Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘psychoanalysis

Start Monday Off Right with Monday Links, Half-Price for the Entire Month of August with Offer Code CANAVAN

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* Things are bad all over: No new novel cracked the top 20 print bestsellers in the first half of 2016.

* Stranger Things thinkpiece roundup! The Solution to Our Political Problems Lies in ‘Dungeons and Dragons.’ Homophobia Is the Real Monster in Stranger Things. The Problem of Barb. This Stranger Things supercut shows how meticulous the show’s ’80s references really are. And the inevitable remix.

* Elsewhere in 80s nostalgia: a brief history of The Thing.

* Teach the controversy: Was Philip K. Dick a Bad Writer? Meanwhile, it turns out there is no Man in the High Castle!

* Reports: 2 Professors at American U Afghanistan Abducted.

Several private universities are boosting stipends and benefits ahead of a federal ruling that could clear the way for graduate students to form unions. To some grad students, it’s an attempt to persuade them that they don’t need collective bargaining to get a raise.

Curated by Mohammad Salemy and a team of researchers from The New Centre for Research & Practice, Artificial Cinema is a large collaborative effort which explores the history of science fiction cinema and its potentials for arriving at a synthesized vision for the future of art. The exhibition traces a trajectory away from “Anthropocinema” — human-centered cinema — towards more open and complex collaborations between humans and machines.

* Online fandom isn’t all smiles and rainbows.

How Katie Ledecky became better at swimming than anyone is at anything.

* Abandoned Olympic venues from around the world.

UpshotNYT_2016-Aug-07One central fact about the global economy lurks just beneath the year’s remarkable headlines: Economic growth in advanced nations has been weaker for longer than it has been in the lifetime of most people on earth.

A start-up’s race to harvest the moon’s treasures.

The American Psychiatric Association issues a warning: No psychoanalyzing Donald Trump. They’re working for Putin too! And so is George P., looking for the Bush family’s revenge some dark day a decade from now.

Make America Austria Again: How Robert Musil Predicted the Rise of Donald Trump.

* Trump’s shrinking electoral map.

* Send First-Gen Students to Grad School.

Defending the humanities in a skills-obsessed university.

* The last word on cargo shorts and neoliberalism.

* Can Brazil Be Saved?

* It’s George R.R. Martin’s media ecology, we just live in it.

* The fight over H.M.’s brain.

* Teaching in the Age of Trump.

Suicide Squad Sets Box Office Record Because We Don’t Deserve Better Movies. Allow me to recommend Improv4Humans #251, Mattman v. SupArmen, which is better than anything this incarnation of the DC Universe has put out so far.

Six years ago, the world’s biggest library decided to archive every single tweet. Turns out that’s pretty hard to do.

Where are the Natives in Hamilton?

* Ideology disguises itself as common sense, as what everybody already knows.

* Academic Olympics.

* And a helpful questionnaire.

31. Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won’t otherwise get done?
32. Do you take on extra work because you do not believe other people can do it as well?
33. Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it?
34. Do you delay beginning a project and experience a surge of adrenaline as you prepare at the last minute or go forward unprepared?
35. Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you work for justice?
36. Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work?
37. Are you afraid that if you don’t work hard you will be a failure?
38. Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going well?
39. Do you feel that others are not doing enough?
40. Do you feel that you are not doing enough?

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Batman and Politics

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Everyone is getting all political over Dark Knight.

* Andrew Klavan in the Wall Street Journal finds the movie a grand apologia for Bush:

There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society — in which people sometimes make the wrong choices — and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

* But Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias want to trouble this understanding, where Matt makes what I thought was an interesting point about the leap from comic to film:

Shifting a bit away from the issues of the day, though, one interesting thing about the film is what a difference it makes to rip Batman out of the context of the broader DC universe. The DCU’s other anchor character, Superman, is far more powerful than Batman. And of course Superman’s hardly alone in this regard — Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, etc. all wield vast power and even lesser lights like the Flash outpace Batman by far.

In that context, Batman rather uniquely doesn’t suffer from a substantial legitimacy problem. You don’t look at Batman and say “no man should wield this much power” in a world where Superman can see through walls. It’s those other guys who have legitimacy problems and Batman is one of the important checks on them — especially on Superman, who specifically entrusts a kryptonite ring to Batman for that purpose.

* But it’s Kugelmass who has probably the best review I’ve seen thus far.

The reverse is also true, though—The Joker can’t kill Batman, because, he says, “you’re just too much fun.” That’s what we have to understand first before we can pick up on Ledger’s mannerisms and bizarre intonations. The Joker feels about Batman the way Shakespeare might feel if performances of Hamlet were being blocked in court by Thomas Kyd. In the previous film, Batman has taken the crucial plunge by deciding that his own personal neuroses have a global significance and relate in some meaningful way to the ebb and flow of order (law) and chaos (crime) in Gotham City. As a result, the whole city of Gotham has to play along with Batman, pretending as though shining the Bat Signal into the clouds and having one man karate chop his way around the city is the best way to fight crime. Being Batman is an incredibly excessive, libidinal kinkiness, but it is also a sort of splendor, without which the impetus to fight crime is lacking. It may seem ridiculous to assert that we have to let people dress up as sleeker versions of furries in order to persuade them to wield the baton, but in truth The Dark Knight is just illuminating the fantasies that play themselves out more tamely in normal professional lives. The Joker understands this so well that he’s out to climb the ladder and throw it away, by which I mean that he wants to turn the battle between criminals and vigilantes into a non-stop morality spectacular in which every normal ferry trip becomes a live, game show version of the prisoner’s dilemma. His polymorphous perversity is an end run around Batman’s incompletely sublimated fantasies. It’s not necessarily disappointing to him that the people on the ferries don’t detonate each other—I mean, isn’t that wonderful? They got to prove they were good people—Eichmann on the one boat, Bigger Thomas on the other. The Joker claps when Gary Oldman is made commissioner, perfectly well aware that this scene of goodness rewarded is only possible because he (the Joker) killed Commissioner #1. Ladies and gentleman, we are tonight’s entertainment.

That’s why it’s ridiculous to criticize The Dark Knight on the grounds that it is a children’s film or infantile; it is about infantility, and raises questions about how much we can really escape from apparently embarrassing wishes. Part of the problem with a fiction like Enchanted or Harry Potter is that it allows adults to feel themselves at a safe distance from kids’ stuff through (respectively) ironic misdirection and misty, head-patting sentimentality.

* And for the fanboys in the audience, via Jacob, 8 great villains we want in the next Batman movie.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm