Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Nicholson Baker

Please Enjoy Weekend Links!

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* Get your abstracts in! CFP: Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling. And a CFP for a special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies on “The Intersections of Disability and Science Fiction.”

* The schedule of classes for Marquette English is up at Spring 2017. I’ll be on research leave, if you’re wondering why I’m not listed…

* Best Tumblr in forever: Sad Chairs of Academia.

* How to Live Less Anxiously in Academe.

How Skin-Deep Judgments of Professors Might Influence Student Success.

“There are many things I do not know because I photocopied a text and then relaxed as if I had read it.”

* The extent to which Trump is floating absolute gibberish cannot be undersold. Even Costanza is superseded in his time. Once more with feeling: On Bullshit.

america-is-already-great-3-8ad19eWhat did Trump lie about at the debate, mondo-hugeo chart edition. Donald Trump’s first presidential debate confirmed he has no idea what he’s talking about. Prince Georging, Meflection, and Gobbing: A brief guide to Trump’s rhetorical tricks. A Trump Glossary. You’ll get ’em next time, buddy. What It’s Like to Be a Female Reporter Covering Donald Trump. This May Be The Most Horrible Thing That Donald Trump Believes. When Trump said that not paying taxes ‘makes me smart,’ undecided voters in N.C. gasped. How Donald Trump Set Off a Civil War Within the Right-Wing Media. How to bait Donald Trump. Gray’s. Sports. Almanac. How to evade your taxes the Trump way. More. Even more! Trump Foundation lacks the certification required for charities that solicit money. Cuba! I sold Trump $100,000 worth of pianos. Then he stiffed me. Donald Trump and the truth about race and real estate in America. America is already great. There’s still heroes in the world. And then there’s what happened just this morning.



* The most American-democracy thing that’s ever happened: But Republicans said the White House didn’t make a forceful case, putting themselves in the awkward position of blaming the president for a bill they enacted into law over Obama’s veto.

Beyond Clinton or Trump: Nuclear Weapons and Democracy.

Wisconsin Is Systematically Failing to Provide the Photo IDs Required to Vote in November. What a shocking and unexpected consequence of these well-intentioned, commonsense laws.

Note: The original headline for this piece was “George W. Bush is Not Your Cuddly Grandpa. George W. Bush can rot in hell.”

Five questions we need to answer before colonizing Mars. Elon Musk’s spectacular plan to colonise Mars lacks substance. Fun and exciting, not boring and cramped! Is Elon Musk’s Crazy Mars Plan Even Legal?

* What could possibly go wrong? UVM Medical College to Eliminate Lectures.

No Punishment for ‘Run Them Down’ Tweet.

Baltimore vs. Marilyn Mosby.

Why New Jersey’s Trains Aren’t Safer.

* Nicholson Baker goes to school. Reader, I bought it.

* In Praise of Bob Ross.

* Has Pope Francis Failed?

* Another review of Alice Kaplan’s book on The Stranger.

* “Liberalism is working”: Teen accused of stealing 65-cent carton of milk at middle school to face trial.

Measles are gone from the Americas.

Silicon Valley’s rhetoric of magical innovation relies on a hidden abode of rare earth mining and hydro-cooled server farms.

* On Premier League Fantasy Football.

How ‘Daycare’ Became ‘School.’

* The 25 Best Superpowers in the Superpowers Wiki.

*Wonder Woman Writer Greg Rucka Says Diana Has ‘Obviously’ Had Relationships With Women. She was on an island of only women for millennia! So yeah.

* One effect of superhero culture: a proliferation of fan events where Marvel movie heroes and ‘Walking Dead’ stars walk away with six figures (more than most get paid for their real jobs) for a weekend’s work.

The world passes 400ppm carbon dioxide threshold. Permanently.

And yet, looking back at The Jetsons intro sequence today, I wonder where the icecaps are in that little illustration of earth. Is some land missing from Central America? Has the North gained land mass? Such questions become more troubling in the context of current concerns about global warming and, once asked, open the floodgates for similar observations. In the intro sequence, flying cars convey the Jetsons and other families from their floating bungalow to other floating buildings like The Little Dipper School, Orbit High School, Shopping Centre, and Spacely Space Rockets Inc. What was once a cute innovation—why not live in floating cities?—becomes troubled by its energy costs and its purpose. Why do the Jetsons and other families live in orbit? What has happened below to force them into the skies?

* Today in on-the-nose metaphors: NASA Is Sinking Into the Ocean.

Every society gets the post-apocalypse it deserves.

* Big as horror movie.

There were no casualties in the landslide which occurred earlier this month, but the facility’s new rock climbing facility was completely wiped out. Yes, I suppose they would be.

Codex Silenda, A Handcrafted Puzzle Book With Pages That Must Be Solved to Unlock the Next One.

* The ADA at Disney.

* Cheating in school as communism.

* Today in neoliberal consumerism: Want to Make Ethical Purchases? Stop Buying Illegal Drugs.

* The Dark, Gritty Tick goes to series. Spoon! But like a dirty, chipped spoon, a spoon that really reflects the darkness of our society and our souls.

Emulator lets you turn NES games 3D.

U.S. owes black people reparations for a history of ‘racial terrorism,’ says U.N. panel.

Striking Prisoners Say Their Guards Have Joined In.

* The Longreads Reading List on Utopias.

* Die a hero, or… Has Whedon Changed, Or Have We Done Changed?

It’s Official: The Boomerang Kids Won’t Leave. I wonder how many are actually caring for or financially supporting un-, under-, and unable-to-be-employed parents and siblings.

Let’s Stop Talking About Stranger Things Season Two Before We Ruin It. Friends, I have some terrible news.

* Leave the hot moms alone.

* There’s bad luck, and then there’s: Man Bitten On Penis By Spider For The Second Time This Year.

* Today in terrible ideas I could not denounce more strongly: Is it time for Star Trek: The Next Generation to go Kelvin?

* And at least the kids get it.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 29, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Labor Day Weekend Links!

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20121130* Aliens! Aliens! Not really. But it’s never too early to panic.

* This truly is the darkest timeline: Marquette signs new contract with Pepsi for on-campus beverage services.

Some Of The Best PC Games Ever Made Hit Steam This Week. Quest for Glory! Police Quest! Wow. Waiting now for the Mac port.

* Star Trek: Discovery really will follow Number One. Relatedly: The 2000s-era Star Treks we never saw. Star Trek Beyond, Reviewed by Tim Phipps.

Science Fiction World Building in a Capitalist Society: An Interview with Dan Hassler-Forest (Part One).

* The Exemption Packet.

Jason Scott Talks about Preserving Games with the Internet Archive.

* Be a rebel; major in English. A decent discussion of the fact-free moral panic involving choice of major, clickbait headline aside.

The Peculiar Success of Cultural Studies 2.0.

* How to Write an Effective Diversity Statement for a Faculty Job Application.

Mandatory Trigger Warnings at Drexel?

* Lockout at LIU.

* Symposium: Why Monster Studies Now?

* Nicholson Baker, substitute teacher. Welcome to Terror High.

The most important lesson to take from all this is that there is no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem, in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and privatisation, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various systems of othering needed to sustain them all.

* Improv as self-help philosophy, as scam, as fad, as cult. (via) I’ve never taken an improv class, but my nonstop consumption of improv-based comedy podcasts has seriously helped my teaching by helping me see the importance of adopting the yes-and stance in the classroom.

Professor hunger strikes against denial of tenure.

Islam and Science Fiction, the long-running website dedicated to “fill[ing] a gap in the literature about Muslims and Islamic cultures in Science Fiction,” has just published Islamicates: Volume I, as a free-to-download release.

Check Out These Amazing Soviet Maps Of D.C.

That’s a serious charge, worthy of being considered seriously. Although easy access to inexpensive Mexican food would be a boon for hungry Americans, what would the inevitable presence of those trucks do to the American economy? How could our country accommodate an explosion of trucks at that scale? The national economic implications of a taco truck on every corner.

* Stranger Things and the spirit of play.

Here’s why: it’s about play. We have good reasons to overthink TV shows, to take them too seriously: it helps us reclaim from them all that they take for granted, all the ideology in which we find ourselves implicated as we enjoy works produced by a capitalist, patriarchal, racist culture, etc. If your fave is problematic, it’s worth thinking about why, not because you or it are bad and should feel bad, but because our world is fallen and all is vanity and what does humanity gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun, etc. Or something like that. Art has baggage; criticism is about rummaging through that bag to see what’s inside, and what you want to do with it.

* Girls feel Stranger Things, too.

Fortunately, those of us who grew up in the 80s also experienced the 90s, where Dana Scully and Buffy Summers awaited us. But with its flawlessly staged setting and piled-up homages to 80s movies, Stranger Things has performed a kind of time travel: it has reached back into my memories,Total Recall-like, and inserted characters who now seem as though they were there all along. Nancy, the nerd-turned-monster killer who can like more than one boy at once. Barb, the buttoned-up babygay whose best friend won’t let her be disposable. Eleven, the terrifying, funny, scared, brave, smart weirdo whose feelings could save the world.

Global Capitalism, Fan Culture, and (Even) Stranger Things. The Strange Motivations of Stranger Things. Sticking a tough landing: Stranger Things Season Two Will Add New Characters, New Settings, and Sequel Sensibility.

* Teasing the Fall 2016 Pop Culture series at Marquette: Harry Potter, Tarantino, and (yes) Stranger Things.

* $600,000 humanities endowment account at CUNY turns out to be a mere $599,924 dollars short.

* Learn to Write the Vandermeer Way. Keep scrolling!


Virtually every decision made by Warner Bros. with regards to its DC superhero movies has been bad. But it’s been so desperate to recreate Marvel’s success that it keeps running forward, trying to constantly course correct, when what it really needs to do it take a break, a deep breath, and start over from scratch with a long-term plan that it will actually stick to.

Jack Kirby’s long-lost, incomplete “The Prisoner” comic book.

The Myth of the Millennial as Cultural Rebel.

Apartment Broker Recommends Brooklyn Residents Spend No More Than 150% Of Income On Rent.

Airlines are surprisingly ill-equipped to handle accusations of sexual assault on their planes.

This small Indiana county sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C., combined. Why? Yes, the word “oxy” appears in the first sentence.

Creepy Clown Sightings in South Carolina Cause a Frenzy.

* Tracing the history of the phrase “office-involved shooting.”

How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media. Why Isn’t It a Bigger Deal That Trump Is Being Advised by Sadistic Pervert Roger Ailes?

Democrats really might have a shot at taking the House. Here’s the math.

* Because you demanded it! CBS is developing a scripted drama based on the life of Judge Judy. It’s also graciously decided to allow you to pay extra for an ad-free experience on its subscription service.

* Ah, the good old days. Still not done yet!


Meet Moya Bailey, the black woman who created the term “misogynoir.”

* Dialectics of Superman: The Old Lois Lane Really Doesn’t Like the New Lois Lane. The Rise and Fall of Axiom.

* Math is cool: The absent-minded driver’s paradox.

Solar Power Plant Can’t Figure Out How to Stop Frying Birds.

Georgetown University Plans Steps to Atone for Slave Past. Georgetown’s slavery announcement is remarkable. But it’s not reparations.

Deep in the Swamps, Archaeologists Are Finding How Fugitive Slaves Kept Their Freedom.

* “A short story in English is a story in which the letter e occurs no more than 5715  times.”

* How far are you from an In N Out Burger?

* Works for academic papers too.

* RIP, Gene Wilder.

Debating the Legality of the Post-9/11 ‘Forever War’ at the Council on Foreign Relations.

* Whiteness without white supremacy?

Football and the Buffalo both owe some of their survival today to Teddy Roosevelt, who loved them both because they were accessories to one of his first loves: violence, which he and others of his time and a lot of people living right now believe tempers men into steel.

Avengers: Full House.

* Sold in the room: Alison Brie Will Star in Netflix’s ’80s Lady-Wrestling Series G.L.O.W. And that’s before I even found out Marc Maron would be on it too.

* I’m also excited to option this one: Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker.

* The L.A. Times is running a six-part story on that framing of a PTA mom in California.

* Screens in Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax.

* Socialize the EpiPen.

* The critics are saying Arrival (née Story of Your Life) is the real deal.

* The art of Biff Tannen.

* Breaking: Warner Brothers wants another five billion dollars.

Few baseball fans have heard of the tiny Pacific Association, an independent league founded in 2013. But in 2015, during the Stompers’ sophomore season, the team fielded pro baseball’s first openly gay player, Sean Conroy. Then, in the off-season, the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola approached the team to talk about making his Virginia Dare Winery, based in nearby Geyserville, one of its sponsors. That proposal came with another: he wanted the team to recruit female players.

* Understanding Prenatal Depression.

* It’s weird that 911 has an off switch, isn’t it?

* Web comic of the week: Ark.

* Short film of the week: Movies in Space. Chris and Jack’s other stuff is pretty great too.

The New York Times Reassures Parents That Their Sons’ Penises Are Probably Totally Fine.

* And I really think just one more year ought to do it.


Written by gerrycanavan

September 3, 2016 at 8:43 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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* C21’s book on Debt is finally almost out. My essay draws on the bits of the Polygraph introduction I wrote and is about ecological debt.

* Syllabus minute: I have W.H. Auden envy.

MOOC Completion Rates: The Data.

* How neoliberal universities build their football stadiums.

Some projections showed Athletics might not be able to make payments starting in the 2030s when the debt service balloons. The debt is structured so that for the next 20 years, Cal only needs to make interest payments on the debt. The principal kicks in in the early 2030s, resulting in payments between $24 million and $37 million per year.

Look, if it’s good enough for an idea man who settled out of court on securities fraud, it’s good enough for me.

* Kent State fires adjunct who built their journalism master’s.

* Ian Morris, psychohistorian.

* What If? on The Twitter Archive of Babel. The Twitter Archive of Babel contains the true story of your life, as well as all the stories of all the lives you didn’t lead….

Proud Species Commits Suicide Rather Than Be Driven To Extinction By Humans.

* A People’s History of “Twist and Shout.”

PPP: Russ Feingold Poised For Comeback, Could Top Scott Walker Next Year.

* Michael Chabon: Dreams are useless bodily effluvia. Nicholson Baker: Dreams are all we have.

* You and I are gonna live forever: 72 is the new 30.

* Settling nerd fights of the 1990s today:  Is This the Smoking Gun Proving Deep Space Nine Ripped Off Babylon 5?

* The Star Wars Heresies: Star Wars and William Blake. Tim Morton’s essay in Green Planets has a similar impulse with respect to Avatar.

* And in even more insane mashup news: WWE Keeps Pressure On Glenn Beck.


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Written by gerrycanavan

July 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

‘A Diogenes-minded observer would submit that Wikipedia would never have been the prodigious success it has been without its demons’

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One of my favorite writers, the criminally under-appreciated Nicholson Baker, has a lovely article in the New York Review of Books entitled “The Charms of Wikipedia.” (Via MeFi.) The whole article is good, but it’s the ending that really gets me:

As the deletions and ill-will spread in 2007 — deletions not just of webcomics but of companies, urban places, Web sites, lists, people, categories, and ideas — all deemed to be trivial, “NN” (nonnotable), “stubby,” undersourced, or otherwise unencyclopedic—Andrew Lih, one of the most thoughtful observers of Wikipedia’s history, told a Canadian reporter: “The preference now is for excising, deleting, restricting information rather than letting it sit there and grow.” In September 2007, Jimbo Wales, Wikipedia’s panjandrum – himself an inclusionist who believes that if people want an article about every Pokemon character, then hey, let it happen — posted a one-sentence stub about Mzoli’s, a restaurant on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. It was quickly put up for deletion. Others saved it, and after a thunderstorm of vandalism (e.g., the page was replaced with “I hate Wikipedia, its a far-left propaganda instrument, some far-left gangs control it”), Mzoli’s is now a model piece, spiky with press citations. There’s even, as of January, an article about “Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia” — it too survived an early attempt to purge it.

My advice to anyone who is curious about becoming a contributor — and who is better than I am at keeping his or her contributional compulsions under control — is to get Broughton’s Missing Manual and start adding, creating, rescuing. I think I’m done for the time being. But I have a secret hope. Someone recently proposed a Wikimorgue—a bin of broken dreams where all rejects could still be read, as long as they weren’t libelous or otherwise illegal. Like other middens, it would have much to tell us over time. We could call it the Deletopedia.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 1, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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