Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘rhetoric

It’s Week One of Year Zero and I’m Declaring Total Tab Bankruptcy

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gauld-declutteringvertical-panel_-1-010617* CFP: SFRA 2017. CFP: 14th Annual Tolkien at UVM Conference. CFP: Toxic Fans. CFP: Whiteness and the American Superhero. CFP: The Gibson Critics Don’t See. Call for Applications: R.D. Mullen Fellowships. CFP for MLA 2018: Creative Economies of Science Fiction. And also at MLA 18, the science fiction panel I’ll be chairing: Satire and Science Fiction in Dystopian Times.

* This thread on Gene Roddenberry and Grace Lee Whitney makes some flat assertions that are actually just well-supported speculations, but is nonetheless is a shocking and dispiriting revisionist history of Trek that’s well worth considering.

gauld-declutteringvertical-panel_-4-010617* The part I was born to play.

Race and Zootopia.

* Rick & Morty and theodicy.

* Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.

* The novel in the age of Obama.

* The Life-Changing Magic of Decluttering in a Post-Apocalyptic World.

Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries.

* From my colleague Rebecca Nowacek: Don’t Retreat. Teach Citizenship.

* Student evaluations: still bad.

* Keywords for the Age of Austerity: Alternative.

* I’m not normally one to defend college admin, but: Trade school fires president after he let homeless student stay in library during sub-zero weather.

* Without communism, there’s something missing from dystopian stories.

* Junot Diaz remembers Octavia Butler.

Legislation in two states seeks to end tenure at public colleges and universities. Missouri Lawmaker Who Wants to Eliminate Tenure Says It’s ‘Un-American.’

* The university as asylum. The university and the class system.

* The Changing English Major. The collapse of history as a discipline. A liberal arts college without English majors? Massive cuts at the University of Alberta.

* MLA Rejects Israel Boycott. MLA by the numbers (from the right).

* When a school hires adjuncts, where does the money go?

UBI already exists for the 1%.

* 26, 171.

* Shockingly enough, legalizing murder means more murders.

Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You?

Somali refugee in Milwaukee publishes book.

* When the homeless die, it’s up to forensic investigators to find their families.

* The End of the Rural Hospital.

* Secrets of my success: Cracking a Joke at Work Can Make You Seem More Competent.

* The FBI has been using the Geek Squad as all-purpose informants.

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Trump Promised to Resign From His Companies — But There’s No Record He’s Done So. Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue. Mark Hamill, National Treasure. Searching for Time-Travelers on the Eve of the Trump Inauguration. Donald Trump, David Foster Wallace, and the hobbling of shame. A mere 34. It would be crazy not to impeach him. Keep America Great. Oh, you think? The DeVos Democrats. That’ll solve it. Here’s What You Can Do to Beat Trump. Preventing 2017 America from becoming like 1934 Germany: A watchlist. Philip K. Dick vs the Time of Trump. Here’s what Sci-Fi Can Teach Us About Fascism. Stop making sense, or, writing in the age of Trump. The stories coming out of this White House are bananas. Watch this story. And this one! How jokes won the election. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. This is fine. UPDATE: This is fine.

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* Seems legit.

* This one too.

* But this one takes the cake.

* Meanwhile, the 2020 Dem frontrunner…

* But Jeet Heer thinks we can do even worse.

* Democrats in the Wilderness. Oh, they’ve got this.

* The Electoral College Is Even Worse Than You Think. But it can always be worse.

tumblr_ojwjs8g2yh1romv9co1_500What Would Happen in the Minutes and Hours After North Korea Nuked the United States?

* The Obama speeches. A politics that surrenders every level of government to its opposition cannot win the future. It has already lost the present. But this was good.

Want to Raise Successful Boys? Science Says Do This (But Their Schools Probably Won’t).

* Teachers who drink and drinkers who teach.

Bumblebee is first bee in continental US to be listed as endangered.

The Suburbanization of the US Working Class.

You Can Write a Best-Seller and Still Go Broke.

Thousands of Skittles end up on an icy road. But that’s not the surprising part.

Forced to watch child porn for their job, Microsoft employees developed PTSD, they say. The people behind the AI curtain.

* Ha ha ha, he’s the sheriff of my county, what a character, this is not frightening at all.

* Lessons from Octavia Butler: Surviving Trump.

* I still think every adult who let this get to trial should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

MST3K is that for me. It saved my life, at least twice. There’s no hyperbole in that declaration.

