Posts Tagged ‘television’
* Climate work and despair. It’s a tough problem in the classroom, too. Climate change conflicts somehow with an assumed, mandatory pedagogical optimism; the lack of a solution or even a “hope spot” often leaves the class feeling somehow incomplete.
* Ted Chiang in the New Yorker. Great piece.
Beyond this narrow Wikipedian territory, Chiang is reluctant to venture. Although he is amiable and warm, he is also reticent and does not riff. Over several conversations, I learned, in addition, that he owns four cats, goes to the gym three times a week, and regards a small cylindrical seal made of hematite sometime around 1200 B.C. as one of his most treasured possessions—it was a gift from his sister, a reference to “Tower of Babylon.” He told me that, when he was a child, his family celebrated Christmas but wasn’t religious. When I asked Chiang if he had hobbies, he said no, and then, after a long pause, admitted that he plays video games. He refused to say what he eats for breakfast. Eventually, I sent him an e-mail with twenty-four questions that, I hoped, might elicit more personal details:
Do you have a favorite novel?
There isn’t one that I would want to single out as a favorite. I’m wary of the idea of a favorite anything.
You’ve spent many years living near the water. Do you like the sea?
Not particularly. I don’t actually spend much time on the coast; it’s just chance that I happened to move here.
What was the last work of art that made you cry?
Do you consider yourself a sensitive person?
* Conspiracy theories we can believe in: the 19A0s, the suppressed decade between the 1970s and 1980s whose memory has been repressed.
* Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not. This article certainly supports my implicit bias against these sorts of studies.
* Trumpism: The Devil We Know.
* Today in the hopeless search for some Trump upside: the end of the campus sex bureaucracy.
* How could it possibly get worse? Oh.
* Some CFPs I posted yesterday: Buffy at 20! SFFTV Call for Reviewers! And Paradoxa 28: “Global Weirding” has officially appeared in the world as well; see a table of contents and our introduction, and then get one of your very own…
* I’m still gathering the loooooing list for the Pioneer Award — so let me know if you know of a peer-reviewed edited collection in SF studies broadly conceived, published in 2016, or a peer-reviewed article on SF published in a non-SF-studies journal, also in 2016!
* Visiting MLA 2017? Can I interest you in #s444?
444. Infinite Jest at Twenty
Saturday, 7 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 112A, Pennsylvania Convention Center
A special session
Presiding: Gerry Canavan, Marquette Univ.
1. “Infinite Jest‘s Near Future,” Lee Konstantinou, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
2. “Aesthetics of Trauma in Infinite Jest,” Carrie Shanafelt, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ., Teaneck
3. “No Year of Glad: Infinite Jest after 9/13/2008,” Gerry Canavan
Responding: N. Katherine Hayles, Duke Univ.
* I shared that one, so here’s the debunking: The Bad Research Behind the Bogus Claim That North Carolina Is No Longer a Democracy. I guess I relied on the journalistic summaries (classic blunder) didn’t realize how bad the base research was. North Carolina is still not a legitimate democracy, though.
* And while we’re on the subject: The Constitution has strangled American democracy for long enough. We need a constituent assembly.
* Why saving the congressional ethics office isn’t as big a victory as it seems. At least it was a win!
* Counterpoint: Why Star Trek: Discovery Belongs on CBS All Access.
* Darkest timeline watch: Wisconsin Senate leader says he’s open to toll roads.
* And with 2016 over, a toddler has now shot a person every week in the US for two years straight. We did it, everyone. We did it.
* A nice endorsement of Octavia E. Butler from Steve Shaviro. Some bonus Shaviro content: his favorite SF of 2016. I think Death’s End was the best SF I read this year too, though I really liked New York 2140 a lot too (technically that’s 2017, I suppose). I’d also single out Invisible Planets and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, both of which had some really good short stories. In comics, I think The Vision was the best new thing I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot I bought this year and didn’t have time to look at yet, though, so maybe check back with me in 2019 and I can tell you what was the best thing from 2016.
* Duke warns professors about emails from someone claiming to be a student, seeking information about their courses — many in fields criticized by some on the right. Some Michigan and Denver faculty members have received similar emails but from different source.
* I don’t think Children of Men was ever actually “overlooked” — and I’m shocked it was considered a flop at a time — but it certainly looks prescient now.
* From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck. Remembering Caravan of Courage, the Ewok Adventure Star Wars Would Rather You’d Forget. Anti-fascism vs. nostalgia: Rogue One. How to See Star Wars For What It Really Is. And a new headcanon regarding the Empire and its chronic design problems.
* The seduction of technocratic government—that a best answer will overcome division, whether sown in the nature of man or ineluctable in capitalist society—slides into the seduction in the campaign that algorithms will render rote the task of human persuasion, that canvassers are just cogs for a plan built by machine. And so the error to treat data as holy writ, when it’s both easier and harder than that. Data are fragile; algorithms, especially when they aggregate preferences, fall apart. Always, always, power lurks. The technocrats have to believe in mass politics, believe for real that ordinary people, when they organize, can change their own destinies. Whether that happens depends on the party that gets built, and the forces behind it.
* Four Cabinet nominations that could blow up in Donald Trump’s face. Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances. Why Donald Trump Might Not Be All That Good for Art. How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. This all certainly seems on the up-and-up. And today in teaching the controversy: Nuclear diplomacy via Twitter is a bad idea.
* The arc of history is long, but Google Search will not longer return Holocaust-denying websites at the top of page one.
* It wasn’t just your imagination: more famous people did die in 2016.
* An excerpt from the conversation between Tim Morton and Jeff VanderMeer from my and Andy Hageman’s issue of Paradoxa is up at LARB. You can read our introduction too! The issue has been printed and will be on its way to subscribers (and available for purchase) soon.
* acting as if nothing terrible has happened
is a failed strategy you yell and this docility
has ruined and crushed us and afraid as I am
I cannot hold your vehemence against you
at this political moment as I watch you dig
your fingers into the rubble you’re sitting on
and you say maybe it’s impossible to believe
in politeness or civilization anymore…
* Ken Liu’s “Paper Menagerie” is the first story to hit the Hugo / Nebula / World Fantasy Award trifecta. Read it!
* Being a parent really is a second childhood: I’m even terrified of nuclear war again. “A tense new battle over nuclear arms erupts between Donald Trump and his staff.” Tweeting our way to Armageddon.
* Ted Chiang talks adapting Arrival.
* Looking back: The collapse of the Obama coalition. What could explain it? More data that couldn’t possibly explain it. Having presided over the catastrophic collapse of his party and the possible end of American democracy, Obama gives himself high marks. Why Did Planned Parenthood Supporters Vote Trump?
*A consummate bullshit artist, Bucky Fuller’s career was built on failure, if not outright fraud. With few of his ideas achieving commercial success, he amounted to nothing more than a hand-waving proponent of outlandish notions. Worse still, he was an aggressive manager of his own profile and patents, an authoritarian technocrat who sought not students but compliant disciples to disseminate his muddled messages. The lynchpin of this view: even the geodesic dome, Fuller’s greatest “success,” rested on a concept borrowed (to be charitable) from an aspiring student sculptor. Buckminster Fuller in the 21st Century.
* Don’t make the joke, don’t make the joke: Sex robots will ‘come a lot sooner than you think’, scientist claims.
* Elsewhere in the rise of the machines.
* A&E Cancels KKK Docuseries Following Criticism. That whole network needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
* BREAKING: All pro sports are bad.
* Actually, my speciality is evil ethics.
* They did it: They found the worst Star Wars take.
* Meanwhile, in Japan: Can the Emperor abdicate?
* And wherever we are on the political spectrum: let’s give the giant meteor a chance.
