Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Occupy MLA

Me in TNI, Occupy MLA, Seven Short Stories about Drones, Wes Anderson’s ‘Godzilla,’ and More

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* My piece on ecological science fiction and pessimistic despair from the “Weather” issue of The New Inquiry is online: Après Nous, le Déluge. Don’t let the title fool you; it’s in English!

Perhaps Lear would have thought it all a bit too on-the-nose—but now our suicidal urges and our selfishness and our sickening disregard for the future come back to us as hurricanes and heat-waves. Let a thousand science fictional panoramas bloom: the Statue of Liberty frozen over, toppled in the sand, neck-deep in water. Hollywood on fire. Texas cracked with drought. Hundred-year storms every other year. Après nous, la glace, le feu, le désert, le déluge.

* In case you missed it last night, my course this semester: “Thrill and Dread in the American Century.”

* Profhacker has a writeup from the people behind the Occupy MLA hoax for people who are still curious just what was going on there. If my Twitter timeline is any indication, it’s fair to say this was not well-received. Personally I think it’s very hard to argue this was about advancing cause of adjuncts and NTT faculty in any meaningful way, though I can see why they want to say so now. Nothing about the portrayal of the Occupy MLA participants either this year or last year cast critics of academic labor in a good light. Bérubé agrees! For a somewhat more nuanced take, see Noel Jackson’s timeline.

* Bad news for the for-profit education industry. But don’t worry! We’ve got the next revenue stream all queued up.

MOOCs are designed to impose, not improved learning, but a new business model on higher education, which opens the door for wide-scale profiteering. Public institutions of higher education then become shells for private interests who will offer small grants on the front end and reap larger profits on the back end.

chickengodzillamovies2* Wes Anderson’s Godzilla.

But, in fact, we’ve got two grand experiments of her theory,” he said. “The first is the American South, where teachers unions are weak and the schools are not lighting the world on fire. The other is charter schools, which are 88 percent non-unionized. In charters, you can do everything that Michelle Rhee wants to do — fire bad teachers, pay good teachers more. And yet, the most comprehensive studies looking at charter schools nationally find mediocre results.”

* Teju Cole: Seven short stories about drones. Mirrored at TNI.

2. Call me Ishmael. I was a young man of military age. I was immolated at my wedding. My parents are inconsolable.

* io9 tells you to set your DVR to Continuum,the most intriguing new time travel show in years.”

Supreme Court Justice Death Calculator. I’ll save you the trouble:

The probability of at least 1 conservative justice dying by 2017: 46.62%.

While popular culture has for centuries reflected an older form of law and justice, its capacity to undermine the very pluralist and discursive openness which are its well-spring, demonstrates the dangers to which the rhetoric of urgency and the emotional power of medium and message are prone. In a world shorn of its faith in the traditional structures which sustained the moral economy and the moral legality, the appeal to simply trust in an inarticulable justice sustained by an emotional pitch which is in ‘24’ at every moment apparent, opens the prospect of legal terrorism.

* “Dean Kamen, inventor of the SegWay, has a new invention out! This one is for dieting, and it sucks food out of the stomach before the body can absorb it.” Well, that all checks out.

Aaron Swartz Faced A More Severe Prison Term Than Killers, Slave Dealers And Bank Robbers.

* And a public service announcement: Harmontown comes to Wisconsin next week…