Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Port Huron Statement

Tons of Weekend Links

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* “Austerity is not inevitable”: France falls to the Red Menace.

* Podcast of the weekend: Global science fiction on WorldCanvass, with Brooks Landon, Rob Latham, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, and others.

* Charlie Stross prophesies the death of science fiction.

But anyway, to summarize: my point is that our genre sits uneasily within boundaries delineated by the machinery of sales. And that creaking steam-age machinery is currently in the process of being swapped out for some kind of irridescent, gleaming post-modern intrusion from the planet internet. New marketing strategies become possible, indeed, become essential. And the utility of the old signifiers—the rocket ship logo on the spine of the paperback—diminish in the face of the new (tagging, reader recommendations, “if you liked X you’ll love Y” cross-product correlations by sales engines, custom genre-specific cover illustrations, and so on).

* Tom Hayden remembers the Port Huron Statement (or at least the compromise second draft).

* Joe Biden endorses marriage equality for about fifteen minutes.

Black Studies Hitpiece Leads to Chronicle of Higher Ed Twitter Trainwreck. Why Is the Chronicle of Higher Education Publishing A Racist Hack? Grad Students Respond to Riley Post on African-American Studies. The Inferiority of Blackness as a Subject. Anti-intellectualism, déjà vu.

When copyright term-extension meets infinite life-extension.

* A tribute to Disneyland’s secret restroom.

* Connecticut continues its recent spate of being decent its citizens, legalizes medical medicine.

* Stand for your ground: A Florida woman faces prison after firing a warning shot to scare off an abusive husband.

* Nerds assemble! Joss Whedon finally made something everybody likes. An interview. Another. Whedon on Batman. Whedon on Wonder Woman.

* The Avengers: Will superhero movies never end?

What I see in “The Avengers,” unfortunately, is a diminished film despite its huge scale, and kind of a bore. It’s a diminishment of Whedon’s talents, as he squeezes himself into an ill-fitting narrative straitjacket, and it’s a diminished form that has become formula, that depends entirely on minor technical innovations and leaves virtually no room for drama or tragedy or anything else that might make the story actually interesting. To praise the movie lavishly, as so many people have done and will continue to do, basically requires making endless allowances. It’s really good (for being a comic-book movie). It’s really good (for being almost exactly like dozens of other things). It’s really good (for being utterly inconsequential).

* Today’s single chart that explains everything.

* The football suicides. More players file concussion lawsuits against the NFL. Will the NFL still exist in 20 years?

* The internship scam.

How the Blind Are Reinventing the iPhone.

* Save the Holocene! Why “the Anthropocene” might not be a useful construct.

* Do you remember Frank Kunkel? How about Frank Nowarczyk? John Marsh or Robert Erdman? Johann Zazka? Martin Jankowiak? Not even Michael Ruchalski? Do you remember the call “Eight hours for labor, eight hours for rest, eight hours for recreation?” The names are those of the seven of the nine people killed in 1886 in Bay View, Wisconsin for demanding eight hour work days.

* On Colorado’s policy of sending kids to adult court.

* A report by the ABA shows that some law schools hire as many as 15% of new graduates in an effort to boost employment numbers.

* Consider the case of Toby Groves.

* New Police Strategy in New York: Sexual Assault Against Peaceful Protesters.

* North Carolina’s Ban on Gay Marriage Appears Likely to Pass.

* Since Mexico’s legislative body passed sweeping climate change legislation on April 19, Mexico joins the UK as the only two countries in the world with legally binding emissions goals to combat climate change.

http://thebiblein100days.tumblr.com/

* American Airlines channels Darth Vader: We are altering the deal. Pray we do not alter it further.

* And Stephen Colbert’s employment of the comedic stylings of German Ambassador Hans Beinholtz continues to be my absolute favorite thing of all time.

Wednesday Night Links

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* George Zimmerman in custody, charged with second degree murder.

* Dinosaur Times: probably a lot less fun than you think.

* Neal Kirby remembers his father, Jack.

* The Port Huron Statement at 50. Warning: this is primarily about the compromised second draft.

* The Fraiser theme song explained. Finally.

* Bad polling news for Romney in North Carolina, Colorado, and pretty much everywhere else. Who could have predicted that aggressively alienating 51% of the voting population would have turned out so badly?

