Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Swamp Thing

Just Another Saturday Night Linkdump

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CFP: Medical Humanities and the Fantastic. CFP: Edited Collection, Fan Studies: Methods, Ethics, Research. CFP: Reclaiming the Tomboy: Posthumanism, Gender Representation, and Intersectionality. CFP: Special Issue on Indigenous and Sovereign Games. CFP: The Age of the Pulps: The SF magazine, 1926–1960. CFP: Productive Futures: The Political Economy of Science Fiction, Bloomsbury, London, 12-14 September 2019.

* Awesome #altac job watch: Humanities Editor at Minnesota Press.

* The second half of the Women’s Studies issue on Octavia E. Butler, featuring my article of Parable of the Trickster, is now officially out. Check it out!

* Find out when someone started crying during Endgame, and you’ll find out who they’ve lost. (Really, though, it doesn’t make any sense.) “Avengers: Endgame” is not just the culmination of the 22-movie Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also represents the decisive defeat of “cinema” by “content.” In Praise of Poorly Built Worlds. The Avengers are the heroes of ‘Endgame,’ but Disney was the villain all along. But this time, we’re talking about a tragedy beyond what could possibly be commemorated through memorial sites. It would land somewhere closer to mass suicide and total infrastructural collapse–and where Endgame is concerned, there are no tragedies, there is only Marvel. Eco-Villains: Thanos and the Night King. To put it bluntly, and in Deleuze’s terms, superhero films are action films for people who no longer believe in action, for whom the capacity to act has been overtaken by the spectacle. It’s probably the best version of what an Avengers movie can be. And even that turns out to be silly, sloppily written, and to require massive amount of suspension of disbelief. Is it really too much to hope that Marvel stops debasing its characters and stories with events that can never live up to the MCU’s individual pieces? Interview With A Local Man Returning After Thanos’ Snap.

* MCU continuity enters its “fuck you, that’s why” period.

An analysis of both side’s tactics in the Battle of Winterfell, from a military strategist. A counterpoint.

* Hate to agree with Ross Douthat, but it really does seem to be the case that hype aside Martin is just warmed-over Tolkien, but worse in every particular. Bonus Twitter thread goodness on GoT and colonialism.

* America is a horror: on Jordan Peele’s Us.

* Vox celebrates the great James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon).

* Keeping company with my Audible app over lunch, I’ve come to see it as the buddy our tech overlords have granted me in the isolation that they help to impose. I feel this way about podcasts.

* Report Realism: Tentative Notes on Contemporary Kenyan Writing.

Genres that strain realism—the gothic and neo-gothic, fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, and so on—are conspicuously absent in Kenyan writing, even as they are incredibly well represented in Kenyan book consumption. We are not writing what we are reading; even the very popular Christian-themed fiction about fighting demonic forces, which is really a variation of the horror novel, remains relatively sparse in terms of what we write or, perhaps more accurately, what we choose to make public of our writing. The believable and the realistic are bounded by NGO narratives and perspectives. And too many writers believe that the only writing worth anything is the believable and the realistic: to be a “committed” writer requires adhering to report realism.

Report realism believes in the power of “truth,” whether contemporary or historical, with a faith that borders on fundamentalism. In report realism, the truth will set us free. Report realism confirms objective NGO reports and affirms what Kenyans feel to be the truth of a particular condition. In report realism, for instance, the Kenyan prostitute is always a morally degraded figure looking for a way out to a respectable moral life. This realism is celebrated and supported by the NGO organizations who fund writing competitions and publish winning entries devoted to describing the real Kenya and by mainstream publishers who have the conservative mission of producing appropriately moral literature.

* ‘It drives writers mad’: why are authors still sniffy about sci-fi?

* The saddest story ever told, beating Hemingway out by one word: Esports Part-Time Online Instructor.

Yes, you will get a job with that arts degree. With that history degree, too!

Storm Clouds Over Tulsa: Inside the academic destruction of a proud private university.