Sherlock‘s bizarrely self-aware problem with women.

* About that biometric password you’re born with and will never be able to change.

Women only said 27% of the words in 2016’s biggest movies.

Most primate species are now threatened with extinction.

* Neanderthals were people too.

When a Video-Game World Ends.

* Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich.

* Twilight of the cruelty factory circus.

* “We Will Miss Antibiotics When They’re Gone.”

* “Genderless Nipples account frustrates Instagram.”

* Disability and as-seen-on-TV.

Wolf-Sized Otters Prowled the World Six Million Years Ago.

Not all that long ago, as the editor in chief of Gawker.com, Daulerio was among the most influential and feared figures in media. Now the forty-two-year-old is unemployed, his bank has frozen his life savings of $1,500, and a $1,200-per-month one-bedroom is all he can afford. He’s renting here, he says, to be near the counselors and support network he has come to rely on lately.

* I still believe in Arrested Development Season Five.

* Your blast from the past: Prodigy Online’s MadMaze.

* Superheroes and the kids today.

* Episode 8 has a name.

* Autism causes vaccines.

* And RIP, Mark Fisher. A memorial fund for his wife and son. His piece on depression.

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 24, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Please Enjoy Weekend Links!

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* Get your abstracts in! CFP: Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling. And a CFP for a special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies on “The Intersections of Disability and Science Fiction.”

* The schedule of classes for Marquette English is up at Spring 2017. I’ll be on research leave, if you’re wondering why I’m not listed…

* Best Tumblr in forever: Sad Chairs of Academia.

* How to Live Less Anxiously in Academe.

How Skin-Deep Judgments of Professors Might Influence Student Success.

“There are many things I do not know because I photocopied a text and then relaxed as if I had read it.”

* The extent to which Trump is floating absolute gibberish cannot be undersold. Even Costanza is superseded in his time. Once more with feeling: On Bullshit.

america-is-already-great-3-8ad19eWhat did Trump lie about at the debate, mondo-hugeo chart edition. Donald Trump’s first presidential debate confirmed he has no idea what he’s talking about. Prince Georging, Meflection, and Gobbing: A brief guide to Trump’s rhetorical tricks. A Trump Glossary. You’ll get ’em next time, buddy. What It’s Like to Be a Female Reporter Covering Donald Trump. This May Be The Most Horrible Thing That Donald Trump Believes. When Trump said that not paying taxes ‘makes me smart,’ undecided voters in N.C. gasped. How Donald Trump Set Off a Civil War Within the Right-Wing Media. How to bait Donald Trump. Gray’s. Sports. Almanac. How to evade your taxes the Trump way. More. Even more! Trump Foundation lacks the certification required for charities that solicit money. Cuba! I sold Trump $100,000 worth of pianos. Then he stiffed me. Donald Trump and the truth about race and real estate in America. America is already great. There’s still heroes in the world. And then there’s what happened just this morning.

 

 

* The most American-democracy thing that’s ever happened: But Republicans said the White House didn’t make a forceful case, putting themselves in the awkward position of blaming the president for a bill they enacted into law over Obama’s veto.

Beyond Clinton or Trump: Nuclear Weapons and Democracy.

Wisconsin Is Systematically Failing to Provide the Photo IDs Required to Vote in November. What a shocking and unexpected consequence of these well-intentioned, commonsense laws.

Note: The original headline for this piece was “George W. Bush is Not Your Cuddly Grandpa. George W. Bush can rot in hell.”

Five questions we need to answer before colonizing Mars. Elon Musk’s spectacular plan to colonise Mars lacks substance. Fun and exciting, not boring and cramped! Is Elon Musk’s Crazy Mars Plan Even Legal?

* What could possibly go wrong? UVM Medical College to Eliminate Lectures.

No Punishment for ‘Run Them Down’ Tweet.

Baltimore vs. Marilyn Mosby.

Why New Jersey’s Trains Aren’t Safer.

* Nicholson Baker goes to school. Reader, I bought it.

* In Praise of Bob Ross.

* Has Pope Francis Failed?

* Another review of Alice Kaplan’s book on The Stranger.

* “Liberalism is working”: Teen accused of stealing 65-cent carton of milk at middle school to face trial.

Measles are gone from the Americas.

Silicon Valley’s rhetoric of magical innovation relies on a hidden abode of rare earth mining and hydro-cooled server farms.

* On Premier League Fantasy Football.

How ‘Daycare’ Became ‘School.’

* The 25 Best Superpowers in the Superpowers Wiki.

*Wonder Woman Writer Greg Rucka Says Diana Has ‘Obviously’ Had Relationships With Women. She was on an island of only women for millennia! So yeah.

* One effect of superhero culture: a proliferation of fan events where Marvel movie heroes and ‘Walking Dead’ stars walk away with six figures (more than most get paid for their real jobs) for a weekend’s work.

The world passes 400ppm carbon dioxide threshold. Permanently.

And yet, looking back at The Jetsons intro sequence today, I wonder where the icecaps are in that little illustration of earth. Is some land missing from Central America? Has the North gained land mass? Such questions become more troubling in the context of current concerns about global warming and, once asked, open the floodgates for similar observations. In the intro sequence, flying cars convey the Jetsons and other families from their floating bungalow to other floating buildings like The Little Dipper School, Orbit High School, Shopping Centre, and Spacely Space Rockets Inc. What was once a cute innovation—why not live in floating cities?—becomes troubled by its energy costs and its purpose. Why do the Jetsons and other families live in orbit? What has happened below to force them into the skies?

* Today in on-the-nose metaphors: NASA Is Sinking Into the Ocean.

Every society gets the post-apocalypse it deserves.

* Big as horror movie.

There were no casualties in the landslide which occurred earlier this month, but the facility’s new rock climbing facility was completely wiped out. Yes, I suppose they would be.

Codex Silenda, A Handcrafted Puzzle Book With Pages That Must Be Solved to Unlock the Next One.

* The ADA at Disney.

* Cheating in school as communism.

* Today in neoliberal consumerism: Want to Make Ethical Purchases? Stop Buying Illegal Drugs.

* The Dark, Gritty Tick goes to series. Spoon! But like a dirty, chipped spoon, a spoon that really reflects the darkness of our society and our souls.

Emulator lets you turn NES games 3D.

U.S. owes black people reparations for a history of ‘racial terrorism,’ says U.N. panel.

Striking Prisoners Say Their Guards Have Joined In.

* The Longreads Reading List on Utopias.

* Die a hero, or… Has Whedon Changed, Or Have We Done Changed?

It’s Official: The Boomerang Kids Won’t Leave. I wonder how many are actually caring for or financially supporting un-, under-, and unable-to-be-employed parents and siblings.

Let’s Stop Talking About Stranger Things Season Two Before We Ruin It. Friends, I have some terrible news.

* Leave the hot moms alone.

* There’s bad luck, and then there’s: Man Bitten On Penis By Spider For The Second Time This Year.

* Today in terrible ideas I could not denounce more strongly: Is it time for Star Trek: The Next Generation to go Kelvin?

* And at least the kids get it.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 29, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Literally Every Weekend Link There Is

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* It’s official: J.J. Abrams will ruin Star Wars (more).

* More drone fiction, please. Tweets not bombs. Lip-syncing the poetry of empire.

Žižek vs. Zero Dark Thirty.

Imagine a documentary that depicted the Holocaust in a cool, disinterested way as a big industrial-logistic operation, focusing on the technical problems involved (transport, disposal of the bodies, preventing panic among the prisoners to be gassed). Such a film would either embody a deeply immoral fascination with its topic, or it would count on the obscene neutrality of its style to engender dismay and horror in spectators. Where is Bigelow here?

* Anti-war activism at the University of Wisconsin, c. 1940.

* Stunning read on living as a victim of child abuse from the New York TimesThe Price of a Stolen Childhood.

* David Foster Wallace and depression, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

* Steve Benen and Maddowblog has been all over the Republican vote-rigging scheme, even going so low as to cite one of my tweets. What The 2012 Election Would Look Like Under The Republicans’ Vote-Rigging Plan. Scott Walker, of course, is rigging-curious. And a delicious little bit of schadenfreude.

It is a sin against the new world of mediocrity to be distinct or distinguished.  We are in the chain-store, neon-lighted era.  Almost every city looks the same.  The same people all dress the same – kids as Hopalong Cassidy, men with loud sportshirts and Truman suits, women in slacks.  Sometimes you can tell whether a trousered individual is a man or a woman only by the width of the buttocks.  Only a few cities have individuality.  They are the seaports, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.  Boston reeks of decay, and is not genteel.  The rest are all Cleveland.

* Today in legal hyperformalism.

Would you believe me if I told you that President Obama is in constitutional trouble—with hundreds of decisions of the National Labor Relations Board from the last year now potentially invalid—over the meaning of the word the?

* When The Shining had an optimistic ending.

* So we’re going to destroy the world: Australian shale oil discovery could be larger than Canada’s oilsands.

* The trouble with English.

None of these past challenges compares with the one under way now. While other humanities disciplines—philosophy, linguistics, and modern languages, for example—have relied upon a range of foundational practices at the modern mass university, many English professors have depended on literature (narrowly defined), written discourse, and the printed book as the primary elements in teaching and scholarship. But hidebound faculty members who continue to assign and study only pre-computer-based media will quickly be on their way toward becoming themselves a “historical” presence at the university.

That’s why I specialized in iPad-2-era Twitter-based fan-fiction, and frankly I’ve never looked back.

* Mainstreaming MOOCs.

* Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational: Ian Bogost vs. “The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.”

* New research indicates tuition has little correlation with educational outcomes.

If markets are efficient and if markets make things better, then there is no explanation for why we have the worst media in the world rather than the best. The problem is that markets don’t really make things better or more efficient. They make things cheaper and they’re responsive. That’s why we get the news we want rather than the news we need.

Child labour uncovered in Apple’s supply chain.

* n+1 visits MLA.

* Defending freedom: A St. Paul man who recently purchased an assault rifle out of fear of an impending gun ban threatened his teenage daughter with it because she was getting two B’s in school rather than straight A’s, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

For The Sixth Time In One Week, Man Shot At Gun Show.

* Adam Mansbach: My fake college college syllabus.

* Copy Of The Scarlet Letter Can’t Believe The Notes High Schooler Writing In Margins.

* Debunkng the “the Soviets used a pencil” gag. The more you know!

* Occam’s Razor suggests it must be Cory Booker who is putting these people and animals in danger in the first place.

* More on the Arizona “loyalty oaths” issue, with a religious freedom focus.

* New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence.’ Republicans, honestly, we have to talk.

* Seriously, though, I could fix the whole damn system if they’d listen to me.

* Even the Pentagon doesn’t know what the the point of the draft is supposed to be.

* Xavier and Magneto Heading to Broadway for Waiting For Godot.

* And a little something just for the Harmenians: “I wanted a memorable Harmontown show in Kansas City, and for my sins they gave me one.” Dan Harmon predicts pain.

Big Monday Links

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(some links stolen from the great zunguzungu)

* It’s bad enough that I’ll never be asked to reboot Back to the Future—but it’d be utterly intolerable if the gig goes to two guys I went to high school with. Jon says it’s all a big misunderstanding but you know he’s just trying to throw me off the scent.

* There is no fresh start: The Return of Mad Men and the End of TV’s Golden Age. A metafictional reading of the series. And for fun: The Foreign Language of Mad Men: Do the characters really talk like people from the ’60s?

Let us start with the obvious: in the entire decade or so of airport security since the attacks on America on September 11th 2001, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not foiled a single terrorist plot or caught a single terrorist.

* Arundhati Roy: “Capitalism: A Ghost Story.”

* In his novel “2066: Red Star Over America,” Han, China’s premier science-fiction writer, depicts a disturbing future. It is the year 2066. China rules the world while the U.S. festers in financial decline and civil war. A team has been sent to America to disseminate civilization through the traditional Chinese board game Go. But during the critical Go match held at the World Trade Center, terrorists strike. The seas around New York rise, the Twin Towers crumble and the U.S. is plunged into pandemonium. You had me at “Go.” Via io9.

* Do professors get paid too much for too little work? Obviously. More here.

* Related: “College Professors Demand Right to Be Mean.”

* Facebook asserts trademark on word “Book.” Can’t see that being controversial.

* It must be an election year, because suddenly the Obama administration is talking about the environment.

Extreme weather events over the past decade have increased and were “very likely” caused by manmade global warming, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change said on Sunday. “Scientists at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Research used physics, statistical analysis and computer simulations to link extreme rainfall and heat waves to global warming,” Reuters reports. “It is very likely that several of the unprecedented extremes of the past decade would not have occurred without anthropogenic global warming,” said the study. Why didn’t anybody warn us!

Government spending is good in a recession? Why didn’t anyone tell us!

* Why is horseracing even allowed? Via MeFi.

Rules: This is a very specific contest. Don’t tell us why you like meat, why organic trumps local or why your food is yours to choose. Just tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat.

* If They Directed It: The Hunger Games. I don’t think anything I’ve written on Twitter has gotten as many retweets as my brief reading of series as a utopia.

* Imagining The Wire Season Six.

* On not calling Rich Santorum “crazy.”

* Jeffrey Jerome Cohen writes up his visit to the wonderful conference I was at last weekend, ICFA 2012.

A highlight of ICFA was China Miéville’s talk “On Monsters.” I am a fan of Miéville’s work; The City and the City is one of my favorite books. His narratives are always beautifully written as well as philosophically challenging. Besides possessing an astonishing vocabulary (he sends me to the dictionary, and makes me wonder how they ever gave me a PhD), he is a writer widely read in theory — though his books never turn into allegories for lit crit. They always trace problems, and stay away from anything easy. Miéville brought up Quentin Meillassoux and speculative realism, for example, during his paper (dismissively: he is not a fan of SR or object oriented philosophy, which surprised me). China’s presentation started off as straightforward account of how the uncanny might be broken into various subcategories: the ab-canny, the sur-canny, the sub-canny, the post-canny, the para-canny, and onwards. His account began seriously but spiralled into a proliferative joke. His point was that classification is not analysis, and that such a “taxonomic frenzy” (as he called it) mortifies: “the drive to translate useful constructs into foundations for analysis is deadly,” because it violently takes away the potency and possibility of the terms it organizes. What was interesting to me, though, is that China’s talk performed something, um, para-canny (right beside itself, there but unseen) that I’ve also learned from studying medieval encyclopedists: taxonomic frenzy might produce a desiccated system of emplacement in which everything gets filed into a cabinet and drained of its vitality. Or it might actually be so creative in its proliferative energy and so limned by the necessity of its own failure that it undermines its own rigidity in the very process of articulation, becoming an envitalizing and innovative act — an act of writing — rather than a system of deadening inscription. China’s multiplication of canniness had a power that he walked away from, I think: why abandon your monster like that?

* Honoring the 20th anniversary of Apollo 18 the only possible way: interactive fiction.

* This American Life: What kind of ideology?

* “He Was a Crook”: Longform.org remembers Hunter S. Thompson’s obituary for Richard Nixon.

* Haiti: Where did the money go?

* Support for Afghan War falls. Support for NC anti-gay amendment rises.

A recent Elon University poll found that 58 percent of North Carolinians oppose the amendment, with 38 in favor of it. That poll surveys adults statewide, while the WRAL News poll includes the results only of likely voters.

Despite the broad amendment support in the WRAL News poll, only 37 percent of voters said same-sex couples deserve no legal recognition in North Carolina, according to the poll.

So you have no idea what you’re voting for and won’t bother to find out. Got it.

* Because the 2012 campaign hasn’t been tedious enough: 2016.

* Trayvon Martin and the history of lynching. The Corporations Behind the Law That May Let Trayvon Martin’s Killer Go Free. On Trayvon Martin as innocent victim.

Why Obama’s Healthcare Law Is Constitutional. Absolutely everything you need to know about health reform’s Supreme Court debut. What the Supreme Court Could Do About Obamacare, Explained. Legal experts: Court won’t strike down ‘Obamacare.’

* If I didn’t know better I’d say this little video has some sort of message.

* MLA Job Information List data back to 1965.

* Infographic of the night: Doomsday Predictions Debunked.

* The headline reads, “UC review backs use of pepper spray on protesters.” Huh! I really thought they’d give themselves hell.

Referring to pepper spray, he wrote: “A few focused applications on the crowd that blocked the officers near the row of bushes would likely have cleared that area very quickly, with few additional baton strikes.”

You’re a university, for Christ’s sake. My god.

* What could possibly go wrong? Has Obama put us on a permanent war footing, even in peacetime?

* And what could possibly go wrong? Tacocopter could be the unmanned future of food delivery. Some should have read more Jenny Rhee.

Tuesday Midday

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* Why Are UC Administrators Such Bad Letter Writers, And Why Should We Care?

* UC Davis Students Set Up Huge Geodesic Dome On Quad.

* Turns out the optimal marginal tax rate is… 76%.

* Pennsylvania will put its plan to rig the Electoral College on pause. Hooray?

* And Jon Taplin just can’t understand why progressives think they lost the budget fight.

