Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘sexism

Sunday Night Links! Probably Too Many!

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17644_10101690572456291_9124726088155968029_n* Upcoming appearances: I’ll be speaking at the Environments & Societies workshop at UC Davis next Wednesday. And of course we’ll be debating whether Harry Potter is a dystopia (it is) this Wednesday here at Marquette.

* This is nice: Green Planets is a finalist for the ASLE book prize.

* CFP: The Contemporary: Culture in the Twenty-First Century.

* CFP: Jim Gordon as Batman is dumb.

* The Dolphin Trainer Who Loved Dolphins Too Much.

* The cult of the Ph.D. I suppose I’m a hopeless curmudgeon on this at this point, but I just don’t see how any attempt to reform graduate schools can ignore the fact that “the primary, overarching purpose of doctoral programs is to produce professors.” Alt-ac can save a few, but it can’t save everyone, or even most.

Everything We Learned About The Force Awakens At Star Wars Celebration. Look, I’m not made of stone.

* And then there was (sigh) DC. Double sigh.

* There still aren’t any states where women earn as much as men.

PayGap2Did Yoda And Obi-Wan Screw Princess Leia Over?

But in choosing a hero to defeat Vader, they sent Luke to Dagobah, not Leia. They sent the whiny uneducated hick whose greatest ambition until very recently had been to *join the Empire* instead of the smart, sophisticated, and well-educated woman with the political connections and Rebel cred?

It was only the last time I watched Return of the Jedi that I finally realized “that boy is our last hope / no, there is another” refers to Anakin, not Leia. So I’m pretty on board with this, especially now that the possibly exculpatory Expanded Universe context has been retconned out of existence.

Citi Economist Says It Might Be Time to Abolish Cash. This is a truly stunning document: the argument is that we need to abolish cash because otherwise bankers won’t be able to force everybody to accept negative interest rates.

* New from the new TNR: We’re Checking the Wrong Privilege.

* Heinlein shrugged.

America’s wealth grew by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children has also grown by 60 percent.

155,000 New York kids boycott standardized tests.

Preserving the Ghastly Inventory of Auschwitz.

It is a moral stance with specific curatorial challenges. It means restoring the crumbling brick barracks where Jews and some others were interned without rebuilding those barracks, lest they take on the appearance of a historical replica. It means reinforcing the moss-covered pile of rubble that is the gas chamber at Birkenau, the extermination camp a few miles away, a structure that the Nazis blew up in their retreat. It means protecting that rubble from water seeping in from the adjacent ponds where the ashes of the dead were dumped.

And it means deploying conservators to preserve an inventory that includes more than a ton of human hair; 110,000 shoes; 3,800 suitcases; 470 prostheses and orthopedic braces; more than 88 pounds of eyeglasses; hundreds of empty canisters of Zyklon B poison pellets; patented metal piping and showerheads for the gas chambers; hundreds of hairbrushes and toothbrushes; 379 striped uniforms; 246 prayer shawls; more than 12,000 pots and pans carried by Jews who believed that they were simply bound for resettlement; and some 750 feet of SS documents — hygiene records, telegrams, architectural blueprints and other evidence of the bureaucracy of genocide — as well as thousands of memoirs by survivors.

* There’s jobs, there’s dirty jobs, and then there’s being Joseph Goebbels’s copyright lawyer.

Ewald Engelen, a professor of finance and geography at UvA who spoke about the perils of the financialization of higher education at the Maagdenhuis occupation, explained in a coauthored article, published in 2014, how rendementsdenken became the ruling logic – and logic of rule – at his university. After a 1995 decision transferring public ownership of real estate to universities like UvA, he and colleagues argued, education and research considerations started taking a backseat to commercial concerns regarding real estate planning. The state’s retreat from management of real estate demanded tighter account of “costs, profits, assets and liabilities” at the university, setting “in motion a process of internal reorganization to produce the transparent cash flow metrics that were required to service the rapidly growing real estate debt,” the academics wrote.

Neither the Brostrom or the Campos side focuses on the fact that privatization increases expenses as well as revenues. In reality, privatization forces the mission creep of multiplying activities, “businesses,” funding streams, capital projects and other debt-funded investments, which increase all sorts of non-educational costs and also administration.  Private partnerships, sponsors, vendor relations, and so on bring in new money but also cost money, require institutional subsidies, and in many cases lose money for the university.

The Education Department Is Working On A Process For Forgiving Student Loans.

* Sweet Briar didn’t die, it was put down. If he puts his mind to it, Jamshed Bharucha has the ability to effectively destroy whatever future remains for Cooper Union.

* I really wish we could get famous people to stop talking this way about autism.

* Towards a disability version of the Bechdel Test.

A disability version of the “Bechdel Test,” maybe?
1) There’s a disabled character visible
2) Who wants something, and tries to get it,
3) Other than a) Death, b) Cure, or c) Revenge.

* Cuomo’s master plan to turn SUNY into a startup factory has created 76 jobs.

Large Pile Of Cash Announces US Presidency Bid.

* The BBC has adapted The Left Hand of Darkness.

* I’m very much in favor of “they” as a generic singular pronoun, but “they are,” please, not “they is.”

Private Company Conspired With Police To Hold Poor People For Ransom, Lawsuit Charges.

Ex-Drug Cop: Drug Squad Stole Cash And Planted Drugs Too Many Times To Count.

* Only for certain values of “justice”: The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

* It seems like the deputy isn’t the person who should be charged with Eric Harris’s murder. This person never should have been working as a cop, for myriad reasons.

* The only way this can work: California Assembly panel approves legislation preventing police from viewing body camera footage.

Labeling the market natural and the state unnatural is a convenient fiction for those wedded to the status quo.

White parents in North Carolina are using charter schools to secede from the education system.

Racism in schools is pushing more black families to homeschool their children.

All 3 Oregon Basketball Players Suspended Over Sexual Assault Find New Teams.

