amish Children Rarely Get Asthma.

* When Exhaustion Became a Status Symbol.

* Travel reimbursement voucher, trip to Moon, July 16-24, 1969.

* Like the blog, my Tumblr has been languishing the last few weeks while I’ve been teaching, but every so often I throw up some gold. I don’t know what else I was expecting. I’m with Her(zog). You have every reason to go on living. The last week of my comics class.

A Radioactive Cold War Military Base Will Soon Emerge From Greenland’s Melting Ice.

Perhaps our billboards are the civic sludge, the highway litter, of America’s ambitions and aspirations — literally writ large.

* A Brief Publishing History of Game of Thrones.

* Tolkien: The Lost Recordings.

* On La Jetée.

* Quantum Computing, Getting Closer.

Crows Continue to Be Terrifyingly Intelligent.

A new report from Zillow estimates that with a six-foot sea level rise, “almost 1.9 million homes (or roughly 2 percent of all U.S. homes) – worth a combined $882 billion – are at risk of being underwater by 2100.”

Five years after the tsunami that killed tens of thousands in Japan, a husband still searches the sea for his wife, joined by a father hoping to find his daughter.

What’s Wrong With the DC Comics Movie Franchise? Report: Warner Bros. Turned Suicide Squad Into a Mess in Its Panic Over BvS Criticism.

* …it increasingly makes less and less sense to divorce or sequester games from other forms of cultural study or to think that videogames are so unique that game studies requires its own critical modality. The function of video game criticism.

* The end of sex.

* Men, am I right. Marriage, men, and alcohol.

* The “biological mystery” of the female orgasm.

Last year, though, the National Institutes of Health banned funding of animal-human chimeras until it could figure out whether any of this work would bump against ethical boundaries. Like: Could brain scientists endow research animals with human cognitive abilities, or even consciousness, while transplanting human stem cells into the brain of a developing animal embryo? Would it be morally wrong to create animals with human feet, hands, or a face in order to study human morphology? Modern medicine thinks before it acts. SMASH CUT TO: After a nearly year-long ban…

Life in the city without cops or firefighters would be unpleasant and, inevitably, tragic. But, she notes, “if sanitation workers aren’t out there, the city becomes unlivable, fast.”

* Malcolm Harris reviews The Last Days of New Paris.

Head shots of all of the ways US intelligence thought Hitler might try to disguise himself.

In Super Mario Galaxy, whenever Mario drowns in a swamp, his hand reaches out from under the surface before being sucked in. However, since Mario’s head is so big, he cannot raise his hand above the surface without his head being still visible. To solve this, the game simply shrinks Mario’s head so it doesn’t interfere with the animation.

* How Bill Cosby Finally Landed in a Courtroom.

The Blackest Superhero Story That Marvel Comics Ever Published.

* Everything is not fine.

* And Wisconsin, once again in the news.

hitler-disguise-2

Written by gerrycanavan

August 7, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Night Links!

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* I had two short pieces come out this weekend: a review essay on Star Trek: Beyond at LARB and a flash review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child right here at WordPress.

* CFP: Vector Special Issue: Science Fiction and Music. The Man in the High Castle and Philosophy.

* Point: Earwolf has a new Hamilton podcast, seemingly along the lines of The Incomparable’s but with higher profile guests. Counterpoint: You Should Be Terrified That People Who Enjoy “Hamilton” Run Our Country.

To Learn About ‘Hamilton’ Ticket Bots, We Wrote Our Own Bot.

* “So Below”: A Comic about Understanding Land.

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* Peak Thinkpiece? “Centuries ago, explorers like Columbus and Vasco da Gama played a real-life version of Pokémon Go.” When colonialism is a game. Pokémon Go: Who owns the virtual space around your home? Werner Herzog: Would You Die for the Pokémons? Would You Kill?

A new genre of leftist literature arose between the wars, urging the young to build a brave new world. In the first of two articles, a forgotten dream is remembered. Here’s part two.

* The Huntington has put up some of Butler’s notes on writing Kindred.

Antiblack Racism in Speculative Fiction.

The modern research university has unfortunately become increasingly susceptible to value monism, the belief that there is only one right way to advance, only one correct form of knowledge.

