Posts Tagged ‘Lolita’
* NOAA just released its summer outlook, predicting which areas are going to see unusually hotter temperatures this year. Unsurprisingly for those who have been watching the string of heat records that have been falling like dominoes, almost every area of the United States is included. Things Have Gotten Much Worse Since An Inconvenient Truth.
* Scenes from the class struggle at Oberlin. A reasonably good ethnographic study of a subject which seems to have become utterly impossible to talk about dispassionately.
* And speaking of “impossible to talk about dispassionately”: The canon of English literature is sexist. It is racist. It is colonialist, ableist, transphobic, and totally gross. You must read it anyway.
* The Baylor board of regents fired school president Ken Starr on Tuesday amid the sexual assault scandal involving the Bears football team, according to HornsDigest.com. Baylor not commenting on reports of President Kenneth Starr’s firing.
* The terms “World Science Fiction” or “Global Science Fiction” are becoming legitimate fields of interest at a time where human life is indistinguishable from technological interference and scientific thought. We are technology. We are post-human. And we understand both the “global” and “world” adjectives only through the eyes and screens technology has afforded us. If we loosely understand science fiction as the imaginative exercise with which we deal with science and technology, then it becomes a major tool in understanding a reality that increasingly grows less believable and more fragile, in which crisis has become our quotidian condition. We are desperately looking for others because, in a globalized culture and economy, they might not exist anymore. We might have exterminated them, and we fear our genocidal complicity.
But if the extremely wealthy, under a veil of secrecy, can destroy publications they want to silence, that’s a far bigger threat to freedom of the press than most of the things we commonly worry about on that front. If this is the new weapon in the arsenal of the super rich, few publications will have the resources or the death wish to scrutinize them closely.
* Here’s the thing: from where I live, the world has drifted away. We aren’t precarious, we’re unnecessary. The money has gone to the top. The wages have gone to the top. The recovery hasgone to the top. And what’s worst of all, everybody who matters seems basically pretty okay with that. The new bright sparks, cheerfully referred to as “Young Gods” believe themselves to be the honest winners in a new invent-or-die economy, and are busily planning to escape into space oracquire superpowers, and instead of worrying about this, the talking heads on TV tell you its all a good thing- don’t worry, the recession’s over and everything’s better now, and technology is TOTES AMAZEBALLS!
* The Do Not Call list was supposed to defeat telemarketers. Now scammy robocalls are out of control. What happened?
* Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember?, or, “Johnny B. Goode in the Anthropocene.”
But it did guarantee that one rock song will exist even if the earth is spontaneously swallowed by the sun: “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. The song was championed by Ann Druyan (who later become Sagan’s wife) and Timothy Ferris, a science writer and friend of Sagan’s who contributed to Rolling Stone magazine. According to Ferris, who was the album’s de facto producer, the folklorist Alan Lomax was against the selection of Berry, based on the argument that rock music was too childish to represent the highest achievements of the planet. (I’m assuming Lomax wasn’t too heavily engaged with the debate over the Sex Pistols and “Saturday Night Fever” either.) “Johnny B. Goode” is the only rock song on the Voyager disc, although a few other tunes were considered. “Here Comes the Sun” was a candidate, and all four Beatles wanted it to be included, but none of them owned the song’s copyright, so it was killed for legal reasons.
* And presenting Reverse CAPTCHA.
* Apropos of what I was saying before about Return of the Jedi: When Luke confronts the idea that his father is his enemy and that he is doomed to become him unless he can somehow accept him, it’s a thunderbolt as true and clear as any Jungian/Freudian missive can be clear. It’s not complicated, but Luke’s refusal at the end to murder his own shadow is underestimated as a watermark in the panoply of generally vengeful, bellicose popular entertainments. What Disney movie, for instance, ends with the embrace of the villain at something other than the tip of a righteous sword? No matter the degree that Lucas’s blinkered populism cripples Return of the Jedi, what remains is this guide to better living. Hard work is good. Courage in the face of entropy is good. Loyalty to your friends is good. Fear is bad. So is self-interest. This basic codification of rules resonating as it does is, after all, only what good cults do: provide a template, easy to follow, of commandments. May the Force be with you.
* China Miéville, “On Social Sadism.”
* A case study in the notion that academic freedom is not a blanket excuse for any and all antisocial behavior: College Moves To Fire Sandy Hook Truther For Allegedly Harassing Victim’s Family.
* “Speechbros” vs. The left should support speech rights because the left is weak. In my old age I’m really becoming more and more of an absolutist on this, alas, despite disliking absolutism and also liars, fools, and knaves.
* “Harvard placemat serves up social justice for Christmas.” Sorry for the Campus Reform link, I couldn’t find anything better.
* And another article on its contemporary reception for the next time I teach Lolita: Men Explain Lolita To Me.
* SFFTV 8.3 is out! With:
Kathleen McHugh, “Seeking a film for the end of the world”
Mark Young, “Xenochrony: aural media and neoliberal time in Shane Carruth’s Primer”
Lars Schmeink, “Frankenstein’s offspring: practicing science and parenthood in Natali’s Splice”
J.P. Telotte, “Sex and machines: the ‘buzz’ of 1950s science fiction films”
* Great stuff coming from the UCR Sawyer Seminar on Alternative Futurisms:
October 6: Panel on Asian American Speculative Fiction
October 16-17: Revising the Past, Remaking the Future Conference
* And elsewhere on the academic job market watch: how long am I marketable?
