Posts Tagged ‘Paul F. Tompkins’
I posted a link dump last night at sort of an odd time, so you might have missed it. It included my review of Kim Stanley Robinson’s excellent New York 2140 at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Utopia in the Time of Trump, so read that! Here’s everything that’s happened since then…
* Fukuyama once declared the end of history. But lawmakers in several states, tired of turning the clocks back, want to
leave Eastern Standard Time and join the Atlantic Standard time zone.
* The Trump administration is exploring how to dismantle or bypass Obama-era constraints intended to prevent civilian deaths from drone attacks, commando raids and other counterterrorism missions outside conventional war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations.
They decried nationalism as a source of division, materialism, and militarism. They warned that the unfettered pursuit of profit destroyed communities and undermined human dignity. They sued to have the King James Bible removed from public schools. Contemporary progressives? No: 19th-century Jesuits. The same 19th-century American Jesuits who allied themselves with slaveholders, believed that the ideal polity promoted one “true faith,” and considered modernity a bitter, but eventually vanquishable foe. In a deeply learned and delightfully readable new book, John T. McGreevy explains the principles, circumstances, and personalities from which this apparently contradictory set of positions emerged, and outlines the consequences for the nation’s religion and politics. At a moment when we are riveted anew by arguments over the meaning of community and liberty — and reminded that one man’s desired future can be another man’s rejected past — McGreevy’s account of these surprising Jesuits feels like an essential read.
* 1. AAA game developers attempt to remain relevant to an aging core demographic by producing an entire generation of games about sad dads protecting their kids; owing to the gaming industry’s collective discomfort with male-male emotional intimacy, nearly all of these kids are girls. You’ll never guess what happened next…
* Well, it’s not all bad news: A lot of people who make over $350,000 are about to get replaced by software.
* Food for Marquette English’s Hamilton event later this month: A Hamilton Skeptic on Why the Show Isn’t As Revolutionary As It Seems. And another: Hamilton, Inc.
Broadway can be a very poor investment, but when shows hit, they really hit. The most successful of them dwarf the revenues of even the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. “Hamilton” could easily run on Broadway for a decade or more. In September, the first road production will open in Chicago, and it will be a “sit down” show, meaning it is intended to stay there for a year or more. Ultimately, there may be as many as seven “Hamilton” companies, in addition to the one on Broadway, performing at the same time in multiple American and international cities. Ticket revenues, over time, could reach into the billions of dollars. If it hits sales of a mere $1 billion, which “Hamilton” could surpass in New York alone, the show will have generated roughly $300 million in profit on the $12.5 million put up by investors. (There are many eye-popping numbers to contemplate, but maybe the most striking one is this: The show is averaging more than $500,000 in profit every week.)
* Call for Papers: Faulkner and Hemingway conference at the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. I was just down there to give a talk and had a fantastic time.
* New digital journal, thresholds, co-edited by Fran McDonald and Whitney Trettian. Here’s the CFP for the debut issue:
The debut issue of thresholds will focus on the theme of the extraneous. We seek manuscripts that deal with the extra, the foreign, or the strange from any angle. We welcome contributions that combine the creative and critical in their approach, and are eager to consider work that is experimental in both content and form. Final submissions will be comprised of a short piece (a maximum of 7000 words) accompanied by a series of fragments. Please submit 400-word abstracts and a brief bio to email@example.com no later than May 15, 2016. Final essays will be due July 31, 2016.
* Elsewhere on the Duke alum beat: Huge congrats to Ainehi Edoro and Brittle Paper, which is now part of the Guardian!
* Protest and Power at Duke. Duke Students End Sit-In in President’s Office. A Lawsuit, Unmet Demands, and Coloring Books: Inside Duke’s Sit-In. A Guide to the Allen Building Takeover Collection, 1969-2002.
* The point is to implement an authority structure that can control public universities under permanent austerity and in the absence of a growing and rising middle-class. Culture wars are good for discrediting particular sources of sociocultural knowledge like ethnic studies, feminist studies, or Middle Eastern Studies. Budget cuts are good for taking the whole public university sector down a few notches. But to reengineer a static enterprise, after decades in which their boards failed to maintain the state revenues on which the system was built, public university governors need the audit and assessment practices that Europeans have long called New Public Management (NPM).
* In a case showing the reach of college sports corruption, a former head men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Mississippi instructed his assistants to complete junior college coursework for recruits.
* Can you imagine, just for a moment, being a Chancellor of a university—a position with an enormous amount of responsibility to an incredibly wide range of stakeholders—and have someone interrupt you with a ‘No Whining!’ sound effect while you are trying to describe how many staff members you’ve had to lay off and what programs you’ll be cutting, with no end in sight? Would you have an existential moment of crisis where your inner voice conceded, “Oh my god, I’m an adult”? Well, I guess the ‘flexibility’ everyone wants for Chancellors doesn’t apply to their actually speaking without permission and an approved message.
* To begin answering these questions, we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of lines for male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.
* Incredible narrative about a professor allowed to return to their job at UCLA after egregious sexual harassment. And it’s not even the most unbelievable story of an unrepentant predator allowed to walk free with no significant punishment I’ve read this week.
* Yes, apparently Zack Snyder has the same carte blanche to make Justice League, even after turning the first-ever movie starring three of the biggest, most popular superheroes in the world into a film that analysts believe won’t even make a billion dollars worldwide. Maybe that still sounds like a lot of money, but you know what actually made a billion bucks? Tim Burton’s needless 2010Alice in Wonderland film. If you put Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman together in a live-action movie for the first time ever, don’t you think that movie should probably outgross Iron Man 3?