* Bouncy houses OF DEATH.

* The Cosby Next Time: Former Fox News Booker Says She Was Sexually Harassed and ‘Psychologically Tortured’ by Roger Ailes for More Than 20 Years.

* Crisis Theory: The Game!

* Underearners Anonymous.

* #unschooling

* Teasing Arrested Development season five, and the long-rumored recut of season four, at TCA.

* The good news is, we’re all going to live. Here’s the bad news.

6 Human Activities That Pose The Biggest Threat To The World’s Drinking Water. America Has Never Seen a Hot Weather Outlook Like This. And an upcoming conference at Marquette: Public Policy and American Drinking Water.

Early Animals Could’ve Caused Earth’s First Mass Extinction Simply By Existing.

How One Colorado Man Disappeared While Hunting For Hidden Treasure.

What Are Young Non-Working Men Doing?

* What Happened to Wikileaks?

Is Rolling Stone about to get throttled in court over UVA rape report?

* How the other fifth lives.

Ableism, Mass Murder, and Silence.

* Race and dermatology. Space and cardiology.

The Stranger Guest: The Literature of Pregnancy and New Motherhood.

Zombie bacteria that awaken from old corpses might sound like the stuff of an “X-Files” episode. The premise is far from a complete fiction, however.

* Metaphors too on the nose: rise of the corpse flowers.

* Elsewhere on the zombie beat: The Walking Dead Comic Nearly Ended a Lot Sooner Than Anyone Expected. That’s sort of amazing, honestly.

Apps like Seamless and Yelp listen in on our adult lives, then speak to us like children.

J.K. Rowling Says Harry Potter is Done After Cursed Child.

The Lobster: Debt, Referenda, and False Choices.

* Trans* identity will be reclassified by the WHO.

* Being Dazzler.

* Black Art Matters: A Roundtable on the Black Radical Imagination.

* News you can use: How to land a passenger jet without any flight controls.

* Hell Is A Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement. How Prisons Overtook Schools as the Foremost American Institutions. Why Preschool Teachers Struggle To Make Ends Meet.

* This Rick and Morty clip reading from an actual trial transcript shows what how weirdly perfect the two voices work as a comedic duo, independently of any narrative context.

* I say the teach the controversy.

* How to do sex research.

* The Syllabus as a Contract: How do you deal with clever students who find loopholes you didn’t intend?

College learning takes 2.76 hours/day.

I grew up thinking journalism was just for rich white people. I was mostly right.

* Ghostbusters and liberal feminism. The Spiritualist Origins of Ghostbusters.

* This time the nostalgia industry is trained on my heart like a laser.

* Self-identified Jedi and political atheism, yes really.

* The end of the bulldog.

* Austerity nostalgia.

More Than 50 Animals Starve to Death in Venezuela’s Zoos as the Nation Endures Devastating Food Shortages.

* Automation and the end of liberal democracy.

* They told me capital was a vampire, and man, they nailed it.

As an artist, what can I consider if I want to de-objectify and add power to female characters?

* Politics roundup! State roll calls: What RNC and DNC delegates want you to know. Electoral Map Gives Donald Trump Few Places to Go. Trump’s Likeliest Path to Victory May Be an Electoral College Tie. Bounce! Disability Rights at the DNC. Seven Minutes. The GOP’s Dilemma: How Low Can He Go? Why does it matter that Donald Trump is not a novelty? All the same, a pretty incredible chart. From the archives: Norman Mailer Goes to the RNC. How And Why Trump Will Try to Ditch the Debates. Donald Trump as a One Man Constitutional Crisis. An Anti-Trump Electoral Strategy That Isn’t Pro-Clinton. Revenge of the Ghostwriters. A Historic Dud.  Obscene Media Spectacle. American Horror Story. Is Donald Trump OK? “Hegel remarks somewhere,” Marx wrote, “that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” We are the 5%. And we’re still allowed to vote.

