Posts Tagged ‘J.G. Ballard’
* I was on On Point on NPR last week to talk about Star Wars. How to tell if someone read the EU novels. What We Talk About When We Talk about Star Wars. Medieval Star Wars. Smash the Force. Humorless Marxist Reviews: The Force Awakens. Starkiller Base: The Contractor Memos. Star Wars as Pastiche. “We now have something like proof that life for the average citizen in the Star Wars universe would have been better off if the rebellion had failed.” The Force Awakens as Jedi rewrite. Star Wars and the monomyth of Silicon Valley. George Lucas’s Secret Weapon. The only element that actually got me excited about what another galaxy might look and feel like was Rey’s instant bread. We Need to Make Room For This Gingerbread Darth Vader in the Smithsonian. This Lifesize BB-8 Cake Is Almost Too Beautiful To Eat. ‘Star Wars,’ if it were directed by Ken Burns. #WheresRey. An inversion of stakes so monstrous that it makes the film actually despicable. Please Stop Spreading This Nonsense that Rey From Star Wars Is a “Mary Sue.” Anyway, it did okay. And from the archives: “Hobbits in Space,” 1977.
* A nine-month, non-tenure position teaching “What Is The Good Life?” to up to six hundred students. I’m not sure I know what the good life is but I think I can rule out at least one thing.
* That’s right. The same educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to—while at the same time obscuring—the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.
* The Star Wars Holiday Special Was The Worst Thing on Television Ever. Look for it on How Did This Get Made? this week.
* Immediately greenlit: Quentin Tarantino Almost Made A Luke Cage Movie And Wants To Create His Own Superhero.
* And I say teach the controversy: ‘Bleeding’ Communion Wafer Caused By Mold, Not A Miracle.
* Life in the 21st Century, Part One: Reporters From Nevada’s Largest Newspaper Demand To Know Who Owns Their Company.
* And Part Two: Threats Made To Spoil Star Wars: The Force Awakens Unless Demands Are Met. The Chrome Anti-Star-Wars-Spoiler Extension Will Be With You, Always. (It actually pings the first link, but I think it was just seeing the words “Star Wars” and “spoil” in close proximity.)
* While we all take courses “outside” our field at some point, we generally sort ourselves into two groups pretty early: people who study American literature and people who study British literature. And, by the end of graduate school, we have become people who teach Introduction to American Literature and people who teach Introduction to British Literature. Finally, we become people who apply for jobs in American literature and British literature.
* Tracy even sent us a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that we were his parents, and that we were the rightful owner of his photographic image. We found this so outrageous and unsettling that we filed a police report for harassment. Once Tracy realized we would not respond, he subjected us to ridicule and contempt on his blog, boasting to his readers that the “unfulfilled request” was “noteworthy” because we had used copyright claims to “thwart continued research of the Sandy Hook massacre event.” More here.
* Josh and Jessica review “self defense” under Common Law and the Model Penal Code in analyzing whether Han Solo was legally justified in shooting Greedo first in the original Star Wars (Episode IV).
* “We must get to Mars before World War Three kicks off.” Well there’s a rallying cry!
In the seven years since the Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened, hundreds of thousands of seed samples have gone into its icy tombs. And not one has come out—until now.
* Huge, if true: High Rise director Ben Wheatley: societal collapse is imminent.
* Huge, if true: Bernie Sanders can’t save America.
* “Our society needs a massive reset in terms of its priorities [regarding autism],” Silberman said. “One of the main problems facing families now is their children aging out of services. Yet almost all of the funding into research goes into investigating causes.” […] “Many things are being ignored by going after the cause of the alleged epidemic that may not even be one,” said Silberman. “It is amazing to me, after all this arguing about whether or not vaccines cause autism that we still haven’t done a basic prevalence study of autism among adults.”
* The problem is, you can tear down an institution in a year. It takes 25 — if you’re the best — to build it back up again. But it’s too late now. By breaking the rules of the search, Harreld helped violate the trust of the community and the values of the university. Iowa’s tradition has been sullied. If Harreld remains and wants to be a serious university president, his job is not going to be “going from good to great,” but rather repairing the damage that the Board of Regents, the governor and he, himself have done.
* What could possibly go wrong? You Can Now Rent H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Apartment.