* Shocked, shocked: Leaked videos suggest Chevron cover-up of Amazon pollution.

* The Atlantic covers graduate student unionization.

Los Angeles school district demands multi-million dollar refund from Apple.

Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet.

* “All I know is the end is coming for all of us.”

* On not hate-watching, but hope-watching.

* George R. R. Martin: Once More, into the Kennels.

The Atlanta teachers’ trial: A perfect example of America’s broken justice system.

* How Israel Hid Its Secret Nuclear Weapons Program.

The Quest to Boot Old Hickory Off the $20.

Why the Vatican’s crackdown on nuns ended happily. Pope Francis’s Populist War on the Devil.

Latchkey children age restrictions by state. Wisconsin, you’re probably asleep at the switch here. But Illinois, you guys relax.

A Scan Of 100,000 Galaxies Shows No Sign Of Alien Mega-Civilizations. Okay, but let’s scan the next 900,000 just to be sure.

That aliens would have imperial ambitions is taken as natural. Far from being the historical outcome of a specific organization of capital in the latter half of the second millennium, these signatories assume that the ideology of capitalist imperialism is inevitable across the galaxy. To be fair, though, the Fermi Paradox is a “it just takes one” claim, not a “all societies are alike” claim.

* If you’re so smart, why aren’t you terrified all the time?

Chase nightmares with behind-the-scenes photos from Return To Oz.

The Photo Hitler Doesn’t Want You to See.

* More on how Game of Thrones deviates from the books. And a fun flashback: The first pilot for Game of Thrones was so bad HBO almost passed on the entire series.

* It’s almost like Batman didn’t think this thing through.

* Dumb, but maybe my favorite Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal of all time.

* And teach the controversy: Tim Goodman says the Waitress arc on Mad Men might not be stupid and pointless.

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Notes Towards a Miss Reading of Kimmy Schmidt

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Seeing this review of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt at the Los Angeles Review of Books has inspired me to finally write up some somewhat idiosyncratic thoughts I’ve had about the series that I haven’t seen reflected anywhere else. (And thanks to the people who have indulged me about this on Twitter, especially @millicentsomer and @evankindley.) I definitely agree with the reviewer that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a “woman out of time” story, but I really think the interpretive emphasis on “Unfrozen Middle Schooler from the 1990s” should be on “middle schooler” rather than “from the 1990s.” My take is that the 1990s nostalgia is largely driven by the Millennial audience the show is pitching itself at — it’s an engine for jokes but not really the center of the project. “Unfrozen Middle Schooler,” in contrast, is the actual heart of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, at least the way I want to read it as a feminist work.

One of the things I talked about with Lili and Evan on Twitter was whether Kimmy’s abduction is taken seriously as an event or if the bunker is taken seriously as an actual lived environment. Having completed the series now, I still don’t think so: I think “the bunker” essentially functions in the series like being in a coma, or being shot with a Grow-Up Beam, or making a wish to be Big. It’s a magic spell to get Kimmy from middle school to adulthood without having to go through high school and college, which is the source of her power in the series, from her refusal of the usual rules of society to her love of backpacks and bright, mismatched clothing. You can see this utopian imaginary working really clearly in the incredibly infectious theme song, where the removal of the girls from the bunker and a closeup on Kimmy’s ecstatic childlike grin over the lyrics “Unbreakable! They alive, damnit! It’s a miracle!” quickly gives way to a montage of nostalgic, home-video-style images of childhood (and specifically girlhood), which express the same unvarnished joy but also absolute self-confidence (thumb’s up), total mastery of their environment (the dancing, the hula hooping, the monkey bars), and maximum resilience in the face of adversity (the baby plopping down face first).

We return to the in-universe “autotune the news” frame only once during this thirty-second sequence, to be told that “females are strong as hell” — the clear implication to me being that we ought to draw an interpretive connection between the claim of female power and childhood, specifically, girlhood: before sex, before even puberty, before the male gaze, before pervert teachers and abusive boyfriends and quasi-consensual sexual encounters and ubiquitous street harassment and the too-familiar host of other abuses inflicted upon women from the moment they enter young adulthood. What the magic spell of the bunker allows Kimmy to do is pass over the moment in which girls are forcibly conscripted into becoming “women” (somewhat or entirely against their will) and emerge instead as an adult who has not internalized our society’s misogyny or its mean, psychosexual aggressivity. So much of what is delightful about Kimmy is precisely the fact that she has retained the aspirations, expectations, confidence, and general affect of a precocious middle-schooler without having had to temper or diminish herself through unhappy experiences with patriarchy. If the show has a moral or utopian message for women, it’s Let’s all go back to thinking about ourselves the way we did before society told us we were worthless, and it’s a pretty damn good one.

We’ve been working with children’s stories a lot in my “magic as literature” course this semester, and one of the oppositions we’ve really been focusing on (especially as we’ve studied Disney, and Frozen, recently) is the opposition between what mythographers call “the girl’s tragedy” and what we’ve been calling instead the utopia of childhood or (here more directly) the utopia of girlhood. The girl’s tragedy is the female answer to “the hero’s journey,” but the narrative doesn’t work the same way: instead of the boy hero who sets out from home, masters the outside world, slays the dragon, and then returns home to become king, the girl’s tragedy is a story about being ripped from safety and forced to accommodate oneself to the whims of adult men, particularly their sexual urges. The happy ending for the girl’s tragedy — the happiest one available — is that she accepts her role as wife and mother and gives birth to a male son who will then inaugurate the next cycle of heroism; girls and women who refuse to play the proper role are typically cast out of the realm of the human altogether, turned into animals or plants or stars or foam. The utopia of childhood describes those comparatively rare stories that are exceptions, where the girls are neither forced to become mothers nor punished, but allowed to remain what they were without transformation by instead bending the adult world to their will (as in Brave, or Moonrise Kingdom, or arguably Frozen, though in most of these the girl-heroes seem only to buying themselves time rather than enacting a full and permanent transformation of their circumstances).