6 Majors Were Spared the Ax at Stevens Point. But the Damage Might Be Done.

* Students and (not) doing the reading.

* How to Be a Better Online Teacher.

Getting a Game Studies PhD: A Guide for Aspiring Video Game Scholars. Game Boys: The “gamer” identity undermines the radical potential of play.

Sexual harassment is pervasive in US physics programmes.

The Disciplines Where No Black People Earn Ph.D.s. Being a Black Academic in America.

‘It’s an Aristocracy’: What the Admissions-Bribery Scandal Has Exposed About Class on Campus.

Swarthmore Fraternities Disband.

* Marquette faculty, students and community members rally for unionization. Unionization effort at Marquette leaves organizers, administration in a stalemate.

The University Is a Ticking Time Bomb. A Moral Stain on the Profession.

* “Student loan debt is crushing millions of families. That’s why I’m calling for something truly transformational: Universal free college and the cancellation of debt for more than 95% of Americans with student loan debt.”

Anxiety ‘epidemic’ brewing on college campuses, researchers find.

* Stanford keeps Stanford University Press alive… for one year.

Charles Koch gave $25m to our university. Has it become a rightwing mouthpiece? George Mason University’s Donor Problem and the Fight for Transparency.

Grad Students at Private Colleges Were Cleared to Unionize 3 Years Ago. Here’s What’s Changed.

* How America’s College-Closure Crisis Leaves Families Devastated.

* Meanwhile every teacher in the country is constantly confronted with the possibility that they’ll be asked to die for their students.

All Literature Is Climate Change Literature. The Green New Deal Costs Less Than Doing Nothing. Ecuador Amazon tribe win first victory against oil companies. ‘Death by a thousand cuts’: vast expanse of rainforest lost in 2018. Vietnam just observed its highest temperature ever recorded: 110 degrees, in April. ‘Decades of denial’: major report finds New Zealand’s environment is in serious trouble. Alaska’s in The Middle of a Record-Breaking Spring Melt, And It’s Killing People. The Folly of Returning to Paradise, California. Policy tweaks won’t do it, we need to throw the kitchen sink at this with a total rethink of our relationship to ownership, work and capital. Only rebellion will prevent an ecological apocalypse. “You did not act in time.” We Asked the 2020 Democrats About Climate Change (Yes, All of Them). Here Are Their Ideas. The Billionaire’s Guide to Hacking the Planet. What if air conditioners could save the planet? The collapse of the industrial economy is, in all likelihood, the only remaining way to prevent the mass destruction of life on Earth. ‘The Time To Act Is Now,’ Says Yellowing Climate Change Report Sitting In University Archive. A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet. Between the Devil and the Green New Deal. Five years. And here comes eco-fascism.

* Down and Out in the Gig Economy: Journalism’s dependence on part-time freelancers has been bad for the industry—not to mention writers like me.

But for most of us, freelance journalism is a monetized hobby, separate from whatever real income one earns. The ideal relationship for a freelance journalist to their work becomes a kind of excited amateurism. They should hope for professional success and acceptance but always keep a backup plan or three in mind. They will likely not be welcomed past the gates of full-time employment. By year five or six, they might be rebranding themselves as “editorial consultants” or “content strategists,” realizing that any genuine fiscal opportunity lies in shepherding corporate content to life.

* ‘Two-Tiered Caste System’: The World of White-Collar Contracting in Silicon Valley. The Future of Unions Is White-Collar. We Just Remembered How to Strike.

These five charts show how bad the student loan debt situation is.

* “I am a woman and I am fast.” The ongoing harassment of Caster Semenya is simply incredible.

* Ten years later, police lies about Oscar Grant come to light. And elsewhere on the police beat: We found 85,000 cops who’ve been investigated for misconduct. Now you can read their records. New York City’s DAs Keep Secret Lists Of Cops With Questionable Credibility. Virginia police sergeant fired after being linked to white supremacy.

Border Patrol Holds Hundreds of Migrants in Growing Tent City Away From Prying Eyes. Emails Show Trump Administration Had No Plan to Track and Reunite Separated Families. Militia in New Mexico Detains Asylum Seekers at Gunpoint.

TSA Agents Say They’re Not Discriminating Against Black Women, But Their Body Scanners Might Be.

* Against prison.

* France Debates How to Rebuild Notre-Dame, Weighing History and Modernity. An art historian explains the tough decisions in rebuilding Notre Dame. How Digital Scans of Notre Dame Can Help Architects Rebuild the Burned Cathedral. The billionaires’ donations will turn Notre Dame into a monument to hypocrisy.

* Researchers Made 3,900-Pound Boulders They Can Move by Hand, Giving More Insights Into Ancient Engineering.

* Mental health minute: Researchers say there’s a simple way to reduce suicides: Increase the minimum wage. The challenge of going off psychiatric drugs. The kids are not all right.

* The Rise of Useless Health Insurance. High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment. American Prescription Drug Prices Are Out of Control. One Man’s Furious Quest to Get to the Bottom of It.

* Rich guys are most likely to have no idea what they’re talking about, study suggests.

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population.

* A new Gallup poll says that America is home to some of the most stressed people in the world, reporting extraordinary levels of anger and anxiety that could be cause for concern, say doctors.

Workers Should Be in Charge.

I Work With Suicidal Farmers. It’s Becoming Too Much to Bear.

* On crunch time in the games industry.

Instagram Memers Are Unionizing.

* How Dungeons & Dragons somehow became more popular than ever.

Fantastic Autistic: Neurodiversity, Estrangement and Playing with the Weird.

* Re-reading the Map of Middle-earth: Fan Cartography’s Engagement with Tolkien’s Legendarium.

Why Won’t Twitter Treat White Supremacy Like ISIS? Because It Would Mean Banning Some Republican Politicians Too.

* Believe them when they say they want to kill us.

* Children of the Children of Columbine.

* My parents didn’t tell me they skipped my vaccines. Then I got sick.

* How a mall dies, Milwaukee edition.

* The hunt for rocket boosters in Russia’s far north.

* Job-hunting will only get worse.

* Of course I believe in hell. I vote for Democrats.

* Biden biden biden biden

* The gamification of fascism.

* Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, fandom, and anti-fandom.

* My feckless Googling had reaped a monstrous reality that I knew was going to haunt me for the rest of my life. I asked myself: Is there something righteous in facing reality, or would it have been better to stay ignorant? A surfeit of ugly knowledge is a feature of our age, a result of the internet carrying to our doorstep, like a tomcat with a dead rat, all manner of brutal information. How many others have flippantly Googled an old friend and discovered something ghastly? This was not knowledge as power; it was knowledge as sorrow.

* “Australia Is Deadly Serious About Killing Millions of Cats.”

* The oldest known tree in Wisconsin.

* A Video Game Developed To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease Seems To Be Working.

* Decolonizing Oregon Trail.

* How “Liberal” Late-Night Talk Shows Became A Comedy Sinkhole.

Men Have No Friends and Women Bear the Burden. Women suffer needless pain because almost everything is designed for men. What Good Dads Get Away With.

When Measles Arrives: Breaking Down the Anatomy of Containment.

* Despite being legally required to conduct audits since the early 90s and holding a staggering  2.2 trillion in assets, the Pentagon held its first-ever audit this week — which it, unsurprisingly, spectacularly failed.

* I have so little faith in the holders of the Star Trek IP I can’t greet any of this news with pleasure. Even the realization that Discovery is (finally) going to do something truly original in its third season just fills me with dread. And I don’t know how to feel about this at all: Star Trek: Picard Series May Not Reunite TNG Cast. Star Trek: Discovery’s Depiction of Captain Pike’s Disability is a Betrayal of Roddenberry’s Utopian Vision. My mini-tweetstorm on the subject.