* My sense is that militarized drones, those machines for remote seeing and killing known in military jargon as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” should be understood to signify an end of empire in two senses. First, an end as in conclusion, or terminus. Hannah Arendt argued that proliferating death is not a sign of an emerging or persisting hegemony but its waning: “rule by sheer violence,” she notes, “comes into play where power is being lost.” This means that the assassinations proliferating in the name of the American phase of accumulation are the sign not of its strength but its incipient weakness; never mind autumn, we could say that drone war is a sign of the coming winter. Second, I mean an end in the Aristotelian sense of telos, or purpose. If we take seriously the fact that empire is best understood not as a culture or as a discourse but as the monopoly on putatively legitimate violence—the stretching of the state’s power over life and death past the boundaries of its “own” populace—then the power of sovereign decision crystallized in globally operated, remote assassination machines is the very essence of empire: its telos, or end. President Obama’s now-infamous “kill list meetings” sharpen to an obscene purity the American state’s power of judgment over life and death beyond its own citizenry and constitute the distillation of imperium as such.
* Never say never again: ‘Speedy Gonzales’ Eyed As Animated Feature At Warner Bros.
* New Jersey University Was Fake, but Visa Fraud Arrests Are Real. Fake New Jersey University Established by Cops to Catch Visa Fraud Has Pretty Good Job Placement. Fake, real, real, fake, let’s not quibble — are they hiring?
* The ideology of the future: Kiplinger’s presents 20 Amazing Ways Life Will Be Different in 2030.
* Prestige TV is a nightmare from which we are all struggling to awake: Dexter return to television confirmed.
* Our prayers answered, Paul F. Tompkins was finally on Harmontown. I’ve also really been loving the back catalogue of Hello, from the Magic Tavern and (at long last) Welcome to Night Vale after a sojourn through It’s That Episode. Non-podcast news after the link!
* So does this: The Warriors Are Now Long Shots To Win 73 Games.
* Saddest of all: The New Jersey Swamp Dragons? It almost happened.
* Not for me, but maybe for you: LARB has a Grantland-style sports spinoff.
* Grant Morrison was right! Science Says Superman Should Be Black.
* And I don’t need to tell you what’s coming. Every Cool Detail We Spotted in the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer.
Devotees will recall I listen to a lot of podcasts. An especially good one that has just arrived on the scene is Matt Gourley’s I Was There Too, which interviews people who had bit parts in great movies. All the episodes have been great, but I’d especially recommend Paul F. Tompkins (more or less cut from There Will Be Blood), Johnny Williams (the guy who buys his wife a fur coat and a new car after the Lufthansa heist in Goodfellas), the one with all the bus passengers from Speed, Paul Rust (one of the Basterds in Inglourious Basterds), Eileen Dietz (Captain Howdy in The Exorcist), Jenette Goldstein (Lt. Vasquez in Aliens), D.C. Pierson (the Apple Store Guy in Captain America 2) and especially especially today’s entry, Stephen Tobolowsky (the immortal Ned Ryerson, Groundhog Day). Go listen!
* So you want to loot a public institution: CUNY edition.
The higher tuition rates have not provided students with greater access to full-time faculty. In 1975, the last year that CUNY offered a free education, there were 11,500 full-time faculty members teaching 250,000 students. Today enrollment is at an all-time high of about 274,000 students. Meanwhile, there are only 7,500 full-time faculty employed at CUNY, according to testimony given by CUNY Chancellor James Milliken to the state Assembly earlier this year. CUNY relies on poorly paid, part-time adjunct faculty to teach the majority of its classes.
* …UC edition. What a stunning, sickening photo.
For while social constructivism, cultural studies, critical pedagogy, theory, and abstract notions of the digital dominate our scholarly journals, the truth is that in most places the study of writing is the study of the research paper, the argumentative essay, the resume. This isn’t a contradiction with what I’ve said before; my argument is that writing scholars mostly research subjects that have little to do with the actual day-to-day reality of teaching students to express themselves in prose. But the teaching of writing is undertaken not by tenure-track academics who have a research responsibility but, dominantly, by adjuncts, graduate students, visiting professors, and permanent non-tenure track faculty. It’s these people that I most fear we fail, because they frequently are at permanent risk, risk that amplifies greatly if they don’t do the kind of traditional pedagogy they are expected to by their institutions. When they need guidance for how to better teach library research, or how to help students in basic writing courses use paragraphs, or what research shows about whether peer review is helpful or not, where can they turn? To a degree, not to rhetoric and composition journals, or at the very least, not to our flagship journals, which I will again say simply do not publish that sort of thing regularly anymore.
* Three-hundred-twenty-five staff members — including those with tenure — are being offered “go away” packages by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. That’s a third of the people who work there.
* Great moments in not understanding what satire is. The kicker:
Asked whether he posted any of the photos, the frat member said “No, no, absolutely not. I’m a good guy.”
* Australian man’s dream was to go to UNC, but he went to wrong school for four years. I love that the closer of this thing is the man singling out the English department for praise. Go Spartans!
* Now offering my services as a consultant to prevent this sort of thing from happening. $1000/hour.
* Woman abandoned as baby in Macon in 1915 dies at age 100. Bringing new meaning to the phrase “never live it down.”
* The preferential option for the poor: Catholic Cathedral Installed Water System That Drenches Homeless People To Keep Them Away.
* The past isn’t even past: Britons still live in Anglo-Saxon tribal kingdoms, Oxford University finds.
* And this just seems like a background joke from the set designers that we somehow accidentally noticed: Obamas may be buying ‘Magnum, P.I.’ home in Hawaii.