Of course the utopia of childhood can itself be deeply retrograde, and is frequently misogynistic in its way — we spent a lot of time on “The Problem of Susan” in the Narnia books precisely so we didn’t fall too in love with the impossible fantasy of never growing up (when in the end we all have to). Nor can we safely imagine childhood in such uncomplicatedly rosy terms, both because childhood can also be a time of fierce frustration, competition, and intense pain even when it is not actively shattered through the cruelty and abuse of adults. But all the same there is something undeniably appealing about the idea of returning to a childhood that is both happy and which never gives way to something else, a desire that structures so much of our culture (particularly the middle-class culture of “good parenting”) that it really almost goes without saying. And in the case of Kimmy Schmidt‘s feminist politics of course the idea is not that women find some fantastical way to literally de-age themselves so much as they look to their younger, effortlessly capable and supremely confident selves as inspiration in the present.

There’s one more thing to say about Kimmy Schmidt, which is again about the abduction and the bunker, which would seem to be a rather large problem for my reading of the series. Isn’t Kimmy’s entire situation itself a literalized girl’s tragedy, insofar as she is abducted as a child and put into radical seclusion, all the while being fed obscenely misogynistic lies by a woman-hating male adult? Well, yes! The question of Kimmy’s abduction, and the horrific sexual violence it inevitably implies if thought about too much, is a pretty thorny one for the series: fixated on too much, it threatens to derail any potential for comedy in the show at all. (UPDATE: Someone just sent me Emily Nussbaum’s review, which talks a lot about this issue.) The series cleverly solves the problem by opening the door just a crack — “yes, there was weird sex stuff in the bunker” — and then simply leaving it there. Something happened — perhaps, as Evan suggested in what has become my headcanon, it was all between the girls and not involving the preacher at all — but it hasn’t changed Kimmy, or defeated her. And she emerges from Hell neither pregnant with the monster’s baby, nor transformed into a weeping plant or into sea-foam, but just as unflappable and unbreakable as she was when she went in.

And in any event the treatment of the bunker doesn’t really work the way the ten-second summary of the setup would suggest. The presence of the preacher is actually a further occasion for Kimmy to refuse to internalize her sexist training, precisely because it is now located within a single, odious man against whom she can fight. The button at the end of the first episode demonstrates precisely this: Kimmy proves he is lying to them, he says he’s going to break her someday, and she replies no, he never will. It’s easy to see why, in contrast to the microaggressions and little indignities — alongside the very big ones — that make up girls’ training to be women in our society, which is constantly delivered by parents and siblings and friends and trusted authority figures and widely celebrated mass culture texts, Kimmy’s more direct training in misogyny at the hands of the Reverend never really takes. In the bunker she had an obvious enemy, someone she could tell she was feeding her poison, and so she could reject it. It’s actually outside the bunker where the true brainwashing takes place, which is all the more insidious because it seems like education, like help, like love.

Easter Links! Find Them All!

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* The 2015 Hugo nominees have been announced, and they’re a mess. The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They’re Only Political. A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year. The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide. The Biggest Little SF Publisher you never heard of declares war. “Why I Declined a Hugo Award Nomination.”

* And in response to the question “Well, what should have been nominated for a Hugo?”: “Andromache and the Dragon,” by my brilliant Marquette colleague Brittany Pladek!

* “The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany”: In portraying a horde of clones on ‘Orphan Black,’ the actress has created TV’s strangest — and most sophisticated — meditation on femininity. And a special bonus companion piece: Meet The Woman (Besides Tatiana Maslany) Who Plays Every Single “Orphan Black” Clone.

Reddit’s Bizarre, Surreal, Maddening, Hypnotic, Divisive, and Possibly Evil April Fools’ Joke. I’ve become obsessed with this.

* CFP: Ephemeral Television. CFP: Into the Pensieve: The Harry Potter Generation in Retrospect.

* Watching them turn off the Rothkos.

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University.

Iran’s Been Two Years Away From a Nuclear Weapon for Three Decades. The Iran deal. What if the Iranians are people too?

So how much money is the NCAA making? In 2010, CBS and Turner Broadcasting gave the NCAA $10.8 billion for a fourteen-year broadcast monopoly on March Madness games. Estimated ad revenue for the 2013 tournament reached $1.15 billion, while ticket revenue brought in another $71.7 million. Last year no less than thirty-five coaches pulled down salaries higher than $1 million before bonuses; Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski topped the list with an income of more than $9.6 million.

Guarding against the errant, suicidal murderous pilot belongs to a category called “wicked problems” — the complexity of the system and the conflicting incentives mean that every solution introduces another set of problems, so the only way forward is always going to be an imperfect one. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is that this once again reveals how, as humans, we are lousy at risk assessment, and also lousy of accepting this weakness. The problem is wicked, but its occurrence is so rare that it is almost unheard of — partly why it terrifies us so. Our imagination, biases and fears are terrible guides to what should actually be done to keep us safer, and this has significant consequences in a whole host of fields, ranging from terrorism to childcare to health-care.

So you see, people like Tim Cook are selective in their moral universalism; morality, it turns out, is universal only insofar as extends to the particular desires of a Western bourgeoisie; deny a gay couple a wedding bouquet that they could get at the florist down the street anyway, and that is a cause for outrage and concern; extract minerals using indentured Congolese servants, well, look, we’ve got marginal cost to consider! The moral argument, it turns out, curdles when exposed to the profit motive, and the universality of justice actually does end at certain borders, one way or another.

How the Slave Trade Built America.

