Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘merit

Every Tuesday Link! Every One!

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* Just a reminder that I’ll be in DC for a debate, Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs.

* The sad story of the São José.

* Against this backdrop, UW System leaders’ public statements in response to JFC’s omnibus bill—statements whose overriding tone is one of gratitude undergirded by obsequiousness—make perfect sense, even as they alternately disgust and infuriate the rest of us. Amid the general calamity for faculty, academic staff, classified staff, and students, there is an alignment of legislative priorities with administrative interests.

* It’s sad to say that when the administrators shut down any possibility for dialogue, when administrations withdraw into cocoon-like gated communities in which they’re always on the defensive, I think that it’s probably not unreasonable to say that this is not just about an assault, this looks like a war strategy. It looks like power is functioning in such a way as to both stamp out dissent and at the same time concentrate itself in ways in which it’s not held accountable.

* Bureaucracy: why won’t scholars break their paper chains?

* Recrimination in the language of the university is the image of a ruined hope that things would be different.

* Who’s getting Koch money today? University edition.

* Dispatches from dystopia. And one more from LARoB: Gender and the Apocalypse.

* Under these weird meritocratic dynamics, bourgeois characteristics make you more valuable not because they are good characteristics in themselves, but merely because they are bourgeois characteristics, and therefore relatable to the top of the economic hierarchy that directs the resources top spots in top firms are competing to get. This poses obvious problems for social mobility, which is the direction people usually take it, but it poses even deeper problems for the idea of “skills” more generally. Where “skills” refers, not to some freestanding objective ability to produce, but rather to your ability to be chummy and familiar to those with the money, they don’t actually seem to be “skills” in the sense most people imagine the term. Upper crust professionals no longer appear to be geniuses, but instead people who went to boarding school and whose manner of conducting themselves shows it.

* When a child goes to war. We talked about the Dumbledore issue a ton in my magic and literature class this semester. Stay tuned through the end for what is indeed surely the greatest editorial note of all time:


* That Oxford decides its poetry chair by voting is just the craziest thing in the world to me.

* Mass Effect, Personal Identity, and Genocide.

* Ghostwriters and Children’s Literature.

* Shaviro: Discognition: Fictions and Fabulations of Sentience.

* Recent Marquette University grads staging Shakespeare in 13 state parks.

* The map is not the territory (from the archives): The Soviet Union’s chief cartographer acknowledged today that for the last 50 years the Soviet Union had deliberately falsified virtually all public maps of the country, misplacing rivers and streets, distorting boundaries and omitting geographical features, on orders of the secret police.

* When My Daughter Asks Me if She Looks Fat.

* Some discussion of the Hastert case that explains why his supposed “blackmailers” may not be facing any charges: it’s legal to ask for money in exchange for not suing somebody.

* Body Cameras Are Not Pointed at the Police; They’re Pointed at You.

* Of course FIFA knew.

* Wes Anderson’s The Grand Overlook Hotel.

* The poison is the cure: Amid the ruins of its casino economy, NJ looks to build more casinos. And that’s only the second-most-ridiculous debate currently rocking the state.

* “Do we really want to fuse our minds together?” No! Who wants that?

* The Time War was good, and the Doctor changing it was also good. Take my word for it, I’m an expert in these matters.

* Everything you want, in the worst possible way: Michael Dorn is still pitching Captain Worf.

* Uber, firmly committed to being the absolute worst, in every arena.

* The Learning Channel, horror show.

* And after a very uneven season the Community series (?) finale is really good. The end.

All the Weekend Links (100%)

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* Jaimee has one of her phobia poems up at Drunken Boat’s “funny” issue: “Derrida Eats a Dorito.”

* CFPs: ICFA 36: The Scientific Imagination. Joss Whedon’s Comics. Assemble! The Making and Re-Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Human-Animal Boundary: Exploring the Line in Philosophy and Fiction.

* MLA Subcon is trying to raise some money for its operations at indiegogo.

* New Study Links Polar Vortex to Climate Change. Speaking for all of Wisconsin: this does not bode well.

* I have to say I really like what Freddie says about privilege and merit here.

Instead, the point should be to ask people to see the ways in which all of our lives are conditioned by vast forces we cannot control, that these forces in general work to the benefit and hindrance of certain broad groups of people in a way that conflicts with our conceptions of justice, and that we can build a more just, more equitable world if we acknowledge that no one’s life is the product only of their work ethic and intelligence.

The long-term project of those who decry the role of unearned advantage in human society should not be to try and parse who is most and least privileged. The project should be to deny the salience of “merit” as a moral arbiter of material security and comfort. The very notion of just deserts– the notion that some people have legitimate accomplishments that we must celebrate because they represent “merit,” whatever that is, distinct from their privileges– is what has to die. There is no space where privilege ends and legitimate accomplishment begins. There is, instead, a world of such multivariate complexity that we can never know whose accomplishments are earned and whose aren’t. Instead, we should recognize the folly of tying material security and comfort to our flawed perceptions of other people’s value, and instead institute an economic system based on the absolute right of all people to food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education.

* Kazuo Ishiguro to publish first novel since Never Let Me Go. I am on board. More links below the photo!


* And on the other side of the spectrum: Margaret Atwood’s new work will remain unseen for a century.

* Shock, horror: Most college classes cost more online than on campus.

* The Classroom of the Future.

Q. How did you make the transition from professor to president? A. Maybe some of our problems in education today stem from the fact that someone like me is considered an unconventional choice. Maybe academic institutions should be run by academics, the way they used to be.

* Wisconsin inches closer to dubious obesity milestone.

* On Christopher Tolkien protecting The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales from New Line. I hadn’t realized that Peter Jackson was prohibited from making reference to those works in his films; that’s fascinating…

* If Pearson were trying to strike back against a researcher who told legislators that they were paying $100 million a year for tests that mostly measure test-taking ability, it would look an awful lot like what is happening to Walter Stroup.

* “If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put ‘u’ and ‘i’ in the same eight-person, windowless office.”

* The New York Times pans a novel for being insufficiently pro-conquistador. The Economist wrings its hands over whether maybe we’re not being fair to slaveowners.

* The Justice Department will investigate the entire Ferguson police force. How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty. Twitter Headquarters Has Painted #Ferguson On Its Office Wall.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson lied when he said he had received “many” specific requests for the videotape that allegedly shows Michael Brown robbing a convenience store, according to a new report.

* Feisal G. Mohamed and Cary Nelson debate the Salaita firing. Salaita and the Accreditors.

* This Is What It’s Like To Sit Through An Anti-Union Meeting At Work.

Gaming doesn’t have a problem; capitalism has a problem. Rather than seeing them simply as immoral assholes or deluded consumerists, we should take gaming’s advanced wing of hateful trolls seriously as representatives of the reactionary shock troops that will have to be defeated in order to build a more egalitarian society in the games industry or anywhere else.

* Five myths about California’s drought. The news is not good, friends.

* Here’s Who Really Controls California’s Water.

* Staff at an Arizona gun range reportedly told investigators that the release forms signed by the family of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed her instructor with an Uzi last week were unavailable because they had been “blown away by the wind.” I’ve head less convincing excuses, I guess.

* Biden’s warning to ISIS militants: ‘We will follow them to the gates of hell.’ 200 U.S. troops headed to Ukraine for ‘peace-keeping exercise’ as Obama condemns Russian aggression.

Brave Teen Refuses to Attend Middle School, Chooses Jail Instead.

* Today in the rule of law: Missouri May Have Lied Under Oath About What Drugs It Used To Kill People And When.

* But don’t worry: The system works. Antonin Scalia’s Favorite Murderer Is Innocent.

* Death Row Guard Has Always Had Soft Spot For The Innocent Ones.

L.A. Times Reporter Basically Let the CIA Edit His Stories on the CIA.

NYPD Pays $33K to Settle Suit After Mistaking Jolly Ranchers for Meth.

* Police telling victims to solve crimes by themselves.

In New York, a human rights lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD after she was arrested for blocking the sidewalk while waiting for her husband and kids to use the bathroom at a Times Square restaurant.

* The call to demilitarize police overlooks the longstanding link between policing and empire.

The Worst Airbnb in the Universe: 22 Beds in One Apartment. Imagine this being your home. Imagine this being your neighbor.

* The fight for the Senate is getting weird y’all.

* For Parents Of Young Black Men With Autism, Extra Fear About Police.

* A horrifying new study says one in five women have been raped.

* “After the football season ended.”

* Vox says your revolution is over, the bums lost.

* Our congresswoman was arrested today at a fast food workers’ strike.

* The killable horde.

* For the first time ever, neuroscientists have demonstrated the viability of direct — and completely non-invasive — brain-to-brain communication in humans. Remarkably, the experiment allowed subjects to exchange mentally-conjured words despite being 5,000 miles apart.

* Science fiction classics in the news: Syfy Greenlights Six-Hour Miniseries Childhood’s End.

BP May Be Fined Up to $18 Billion for Spill in Gulf. Almost 18 days revenue, less than a year’s profit…

Workers At Coal Waste Landfill Told That Coal Ash Is ‘Safe Enough To Eat,’ Lawsuit Says.

Joan Rivers Always Knew She Was Funny. Joan Rivers and today’s comediennes.

Downloaded Games Have A Larger Carbon Footprint Than Blu-Ray Discs. There’s some really questionable assumptions in here, but the argument that theres’s some point where this is true is an important one.

* A Child Helps Your Career, If You’re a Man.

Ms. Budig found that on average, men’s earnings increased more than 6 percent when they had children (if they lived with them), while women’s decreased 4 percent for each child they had. Her study was based on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from 1979 to 2006, which tracked people’s labor market activities over time. Childless, unmarried women earn 96 cents for every dollar a man earns, while married mothers earn 76 cents, widening the gap.

* Here’s why CVS stopped selling cigarettes.

* Here’s why Twitter shouldn’t algorithmize users’ feeds.

* This is the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe.

* Bold new directions: Shazam will differ from other DC movies by being fun.

* Every popular text eventually gets an “it was all just a hallucination” rewrite. Today it’s Harry Potter’s turn.

New Girl at School Had to Wear “Shame Suit” After Dress Code Violation.

* Werner Herzog will guest star on Parks And Recreation.

* Nothing good will happen anymore: Actually, HBO didn’t commission more Flight Of The Conchords.

* Here’s something I should probably waste all my money on.

* New Miracleman Comics Stories (Including One by Grant Morrison) Coming Soon.

* This Map Shows How Hunting Wiped Out Whales In Less Than A Century.

* And FiveThirtyEight is there with a hot take: If Tony Survived The ‘Sopranos’ Finale, He’s Probably Alive Today.


Written by gerrycanavan

September 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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