* So, look: I’m not saying the Democrats are definitely going to blow it. But they’re more than capable of blowing it.
Posts Tagged ‘Nnedi Okorafor’
* “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.
* Donald Trump Isn’t Going to Be President. Trump Has Won and the Republican Party Is Broken. Clinton Releases a Brutal Anti-Trump Ad. 5 not-totally-crazy electoral maps that show Donald Trump winning. Could Trump Put Georgia in Play for Democrats? Only a Democrat can stop Trump now. Misperceiving Bullshit as Profound Is Associated with Favorable Views of Cruz, Rubio, Trump and Conservatism. The six days of Carly Fiorina’s vice presidential campaign, ranked.
* Why graduate students should be allowed to see the letters we write on their behalf. I was in strong disagreement with the headline but was won over by the text.
* Recommendation for a quick, great read: Nnedi Okorafor’s novella Binti, an Afrofuturist space-age riff on Harry Potter with more than a little bit of Octavia Butler in there…
* Another thing I’ve been enjoying, which you might too: “Hardcore Game of Thrones” on howl.fm. (First three episodes available for free here.) It’s completely sold me on the viability of a prequel spinoff, and I may actually like it more than the actual series.
* Two Great Tastes: On Civil War and Hamilton. Meanwhile, a great review from Abigail Nussbaum asks whether Civil War (which I liked a lot) has ruined the MCU.
* The Norton Writer’s Prize will be awarded annually for an outstanding essay written by an undergraduate. Literacy narratives, literary and other textual analyses, reports, profiles, evaluations, arguments, memoirs, proposals, mixed-genre pieces, and more: any excellent writing done for an undergraduate writing class will be considered. The winner will receive a cash award of $1,500. Two runners-up will each receive a cash award of $1,000.
* “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”
* Unable to analyze meaning, narrative, or argument, computer scoring instead relies on length, grammar, and arcane vocabulary to do assess prose. Should you trust a computer to grade your child’s writing on Common Core tests?
* Conservatives can be spotted in the sciences and in economics, but they are virtually an endangered species in fields like anthropology, sociology, history and literature. One study found that only 2 percent of English professors are Republicans (although a large share are independents). In contrast, some 18 percent of social scientists say they are Marxist. So it’s easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican.
* Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight. This situation is absolutely untenable and I cannot believe the airlines are willingly participating.
* Maps of the end of the world. The post keeps going after the image!
* U.S. Justice Department officials repudiated North Carolina’s House Bill 2 on Wednesday, telling Gov. Pat McCrory that the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX – a finding that could jeopardize billions in federal education funding.
One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.
* Happy Mother’s Day: Kids’ Screen Time Is A Feminist Issue. Keep scrolling!
* University of Oxford acquires rare map of Middle-earth annotated by Tolkien. There’s still more after the image!
* Before Hamilton, there was… An Oral History of Rent.
* Grimdark realism isn’t realistic: where is kindness on Game of Thrones?
Ultimately, there’s not much you can say about Daredevil because its not-goodness derives from the fact that it doesn’t have anything to say. This makes it hard to say anything about the way it’s not saying anything. Based on the first season, I would have argued that the show uses the superhero genre tode-familiarize gentrification and the way crime plays into struggles over urban land use. Similarly, I would contend that Jessica Jones uses the superhero-detective genre to de-familiarize trauma and addiction. Coming out — dare I say, being flushed out — of Daredevil season two, I would say that it uses the Batman-genre to re-familiarize the Ninja-genre. And for all the violence it does to its characters and setting, the real problem is this reinvestment in the fetish of ninja violence. The show uses the spectacle ofliteral violence to render unnecessary the organic narrative flow of people just being people in the world. Instead of the hidden injuries and traumas of class, as they play themselves out across our lives, we get a story of a ninja fighting ninjas because, well, ninjas.
* CEI et al. argue that TSA’s final rule fails to consider one important factor related to the deployment body scanners: a potential increase in highway injuries and deaths. If that sounds crazy, let me explain. Past research suggests that post-9/11 airport security policies were so invasive that a number of would-be air travelers decided to drive instead. Given the fact that auto travel is far more dangerous than air travel,three Cornell University economists found that TSA’s invasive, time-consuming airport screening policies resulted in about 500 additional highway fatalities annually in the years following 9/11—more than a fully loaded 747 per year.
* Educated people are usually critical of absolute truths, no matter if they come from statistics or religious revelation. Facts need to be understood within a larger cultural context in order to be deemed plausible or implausible. Today, however, we see an increasing tendency to describe the world not in terms of cultural values, but in terms of fundamental truths. In the cases of fundamentalism and neoliberal education of excellence, as I’ve shown here, this “deculturation” takes the form of a dangerous combination of religion and pseudoscientific thought peddled as excellence.
* Sure, let’s clone Leonardo da Vinci. Things could hardly get worse.
* And some scenes from the Anthropocene: Zone Rouge: An Area of France So Badly Damaged By WW1 That People Are Still Forbidden To Live There. Fort McMurray Wildfire: 80,000 Evacuated Over Out-of-Control Blaze. Fleeing Fire in Oil Country. Alberta Wildfires Expected to Double In Size and Burn for Months. The First Coral Reefs Are Starting to Permanently Dissolve. Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard. Have a great week, everybody!
* The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism interviews my friend Ramzi Fawaz about his exciting new book on the X-Men in the 1970s: The New Mutants.
* Whatever happened to Gary Cooper: You’ve heard of women’s studies, right? Well, this is men’s studies: the academic pursuit of what it means to be male in today’s world. Dr. Kimmel is the founder and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system, which will soon start the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies.”
* The fire next time: The Pension Crisis at Public Universities.
* The Clinton plan for college. This summary leaves out all the awful disruptivation and neoliberalization stuff that will be part of any actual plan, so it sounds great.
* Widespread use of private email revealed a day after Wise resigns. The Revelations in Phyllis Wise’s Emails. Legal experts react. It’s so bad the board is going to vote on whether to pull her $400,000 golden parachute.
* Comic book movies and the forgotten art of the ending. You heard it here first!
3% takes place in a world where most of the population lives in “Hither”: a decadent, miserable, corrupt place. When people reach 20 years of age, they go through the “Process”, the only chance to get to “Thither” – the better place, with opportunities and promises of a dignified life. Only three percent of the applicants are approved by the Process that will take the applicants to their limit, putting them in terrifying, dangerous situations and testing their convictions through moral dilemmas.
* Point: They clearly should have let Max Landis write Fantastic Four. Counterpoint: The Fantastic Four Are Jerks.
Natalia’s tweet became a whole great blog post on modernism, childhood, and tech.
* Prison-industrial-wildfire complex: Nearly half the people fighting wildfires wreaking havoc across California are prison inmates.
* Sandernistas would do well to reflect on one thing. In a few months’ time, Sanders’s campaign will be gone. He will not win. … But Black Lives Matter, or rather the movement with which it has become synonymous, isn’t going to go away. And it is far more important to America’s long-term future. A useful corrective, I think, though my intuition remains that this is one brand of underpantsgnomism competing with another for underpants-gnome supremacy.
* Diseases of the twenty-first century: Foot Orgasm Syndrome.
* This could actually be interesting: Harvard Professor Larry Lessig To Explore Democratic Presidential Run.
* Because you demanded it: Werner Herzog’s Ant-Man.
* And while the lion still remains at large, Milwaukee remembers its polar bear.