Posts Tagged ‘Muppets’
Historicizing the concept of the inevitable in literature presents many challenges. For inevitability is itself a theory of historical agency, and an adequate critical account must confront inevitability’s claims without simply falling back on conventional notions of freedom, originality, or creative expression. Indeed, the inevitable is not merely a discourse to be cataloged by positivist historiography; it names a threat to any attempt at making humanity the author of its own experience. In its antique versions, women and men chalked their situation up to fate and diagnosed their historical condition through prophecy. In the late medieval era, more sophisticated but equally deterministic accounts of humanity’s relationship to historical change came into circulation, such as Calvinist predestination, fatalism, modern compatibilism, probabilism, and the acceptance of political economy as a science. Eventually, Charles Darwin’s natural history posited the inevitability of extinction in conditions of scarcity. The politicization of inevitability and conflicting visions of civilizational collapse followed, with communism and capitalism each decrying the other as a doomed system to be overcome. Friedrich Nietzsche’s eternal return recast inevitability as the nonlinear recurrence of intensifying crises. Walter Benjamin wrote of an angel of history who is condemned to look back on the wreckage of civilization. Today, in the wake of both historicopolitical optimism and existential pessimism, notions of the Anthropocene present a fatal paradox: the effects of human industry have set in motion a geological transformation that modern civilization might well not survive. The concept of the inevitable spins these discourses into a common thread, as so many attempts to diagnose the fundamental problem of human agency’s internal limits as expressed in time, along with whatever consolatory freedoms we might draw from our constraints.
* It is easy for left academics to be seduced by a rhetoric of public consumption for our work, since most of us see theory and practice as intermingled. But the American case should stand as warning for British academics. For many years, Usonian scholars chased the mirage of being “public intellectuals”. Few realized, however, that this means depending on their institution to protect them from the onslaught of a rabid conservative media machine. When the dogs of reaction barked in the culture wars, though, American deans slunk away, fearing damage to their own managerial careers. Progressive scholars without the protective benefit of a strong Left were abandoned to fend for themselves against unfair odds, since the spectacular “public sphere” is never a level playing ground in the age of Fox News.
* A Medievalist on Savage Love. Hi, Matt!
* “2015 is my 25th year of adjunct teaching.” Oh, oh no.
* Complaint Claims University Where Student Was Killed Failed To Act On Relentless Yik Yak Threats. Horrifying story on every level.
* Another moral panic against a left-wing academic. Six more weeks of winter.
* The University of California, Santa Cruz, was established in 1965 and has long been known for its radicalism. But officials’ reaction to a recent protest against tuition hikes suggests that times have changed.
* The rise of “mama.” Interesting to see something we didn’t even know we were doing laid out like this.
* Report: Defense Dept. paid NFL millions of taxpayer dollars to salute troops. Would you like to know more?
* The University of Nevada, Reno, a land grant research university, is recruiting for a Coordinator, Innovation and Transformation. This could be the most buzzwordy, administrative-bloaty job ad of all time. It gets better/worse.
* The most senior Baltimore police officer charged over the death of Freddie Gray used his position to order the arrest of a man as part of a personal dispute just two weeks before the fatal incident, prompting an internal inquiry by Baltimore police department.
* The ghetto was a deliberate policy invention, and investing in a path out of it would have been completely contrary to the point of creating it.
* “I think we’re ready for capitalism, which made this country so great,” he said. “Public radio is ready for capitalism.”
* Why cloth diapers might not be the greener choice, after all. I’ll believe anything on this subject to be honest.
* “She’s likely to be in her twenties or thirties, middle-class, probably married, probably Christian, probably average intelligence,” Harrison said. “I just described, you know, your next-door neighbor.”
* The arc of history is long, but.
* Kim Stanley Robinson explains his great new novel, Aurora.
* A little bit on the nose, don’t you think? Scott Walker Strikes ‘Truth,’ ‘Human Condition’ from Wisconsin Idea. The Walker administration has now backed off the plan. The Power of the Wisconsin Idea.
* Ursula Heise on what happens when dystopia becomes routine.
* From Ph.D. to the professorship, the market moves downward. Of the graduates who get tenure-track jobs, most end up at universities ranked lower than the ones they attended. Virtually no one moves up. Even moving from a fourth-tier Ph.D. program to a tenure-track professorship at a third-tier one is nearly unheard of.
* To portray Samus’ sudden refusal to carry out her genocide mission, the game has the player nurture and nourish life instead of ending it. The fundamental nature of Metroid’s game-design ethos is subtly changed to reflect the altered tone. Paths are no longer opened with destructive weapons; instead, progress can only be made when the player provides life-giving nourishment to a newborn whose entire family they’ve just killed. The significance is that the player cannot stand idly by while the metroid child eats; they must lead the child to the food and take part in feeding them. Understanding Metroid II.
The FRA gave the site of Tuesday’s crash a probability of 3.1 percent — or, all things being equal, about one crash every 32 years. (Ironically, the last crash at the intersection was just over 30 years ago.)
But in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, there’s a New Jersey Transit crossingwith a predicted-collision probability of 49.6 percent — a coin flip, more or less. In total, 31 crossings in the New York area have probabilities above 10 percent, plus another 31 in Chicago.
* Presenting the original pitch for Game of Thrones, with unspeakably gross Arya-Jon incest plot.
* The original pitch for The Muppet Show. More links after the clip!
* “Let’s talk about sex in English class.” Okay but let me get tenure first.
* As Parents Get More Choice, S.F. Schools Resegregate. But only artisanal segregation is good enough for my kids. Meanwhile, in Mississippi: A School District That Was Never Desegregated.
* The Truth About What Went Wrong With The Third Season Of Star Trek. Roddenberry himself takes most of the blame in this telling.
* Yung found that, during the government audits, the number of sexual assaults reported by those schools increased by about 44 percent. But after the audits were over, the number of reports dropped back down to their previous levels. The study also found that the vast majority of participating schools frequently reported zero cases of annual off-campus sexual assaults, even though the Clery Act requires officials to make a “good faith” effort to work with local police to get that data.
* You had me at “sci-fi alterations of 19th century portraits.”
* Marquette English Spring 2015 courses! I’m teaching a section of 3000 (our new intro to major — mine is themed around magic) and the second round of my NEH “Cultural Preservation” course. I’m also doing a honors seminar on “video game culture” that I’m really excited about, GamerGate notwithstanding.
* A rare spot of optimism: Lockheed announces breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy.
* But don’t hang on to it: It’s time to push the panic button on the global economy. Markets are panicking again. What’s going on?
* WHO: 10,000 new Ebola cases per week could be seen. The CDC is apparently taking the over. One thing is certain: it’s time to panic.
* Another Obama triumph for the left: let a thousand wage thefts bloom.
* The most alarming thing I’ve heard from friends who’ve had miscarriages is their surprise (only upon miscarrying) at hearing about how many of their friends, aunts, cousins, sisters, mothers and grandmothers have had them, too. If miscarriages are so common, why do we hide them behind a wall of shame and silence?
* “Most schools’ internal judicial systems are the worst of both worlds,” Berkowitz said. “They don’t give the accused the protections of the criminal justice system, and they mistreat the victims, too.”
* For example, even into the 1980s, some doctors didn’t believe that babies felt pain and so routinely did surgery on them using just muscle relaxants to keep them still. Pain and medicine.
* Guy Debord’s The Muppets. More links below Gonzo.
* Study claims that whales and dolphins can speak to one another.
* DC has a bit hit on its hands with The Flash, so of course the smart move here is to recast for the film.
* Next week: Civilization: Beyond Earth.
* Behold! The Counter-Intuitivist!