Posts Tagged ‘Marxism’
* 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!
* 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!
* 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.”
* Stealing it fair and square: In split decision, federal judges rule Wisconsin’s redistricting law an unconstitutional gerrymander. And so on and so on.
* 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.
* 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!
* “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.
* Trump’s already working miracles: Dykes to Watch Out For is out of retirement.
* 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.
* Moana before Moana. This one’s pretty great by the way, my kids loved it.
* From the archives: Terry Bisson’s “Meat.”
* 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.
* Of course you had me at “Science fiction vintage Japanese matchbox art mashup prints.”
* And say what you will about OK Go, this one’s pretty damn good.
* Lots of people are sharing this one, on hyperexploited labor in the academy: Truman Capote Award Acceptance Speech. As with most of this sort of adjunct activist some of its conclusions strike me as emotionally rather than factually correct — specifically, it needs to find a way to make tenured and tenure-track faculty the villains of the story, in order to make the death of the university a moral narrative about betrayal rather than a political narrative about the management class’s construction of austerity — but it’s undoubtedly a powerful read.
* I did this one already, but what the hell: Ten Theses In Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes.
* Open Access (OA) is the movement to make academic research available without charge, typically via digital networks. Like many cyberlibertarian causes OA is roundly celebrated by advocates from across the political spectrum. Yet like many of those causes, OA’s lack of clear grounding in an identifiable political framework means that it may well not only fail to serve the political goals of some of its supporters, and may in fact work against them. In particular, OA is difficult to reconcile with Marxist accounts of labor, and on its face appears not to advance but to actively mitigate against achievement of Marxist goals for the emancipation of labor. In part this stems from a widespread misunderstanding of Marx’s own attitude toward intellectual work, which to Marx was not categorically different from other forms of labor, though was in danger of becoming so precisely through the denial of the value of the end products of intellectual work. This dynamic is particularly visible in the humanities, where OA advocacy routinely includes disparagement of academic labor, and of the value produced by that labor.
* It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe: Nobel academy member calls Bob Dylan’s silence ‘arrogant.’
* Parenting is weird. If God worked at a pet store, He’d be fired. Part Two. It’s a mystery!!! Wooooooooooh! The Fox and the Hedgehog. Science and technology have reached their limit. Self-destructive beverage selection: a guide. Motivational comics. Has the media gotten worse, or has society? Understanding the presidency. The oldest recorded joke is from Sumeria, circa 1900 B.C. There’s a monster under my bed.
* Trump’s Milwaukee Problem. Let’s Talk About the Senate. From Pot To Guns To School Funding: Here’s What’s On The Ballot In Your State. Todd Akin and the “shy” voter. The banality of Trump. The latest polls indicate the possibility of a genuine electoral disaster for the GOP. A short history of white people rigging elections. Having not yet won it back yet, Dems are already getting ready to lose the Senate (again) in 2018. The Democrats are likely to win a majority of House votes, but not a majority of House seats. Again. Today in uncannily accurate metaphors. This all seems perfectly appropriate. Even Dunkin Donuts is suffering. But at least there’s a bright side. On the other hand.
Yes, you read that right. There is a vote on slavery in 2016. The Colorado state constitution currently bans slavery and “involuntary servitude” … except if it’s used as punishment for a crime. This amendment would get rid of that exception and say that slavery is not okay, ever.
* And so, too, with the new civic faith enshrined in Hamilton: we may have found a few new songs to sing about the gods of our troubled history, but when it comes to the stories we count on to tell us who we are, we remain caught in an endless refrain.
* Speaking of endless refrain: Emmett Till memorial in Mississippi is now pierced by bullet holes.
* District Judge John McKeon, who oversees a three-county area of eastern Montana, cited that exception this month when he gave the father a 30-year suspended sentence after his guilty plea to incest and ordered him to spend 60 days in jail over the next six months, giving him credit for the 17 days already served. His sentence requires him to undergo sex offender treatment and includes many other restrictions.
* Today in the Year of Kate McKinnon: ten minutes of her Ghostbusters outtakes.
* I don’t really think they should do Luke Cage season two — or Jessica Jones for that matter, as Daredevil proved already — but just like I’d love to see a Hellcat series with Jessica Jones as a supporting player I’d love to see Misty Knight guest starring Luke Cage.
* The Case against Black Mirror. I haven’t been able to tune in to the new season yet but the backlash surprises me. This was one of the best shows on TV before! What happened?
* How much for a hotel on AT&TTW? AT&T to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion.
* This, on the other hand, is unbelievably awful: Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war. Everyone involved in trying to claw back this money should be ashamed of themselves.
* Gee, you don’t say: U.S. Parents Are Sweating And Hustling To Pay For Child Care.