* Sundown on Deadwood: David Milch, battling Alzheimer’s, finally finishes his TV Western.

* Professional obligation watch, god help me.

Jeopardy Wasn’t Designed for a Contestant Like James Holzhauer.

* Tolkien estate disavows forthcoming film starring Nicholas Hoult.

* John Lennon’s 15 year old report card.

* Colonizing Condiments: A (Very) Short History of Ketchup.

Women my age weren’t called ‘autistic’ growing up. We were awkward or ‘rude.’ And we missed out on services.

* “We are not interested in the reason for why the people are killed,” he wrote. “But if she is your wife or some family member, we can do it in your city as well.”

The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence.

* Obituary corner: Gene Wolfe Was the Proust of Science Fiction. Before the Labyrinthine Lore of ‘Dark Souls,’ There Was Gene Wolfe.

Before Gamergate, before the 2016 election, they launched a campaign against Twitter trolls masquerading as women of color. If only more people had paid attention.

* Medicine is magical and magical is art / The boy in the bubble / And the baby with the baboon heart.

* Scientists Restore Some Function In The Brains Of Dead Pigs.

* The Great Pornwall of Britain Goes Up July 15.

* The United States of Conspiracy: An Interview with Anna Merlan.

* ok ok I’ll bite what’s coal

* what piece of cosmo sex advice most haunts your waking hours

* If you want a vision of the future: Netflix ‘buys 50 literary projects in last year.’

* It was in autumn that the happy face arrived. Death of a Salesman. No mathematics, no science can ever predict the human soul. Where do you want to eat tonight?

2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest.

* And only mass surveillance can save us now! Rough news day for Oxford if you ask me.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 4, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Morning Links!

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I see this kind of entrapment everywhere in the neoliberal order. In my own field of academia, I think of how we tell students that college is the only path to a liveable life, leading them to ‘freely choose’ to take on impossible debt loads that they can never escape. We recognize that an injustice has happened here, but a lot of people find it hard to resist saying, essentially, ‘Well, you should have thought of that before you took out the loans….’ They chose it, therefore they should bear the consequences.

And that is one of the least sinister cases – for instance, think about how blacks are entrapped into criminality and then punished disproportionately. Again, we recognize an injustice, but in the mainstream discourse the instinctive reaction is: ‘Well, they had a choice.’ Under neoliberalism, our free choice doesn’t exist to give us room for creativity and exploration – we can seemingly only ever choose wrongly. Free will is a means to generate blameworthiness, to tell us that we deserve what we get.

* The Future of Work, at Wired.

Common Good, Not Common Despair.

We don’t often talk of the formative nature of debt in the same way we do in regard to other educational experiences. But just as education is about more than funneling information into students’ brains, indebtedness is about more than the transfer of money. Universities rarely address the aspect of higher education that may most powerfully shape students’ futures: the debt they take on to finance it. A Debt to Education: Universities can shape their students for life – in more ways than one.

But we can do better. As educators, we need to lead the way and design our pedagogical approaches for the students we have, not the students we wish we had. This requires approaches that are responsive, inclusive, adaptive, challenging, and compassionate. And it requires that institutions find more creative ways to support teachers and prepare them for the work of teaching. This is not a theoretical exercise — it is a practical one.

* Universities watchdog threatens fines over grade inflation.

Professor hired mercenaries to rescue student from ISIS in Iraq after he said he wouldn’t finish his thesis.

Citizenship v. The Surveillance State.

I now conceptualize the society I came from and the war to which I went as part of the same grotesque amusement park ride. If I have discovered anything since my homecoming, it is not that I never came home. It is not that my soul resides in Afghanistan. It is that my home has lost its peaceful veneer, stripped bare, like Twentynine Palms. An American who leaves for war never leaves America. The war that is America, rather, comes to the American. The war is the society and the society is the war, and one who sees that war sees America.