* Tough primary season for God: Every candidate he encouraged to run has dropped out.

* Chris Christie lied about the Hudson Tunnel project he unilaterally canceled? Say it ain’t so!

* The headline reads, “National Review Fires Another Racist Writer.”

* Uncompromising Photos Expose Juvenile Detention in America. Just heartwrenching. Below: A 12-year-old in his cell at the Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center in Biloxi, Mississippi. The window has been boarded up from the outside. The facility is operated by Mississippi Security Police, a private company. In 1982, a fire killed 27 prisoners and an ensuing lawsuit against the authorities forced them to reduce their population to maintain an 8:1 inmate to staff ratio.

Student Uprisings

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Students at the New School have occupied the Graduate Faculty building in protest of administrative mismanagement, especially a lack of transparency and adequate funding. An excerpt from their statement:

The university is being treated as a profit-making venture at whose altar the requirements of scholarship are routinely sacrificed. We have been systematically stripped of the most basic resources necessary for academic excellence, including adequate funding, spaces in which to study and engage with each other, and a working library. We demand more opportunities for student funding, and we are willing to work for them. We need public spaces in which to foster a public sphere and an academic community. The absence of a serious library and its related resources for reserach is absolutely unacceptable and should not even be an issue of contention in an academic institution.

Academic planning and budgeting should be directed by individuals with a deep understanding and commitment to academic excellence and free inquiry.

We do not have adequate resources and we are not told why.

We have no hand and no say in our fates or the collective fate of our institution.

We desire meaningful and inclusive education that sees us as more than cash cows and treats us with respect as serious scholars, artists, musicians, designers, philosophers, writers, and most importantly, future educators. We are tired of being told by an out of touch administration what our needs are, and we are no longer willing to idly sit by while our education and our futures are gambled away. We want a university that is known for the quality of its students and faculty, not for its logo or the crimes of its leadership. It is time for change. We desire a better world, and we are willing to fight to achieve it.

(Thanks Fiona)

Written by gerrycanavan

December 18, 2008 at 5:48 am

‘If we appear to seek the unattainable, as it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable’

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Things coming across my radar screen this morning: the Port Huron Statement (compromise second draft).

Our work is guided by the sense that we may be the last generation in the experiment with living. But we are a minority–the vast majority of our people regard the temporary equilibriums of our society and world as eternally functional parts. In this is perhaps the outstanding paradox; we ourselves are imbued with urgency, yet the message of our society is that there is no viable alternative to the present. Beneath the reassuring tones of the politicians, beneath the common opinion that America will “muddle through,” beneath the stagnation of those who have closed their minds to the future, is the pervading feeling that there simply are no alternatives, that our times have witnessed the exhaustion not only of Utopias, but of any new departures as well. Feeling the press of complexity upon the emptiness of life, people are fearful of the thought that at any moment things might be thrust out of control. They fear change itself, since change might smash whatever invisible framework seems to hold back chaos for them now. For most Americans, all crusades are suspect, threatening. The fact that each individual sees apathy in his fellows perpetuates the common reluctance to organize for change. The dominant institutions are complex enough to blunt the minds of their potential critics, and entrenched enough to swiftly dissipate or entirely repel the energies of protest and reform, thus limiting human expectancies. Then, too, we are a materially improved society, and by our own improvements we seem to have weakened the case for further change.

Some would have us believe that Americans feel contentment amidst prosperity–but might it not better be called a glaze above deeply felt anxieties about their role in the new world? And if these anxieties produce a developed indifference to human affairs, do they not as well produce a yearning to believe that there is an alternative to the present, that something can be done to change circumstances in the school, the workplaces, the bureaucracies, the government? It is to this latter yearning, at once the spark and engine of change, that we direct our present appeal. The search for truly democratic alternatives to the present, and a commitment to social experimentation with them, is a worthy and fulfilling human enterprise, one which moves us and, we hope, others today. On such a basis do we offer this document of our convictions and analysis: as an effort in understanding and changing the conditions of humanity in the late twentieth century, an effort rooted in the ancient, still unfulfilled conception of man attaining determining influence over his circumstances of life.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 4, 2008 at 3:15 pm