Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia for the future

Lots of Thursday Links

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* The unpredictable Republican presidential race has taken another surprising turn as recent numbers show Mongol warlord Genghis Khan seizing the lead in national polls of likely GOP primary voters.

* Santorum leading in Ohio. Obama leading everywhere.

* You had me at hello: Soviet Space Propaganda Posters.

* Part two of Boston Review‘s interview with David Graeber is up.

DJ: In my most cynical days as an academic, I thought of a professorship as the carrot that the establishment offers to make sure that smart people don’t run amok. “Give them a nice little office and a job that’s very stable, and put them in the ivory tower, and they won’t cause any trouble.”

DG: Did you ever read C.B. Macpherson’s theory of the university? It’s similar to that, and it’s actually quite clever. He makes the argument that universities have traditionally fulfilled a kind of court jester role. What is the problem you have if you’re the guy in charge, if you’re a king? It’s that you’re surrounded by yes-men. So there’s nobody there who’s going to tell you if you have a really bad idea. They’ll agree with anything you say. So you need someone who will actually point out when you’re going off the tracks. You’ll also need to make sure that person isn’t taken seriously. So you get a hunchbacked dwarf to tell you a silly rhyme, telling you why your plan is idiotic. And you get to know that your plan is idiotic and think about it, and everybody else says, “OK, hunchbacked dwarf, you talk to the king, that’s fine.” Universities are pretty much the same thing. They’re there to come up with all the reasons why current policies are misguided, why, you know, the current economic systems might not be ideal. They come up with all the alternate perspectives, but they frame it in a way that nobody takes it particularly seriously or can even understand it.

* Life Lessons from The Lion King.

2) The rest of us should be happy to be ruled over by a group of predatory overlords who will devour us whole should we become sick or weak. Someday, eventually, in a vague and symbolic manner, karma will even things up.

3) Physical strength and charm are the defining characteristics for a leader; someone smart is probably just evil anyway. Don’t listen to them.

* The Angel Problem. Via MeFi.

* Ever since I taught The Sheep Look Up last week I see something Brunner predicted in the news nearly every day. Today’s depressing entry: Air Pollution Linked to Cognitive Decline in Women. Now, the dataset was all women, so it’s probably really “air pollution linked to cognitive decline in everyone.” Enjoy your weekend!

…over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush’s record for medical-marijuana busts. “There’s no question that Obama’s the worst president on medical marijuana,” says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “He’s gone from first to worst.”

* New Jersey expected to approve gay marriage; Christie vows veto.

* “All-male House GOP leadership gets all-male witness panel to agree that all-male Catholic hierarchy should set contraceptives policy.”  More here, here, here…

* The Wisconsin Uprising, One Year Later.

* And the Telegraph profiles the Boss.

He does, however, see cause for optimism. “The Occupy Wall Street movement has been powerful about changing the national conversation. The Tea Party set the conversation for a while but now people are talking about economic equality. That’s a conversation America hasn’t had for 20 years.”

There is also a religious dimension to Springsteen’s latest songs. The album shifts towards the spiritual uplift of gospel music in its rousing finale, evoking Jesus and the risen dead. “I got brainwashed as a child with Catholicism,” joked Springsteen, who says biblical imagery increasingly creeps into his songs almost unbidden. “Its like Al Pacino in The Godfather: I try to get out but they pull you back in! Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.”

‘We Have Exploded and Cast Into the Sun All of Our Planets in Turn, Except the One Upon Which We Stand at this Moment’

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 12, 2012 at 12:16 am