Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘mourning

Thursday Links!

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* The big story in academia yesterday was the eleventh-hour preemptive firing of Steven Salaita from UIUC (which according to reports may have cost him his tenure at Virginia Tech as well). Especially disturbing in all this is the participation of former AAUP president Cary Nelson, on the side of the firing. Some commentary from Corey Robin, Claire Potter, Philip Weiss, and Electronic Intifada. A statement for the Illinois AAUP. A petition.

* Delayed gratification watch: This week I finally cracked and read Chris Ware’s Building Stories after nearly two years of anticipation. So great. I can’t wait to teach it. I may write more about this later, but for now I can tell you that my arbitrary path through the book told a beautiful story that began with the couple’s fateful move to Englewood and drifted backwards in time, Ulysses-like, to the day the couple met, before culminating in a quietly nostalgic trip to the eponymous building as it stood about to be torn down. So great. My friend Jacob’s review. “I Hoped That the Book Would Just Be Fun”: A Brief Interview with Chris Ware.

* Call for applications: Wisconsin Poet Laureate.

* Oak Creek, Two Years After the Sikh Mass Murder.

* On adjuncts and wildcat strikes.

* I was born too early: N.Y.U. to Add a Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design.

* I was born too late: MIT looking into paying professors by the word.

* College rankings, 1911. Class III! How dare they. #impeachTaft

* The conservative plan to destroy higher education by capturing accreditation.

* UMass-Dartmouth to Pay $1.2-Million to Professor in Discrimination Case.

* Voter Fraud Literally Less Likely Than Being Hit By Lightning.

* The country’s largest environmental group is profiting from oil drilling.

* NYPD sadly forced to arrest its critics.

Medical Workers Say NYPD Cops Beat Man Shackled In A Stretcher. It Is Time We Treat Police Brutality as a National Crisis.

The CIA Must Tell the Truth About My Rendition At 12 Years Old.

“America is always losing its innocence,” Perlstein tells me, caught between the men who say we never lost it, and those who counterfeit its coming back again.

* State’s rights we can believe in: New Jersey drivers may be able to ignore other states’ speed cameras.

* Netflix Says Arrested Development Season 5 Is ‘Just a Matter of When.’

* Maria Bamford and the Hard Work of Acting Normal.

Porn production plummets in Los Angeles.

* How Marvel Conquered Hollywood.

The Lost Projects of Dan Harmon. In addition to Building Stories, I also cracked this week and finally started watching Rick and Morty. Now, granted, it’s no Building Stories — but it’s pretty good!

* The New Inquiry‘s “Mourning” issue is out today and has some really nice essays I think I’ll be using in the second go of my Cultural Preservation course next spring.

Why Civilization: Beyond Earth Is The Hottest New Space Strategy Game.

Disney Is Really Building A Star Wars Theme Park.

* Ethics vs Bioethics.

You Are Given An Unlimited Supply Of Something. The One Catch? The Next Person Sets A Condition.

* Wikipedia’s monkey selfie ruling is a travesty for the world’s monkey artists.

* Apparently Kid for President.

* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Insurance Company Pays Elderly Man’s Workman’s Comp Settlement With $21,000 in Coins.

* Department of diminishing returns: The British Office: The Movie.

* And the kind of headline where I really don’t want any details: NASA: New “impossible” engine works, could change space travel forever. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning…

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Wednesday Night Links!

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* Reminded today of a recent Facebook post from Jonathan Senchyne: …teaching students to be critical of the institutional logics and power structures which many of them aspire to belong to requires you to open space and time for them to mourn these institutions as anchors and meaning-givers in their lives. Only after that can they begin to think about how best to live in the ruins and to think otherwise. See also: David Palumbo-Liu, on sadness.

“The university hasn’t laid out long-term goals for the MOOCs, and the numbers don’t bode particularly well for the courses’ overall success,” the editorial reads. “We’re confused as to why an unproven and unused educational experiment that isn’t even aimed at UT students is something the system feels they should continue funding.”

* Disability and the campus visit.

* Is Ivan adjuncting on your campus? Be vigilant, administrators! Meanwhile the Brookings Institution proposes we just let the markets eat adjuncts. Sure, people can choose to pay more for cruelty-free adjuncts if they want, but in these tough times…

* What chairs can do for adjuncts, today. Informed and realistic, striking precisely because the suggestions are so small.

* When I first saw it on Twitter I couldn’t believe the New York Times *actually* headlined their Wendy Davis profile “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?”

* W.H. Auden: “J.R.R., old boy, does this story really need two women?”

* The New Yorker’s culture blog profiles @NeinQuarterly, while their finance blog profiles Klaus Teuber, creator of Settlers of Catan.

Bing censoring Chinese language search results for users in the US.

* Humans aren’t built to sit all day. This is much healthier.

* Climate map of every Winter Olympics. On Sex in the Olympic Village. The Shoshi Games.

Just Ten Colleges Take in One Sixth of All Donations.

* And listen: you should really just be reading Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal every day.

Thursday Links!

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Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito Suddenly Realize They Will Be Villains In Oscar-Winning Movie One Day.

Is it too late? The long view offers reason to hope. From Kim Stanley Robinson.

Mourning and Melancholia in the Anthropocene.

U.S. to Retire Most Chimps From Research.

The long road to marriage equality. Adam Kotsko: Marriage and Meritocracy.

In a previous post on this site I announced a plan for the creation of MOOA, or massive, open, online administrations that would supplant the thousands of separate administrations currently managing the affairs of America’s colleges. The MOOA idea was, of course, satire. However, I must report that two educational consultants contacted me to offer their services in bringing my MOOA to the market. Additionally, three separate reporters called to discuss the MOOA concept. When I explained that MOOA was a satire, one asked, “Are you sure?”

What we need instead, I think, is a study of neoliberal bias in the university, particularly since the rhetoric of neoliberalism has now become ubiquitous, the lingua franca of administrators and even many faculty. In the 1990s Bill Readings observed that the new rationale of the university was the amorphous, technocratic one of “excellence,” rather than the traditional ones of disciplinary reason or national culture. The incantation of “excellence” no longer has quite the same currency; the new neoliberal mantra includes the buzzwords “disruption,” “innovation,” and “choice.” Part of their force is that they seem self-evident goods: who would be against innovation or choice? But I think that they sidestep some of the crucial problems of higher education, especially regarding equality. According to all the statistical markers, college is subject to a steeper class divide than it was 40 years ago, and academic jobs show a sharper stratification. This violates the best hope of the American university. What good is innovation if it brings us a more inequitable world? 

* The latest update on Capturing the Friedmans.

* …given what we know from the big picture, I think it’s safe to say that ostensible reason for the long-term collapse in humanities enrollment has to do with the increasing choice of women to enter more pre-professional majors like business, communications, and social work in the aftermath of a) the opening of the workplace and b) universal coeducation suddenly making those degrees relevant. You’d have to be pretty tone-deaf to point to their ability to make that choice as a sign of cultural malaise.

* I used to maniacally play Solitaire Tic-Tac-Toe to keep myself sane in high school. If I’d known about Tic-Tac-Toe2, I might never have graduated.

* And good news everyone! The housing bubble is back!

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