* Inside every dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine is a little valve that directs the flow of water. For decades, most of these valves have come from a factory in the northwestern corner of Illinois, but not after today.
* Call for applications: The 2015-16 postdoc seminar at Rice, “After Biopolitics.”
* In the absence of sparrows: the front page story says you’ve been missing since / November 22, 2012. Everything else it doesn’t say. / In the absence of sparrows: you simply wandered off, past the Sunoco, pockets stuffed. / The door to your apartment is open still—
* Together, these forums, initiatives, and spy teams constitute a sustained effort to suppress meaningful resistance to the university’s privatization program by placing strict boundaries on dissent. Policing Civility.
* Elsewhere in campus civility: The Pentagon Is Giving Grenade Launchers to Campus Police.
* Hence I propose that, roughly speaking, one’s privilege level correlates with the likelihood that expressing anger will make people take your concerns more seriously rather than less — or at the very least, that it will prompt a reaction to you as an individual rather than triggering an immediate generalization about your demographic profile. This is one of the most intimate and insidious things about privilege dynamics: even the right to express perfectly natural and justified human emotions can’t be taken for granted.
* The Paris Review interviews Ray Bradbury.
If I’d lived in the late eighteen hundreds I might have written a story predicting that strange vehicles would soon move across the landscape of the United States and would kill two million people in a period of seventy years. Science fiction is not just the art of the possible, but of the obvious. Once the automobile appeared you could have predicted that it would destroy as many people as it did.
They affect us because we realize that if they are monsters it is because we, the adults, have made them so. In them we find everything: Freud, mass culture, digest culture, frustrated struggle for success, craving for affection, loneliness, passive acquiescence, and neurotic protest. But all these elements do not blossom directly, as we know them, from the mouths of a group of children: they are conceived and spoken after passing through the filter of innocence. Schulz’s children are not a sly instrument to handle our adult problems: they experience these problems according to a childish psychology, and for this very reason they seem to us touching and hopeless, as if we were suddenly aware that our ills have polluted everything, at the root.
* As fast-food workers demonstrate nationwide for a $15 hourly wage, and congressional Republicans fight off a $10 federal minimum, little SeaTac has something to offer the debate. Its neighbor, Seattle, was the first big city to approve a $15 wage, this spring, but that doesn’t start phasing in until next year. SeaTac did it all at once. And, though there’s nothing definitive, this much is clear: The sky did not fall.
* Profiles in courage: Obama to delay his big move on immigration until after election.
* Not really how it’s supposed to work: An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment last month for refusing to take an oath containing “so help me God,” the American Humanist Association said Thursday.
* Female privilege is real: Sharks nine times more likely to kill men than women, study says.
* The eight white identities. I’m not 100% clear on the daylight between White Traitor and White Abolitionist, but otherwise it seems to taxonomize approaches to white supremacy I see on the Internet all the time.
* Could it be possible that police departments are lying when they say suspects handcuffed behind their backs are shooting themselves in the chest with hidden weapons that were somehow not found when they were searched? Truly, a bold provocation. Perhaps it will always be a mystery.
* And: you fools: every day is Bill Murray Day.
* Research shows that if a child discloses sexual abuse, chances are very, very good that no matter how young he or she is, how angry his or her parent is at the accused, how numb or stiff he or she seems discussing it, how willing she or he is to back off from the claim at any one point, how little physical evidence there is, that child is probably telling the truth. Six Reasons Why Dylan Farrow Is Highly Credible.
* Also at Buzzfeed (sorry): What Arbitrary Thing Are You?
* The latest in terrible education reform ideas: the “parent trigger.”
* The latest in weird weather: “frost quakes.”
“You’re funny, I’m interested. You’re not funny, I’m not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that.”
* So much for my doomsday prepping: The Great Lakes May Be Drying Up.
“That is as bad as anything I’ve ever heard,” he said of the decision to let Weston work with cleaning products. “Not only did they know he was suicidal, they know how he did it, and they gave him the very agent that he’s used to try to commit suicide. That sounds criminal.”
* There’s a new TNI out, on H8.
* Germans are stealing our precious words; their current favorite is shitschturm.
* We should be wary of declaring “the end of the English major” when what has really happened is that, in terms of humanities enrollments, schools like Yale have gone from exceptional to merely above average.
* And what could go wrong? Ginsberg says she won’t retire before 2016.