* And the kids are all right: Trump, Clinton more disliked by millennials than Voldemort.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2016 at 3:35 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Reading and Teaching Harry Potter after THE CURSED CHILD (No Spoilers, Just a Few Instant Reactions)

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Zoey slept in this morning, so I was able to read the entirety of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on my Kindle app under the covers, racing both an iPad battery that was very rapidly heading to zero and a four-year-old whose every tiny twitch and movement suggested the end of my project was drawing near. I think it’s good. It’s definitely strange. As a revisionary work, it throws some very odd wrinkles into the interior logic of the Harry Potter universe, and as a result I suspect it will always have a sort of quasi-authorative, even apocryphal status within the canon, even beyond what one would have suspected because of the unusual circumstances of its multi-author composition and its form as a play rather than a novel or even a film. It never feels quite real, never feels like the actual future of these people and these circumstances; it’s a tie-in book, oxymoronically authoritative fan fiction. Still, there are a few things here worth lingering on, and it’ll start a lot of conversations.

I know I’ve read the thing almost comically early, so perhaps I’ll do a follow-up post in a week or so with some actual spoiler-laden analysis about the events of the plot. But what struck me most as I was reading The Cursed Child is how directly it resonates with the way I’ve been teaching the series in my literature courses the last two years (a pedagogical focus undoubtedly driven by the fact that I’m a parent now myself). Like many other things in life, the original Harry Potter books look rather different after one becomes a parent, and living inside the franchise again I’ve really come to see it as in large part as a frustrated rumination on bad parents, and on bad fathers in particular.

The class I teach Harry Potter in is a foundations course for English majors, but the theme is “Magic and Literature”; we spend the last half on children’s literature and the last full month on Harry Potter, first talking about the franchise as a whole (with some exceptions, they nearly all know it by heart) and then (re-)reading the fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, together. I choose Order of the Phoenix deliberately: the first three books are all still a little childish, and the fourth is mostly so until the shocking events at the end, which (after Cursed Child) now looks even more like the fulcrum of the entire series. (A surprisingly high number of students in the current college-age cohort had younger siblings who were initially not allowed to read past book three, and only came back to the series later, if at all, after a year or more break.) The sixth and seventh books are really plot-driven, almost to the exclusion of the world-building; you can’t really read one without reading both, and at that point you’re completely excluding any students who don’t already know the series extremely well. But the fifth book is in the sweet spot: it’s adult, in a way the earlier ones aren’t, and it opens up on the larger, darker Wizarding World while still being a stand-alone adventure. It’s also, perhaps it goes without saying, my personal favorite of the five, and I think the actual best writing of all seven — and it brings up some fascinating issues about the Wizarding World and its internal politics that aren’t really developed anywhere else.

We spend two weeks on Phoenix, and afterwards we talk a little bit about the epilogue to the last book, which (as every child knows) flashes forward nineteen years to the day Harry Potter’s second son, Albus Severus, goes to Hogwarts. We need the epilogue in the class because, in my teaching, it’s the culmination of the various explorations of bad parenting that structure Phoenix.

The discussion for the first day inevitably focuses on the scene with Molly Weasley (chapter nine, “The Woes of Mrs. Weasley”). Mrs. Weasley is a fascinating character from the perspective of the Harry-Potter-rereader-as-a-parent, as she is one of only a handful of genuinely “good” parents anywhere in the series: good in the sense that she sees her children (and Harry) as pearls beyond price and simply wants to love, nurture, and protect them, rather than instrumentalize them either in the service of her own ego (as with, say, Lucius Malfoy) or in the service of some larger, supposedly greater cause (as with Dumbledore).

(The character most like Molly in the series is, weirdly, Narcissa Malfoy, as my students in the first iteration of the class pointed out to me: Narcissa is the version of Molly who doesn’t take the word of the men for an answer and who is therefore able to get what she wants and protect her child at any cost, the Higher Cause be damned. That’s a not-insignificant plot detail for reading The Cursed Child.)

In chapter nine of The Order of the Phoenix we see Molly Weasley get excoriated by every other member of the original Order of the Phoenix for being weak, and being unwilling to see that war has come to the children (especially Harry, who is 15) and that they now must grow up and be soldiers instead. Molly says no, leave them out of it, they’re children, and gets shouted down. (In case we miss the point, Molly is then humiliated by the narrative by being unable to defeat a boogeyman parademon that the children had been taught to defeat with a simple spell two years before.) The remainder of the book and really the series as a whole is an exercise in further proving that Molly and those who think like her, like Hermione, are wrong (even though from a strict plot perspective Molly is in fact completely right and if the children had done nothing but just be kids everything in Book Five would have turned out fine). But within the logic of the original series it’s Molly who has to change; she only gets her redemptive moment in Book Seven when she is finally able to reconcile love to violence when she tells Bellatrix Lestrange “Not my daughter, you bitch” before murdering her.