President Obama immediately threatened to veto any attempt to undo the spending cuts. That means that Republicans would have to get a 2/3rds majority to undo the first meaningful cutback in the Military budget in 60 years. In addition, if Obama also threatens to veto any attempt to restore the Bush Tax cuts in 2012 (they expire automatically on January 1, 2013), progressives will have totally changed the inequality dynamic, without having to pass a single piece of legislation.

If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs…

The Paranoid Style

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Tim Wise: …while Loughner would never have likely contemplated political assassination in a culture where the most pressing issue was, say, a simple philosophical disagreement over tax policy, or the proper balance between interest rates and full employment, or the percentage of GDP dedicated to debt service as opposed to long-term infrastructure investment, that is not the culture in which he (or any of us) lives. Rather, we live in a nation in which it is commonplace, and considered completely rational, for elected officials to believe the President is a foreign interloper. We live in a culture where the nation’s most powerful Republican, House Speaker John Boehner, cannot bring himself to condemn the maniacal derangement that is birtherism, but is reduced instead to a mere acknowledgement that since Hawaii says the President is a citizen, that’s “good enough for him.”

We live in a culture in which it is utterly normal, to a degree that has sadly made it nearly banal, to hear multi-million dollar, best-selling authors and talk show hosts suggest that the nation is on the verge of total fascism, death panels for the elderly, door-to-door gun confiscation, and the reconquest of the American southwest by Latinos bent on ethnic war. In short, in a society where paranoia is the daily currency of mainstream commentators, and pseudo-schizophrenic ramblings are elevated to the level of persuasive argument, we ought not be surprised that such a tragedy as occurred on Saturday might happen.

[…]

It is not necessary to show that Loughner is a follower of Glenn Beck, or Michael Savage, or any of a hundred or more local variants of the same. It is not, in the end, all that important whether he spent time on right-wing websites, or is (as a Department of Homeland Security memo seems to suggest) a follower of the white nationalist group, American Renaissance, or whether he believes (as some of his internet postings hint) that the Constitution is being usurped by the current government because of its reliance on paper money: a prominent meme among the far-right. What matters is that Loughner, like all of us, has been exposed day in and day out, for several years, to the unhinged and paranoiac ravings of persons who believe America is in its “end days,” and that the sky is falling, at least metaphorically — and not because of global warming, which is just one more piece of the left-wing conspiratorial plot to confiscate all wealth in the name of nature-worship — but because of the communist / socialist / fascist / Marxist / Nazi / Muslim / Kenyan / terrorist / anti-Christ who occupies the White House.

It is that daily stream of poisonous vitriol from which it is nearly impossible to escape.

In a culture where Glenn Beck plays “Six Degrees of Chairman Mao” every night on his chalkboard, uncannily managing to convince his flock that even the most moderate of Democrats likely hums the Internationale to his or her children rather than regaling them with bedtime stories, we can truly say that paranoia has become not only the prelude to something deadly, but sadly a form of pedantry so everyday in its appearance that we write it off as entertainment, rather than the poison it truly is.

In a culture where political rallies attended by thousands feature prominent speakers who suggest the President might well be Satan in the flesh, and marchers who carry signs suggesting “Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama’s Ovens,” or that the President intends to put whites into slavery, nothing should surprise us anymore.

In a media environment where highly paid commentators can keep their jobs even as they insist that those who call for the shooting of government agents so as to stop a world government takeover are “beginning to have a case,” or that a national service initiative is just a run-up to the implementation of a literal stormtrooper corps like the Nazi SS, or that “multicultural people” are “destroying the culture of this country,” or that Latino migrants are an “invasive species,” that seeks to undermine the nation, or that the President is intentionally “destroying the economy” so as to pay white people back for slavery, or that, worse, he and other Democrats are vampires, the only solution for which is a “stake through the heart,” to feign shock at the acts of a Jared Loughner is a precious and naive conceit that we can no longer afford.

Via Pandagon, which notes succinctly, “Keeping people in a permanent state of fantasy is an excellent way to push them towards violence.”

A few related links:

* The solution to gun violence is always more guns.

* Some rules for debating debate.

* Gun control for me, but not for thee.

* Nate Silver tries to get empirical.

* And these “You Lie!” bullets could be intended for anyone. It’s not a call for violence. Stop whining.

‘Climate of Hate’

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Echoing commentary from across the blogosphere, Krugman and The New York Times Editorial Board consider the larger social implications of Saturday’s attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and call for an end to extremist and eliminationist rhetoric of the sort extensively catalogued here.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm