Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘postcoloniality

Thursday Already?

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List of children killed by drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.

* Adam Kotsko calls for more specificity and rigor in discussing the student loan crisis.

It is hard for me to avoid the conclusion that the sensationalism surrounding the “student loan bubble” stems from the fact that the majority of writers for progressive publications are either relatively recent college graduates or people with vivid memories of their own student debt. Hence they jump on the issue, making themselves and people like them the center of attention — while ignoring the vast wave of proletarianization that is beginning to make the United States a major competitor in the global sweepstakes to attract capital with low wages (and in fact, many self-styled progressive writers seem to buy into Obama’s incoherent view that greater access to college will in itself somehow help with inequality and wage stagntation).

A comprehensive new Harvard University report on Americans under 30, the so-called Millennials, shows that the economy is having a crushing impact, with just 62 percent working, and of those, half are toiling at part-time jobs.

* Malcolm Harris reviews Haneke’s Amour, in the new TNI.

* This Tumblr post does a good job explaining what’s appealing about the Harmontown podcast while unhappily bracketing the racism and misogyny that can sometimes make the show a challenging listen.

* Also in Community news: Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs hype the new season of Community, starting tonight. Gillian Jacobs on Comedy Bang Bang. Yvette Nicole Brown on the Nerdist podcast, where she reveals her secret past as a member of the East Coast Family.

* Walter Bishop as the villain in Star Wars 7? Oh, all right.

* Airline mergers seem hard, y’all.

* Stephen King points out a Shining prequel is a really dumb idea. Alas, his Shining sequel doesn’t sound great, either.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal vs. Valentine’s Day.

* Of course you had me at time travel web comic: Paola-4.

* And spotted on Facebook: Postcolonial Space Explorer.

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Monday 2

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* Kenyan anti-colonial behavior: On Oct. 5, a British high court ruled that three elderly Kenyans who were tortured and abused by colonial authorities in Kenya in the 1950s can proceed with their case against the British government.

* Early voting starts today in Wisconsin.

* Longitudinal study of 1,000 Wisconsin high school graduates from the class of 1957 proves that the popular kids really were just better.

The data show that over the entire 345 years, 22 percent of all authors were female. (Even though few papers in the JSTOR archive originated in the first 100 years, the researchers still felt that examining the entire data set was worthwhile.) The data also show that women were slightly less likely than that to be first author: About 19 percent of first authors in the study were female. Women were more likely to appear as third, fourth, or fifth authors.

According to the data in just the most recent time period, it is clear that the proportion of female authors over all is rising. From 1990 to 2010, the percentage of female authors went up to 27 percent. In 2010 alone, the last year for which full figures are available, the proportion had inched up to 30 percent. “The results show us what a lot of people have been saying and many of my female colleagues have been feeling,” says Ms. Jacquet. “Things are getting better for women in academia.”

Women still are not publishing, though, in the same proportion as they are present in academe as professors. The same year that the share of female authors in the study reached 30 percent, women made up 42 percent of all full-time professors in academe and about 34 percent of all those at the most senior levels of associate and full professor, according to the American Association of University Professors.

The Left must not only defeat austerity and preserve the social safety net; it must do so in such a way that assembles the forces necessary for more fundamental transformations in the future.

* Why your uncles believe crazy things: this guy.

Mainstream election experts say that Spakovsky has had an improbably large impact. Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine, and the author of a recent book, “The Voting Wars,” says, “Before 2000, there were some rumblings about Democratic voter fraud, but it really wasn’t part of the main discourse. But thanks to von Spakovsky and the flame-fanning of a few others, the myth that Democratic voter fraud is common, and that it helps Democrats win elections, has become part of the Republican orthodoxy.” In December, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, wrote, “Election fraud is a real and persistent threat to our electoral system.” He accused Democrats of “standing up for potential fraud—presumably because ending it would disenfranchise at least two of its core constituencies: the deceased and double-voters.” Hasen believes that Democrats, for their part, have made exaggerated claims about the number of voters who may be disenfranchised by Republican election-security measures. But he regards the conservative alarmists as more successful. “Their job is really done,” Hasen says. “It’s common now to assert that there is a need for voter I.D.s, even without any evidence.”

World’s Oldest Known Auschwitz Survivor Dies at 108.

* This year is the first year the presidential debates have ignored climate change since 1984. That’s right, friends, we’re doomed!

* And scientists are on the hunt for the Forest Moon of Endor. God, I hope they find it.

Games Criticism We Can Believe In

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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.

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* 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.

Potpourri

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* Jacob Remes explains May Day.

* My Joss Whedon zombie essay from PopMatters is out in Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion today. Last night I submitted my abstract for the upcoming Politics of Adaptation conference on Cabin in the Woods, drawing me ever closer to total Joss Whedon scholarly completism.

* Roundtable on Non-Western SF, at Locus.

* A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that “liking” a Facebook post is not free speech. To repeat my own Twitter quips, yeah, because it doesn’t cost money.

* New polling shows Amendment One will likely pass after all.

* al Qaeda’s discovered our only weakness: our insatiable love of porn.

On May 16 last year, a 22-year-old Austrian named Maqsood Lodin was being questioned by police in Berlin. He had recently returned from Pakistan via Budapest, Hungary, and then traveled overland to Germany. His interrogators were surprised to find that hidden in his underpants were a digital storage device and memory cards.