Dumbledore explains at the end of Book Five that, in fact, his problem is that he loves Harry too much, and has been unwilling to fully weaponize him as the circumstances demand, treating him too much like a child — but now he will, reluctantly and with regret, bring Harry completely into the fold as his full lieutenant. (It’s only in Book Seven that we find out Dumbledore is still lying to Harry, even here, and that Dumbledore has always known he was raising Harry for the slaughter; even Snape, who himself has barely any conscience or pity, is horrified when he finds this out.) Both years teaching the course I’ve said at the end of the first day that my overall take on Dumbledore is that he seems to be a brilliant general, a middling-to-poor teacher, and an absolutely terrible father; no one agrees with me on day one, but by the end of the full lesson about half the class or more does. Dumbledore, like Gandalf, and like the Doctor, and like Obi-Wan, and like any other number of mentor wizards in the history of science fiction and fantasy we could name, abuses his protege and everyone else as his instrument in the name of a higher, nobler purpose — and if that’s painful, if that hurts, well, please know he’s sorry, it’s only because he loves you so very much.

The Dumbledore pseudo-apology scene that comes at the end of Book Five is important enough, central enough to the Potter mythos that it plays out again with one of Dumbledore’s portraits in The Cursed Child — only this time, Harry gets to talk back, and this time Dumbledore turns out to be definitely and definitively wrong.

This is why the books always needed the nineteen-years-later epilogue, despite all the many reasons it was a tremendously bad idea compositionally: what we see in the epilogue is that while Harry continues to admire the many men around him who seek to deploy him as their child-soldier, and even names his two sons after his four bad dads (James, who at least was bad mostly because he was dead; Sirius; Severus Snape; and Albus Dumbledore), he actually parents them like Molly Weasley. In the scene Albus is scared that he’ll be sorted into Slytherin, and wants reassurance from his dad that it won’t happen:

“Albus Severus,” Harry said quietly, so that nobody but Ginny could hear, and she was tactful enough to pretend to be waving to Rose, who was now on the train, “you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

“But just say — ”

“– then Slytherin House will have gained an excellent student, won’t it? It doesn’t matter to us, Al. But if if it matters to you, you’ll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account.”

“Really?”

“It did for me,” said Harry.

He had never told any of this children that before, and he saw the wonder in Albus’s face when he said it.

The punchline of the whole Hogwarts adventure, in my reading, is that Harry’s reward is that he gets to be a father, and/but that he isn’t a father like Dumbledore, Sirius, or Lucius. He just loves his kid unconditionally, whoever he is or isn’t, no matter what, forever.

The play’s retelling of the Deathly Hallows epilogue in Act I, Scene II truncates this scene crucially by eliminating the bolded dialogue. (I haven’t seen it performed so I can’t be sure how it plays on stage, but the stage directions don’t indicate any special reaction from Albus to this information either.) It has to retcon out Harry’s choice to love his children like Molly and Narcissa so that he can spend the play learning that lesson instead. So instead of Harry the Good Dad, we spend most of The Cursed Child with Harry as actually a pretty bad one, who fundamentally misunderstands his role in his son’s life, so at the end he can reform and be returned to the place where the original epilogue had always left him anyway.

In that sense, I suppose, the plot of The Cursed Child writ large is itself a little bit like the bubble timeline of any classic time-travel story, existing temporarily to dissipate in the face of reconciliation with the place we already were all along. But that reconciliation is an interesting thing; even reconciled, we can’t read the earlier books in quite the same way, because after The Cursed Child even Rowling won’t let Dumbledore off his hook. The story The Cursed Child tells in the foreground is ultimately the one the Harry Potter series was always telling in the background: how easy it is to be a bad parent, and how easy it would be to be a good one, if only you were stronger.