* And there’s a new Grow game out for that mid-2000s nostalgia factor we all crave. Solution here when you’re done messing around…
* “Whoa,” said the gangster/minotaur, awed at how close he’d just come to losing his forearm. He was beginning to understand that this wasn’t the relatively straightforward world of street-level dope dealing anymore; this was Dungeons and Dragons.
* I’m glad somebody finally paged KSR: “Why Elon Musk’s Mars Vision Needs ‘Some Real Imagination.'”
* “People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.” This is how computer scientist Pedro Domingos sums up the issue in his 2015 book The Master Algorithm. Even the many researchers who reject the prospect of a ‘technological singularity’ — saying the field is too young — support the introduction of relatively untested AI systems into social institutions.
* One teaching artist sees it differently. “There will always be bad artists with a lot of money who want to go to art school,” she said. On the Future of the MFA.
* There’s More to Life Than Being Happy: On Viktor Frankl and Man’s Search for Meaning. Relatedly: The World’s Happiest Man Wishes You Wouldn’t Call Him That.
* Degree programs in French, geology, German, philosophy and women’s studies are suspended, effectively immediately. Eight additional majors within existing departments, six teaching programs and four graduate programs have been shut down. The university is planning a teach-out program for currently enrolled students. Tenured faculty members in affected programs will be reassigned to different departments. The future of the campus’s nursing, dental education and medical imaging programs is still under discussion. Degree programs in environmental geology and environmental policy were cut previously, in July.
* Advice for how to use Twitter as an academic. Of course, as everyone knows, the only winning move is not to play.
* From David M. Perry: “My non-verbal son communicates through ‘Hamilton.'”
* Dylan, Christ, and Slow Train Coming. Teaching the controversy: Kurt Vonnegut in 1991: “Bob Dylan Is the Worst Poet Alive.” Imperialism-in-Artistry: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Win Is Proof Adichie Is Right about Beyonce. Local Boy Makes Good. But not too good: The Nobel Prize Committee Have Given Up on Trying to Get in Touch with Bob Dylan.
* The notion that American literature might have an imperial bent—that it might be anything other than a string of lightly co-influential works of “imaginative power,” and might itself reflect our national desire to dominate—is lost on its critics, both right and left.
* Another gerrymandering primer. I’m inclined to make a joke about Obama’s proceduralism even ruining his post-presidency but this really is a major issue worth throwing his weight against.
* Atlas Obscura: The Land of Make Believe.
* And then there’s this one: Earlier this October, at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice, London paid its rent to the Queen. The ceremony proceeded much as it had for the past eight centuries. The city handed over a knife, an axe, six oversized horseshoes, and 61 nails to Barbara Janet Fontaine, the Queen’s Remembrancer, the oldest judicial position in England. The job was created in the 12th century to keep track of all that was owed to the crown.
* Thank god the Mac version isn’t ready yet: Civ VI is out.
* A dark, grittier Captain Planet: Leonardo DiCaprio wants to make a Captain Planet movie.
* Hungerford makes Infinite Jest represent how commercial publishers and their enablers in the mainstream media engineer a novel into a canonizable success. The market is corrupt, she says. But is it any more corrupt or distasteful than the publication and marketing of her university press book? “Post 45” is a scholarly association; Hungerford is one of nine Board members. Two other Board members are the series editors for the “Post 45” imprint. The “Advance Praise” for Making Literature Now includes effusive comments by two people whom Hungerford praises in the book, a blurb by a former colleague at Yale, and other comments so hyperbolic that they appear to have been written under the influence of laughing gas. Hungerford put out a misleading trailer for the book in the Chronicle, excising the misogyny charge that’s essential in her closing chapter, perhaps because she feared anyone who had read Infinite Jest would see through that charge and not order Making Literature Now. Her title is grandiose because her data is extremely limited. Rather than the survey that the title implies, Making Literature Now is literary tourism combined with two takedowns.
* The Department of English invites candidates holding the rank of Associate or Full Professor to apply for the inaugural Stephen E. King Chair in Literature honoring the department’s most celebrated graduate.
* Next week at Marquette: Cuban science fiction authors Yoss and Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo!
* I am writing to apply for the job–or rather “fellowship”–advertised on your website. As a restless member of the creative class, I agree that secure employment, renewable year-to-year, can be a suffocating hindrance. And besides, you specify “tons of snacks and beverages” as part of your benefit package. As a job-seeker motivated by a combination of desperation and snacks, I am an ideal candidate for this position.
* The report finds that the cost of forgoing tuition revenue from two- and four-year public institutions could run into the billions for some states: $4.96 billion in California, $3.89 billion in Texas and $2.53 billion in Michigan.