* But unlike its predecessor, the show has no obvious narrative progression. Nacho’s important, or he’s not; the Kettlemans are half the show, or maybe we should care about Sandpiper. There are flashbacks to Jimmy’s past where Bob Odenkirk is playing either 25 or 57—a savvy criminal or a neophyte screw-up. In the lead-up to Better Call Saul, there were theories that the show would be funnier than Breaking Bad (maybe a sitcom?) or more procedural than Breaking Bad (maybe The Good Wife for bad boys?) or more episodic (like X-Files with lawyers!). None of that is true, and all of that is true. It’s interesting, but not the way great TV is interesting. Better Call Saul reminds me more of Treme or John From Cincinnati: post-masterpiece meanders. 

* In TV’s Silver Age, a logjam of shows that are ‘pretty good,’ but not great.

Here’s A Map That Shows All The Future Megacities From Science Fiction.

* Can science fiction be a form of social activism? Walidah Imarisha thinks so, and she’s recruited everyone from LeVar Burton to Mumia Abu-Jamal to help her prove it.

* Johns Hopkins Faces $1-Billion Lawsuit Over U.S. Experiments in Guatemala.

* sirens.io, blogging from seven years in the future.

* Are Aliens Behind Mysterious Radio Bursts? Scientists Weigh In.

* Calif. Governor Orders Mandatory Water Restrictions For 1st Time In History. It’s up to us to singlehandedly save california from drought by turning off the tap when we brush our teeth! California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago. California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth. R.I.P. California (1850-2016): What We’ll Lose And Learn From The World’s First Major Water Collapse. Children of the Drought.

Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.

* Oceans might take 1,000 years to recover from climate change, study suggests.

Drug field tests used by cops are so bad they react positively to air, soap, candy.

* Trolley Problem: The Game. Advanced Trolley Problems.

* Scott Walker’s budget cuts $5.7 million from pollution control efforts.

The Most Popular Antidepressants Are Based On A Theory We Know Is Wrong. Most antidepressant users have never had depression.

* 12 New Science Fiction Comics You Absolutely Need to be Reading.

* From Shaman to Equinox: The Challenges and Failures of Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics Read More: Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics.

* Hero Price Is Right model begins the revolution by just giving away a car.

* First as an unexpectedly great show, then as I don’t know it doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me.

All told, the “Detroit Industry” frescoes are probably as close as this country gets to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

* The happiness spigot.

New report says manned Mars mission could reach orbit by 2033, land by 2039.

Clarke makes her point not with stirring courtroom rhetoric or devastating legal arguments but by a process of relentless accretion, case by case, win by win. This is her cause. Because if the state cannot put these defendants to death, then how can it put anyone to death? Thirty-five executions took place in the United States in 2014 for crimes that form an inventory of human cruelty—and yet few were as willful and egregious as those committed by Judy Clarke’s clients.

Here is an example of the priorities in New York state’s budget: There is no increase in the minimum wage, but purchasers of yachts that cost more than $230,000 are exempt from the sales tax.

* U.S. Court Officially Rules that Friendship Is Worthless.

Tales from the Trenches: I was SWATed.

Texas Just Does Not Care How Hot Its Prisons Get.

* Duke tries throwing polio at cancer, as you do.

* Interesting article on design: The Secret History of the Apple Watch.

Senate Republicans say the current system is unfair because rural residents are effectively supporting urban counties’ schools and services when they shop there. Yes, that’s literally how the system is intended to function.

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust.

* So you want to resurrect a college.

These Slow-Motion Videos of Fluids Vibrating on Speakers Are Wonderful.

* Now Full House, and the Muppets too.

These Photos Of Melanie Griffith And Her Pet Lion In The 1970s Are Everything. (UPDATE: Here’s the article that seems to be the original source, plus a little bit on Roar’s rerelease. Noteworthy lines from Wikipedia: “Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film.”)

* Being Andre.

Landlord Sends Man $1,200 Bill To Cleanup His Roommate’s Blood, Who Was Shot Dead By Police.

Stan VHS, A Tumblr Blog Featuring 1980s-Style VHS Cover Art for Modern Television Shows and Movies.

A Linguistic Comparison of Letters of Recommendation for Male and Female Chemistry and Biochemistry Job Applicants.

* SF Short of the Weekend: “Burnt Grass.”

* …and your short short of the weekend: “No One Is Thirsty.”

* I finally found enough time to be annoyed by Obama interviewing David Simon about The Wire.

* This Easter, we remember.

* And because you demanded it: An oral history of Max Headroom.

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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All The Wednesday Links!

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* I got some really good news the other day: an NEH Summer Stipend! Here’s the full list of $22.8 million in awards and offers for 232 humanities projects.

* Two of the poems from the award-winning first collection of my partner, Jaimee Hills, are up at Waywiser Press: “Synaesthesia” and “Derrida Eats a Dorito.”

* I taught #GamerGate in my video game class yesterday. It wasn’t my favorite day of the semester, not by a long shot, but TNI‘s “Gaming and Feminism” post was a great help, particularly the link to Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games: Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 and Playing with privilege: the invisible benefits of gaming while male. I didn’t spend that much time on it, but I’m still tickled by Why So Few Violent Games?

Salvage-Marxism embraces the Socialist rococo, the feel-good where we can and the feel-bad where we must, the utopian and the unflinching. Salvage will bring together the work of those who share a heartbroken, furious love of the world, and our rigorous principle: Hope is precious; it must be rationed.

An ontology of the present is a science-fictional operation, in which a cosmonaut lands on a planet full of sentient, intelligent, alien beings. He tries to understand their peculiar habits: for example, their philosophers are obsessed by numerology and the being of the one and the two, while their novelists write complex narratives about the impossibility of narrating anything; their politicians meanwhile, all drawn from the wealthiest classes, publicly debate the problem of making more money by reducing the spending of the poor. It is a world which does not require a Brechtian V-effect since it is already objectively estranged. The cosmonaut, stranded for an unforeseeable period on this planet owing to faulty technology (incomprehensibility of set theory or mathemes, ignorance of computer programmes or digitality, insensibility towards hip-hop, Twitter, or bitcoins), wonders how one could ever understand what is by definition radically other; until he meets a wise old alien economist who explains that not only are the races of the two planets related, but that this one is in fact simply a later stage of his own socio-economic system (capitalism), which he was brought up to think of in two stages, whereas he has here found a third one, both different and the same. Ah, he cries, now I finally understand: this is the dialectic! Now I can write my report! Fredric Jameson, “The Aesthetics of Singularity.”

Terry Pratchett: “Not having battles, and doing without kings.”

* Confabulation in the humanities.

Fantasy scholarship needs theory. Badly.

The first African science fiction short story? Leonard Flemming’s ‘And So It Came To Pass.’

* Adam Kotsko: Notes toward an overanalysis of a failed sci-fi spin-off.

Did the Anthropocene Begin with the Deaths of 50 Million Native Americans? Defining the Anthropocene. The Inhuman Anthropocene.

* Scars of the Anthropocene: Japan builds a sea wall.

Nestle Continues Stealing World’s Water During Drought. A $600-Million Fracking Company Just Sued This Tiny Ohio Town For Its Water.

Devastating report finds humans killed almost 3 million whales last century.

Costa Rica powered with 100% renewable energy for 75 straight days.

It’s May 2065, and Cornell’s Dean of Nonlitigable Revelry is angry. So good.

Welcome to Ohio State, Where Everything Is for Sale.

It’s true that some of the faculty opposed this deal (but only 84 percent,according to a survey), and it’s also true that since the Australian takeover, prices for parking permits have gone through the roof. But it is not true, as has been reported in some places, that faculty have formed hitchhiking co-ops because they can no longer afford to park on campus.

The important point here is that this deal puts the lie to the complaint we hear so often that college doesn’t prepare people for the real world. Our CFO, the guy who orchestrated this deal, has just landed a very lucrative job with the Australian firm he sold the parking to. It’s called synergy, baby! Look it up.

* Ayn Rand comes to UNC.

* UW Struggle: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Public Authority Edition. This Is What Wisconsin’s 2.5% Budget Cut Looks Like.

Sweet Briar Alumnae Outline Legal Case Against College.

U.Mass. Faces $3B in Debt. reclaimUC: “That’s nothing.” More links below the chart.

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New York Attorney General Is Investigating Cooper Union’s Decision to Charge Tuition.

* “Why Tenure Matters.” Holy moly.

A former administrator at Chicago State University has accused its president and other officials of firing her in part because she refused their demands that she file a false sexual-harassment charge against a faculty member critical of the leadership.

University protests around the world: a fight against commercialisation.

* Free expression and academic labor.

It’s that mass contigency– the dramatic rise of at-risk academic labor like adjuncts and grad students– that creates the conditions that Cooke laments on campus. In the past, when a far higher portion of college courses were taught by tenured professors, those who taught college courses had much less reason to fear reprisals from undergraduates. They had the protection of the tenure system and often the benefit of faculty unions that could agitate on their behalf. But with so many instructors in a state of minimal institutional protection or authority, lacking long-term contracts, benefits, or collective bargaining, the risk of angered students multiplies. Adjuncts don’t even need to be fired; they can just not get any classes the next semester. Grad students don’t even need to be fired; they can just have their job applications placed on the deny pile. This is why I think the problem is actually probably much larger than the high-profile anecdotes would suggest. The greatest impediment to real pedagogical and political freedom on campus is self-censorship due to labor insecurity. Discussion of contingency is almost entirely absent in Cooke’s essay.

* Academics talking about money.

On the Meaning of “Natural Born Citizen.”

What If Education Reform Got It All Wrong in the First Place?

* Nearly a quarter century ago, “A Nation at Risk” hit our schools like a brick dropped from a penthouse window. One problem: The landmark document that still shapes our national debate on education was misquoted, misinterpreted, and often dead wrong.

Education is not a design problem with a technical solution. It’s a social and political project neoliberals want to innovate away.

What Happens When A 38-Year-Old Man Takes An AP History Test?

How one dad opted out his kindergartner from standardized testing.

Trying the 12-year-old “Slender Man” stabbers as adults is as illogical and barbaric as they are.

Plane Safety Cards Explained.

*A University of Calgary professor has written “the first scholarly study of the Archie comic,” titled Twelve-Cent Archie. Though some of his colleagues were skeptical, his motivation, Bart Beaty explains, was “to really challenge the kind of snobbery that’s inherent in the way that comics aren’t studied.” 

* Meanwhile, we live in very weird times: Archie vs. Predator.

* Ted Cruz, I think, speaks for us all: “My music tastes changed on 9/11.”

Lead prosecutor apologizes for role in sending man to death row.

* BREAKING: your weed killer is poisonous.

America’s race problem has been solved, and it was easier than you would have thought.

SF Bishop Sorry Sprinklers Installed To Roust Homeless Were Discovered ‘Misunderstood.’

* SMBC explains Heaven.

* Worst person in the world speaks.

* If you give a lion a CAT scan.

This Floating McDonalds Has Sat Empty For 28 Years.

* There goes my Plan B: Business Owner Millions in Debt Arrested Two Years After Faking Death.

Bruised Woman On Billboard Heals When People Look At Her, Reminds Passersby Of Dangers Of Ignoring Abuse.

* “As They Lay Dying”: Two doctors say it’s far too hard for terminal patients to donate their organs.

1. An Unknown Alien Being acquires a child’s forgotten book and mistakenly beliefs that it depicts proper protocol for interaction with the human world. Mustaba Snoopy.

Texas’ brazen attempt to silence one of its most effective death penalty defense lawyers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the leading trade group for compound pharmacists is now discouraging its members from supplying the drugs necessary for lethal injections — in what represents the first official stance the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) has ever taken on death penalty issues. Relatedly.

* I’m not one for tech solutions generally but they should figure out a way to put microlocal cell phone jammers in cars. Nothing else is going to stop this from happening.

* The best description of social media I’ve ever seen:

Podcast: Government Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know FBI Agents Can See They’re Creating Terrorists.

Why Health Care Tech Is Still So Bad.

The strange things people Google in every state. The most common job in every state.

Before Judges, the Godfathers Become Sick Old Grandfathers.

H-Bomb Physicist Ignores Federal Order to Cut 5,000 Words From Memoir.

​The Apple Watch Is the Perfect Wrist Piece for Dystopia.

* The Second Death of Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe, no longer at ease.

* Nothing gold can stay: The Zelda TV show isn’t going to happen.

* And it’s not all death and destruction: There are more museums in the U.S. than there are Starbucks and McDonalds – combined.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 25, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thursday Links!

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* Coetzee: There is nothing wrong with arguing that a good humanistic education will produce graduates who are critically literate, by some definition of critical literacy. However, the claim that only the full apparatus of a humanistic education can produce critical literacy seems to me hard to sustain, since it is always open to the objection: if critical literacy is just a skill or set of skills, why not just teach the skill itself? Would that not be simpler, and cheaper too?

…in the end, I believe, you will have to make a stand. You will have to say: we need free enquiry because freedom of thought is good in itself. We need institutions where teachers and students can pursue unconstrained the life of the mind because such institutions are, in ways that are difficult to pin down, good for all of us: good for the individual and good for society.

* If you can’t make a case for a discipline on the basis of the actual objects studied by that discipline, it’s doomed. The field needs to have confidence in the things it takes as its subject matter.

* Huge drop in humanities majors at Swarthmore.

Not for the first time, vandals are wreaking havoc in central Europe. Russian police say they’re looking for the intellectually minded miscreants who graffitied “Kant is a moron”—along with a flower and heart—on the philosopher’s home outside Kaliningrad.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 16: Flexibility. Special appearance by Plastic Man.

Higher Education and the Politics of Disruption.

Black UVA Student Beaten Bloody by Police Over Alleged Fake ID: Reports. UVA’s White President Outsources Outrage Over Martese Johnson to Two Black Administrators.

Chapel Hill Will Pay $335,000 to Whistle-Blower in Fraud Scandal.

More Scrutiny of Decision to Close Sweet Briar.

Penn State Fraternity’s Secret Facebook Photos May Lead to Criminal Charges.

Despite Progress, Only 1 in 4 College Presidents Are Women.

The New York Times ran the Duke story—a story about the internal politics of an English department—on its front page.

* I can’t remember if I already linked to Jalada #2: “Afrofuture(s),” but it’s great. I think my favorite little piece is one of the short poems, “Found: An Error in the System.”

Schools Plan Massive Layoffs After Scott Walker Guts Funding.

21st-Century Slaves: How Corporations Exploit Prison Labor.

Why The U.S. Won’t Let the U.N. Look Inside Its Prisons.

* Modern-Day Caligula Orders Everything Bagel.

* Everything’s different in Denmark: Porn belongs in the classroom, says Danish professor.

* What could possibly go wrong? The Scientist Who Wanted To Bring A Death Row Inmate Back From The Dead.

* Starbucks loses its damn mind. Starbucks Wants To Talk To You About Race. But Does It Want To Talk To You About Racism? Starbucks’s Race to the Center of Civic Life.

* Simians, Cyborg-Women, and Godzilla: 40 Years of Terror of Mechagodzilla.

41 Awesome Euphemisms For Vagina Around The World, Because Your Pupusa Speaks All Languages.

Mars One Finalist Explains Exactly How It‘s Ripping Off Supporters.

* The New Optimism of Al Gore.

* Antarctica appears to be melting from below.

* Climate change and full communism.

* When the CIA funded the National Student Association.

The Problem With History Classes.

Rise of the Gender Novel: Too often, trans characters are written as tortured heroes. We’re more complex than that.

The lonely shame of student debt.

Queer Silence and The Killing Joke.

* #LightenUp: On Comics and Race.

I’m Al Lowe and I created a series of games called Leisure Suit Larry for Sierra back in the ’80s and ’90s along with another 20 games and titles back in that period. I was with Sierra from 1982 until 1998 when it — well, it was the poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals. How about that for an opening?

* Did Terry Brooks save epic fantasy? Given the years involved if anything did it seems more likely to me that it was Dungeons and Dragons, but it’s a nice remembrance of the franchise regardless.

* I’m good for five seasons at least: Bridgeport Priest Who Ran Meth Ring Pleads For Leniency.

* Really bad idea watch: Sherlock Goes Old-School For Its Christmas Special.

* The Walking Disney.

* The Hidden History of Miscarriage.

One chart that shows just how ridiculously huge Wall Street bonuses are.

Where to expect upsets on your NCAA bracket.

* New edition of Catan coming down the pike.

* You had me at fully automated luxury communism (FALC).

* And because you demanded it! Sam Jones Says New Flash Gordon Is A Sequel.

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Thursday Links!

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* I have a short piece up at the Cambridge UP blog: “We’re Sorry, the Final Frontier is Closed.” It talks a bit about the recent revival of space frontier and space opera fantasy in big-budget films like Jupiter Ascending, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Interstellar…

Scientists determine the nation’s safest places to ride out a zombie apocalypse.

Woodland ‘fairy door’ tradition ‘out of control.’

Now the trustees of Wayford Woods have announced ‘fairy control’ methods which will curb the “profusion of elfin construction”.

Trustee Steven Acreman said the trend was “in danger of getting out of control” but stressed he was not “anti-fairies”.

“It’s a very complex situation and nobody’s admitting that they’re evicting the fairies,” he said.

“These beliefs persisted into recent times,” says Butler. “For example, in 1895 Michael Cleary convinced his family and community that his wife, Bridget, was a changeling. This was confirmed by a traditional fairy doctor, who attempted a herbal cure. When that didn’t work, they threatened her with fire, doused, and finally burned her to death.” Well, that’s certainly less charming.

So by all means, criticize teachers when it is warranted. But resist education reformers at all costs, particularly when they rationalize their reforms as a way to address the problems of the teaching force. Education reformers, no matter their intentions, are the enemies of a unionized teaching force. They are the enemies of public education.

Sweet Briar’s Sudden Closure Plans Leave Students and Employees Scrambling.

“The faculty and staff,” Mr. Brown said, “are feeling traumatized by this—not just by the loss of the institution, but by the way it has been handled. They seem to have no answers about anything, and that is what feels so deeply troubling.”

I hadn’t even thought about how impossible it will be for Sweet Briar faculty to sell their homes. What a nightmare.

Who Gets the Endowment? I really hope higher ed media watches the dispersal of Sweet Briar’s endowment and property very closely.

* And of course Forbes has a handwavey plan to save Sweet Briar by firing all the faculty and replacing them with MOOCs.

The Woman Behind #NAWD.

* Neoliberalism and magic.

Indeed, at the heart of the standard capitalist narrative is magic, as if the will to realize the abstract ideal of a cornucopia for all will itself — through fervent wishing and belief that can only be called religious — bring about the imagined state. It is the “invisible hand” idea from Adam Smith — the conviction that there really is a hidden force that given free rein sets everything aright. It is the God meme in capitalism and its writings, Smith’s among them, that is to capitalism what the Torah is to Judaism, the Gospels to Christianity, and the Koran to Islam: holy texts whose authenticity and reality must not be challenged or questioned unless as an adolescent moment of doubt, eventually subsumed by the re-embrace of total belief.

* I’ve always wanted a Trek anthology series. And with the ever-lowering cost of CGI effects it could be finally be done…

* In the short term, the contract faculty who teach the majority of courses at York University are striking for higher wages. In the long run, contract teaching needs to be abolished.

* The Unintended Consequences of Borrowing Business Tools to Run a University.

In some cases, regulation, not deliberative choice, has led campus leaders to rely on business advice. For example, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights II, signed into law in 1996, requires many of us to hire compensation consultants to ensure that “disqualified persons”—presidents, provosts, vice presidents for finance and administration, etc.—have not received an “excessive benefit” such as inappropriate compensation.In all situations that I have observed, this process has had unintended consequences. Using sophisticated tools developed for industry, the consultants have demonstrated that many higher-education leaders are undercompensated.

GASP! NO ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED! I wonder if a “compensation consultant” has ever, in history, determined that a CEO was receiving “excessive benefit.”

Raped on Campus? Don’t Trust Your College to Do the Right Thing. I’d see the story about Oregon’s admin raiding the campus health center for ammo to use against its own students, but I’d never seen the outrageous legal justification for it before now.

If you are a student and seek counseling at your college’s counseling center, your medical records are most likely not protected by the typical medical-privacy laws, otherwise known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Instead, they fall under the aegis of Ferpa, just as Oregon said. And compared with Hipaa, Ferpa is about as protective as cheesecloth.

This Is What It’s Like To Go To Court In Ferguson, Missouri. DOJ Finds Ferguson Police Routinely Discriminate. Ferguson Police Tolerate Sexual Harassment of Female Officers. What Is Wrong With the Ferguson Police Department? Particular lowlights from the DoJ report.

* Ferguson, Inc: The city’s protest movement tries to find a path forward.

What’s happening here is fundamentally simple: the surveillance state enforcing surveillance as the normative form of care. The state cannot teach its citizens, because it has no idea what to teach; it can only place them under observation. Perfect observation — panopticism — then becomes its telos, which is justifies and universalizes by imposing a responsibility to surveil on the very citizens already being surveilled.

Lao Science Fiction On the Rise.

* 1906 novel predicted what New York would be like in 2015 exactly.

CSU profs: Stagnant pay pushing us out of middle class.

American Airlines To Phase Out Complimentary Cabin Pressurization.

* More Companies Are Run By Men Named “John” Than By Women. Just lean in!

Writers Block: TV Writers’ Rooms Have Even Fewer Women, Minorities Than Last Year.

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Douglas Adams made me a writer: Neil Gaiman salutes his friend and inspiration.

The power of play: The effects of Portal 2 and Lumosity on cognitive and noncognitive skills.

Lots of Cases of Synesthesia Are Based on Alphabet Magnets.

Where’s The Funding For Women’s Soccer?

* Why Don’t Men Kick Each Other in the Balls?

Stop Calling Children’s Gun Deaths “Accidental.”

* A singular event that has never happened in history before: Kenosha officer admits to planting evidence in homicide case.

* 2016 watch: Bernie’s Reasons Why Not.

* And Boing Boing has your gallery of Star Trek comic book covers.

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Tuesday Night Links!

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* Call for applications: The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* Happy birthday, OEB.

* Coming soon at Marquette: “Barrel Rides and She-Elves: Audience and “Anticipation” in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy.” And this Thursday: Marquette English alum Adam Plantinga reads from his book 400 Things Cops Know.

* Great syllabus at Temple: Cli-fi: Science fiction, climate change, and apocalypse. The students’ blog is really good too, though I’m embarrassed that between the time I found this link and the time I posted it they added a post about me to the front page.

* “These are the best college majors if you actually want a job after graduation.” That “actually” is a great example of the kind of ludicrous framing that plagues these discussions; it’s talking about the difference between 90 and 95% employment.

* On the job market while pregnant, or, maybe the worst abuse of the famously abusive academic job market.

None of my new colleagues spoke to me as if I were a junior professional working my way through the tough lean days of youth. Most of them spoke to me, if at all, like I was a dog. Carrie Shanafelt on adjunctification in/and/as the profession.

* Peter Railton’s Dewey Lecture.

* International Adjunct Walkout Day is tomorrow. More links below the map.

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So Your Fic is Required Reading.

* The Grand Wes Anderson Playlist.

* Paging Dr. Crake: “Why Genghis Khan was good for the planet.” A friend on Facebook who works on climate and energy told me that there’s even a theory that first contact with the Americas and the resulting mass death may have led to global cooling in the 16th and 17th centuries due to reforestation.