* Lots of people are sharing this one, on hyperexploited labor in the academy: Truman Capote Award Acceptance Speech. As with most of this sort of adjunct activist some of its conclusions strike me as emotionally rather than factually correct — specifically, it needs to find a way to make tenured and tenure-track faculty the villains of the story, in order to make the death of the university a moral narrative about betrayal rather than a political narrative about the management class’s construction of austerity — but it’s undoubtedly a powerful read.
* I did this one already, but what the hell: Ten Theses In Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes.
* Open Access (OA) is the movement to make academic research available without charge, typically via digital networks. Like many cyberlibertarian causes OA is roundly celebrated by advocates from across the political spectrum. Yet like many of those causes, OA’s lack of clear grounding in an identifiable political framework means that it may well not only fail to serve the political goals of some of its supporters, and may in fact work against them. In particular, OA is difficult to reconcile with Marxist accounts of labor, and on its face appears not to advance but to actively mitigate against achievement of Marxist goals for the emancipation of labor. In part this stems from a widespread misunderstanding of Marx’s own attitude toward intellectual work, which to Marx was not categorically different from other forms of labor, though was in danger of becoming so precisely through the denial of the value of the end products of intellectual work. This dynamic is particularly visible in the humanities, where OA advocacy routinely includes disparagement of academic labor, and of the value produced by that labor.
* It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe: Nobel academy member calls Bob Dylan’s silence ‘arrogant.’
* Parenting is weird. If God worked at a pet store, He’d be fired. Part Two. It’s a mystery!!! Wooooooooooh! The Fox and the Hedgehog. Science and technology have reached their limit. Self-destructive beverage selection: a guide. Motivational comics. Has the media gotten worse, or has society? Understanding the presidency. The oldest recorded joke is from Sumeria, circa 1900 B.C. There’s a monster under my bed.
* Trump’s Milwaukee Problem. Let’s Talk About the Senate. From Pot To Guns To School Funding: Here’s What’s On The Ballot In Your State. Todd Akin and the “shy” voter. The banality of Trump. The latest polls indicate the possibility of a genuine electoral disaster for the GOP. A short history of white people rigging elections. Having not yet won it back yet, Dems are already getting ready to lose the Senate (again) in 2018. The Democrats are likely to win a majority of House votes, but not a majority of House seats. Again. Today in uncannily accurate metaphors. This all seems perfectly appropriate. Even Dunkin Donuts is suffering. But at least there’s a bright side. On the other hand.
Yes, you read that right. There is a vote on slavery in 2016. The Colorado state constitution currently bans slavery and “involuntary servitude” … except if it’s used as punishment for a crime. This amendment would get rid of that exception and say that slavery is not okay, ever.
* And so, too, with the new civic faith enshrined in Hamilton: we may have found a few new songs to sing about the gods of our troubled history, but when it comes to the stories we count on to tell us who we are, we remain caught in an endless refrain.
* Speaking of endless refrain: Emmett Till memorial in Mississippi is now pierced by bullet holes.
* District Judge John McKeon, who oversees a three-county area of eastern Montana, cited that exception this month when he gave the father a 30-year suspended sentence after his guilty plea to incest and ordered him to spend 60 days in jail over the next six months, giving him credit for the 17 days already served. His sentence requires him to undergo sex offender treatment and includes many other restrictions.
* Today in the Year of Kate McKinnon: ten minutes of her Ghostbusters outtakes.
* I don’t really think they should do Luke Cage season two — or Jessica Jones for that matter, as Daredevil proved already — but just like I’d love to see a Hellcat series with Jessica Jones as a supporting player I’d love to see Misty Knight guest starring Luke Cage.
* The Case against Black Mirror. I haven’t been able to tune in to the new season yet but the backlash surprises me. This was one of the best shows on TV before! What happened?
* How much for a hotel on AT&TTW? AT&T to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion.
* This, on the other hand, is unbelievably awful: Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war. Everyone involved in trying to claw back this money should be ashamed of themselves.
* Gee, you don’t say: U.S. Parents Are Sweating And Hustling To Pay For Child Care.
* And there’s a new Grow game out for that mid-2000s nostalgia factor we all crave. Solution here when you’re done messing around…