Star Wars is Really a Cautionary Tale About Devoting All Technological Advancements to Death.

* What I Learned from Reading 1,182 Emergency Room Bills.

A Father’s Version Of A Guatemalan Girl’s Trip To The US Raises Questions About The Border Patrol’s Account. Guatemalan girl likely died of ‘sepsis shock’ after crossing border, hospital officials said. Medical Help Was Hours Away for Migrant Girl Who Died in U.S. Custody. “I just left the tent city at Tornillo. It is a child prison camp. They refused our request to speak with the children who are held there.”

* “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.”

Mounting legal threats surround Trump as nearly every organization he has led is under investigation. Trump agrees to shut down his charity amid allegations that he used it for personal and political benefit. How Donald Trump Got Caught in a Legal Vise. Quick thread on the only recorded criminal arrest of a sitting U.S. president—made by a D.C. Police offering for speeding, a century and a half ago.

* The Future of Ultrahigh-End Space Travel.

* The UNC shitshow continues.

How Scandal and Severance Enrich Private-College Presidents.

The New York Times Just Published an Unqualified Recommendation for an Insanely Anti-Semitic Book. A Brief, Depressing Compendium of Alice Walker’s Apparent Conspiratorial Beliefs.

* On Tolkien and race.

* The Brexit Breaking Point. Government gives Britain’s 6 million businesses 101 days to prepare for a No Deal Brexit.

* After Kavanaugh.

* Here’s the list of workout clothes you should buy if you don’t want to be complicit in global slavery.

* Everything old is new again! Forever and ever amen.

A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States — so She Lost Her Job.

* I’ve polled Twitter and it’s officially okay to take pleasure in the suffering of these Trump voters whose property is going to wind up on the wrong side of the wall.

* Some superstitious divination rituals may have spread because they functioned as adaptive randomization devices in contexts where people otherwise would have used decision procedures worse than chance.

The rapper who allegedly received Dorsey’s facial hair, I’m very excited to share, was Azealia Banks. She tweeted about this exchange in 2016, writing that Dorsey “sent me his hair in an envelope because i was supposed to make him an amulet for protection.”

* The PewDiePie century.

* Facebook has abused your data and your trust in literally every way it is possible for them to do so.

The Cities Where The Cops See No Hate.

* Basically every actress you liked in the early 2000s who disappeared by 2010 was blackballed for speaking out against powerful abusive men.

* A method for creating extremely convincing fake faces.

Trans Teenager Claims Teacher Demanded He ‘Prove’ He Was a Boy In Bathroom.

As an intellectual historian, I’ve found it puzzling that no one has scanned Ross Douthat’s writings from the Harvard Salient, 1998-2002. So I checked out as much of it as I could and there’s some pretty good stuff.

“We have six people on board,” one pilot said a few minutes later, according to an audio recording available via LiveATC.net. “Airplane is completely uncontrollable.”

Metroid’s Samus Aran is a Transgender Woman. Deal With It.

* Are we living with the Chickenocene?

* When you fit the description.

* Ambient cruelty.

* Well you tell me how you’d make baby powder without asbestos.

* Well you tell me how they’re supposed to attract top-flight talent to a company that no longer exists.

* Wild story from the animal beat: An Officer Placed a Retired Police Dog in a Shelter. Now He’s Been Demoted.

An Atlas of American Gun Violence.

* Today in the best $____ I ever spent: top surgery.

* What’s the greenest way to travel? We built a sim of world’s climate battle – here’s what happened when delegates played it at COP24. Inside the most destructive fire in American history—and why the West’s cities and towns will keep on burning. Weather 2050.

* Starting to think Woody Allen might be a bad guy.

* Springsteen on Broadway on Netflix: The Interview.

* Being Chris Hayes.

Why We Still Don’t Know How Many NFL Players Have CTE.

The Artful Propaganda of Soviet Children’s Literature.