Officials Urge Americans To Sort Plastics, Glass Into Separate Oceans.

* The law, in its majestic equality: People who have been stripped of benefits could be charged by the government for trying to appeal against the decision to an independent judge.

Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site. This is insane.

* UW, Morality, and the Public Authority.

The High Price of a Public Authority in Wisconsin.

If the public authority is actually an idea worth pursuing, then UW leadership should push to get it off the fast track. And it must give some substance to its so far empty defense of Chapter 36.

* Letter from an adjunct at UW.

Legislative staffers report that total UC spending from all sources of revenue went up 40 percent from 2007-08 to the present fiscal year — far greater growth than seen in other large state institutions. This undercuts Napolitano’s claims of poverty and shores up critics who say UC has slack, unfocused management. Amazingly, officials struggle to detail exactly where much of UC’s current $26.9 billion budget goes. They can’t say how many faculty members primarily engage in research and how many primarily teach students — which is supposed to be UC’s core function.

Institutions Adrift: Dealing with Declining State Appropriations at Kentucky’s Regional Comprehensive Universities.

* UNC moves to crush its poverty center.

Idaho financial aid officer arrested for offering students scholarships in exchange for sex. Whenever I see a story like this I think about how many signatures they make me get to be reimbursed for things they told me to buy.

SUNY grad says school made her prosecute her own sex attacker.

Marquette economist says there’s no economic reason to argue for right to work in Wisconsin. Hahahahahahaha.

* Privilege and the madness of chance.

Supermarket shoppers are more likely to buy French wine when French music is playing, and to buy German wine when they hear German music. That’s true even though only 14 percent of shoppers say they noticed the music, a study finds.

Researchers discovered that candidates for medical school interviewed on sunny days received much higher ratings than those interviewed on rainy days. Being interviewed on a rainy day was a setback equivalent to having an MCAT score 10 percent lower, according to a new book called “Everyday Bias,” by Howard J. Ross.

Those studies are a reminder that we humans are perhaps less rational than we would like to think, and more prone to the buffeting of unconscious influences. That’s something for those of us who are white men to reflect on when we’re accused of “privilege.”

* Why Just Filling the Pipeline Won’t Diversify STEM Fields.

These dream guns indicate the depth of white America’s fear of black resistance. But black people are allowed to take part “safely” in gun culture if we agree to become the avatars of respectable, state-sanctioned violence, with military recruiters in our high schools and colleges, and police recruiters outside subway stations and unemployment offices.

The Silk Road might have started as a libertarian experiment, but it was doomed to end as a fiefdom run by pirate kings.

* The most important legal scholar you’ve likely never heard of.

At New York Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside. I think Freddie’s comments on this were pretty smart.

These people become invulnerable, their commodification impregnable: there is no critique from within privilege theory that they cannot turn around on others, and no critique from outside of it that they cannot dismiss as itself the hand of privilege.

* Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is up for reelection tomorrow, promising to continue his campaign against public education in the city.

America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776.

* “Let’s stop pretending going to Mars is for mankind.”

Much scientific discovery is for the betterment, amusement and curiosity of a lucky few in this world. Those without water, meanwhile, are temporarily forgotten

The sad part is we’re rich enough to do both and we choose to do neither.

* Rortyblog: Everyone should take it easy on the robot stuff for a while.

Steven Spielberg Has Been Thanked More Than God in Oscar Acceptance Speeches. God actually only clocks in at #6.

Dead for 48 minutes, Catholic Priest claims God is female. Oh, that must be why.

Archaeologists Discover a Cheese That’s Almost 2,000 Years Older Than Jesus.

* When Instagram brings down your congressman.

Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher. GASP.

Jeb Bush Conveniently Started Promoting Fracking After Investing In It. GAAAAAAASP.

Žižek on Syriza. He’s also being interviewed at LARoB this week.

* Meanwhile, in Jacobin: The strategy of Syriza’s leadership has failed miserably. But it’s not too late to avert total defeat.

Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People.

* Starbucks to consider maybe possibly abolishing the “clopening” unless employees want to “step up.”

* The 2014 Nebula Award nominees have been announced.

How did Twitter become the hate speech wing of the free speech party?

* Sexism and the tech industry: Women are leaving the tech industry in droves.

* The other other side of sperm donation: Sperm Donors Are Winning Visitation Rights.

* Comedy Bang! Bang! and WTF remember Harris Wittels. I thought Scott’s opening to Harris’s last CBB was especially good.

* Another big outlet takes a trip inside the men’s rights movement.

Algorithmic States of Exception.

Holy Hell This Power Rangers Reboot Is Dark As F*ck. Vimeo has taken down the NSFW version but you can still get it in the embed at Joseph Kahn’s Twitter for some reason.

* On a less disturbing note, I watched The Ecstasy of Order for my games class on Tetris today, and it was great.

blog_work_family_conflict* Men Complain Far More Than Women About Work-Family Conflicts.

*‘Two and a Half Men’: TV’s Worst Sitcom Ends As Terribly As It Lived, and I Watched Every Episode.

Two and Half Men hit a new low every season and then continued to sink even further underground.

* Birdman is your best movie of all time apparently. It’s already paying dividends. OR IS IT.

* “Alejandro González Iñárritu is a pretentious fraud, but it’s taken some time to understand the precise nature of his fraudulence.” Oh, come on, it wasn’t Grand Budapest but it was fine.

* I really needed to see this again today.

* Glenn Reynolds goes full Heinlein. Never go full Heinlein.

* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Over Five And A Half Billion Uruks Have Been Slain In Shadow of Mordor.

“Mass Incarceration, Deportation, Stop and Frisk: The Urban Ecology of the Prison-Industrial Complex.”

* And Britons would rather be an academic than a Hollywood star. Me too, but maybe I’ll hear Spielberg out.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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