Buried inside them was a pornographic video called “Kick Ass” — and a file marked “Sexy Tanja.”

Several weeks later, after laborious efforts to crack a password and software to make the file almost invisible, German investigators discovered encoded inside the actual video a treasure trove of intelligence — more than 100 al Qaeda documents that included an inside track on some of the terror group’s most audacious plots and a road map for future operations.

* Hungry for good nerd press, Netflix is teasing it might resurrect Jericho.

* Five anarchists arrested by FBI for trying to blow up Cleveland bridge with fake bombs given to them by FBI.

* Aetna, according to the report, cited exclusions and said it would not cover the claim because Scott developed breasts after she changed sexes. N.J. transgender woman wins battle with insurance company to have mammogram covered.

* …legal chicanery has reached such high levels that the SEC is toying with the idea of going after it directly.

* And somebody page Nick Bostrom: Entire Observable Universe Modeled Using French Supercomputer.

Thursday Links

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* BREAKING: John Boehner doesn’t have the votes for even a purely symbolic raising of the debt ceiling. I’m predicting Obama’s lawyers rediscover the Fourteenth Amendment by late Monday afternoon.

* Our bosses are starting to notice: Roach Says Chinese Officials ‘Appalled’ by U.S. Debt Impasse.

Roach cited an unnamed Chinese policy maker as saying in mid-July that “we understand politics, but your government’s continued recklessness is astonishing.”

* The U.S. now has less cash on hand than Apple.

* Limbaugh and Fox bang the table in response to record-breaking temperatures this month.

* Decadence watch: Danny DeVito Open To The Idea of Twins 2.

* This American Life‘s episode on patent law this week was excellent; here’s a response from the company at the heart of its critique.

* Your tweet of the day from Christopher Newfield: “The 13 worst-paying college majors — all are about helping other people or studying deep human needs.”

* Theory fight! Eagleton v. Spivak.

* And Will Arnett says the Arrested Development movie is still happening. Don’t break my heart, Mitch…

Thursday Night

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A Few Links

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* Nobody knows how much milk you should drink a day, but it’s pretty likely I drink too much.

On the other side, groups promoting animal rights and veganism — including PETA and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine — say that cow’s milk is a nutritional nightmare that doesn’t belong in the human diet. “It’s gross,” says Dr. Neil Barnard, author and founder of the PCRM. “Milk is nutritionally perfect for one purpose: feeding a calf,” he says. “The idea that we should be drinking milk from a cow is just bizarre.”

Okay, that’s fair.

* Democracy Now reports on Haiti six months after the earthquake.

* Duke University in the news, shamelessly promoting belly-buttonism.

* A Texas company S2C Global Systems has announced that it is moving forward with a plan to ship 2.9 billion to 9 billion gallons of water a year from the small Alaskan town of Sitka to the west coast of India (near Mumbai). If the company succeeds in carrying out the shipments, the deal would represent the world’s first regular, bulk exports of water via tanker.

* And Talking Points Memo and The Big Picture (1, 2) have your World Cup 2010 methadone.

A Post-European World Cup?

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If you read it in both the New York Times and at Donkeylicious, you know it’s true.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

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On the plane I got a chance to look through Hardt and Negri’s follow-up to Empire (blogged previously), Multitude, which I enjoyed quite a bit. In terms of what I sometimes loosely imagine to be my project, the first chapter (“War”) is clearly the most helpful, and not coincidentally the bit I read most carefully:

War really became absolute only with the technological development of weapons that made possible for the first time mass and even global destruction. Weapons of global destruction break the modern dialectic of war. War has always involved the destruction of life, but in the twentieth century this destructive power reached the limits of the pure production of death, represented symbolically by Auschwitz and Hiroshima.

If you’ve talked to me about my thoughts of apocalypse before, you know that I think of these as two importantly distinct figurations central to the way the world has been spatialized in late capitalism—Tribulation and Rapture—though for Hardt and Negri’s purposes that distinction isn’t necessarily all that important at the moment.

They go on:

The capacity of genocide and nuclear destruction touches directly on the very structure of life, corrupting it, perverting it. The sovereign power that controls such means of destruction is a form of biopower in this most negative and horrible sense of the term, a power that rules directly over death—the death not simply of an individual or group but of humanity itself and perhaps of all being. When genocide and atomic weapons put life itself on center stage, then war becomes properly ontological.

War thus seems to be heading at once in two opposite directions: it is, on the one hand, reduced to police action and, on the other, raised up to an absolute, ontological level by technologies of global destruction. These two movements, however, are not contradictory: the reduction of war to police action does not take away but actually confirms its ontological dimension. The thinning of the war function and the thickening of the police function maintain the ontological stigmata of absolute annihilation: the war police maintain the threat of genocide and nuclear destruction as their ultimate foundation.

What’s most important, I think, about the impulse Hardt and Negri are identifying is that in either case the specter of Tribulation/Auschwitz/genocide or Rapture/Hiroshima/nuclear war wind up motivating Empire always in the same direction, that is, the repeated and “necessary” application of bios-preserving violence in the post-colonial spaces it has incorporated into itself but yet still keeps perpetually at a remove.

The later chapters about the Utopian possibilities of the networked multitude are interesting, though it’s probably this first chapter that I’ll most need to return to at some point.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 7, 2007 at 7:52 pm

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