* USC has an exciting fix for contingent employment in academia: contingent employment in academia.
* Steven Salaita: Why I Was Fired.
* I just had to do one of these with my daughters’ preschool. The twenty-first century is awful.
* DraftKings Employee With Access To Inside Info Wins $350K At FanDuel. This is an insane story.
* Our economy is broken. Could a universal basic income, child allowances, and worker-owned cooperatives fix it? I’m so old I can remember when “New New Deal” was Obama’s brand.
* “Whole Foods To Stop Profiting From Prison Labor.” You know, in these tough times, most companies would be happy to just break even with prison labor.
* Noncitizens and the census. This is a really interesting problem for which the proper solution — let noncitizen permanent residents vote — is of course entirely off the table.
* Justine Siegal Becomes First Female Baseball Coach In MLB History. That’s… recent.
* Tesla’s new Model X has a ‘bioweapon defense mode’ button. “This is a real button,” Musk says.
* NASA Has Already Hired Someone To Make Sure We Don’t Destroy Mars, Too. Teach the controversy: does Mars even exist?
* Here comes the gender-bent Twilight. I’m actually fascinated by this project.
* The Algorithm and the Watchtower: “The form of power that Big Data employs is not so much panoptic as it is pan-analytic.”
* Tonight! DC! 6:30! Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs!
* Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth: Time for a Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track.
* The problem is that the IRB system is so fundamentally misconceived that it is virtually a model of how to regulate badly.
* Teen got arrested after cop tried to pick her up, failed. Warrants issued for people who cheered at Senatobia graduation. In the last seven years at least 29 police K-9s have sweltered to death after officers left the dogs inside hot patrol vehicles.
* Sepp Blatter resigns. Something something joke about George Lucas character names.
* Alternative Idea for Resolving Sexual-Assault Cases Emphasizes Closure. “Administrators promised to keep her charges confidential and to protect her from retaliation.” For what it’s worth, I had some general thoughts on Title IX earlier this week that I Storified on the off-chance anyone is interested. I don’t think the outlook is good.
* Draft, uh, let’s say Bloomberg.
* And the arc of history is long, but Arrested Development season five will air in spring 2016.
Course Number: 4610/5610
Course Title & Subtitle: Individual Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien
Course Description: This decade will see the hundredth anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest writings on Middle-Earth (The Book of Lost Tales, begun in 1917) alongside the completion of Peter Jackson’s career-defining twenty-year project to adapt The Lord of the Rings for film (1995-2015). This course asks the question: Who is J.R.R. Tolkien, looking backward from the perspective of the twenty-first century? Why have his works, and the genre of heroic fantasy which he remade so completely in his image, remained so intensely popular, even as the world has transformed around them? Our study will primarily trace the history, development, and reception of Tolkien’s incredible magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings (written 1937-1949, published 1954-1955)—but we will also take up Tolkien’s contested place in the literary canon of the twentieth century, the uses and abuses of Tolkien in Jackson’s blockbuster films, and the ongoing critical interests and investments of Tolkien fandom today. As Tolkien scholars we will also have the privilege of drawing upon the remarkable J.R.R. Tolkien Collection at the Raynor Library here at Marquette, which contains the original manuscripts for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Farmer Giles of Ham.
Major Readings: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and selected additional readings
Assignments: two shorter papers, one final paper, weekly forum posts, one presentation, class participation
Course Number: 6700
Course Title & Subtitle: Studies in Twentieth Century American Literature: American Literature after the American Century
Course Description: In 1941, Time Magazine publisher Henry Luce called upon the twentieth century to be “the first great American Century,” and it’s been ending ever since. This course takes up American literary and cultural studies from the post-everything standpoint of the “after.” What is it to study American literature today, after the American Century, after American exceptionalism, after modernity, after the university, after the idea of the future itself? Our shared investigation into contemporary critical and scholarly practices will focus on key controversies in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary study, including the ongoing reevaluation of “the canon” (Lolita), popular culture studies (The Body Snatchers), identity and identity politics (Dawn), nationalism and transnationalism (Tropic of Orange), postmodernity and neoliberalism (the short stories of David Foster Wallace), and ecocriticism in the Anthropocene (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves). Our reading will also draw heavily on recent scholarship in critical theory, especially “the new American studies” and the emerging discipline of critical university studies. Alongside weekly reflections and enthusiastic class participation, students in this course will produce a 15-20 page seminar paper on a subject of their choosing related to the themes of the course, as well as present their work to their peers in a conference-presentation format and develop a sample syllabus for an undergraduate course in American literary or cultural studies.
Readings: Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Jack Finney, The Body Snatchers; Octavia E. Butler, Dawn; Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange; Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; the short stories of David Foster Wallace; selected additional readings
Assignments: weekly reflections, class participation, conference-style presentation, seminar paper (15-20 pages), sample syllabus