Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Parable of the Trickster

Fall 2017 Syllabi! Tolkien! Utopia! Hamilton!

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I’ve put the syllabi for my fall classes up at my professional site:

HOPR 1953: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton

ENGLISH 4610: J.R.R. Tolkien

ENGLISH 6700: Utopia in America

The Hamilton class is new, a one-credit pass/fail seminar for the honors program. The Tolkien class and the Utopia class are both revised a lit from the last times around; for the grad class, I’ve swapped in two Kurt Vonnegut and two Octavia Butler books for Utopia, Sula, and Man in the High Castle, in part due to known student interest and in part because I have some ideas about sequelization and utopia that I want to start exploring. For the Tolkien class the changes were much more minor; by moving a few things around and not going on as many trips this semester I was able to squeeze out about an extra week, which I devoted to more time to discussing the ending(s) of Return of the King and more time on The Silmarillion (the second change strongly desired by some of the students last time!). I also changed some of the language I used around the final assignment, including adding a creative option, and added a bit more architecture to the syllabus regarding suspense and spoilers. I thought the class worked great last time around but this will give me a chance to structure the initial discussions in the class a little more inclusively than I did last time (I hope).

Really looking forward to the next couple months…

#SFRA2017-turday Links!

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* Keep watching #SFRA2017! It’s been a great conference. And it contains gems like this. Two other little theoretical highlights from my scattered live-tweeting:

* The audio from last week’s Octavia Butler conference at the Huntington is now up at Soundcloud. I’m track 7!

* American U scholar says provost cherry-picked negative student ratings of her teaching to deny her a promotion.

* Sci-Fi Legend Samuel R. Delany Doesn’t Play Favorites.

Will losing health insurance mean more US deaths? Experts say yes. Republicans Left Ron Johnson for Dead Last Year, Now He Could Kill Their Health Care Bill. Crowdfunding is the Sad, Dark Future of Healthcare.

* Trump’s Twitter and the judgment of history. Bill to create panel that could remove Trump from office quietly picks up Democratic support.

The Internet Is Actually Controlled By 14 People Who Hold 7 Secret Keys.

After the president’s tweet, I must withdraw my support for everything but his agenda.

* Getting closer and closer to the point where Republicans say it was good that Trump colluded with Putin. This is 100% guaranteed and will be the official position of Your Dad in six months.

* More on the voter suppression commission.

The Trump Administration Is Using Immigrant Children as Bait to Deport Their Parents. Afghanistan’s All-Girl Robotics Team Can’t Get Visas To The US.

* Why isn’t Kirsten Gillibrand running for president? Or is she?

* The moral code of Chinese sex workers.

* Training self-driving cars to algorithmically respond to road conditions in Southern California and confusing that for artificial intelligence is going to get people everywhere else killed.

* The Wonder Woman century.

* Twilight of the Internet.

* Political correctness is destroying this country’s cultural heritage.

* When someone says something mean to me. The kids just call it “Twitter.” And I want your secret.

#OEBStudies for All Your #OEBStudies Needs

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* I’m at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, presenting as part of the Octavia Butler studies conference here. Here’s a great writeup from the organizers, Ayana Jamieson and Moya Bailey. Hashtag #OEBStudies!

* Lumenscent Threads: Knowing Octavia Butler through a Community That Loved Her.

* I also got in a big Twitter to-do with Noah Berlatsky about the Oankali, if you want some extra bonus OEB content.

* Then next week I’m back in California for the Science Fiction Research Association conference at Riverside, giving a talk called “No, Speed Limit: Hyperspace in the Anthropocene” (and doing a bunch of SFRA executive committee stuff too I guess).

* “Rakka,” a nightmarish SF film from Neill Blomkamp, narrated by Sigourney Weaver. Seems almost like proof of concept for the Alien sequel they won’t let him do…

* And why not? Here’s an Irish one.

* The Han Solo prequel film, like every other Star Wars followup Disney has attempted, has encountered problems that have crashed production. This time they’ve fired the directors and brought in Ron Howard to attempt to salvage the project.

Jon Ossoff’s Georgia special election loss shows Democrats could use a substantive agenda. Nonsense! They’re doing great. Why Jon Ossoff’s loss is bad news for Democrats’ 2018 hopes. Keep hope alive.

* Memo shows what major donors like Goldman Sachs want from the Democratic Party. Class struggle in America doesn’t look exactly like you think.

* Who Is Getting Rich Off the Secret Health-Care Overhaul?

Senate Health Bill Gives Huge Tax Cuts to Businesses, High-Income Households. G.O.P. Health Plan Is Really a Rollback of Medicaid. A helpful chart of the differences between the Senate and House bills and the status quo. The Senate health bill is a recipe for a death spiral. Wheelchairs and zip ties. The littlest lobbyist: a 6-year-old, whose life depends on ACA, heads to Capitol Hill. There will be deaths.

Going on Fox News cost me my job, professor claims.

Don’t Trust a Republican Just Because He Hates Trump.

* Corey Robin on China Miéville’s October.

* The Pittsburgh Fairy Tale: Pittsburgh’s much-touted revival has remade the region for the wealthy while leaving workers and the poor behind.

* Twilight of the CEOs. Uber doesn’t even currently have a CEO, COO, CFO, or CMO, “in addition to other open positions.”

* What if the Watchmen adaptation that shouldn’t have happened in the first place happened again, but more so?

* Ted Chiang was right! Attractive Students Get Higher Grades.

* “The Castile case reminds me of a weird pattern we always see in the inevitable defenses of police who’ve shot innocent people.”

* Probably the only good thing that has ever happened on Twitter.

Hunting for Antibiotics in the World’s Dirtiest Places.

* To even begin to defend Kipnis’s actions requires some serious leaps of logic, but Kipnis gamely tries.

* The New Free Speech is a right-wing grift, part 29.

“North Carolina is the only state in U.S. where no doesn’t mean no.”

* “Bill Cosby to Teach Young People How to Avoid Sexual Assault Charges.”

* But it’s not ALL deranged misogyny! N.H. Republicans Accidentally Approved a Bill Allowing Pregnant Women to Commit Murder.

* Looks like the marketing team have had a word.

* This seems fine: Elections officials outgunned in Russia’s cyberwar against America.

* #TheResistance.

* Sega!

Octavia E. Butler Archives – Resources

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A sporadically updated list of materials I’ve either written or used or enjoyed on the Octavia E. Butler Archives at the Huntington Library, hopefully useful for other researchers:

* Octavia E. Butler Collection Finding Aid (500+ pages!);

* my general guide:  “The Octavia E. Butler Papers.” (Eaton Journal of Science Fiction);

* The Huntington’s landing page on Butler, including many images of manuscript documents;

Tracing Octavia Butler’s Footsteps: An Interview with Dr. Ayana A. H. Jamieson (a tremendous read!);

Inside The Octavia Butler Archives With L.A. Writer Lynell George; Butler’s notes from writing Kindred; Celebrating Octavia Butler at the Huntington; So Be It! See To It!; #VisitOctaviaButler tag on the Huntington’s Tumblr; “Archives” category at the OEB Legacy Network; Radio Imagination;

* Audio from the June 2017 Octavia E. Butler: Convergences of an Expanding Field conference at the Huntington (as well as a write-up from the organizers, a description of the associated exhibition, and a Storify of tweets from the event);

* Octavia Butler, remembered by her friend Shirlee Smith;

* me on Parable of the Trickster“’There’s Nothing New / Under The Sun, / But There Are New Suns’: Recovering Octavia E. Butler’s Lost Parables.” (LARB);

* me (briefly) on the Fledgling sequel(s): Archives Reveal What Octavia Butler’s Next Books Would Have Been Like. (io9);

* me on Reagan in Dawn, Talents, and Paraclete“Making America Great Again with Octavia Butler.” (University of Illinois Press blog);

* and of course the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle: Octavia E. Butler (Modern Masters of Science Fiction, University of Illinois Press).

octavia-butler

Short Excerpt from My Book Up at University of Illinois Press: “Making America Great Again with Octavia Butler”

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I never got around to making a long link post this weekend, so just in case you missed it I wanted to flag that a short excerpt from my book (reskinned around the recent election) is up now at the University of Illinois Press blog: “Making America Great Again with Octavia Butler.” While the frame of this version of the material is now about Trump, the real meat of this thing is about Reagan, and about Butler’s special contempt for him not just during his presidency but across the remainder of her life.

I also talk a bit about what is probably my favorite of her unfinished novels, Paracelete. Check it out!

And don’t forget to buy the whole book, which is available now!

Weekend Links!

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610temp.new_7.gif.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge.new_7* Nice treat: my LARoB piece got namechecked in an Unexpected Stories review at NPR.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine the polar vortex making it unseasonably cold, forever.

New Data Says Huge West Virginia Chemical Spill May Have Been More Toxic Than Reported. But don’t worry: Freedom Industries has been fined a whopping $11,000.

* The OECD says the party’s over.

These are that growth will slow to around two-thirds its current rate; that inequality will increase massively; and that there is a big risk that climate change will make things worse.

* Here’s what the world would look like if we took global warming seriously.

A Brief History of the Humanities Postdoc.

* On the huge screwed-uppedness of “studies show.”

* An oral history of LucasArts.

* A feature of oligarchy is the dynastic ascension of new leaders, children who rise to positions of power and wealth simply by the luck of birth. We welcome Chelsea Clinton to the club.

* What disapproving friends don’t understand about cesarean births.

If A Man Takes Paternity Leave, His Coworkers Will Probably Take It Too.

* For years we’ve been telling kids to sit still and pay attention. That’s all wrong.

Analysis: Over Half of All Statements Made on Fox News Are False. I sincerely hope they included statements like “I’m Bill O’Reilly” and “You’re watching Fox.”

* Five Thirty Eight and screwing up predictions.

The measurement error in the World Cup case was simple: FiveThirtyEight and other sites had marked Brazil as having a strong defense, and a solid offense anchored by its star, Neymar, as measured by a statistical amalgamation called Soccer Power Index. In reality, Brazil had been aggressively fouling its way as a means of defense, elbowing and kicking its way, and not getting called for it by referees. I’m not just making this up as a day-after-big-loss armchair analysis: pretty much most punditry on soccer had been clear on this before the game.

In other words, the statistics were overestimating how good a team Brazil really was, and the expert punditry was fairly unified on this point.

In other words, this time, the hedgehogs knew something the fox didn’t. But this fox is often too committed to methodological singularity and fighting pundits, sometimes for the sake of fighting them, so it often doesn’t like to listen to non-statistical data. In reality, methodological triangulation is almost always stronger, though harder to pull-offs.

* What happened to the super-rich of yesteryear?

If today’s corporate kvetchers are more concerned with the state of their egos than with the state of the nation, it’s in part because their own fortunes aren’t tied to those of the nation the way they once were. In the postwar years, American companies depended largely on American consumers. Globalization has changed that—foreign sales account for almost half the revenue of the S&P 500—as has the rise of financial services (where the most important clients are the wealthy and other corporations). The well-being of the American middle class just doesn’t matter as much to companies’ bottom lines. And there’s another change. Early in the past century, there was a true socialist movement in the United States, and in the postwar years the Soviet Union seemed to offer the possibility of a meaningful alternative to capitalism. Small wonder that the tycoons of those days were so eager to channel populist agitation into reform. Today, by contrast, corporate chieftains have little to fear, other than mildly higher taxes and the complaints of people who have read Thomas Piketty. Moguls complain about their feelings because that’s all anyone can really threaten.

Let this AskMe post from an academic spouse ruin your morning!

* College Graduates and the Great Recession by The Numbers.

* Over Duke U.’s Protests, Estate of ‘the Duke’ Asks Court to Approve Use of ‘Duke.’

* The next-generation F-35, the most expensive plane ever built, may be too dangerous to fly. Why is Congress keeping it alive? What could possibly explain it!

* “Superhero stories are really about immigrants.”

* Who Does Your College Think Its Peers Are?

* Change.org petition inviting Department of Labor investigation into adjunct labor. I’m very skeptical there’s anything actionable here, unfortunately.

* Having Your Sleep Interrupted May Be As Bad As Not Getting Any at All.

Losing to Germany Wasn’t Actually the Worst Thing to Happen to Brazil This World Cup.

* Colorado’s legal pot market is bigger than anyone anticipated. First person to legally purchase pot in WA fired after being seen on local news buying it.

* DEA Officials Responsible For Nearly Killing College Student, DOJ Watchdog Finds. Daniel Chong is the entirely predictable result of dehumanizing drug offenders.

In ‘sexting’ case Manassas City police want to photograph teen in sexually explicit manner, lawyers say. You’ll be glad to know police have withdrawn the request.

Two hundred years into the social experiment of modern imprisonment, and 40 years into the expansion of what is frequently called “mass incarceration,” America’s system of jails and prisons arguably constitutes the most prodigious system of torture the world has ever seen.

* …while Swartz’s death was a mistake, destroying him as a lesson to all of us wasn’t a mistake. It was policy.

* Tough Louisiana Catholic Church case goes to the heart of mandatory reporting law.

* The Atlantic has a challenging piece on helping intersex children, albeit with an absolutely terrible headline.

* What the Potato Salad Kickstarter Campaign Says About Tech, Silicon Valley, and Modern Life.

* On giving Title IX teeth. It does surprise me that no school has ever received a Title IX sanction for its approach sexual violence.

* SMBC on kind aliens. XKCD on a wraith called Timeghost. The adventures of Process Man.

* Predicting the end of Game of Thrones from George R. R. Martin’s repeated requests for a big-budget epic finale.

* Ideology at its purest is ripe for disruption: “Inside tech’s latest management craze.” Meanwhile: Silicon Valley wage fixing: Disney, Lucas, Dreamworks and Pixar implicated.

* Westerners are so convinced China is a dystopian hellscape they’ll share anything that confirms it.

16-Year-Old’s Rape Goes Viral Because Human Beings Are Terrible. Awful story.

* Close magnet schools?

* Syfy orders a pilot for its adaptation of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

* The wisdom of markets: Social Network With No Revenue or Assets Somehow Worth $4.75 Billion.

When asked whether it was possible to think too much upon the Holocaust, Sebald said, “No serious person thinks of anything else.” On still trying to come to terms with the Holocaust.

* Trigger warning: breakfast. A confessional comic about the night after the artist’s rape.

A Webcomic About A Time Traveler Trying To Comprehend Terminal Illness.

A Field Guide To Unusual (And Hilarious) Harry Potter Patronuses.

The Emmys Don’t Matter But Hypothetically If They Mattered They Should Not Have Snubbed Orphan Black.

* Mail-Order Mysteries: Exploring the Outlandish Gizmos Advertised in the Back of Comic Books During the 1960s-1970s.

* And Ian McKellan just won’t leave any franchise un-awesomed. He simply won’t!

Written by gerrycanavan

July 11, 2014 at 9:42 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links!

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* One last bit of self-promotion for my Octavia Butler series at LARoB, reviewing the forthcoming eBook Unexpected Stories and the never-to-be-a-book Parable of the Trickster.

* Meanwhile, my new best friend Levar Burton says Octavia Butler is the writer he most wishes he’d met.

* John Oliver for/against the World Cup. Five Thirty Eight’s World Cup Predictions. How to Nerd Out about Soccer. The World Cup and the Corporatization of Soccer.

An itinerary is by no means the only thing required for setting out on a trip. And the itinerary will change along the way. But for a deliberate departure from capitalism, rather than a blind flight, a preliminary itinerary will be necessary. Whatever we think of the term communism, the crossroads Marx and Engels glimpsed in the Manifesto is coming more clearly into view: either a left alternative to capitalism or “the common ruin of the contending classes”.

* The Church of Science Fiction.

* Heinlein and the Right.

* As horrific as recent mass killings have been, the idea of a slide into ongoing domestic terrorism is just  nightmarish.

* Meanwhile: War Gear Flows to Police Departments.

Dads Want To Spend Time With Their New Children, If Only We’d Give Them Paid Leave.

Leaving Homeless Person On The Streets: $31,065. Giving Them Housing: $10,051.

We’re not giving moms credit when we pose them as the decisive factor in a child’s development, we’re sticking them with the bill.

* The Prison-Industrial Complex and Orange Is the New Black.

Temple University is investigating an ethics complaint that two of its professors did not properly disclose funding from the private prison industry for their research on the cost of incarceration.

* Grad Students Could Win Big as Obama Slashes Debt Payments. Understanding the CBO’s bullshitting about how the government doesn’t make money on student loans. Lawsuits and the end of the NCAA. College’s inequality disgrace: Millionaire university presidents and indebted students. In the Near Future, Only Very Wealthy Colleges Will Have English Departments. Yes, the Humanities Are Struggling, but They Will Endure. And Now We Know I’ll Never Be MLA President.

* Emily Bazelon covers the Title IX crisis in American colleges. Taekwondo Is Great but Not the Solution to Campus Rape. U. of Oregon Student Who Alleged Rape by Athletes Writes Open Letter. And then there’s George.

* Jezebel covers Wikipedia’s internal fighting over #YesAllWomen.

* Towards a theory of jerks.

* The case against sharing.

How to drive through all 48 of the contiguous United States in 113 hours.

* The unbearable sadness of Milwaukee tourism videos.

* I thought this was genuinely stunning even by Fox’s already low standards: Fox News Guest Launches Race-Based Attack On Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Waffle House Forces Waitress To Return $1,000 Tip.

* “The way US immigration laws operate is absurd.”

The media warns readers about violent pimps stealing girls from malls, but most victims’ stories are very different. I know this because I was a teen trafficking victim, and my experience reflects much of the research that’s been done with trafficking victims.

* The rise of the noncompete clause.

* A Brief History of the Gendered Pronoun in English. In defense of the singular “they.”

* Yes, Nixon Scuttled the Vietnam Peace Talks.

If We’re Lucky, There’s Going to Be a Clone High Movie–IN MY PANTS.

* Review getting picked up: five stars.

* And 4°C only sounds like no big deal.

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