* Pence and gaslighting. Kaine’s tactical defeat. A Con Man of Epic Proportions. Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for A Mere Two Decades. The mind-blowing scale of Trump’s billion-dollar loss, in one tweet. Trump Foundation ordered to stop fundraising by N.Y. attorney general’s office. I want to believe! This seems legitimate. If Donald Trump Published an Academic Article. If you want a vision of the future.
* All told, however, Xiberras feels Louise could have done better. “We hoped for more followers to take notice of Louise’s behavior,” he says. “There were a few people who sensed the trap—a journalist among others, of course—but in the end, the majority just saw a pretty young girl of her time and not at all a kind of lonely girl, who is actually not at all that happy and with a serious alcohol problem.”
* Here’s a piece we can all get mad about, regardless of our pedagogical inclinations: Are We Teaching Composition All Wrong?
* Teaching the controversy: The Identity of a Famous Person Is News. The outing of Elena Ferrante and the power of naming. Ars longa, vita brevis.
* Harvard loses a mere $2 billion from its endowment. My favorite part of these stories is always the comparison to passive management by an index fund.
* More running it like a sandwich: More than ever, college football programs are finding it difficult to draw and retain the young fans who grow up to be lifelong season-ticket holders. In many athletic departments, the reasons can practically be cited as catechism: high-definition televisions, DVRs, diffuse fan bases and higher ticket and parking costs.
* No one knew then that Springsteen, like Smith, would provide a through-line for his fans as things got worse, shifted in unimaginable ways, shifted again. Springsteen has himself changed with the times, becoming more sensitive to the issues his most-adored music still raises. Born To Rundemonstrates that. The decency at the heart of his memoir is a balm. He’s not only survived a life in rock and roll; he shows how a true believer doesn’t have to get stuck within its illusions, no matter how much they also attract him. After all, to Springsteen, a worthwhile dream isn’t an illusion; it’s a form of work.
* Unusually Murderous Mammals, Typically Murderous Primates: You know, humans.
* One of the most important lessons of Ghosh’s book is that the politics of climate change must not tiptoe around the questions posed by colonial encounters. Issues of climate justice cannot be solved without first addressing questions of equitable distribution of power, historically rooted in imperialism. And therein lies Ghosh’s disagreement with those who find the source of the problem in capitalism itself (Naomi Klein, for example). For him, even if “capitalism were to be magically transformed tomorrow, the imperatives of political and military dominance would remain a significant obstacle to progress on mitigatory action.”
* Wealth of people in their 30s has ‘halved in a decade.’ Probably definitely totally unrelated: Federal student loans facilitate a pernicious profit motive in higher education.
* A major new report suggests serious underemployment among liberal arts majors, affecting as many as 50% of recent graduates in some majors.
* Liu Cixin has an essay on Death’s End up at Tor: Chinese Literature and Apocalyptic SF: Some Notes on Death’s End (and has a review up already as well). My review probably won’t be published for another few weeks, so I’ll just say again: just buy it!
* Once more, with feeling: Student evaluations are useless.
* David Fahrenthold’s reporting on Trump’s foundation has yielded a major scoop, evidence of self-dealing in public documents that would appear to be trivially against the law. Even wilder: this is their defense.
* America: taste the rainbow.
* Instapundit has been suspended from Twitter for a tweet about the Charlotte protests. The tweet in question seems pretty indefensible to me, though Reynolds tries at the link, and regardless of its defensibility suspending him for it seems likely to have very bad consequences both for Twitter and for left academics on a pragmatic level. 9:04 AM UPDATE: He’s already back on.
* “Actuaries shamelessly, although often in good faith, understate pension obligations by as much as 50 percent,” said Jeremy Gold, an actuary and economist, in a speech last year at the M.I.T. Center for Finance and Policy. “Their clients want them to.”
* From Back to the Future II to Stephen King’s saving-JFK novel 11/23/63, the lesson one learns again and again is that trying to improve the world through time travel is a fool’s game, creating far worse problems than whatever you’d hoped to fix. Most of time travel fiction these days is one way or another designed to help us swallow the bitter pill that this life is the one we’re stuck with, that trying to make things better will only backfire.
* Going to go ahead and greenlight this one too: Family flee home after finding spiders which can cause four-hour erection followed by death in ASDA bananas.
* In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups, the police and the police.
* Teaching the controversy: “Should police officers be required to provide medical aid to people they’ve shot?”
* Take that, every authority figure in my personal history! A new study finds that fidgeting — the toe-tapping, foot-wagging and other body movements that annoy your co-workers — is in fact good for your health.
* And now, truly, more than ever: “Tonight the Character of Death Will Be Played by Brad Pitt.”