How To Make Beer With Only What You Can Grow On A Generation Ship.

* Malls of the 21st Century.

* The ‘Weird Events’ That Make Machines Hallucinate.

* Tech and the supernatural.

* Journey of an American Bomb.

* DC must have heard about my Graz talk: they’re making a Swamp Thing show. Meanwhile, another followup from Graz: Aquaman, From Super Friend To Surfer Dude: The Bro-Ification Of A Hero.

* And I know it’s my fault for seeing the double entendre in everything, but sometimes I really think they’re doing it on purpose.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 19, 2018 at 9:09 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Good Writing from Other People

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I have a few projects I’m desperately behind on at the moment, so here in lieu of actual content is good writing from people who aren’t me:

* My friend Lisa on the intellectual proletariat.

* Aaron Bady on Franzen’s Freedom and the project of unfinished realism. (Having actually read Freedom [it’s all right, even pretty good] instead of done the things I was supposed to do I may post about it someday soon myself.)

* Socialism and/or Barbarism on Swamp Thing, scarcity, and “green politics.”

* Easily Distracted on what it might mean to really take responsibility.

* And Crooked Timber, against Malcolm Gladwell, on blogs, bullets, and bullshit.

Tuesday, Tuesday

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Tuesday, I’ll never forget you.

* Precision Hacking: 4chan hacks a Time poll not just at the top but all the way down.

* In the fifth and final installment of his Wes Anderson series, Matt Zoller Seitz annotates the prologue to The Royal Tenenbaums.

* You and I know it’s fair and balanced, but believe it or not there are those who argue that the reporting on Fox may show a slight rightward tilt.

* On the making of Swamp Thing #20.

* And Blographia Literaria calls FAIL on failblog.org.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm

‘Monsters, Maniacs, and Moore’

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Monsters, Maniacs, and Moore is a 1987 BBC documentary about “comics messiah” Alan Moore, including a running Q&A sequence in which Moore fields hostile questions from himself. Be sure and stay tuned for the collision of nuclearity, utopia, madness, and apocalypse in Part 4.

One of the things that hangs over everybody is the nuclear issue. For the first time, there is a strong possibility of everybody dying on the same day. And, I think, that it’s not stressing the point too far to say that if every concept you ever loved, if every ideal you ever cherished, every person, every institution, could be completely leveled and wiped away as if it had never been within the next four minutes—then what wouldn’t you do?

When you see the whole world geared up for that sort of act of mass destruction, then a Charles Manson, or a Richard Speck, or a Yorkshire Ripper becomes the merest bumbling out.

It doesn’t even matter whether we ever fire these missiles or not, they are having their effect upon us now, because there are a generation growing up who cannot see beyond the final exclamation mark of a mushroom crowd, there are a generation who can see no moral values that do not end in a crackling crater somewhere.

I’m not saying that nuclear bombs are at the root of all of it—but I think that it’s very very naïve to assume that you can expose the entire population of the world to the threat of being turned to cinders without them starting to act perhaps a little oddly. And during the course of writing [Watchmen] I found myself thinking, if that’s true, if I could be gone, completely gone, within the next two minutes, then I wanted to be very very sure that I felt okay with myself and with the world.

I believe, in some sort of strange fashion, that the presence of the atom bomb might almost be forcing a level of human development that would not have occurred without the presence of the atom bomb. Maybe this degree of terror will force changes in human attitudes that could not have occurred without the presence of these awful, destructive things. Perhaps we are faced with a race between the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in one line and the Seventh Calvary in the other. We have no got an awful lot of mid-ground between Utopia and apocalypse. And if, somehow, our children ever see the day in which it is announced that we do not have these weapons anymore, that we can no longer destroy ourselves and that we have got to come up with something else to do with our time, they will have the right to throw up their arms and let down the streamers and let out a resounding cheer.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

(via Cyn-C)

Written by gerrycanavan

September 10, 2008 at 2:31 pm