Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘thanatophobia

Tuesday Links!

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tumblr_o0srg60t1q1romv9co1_500* Jack Hamilton on “Under Pressure.” When Bowie Met Springsteen. David Bowie’s Radicalism. The International Marxist Group, “In Defense of Bowie.” A Good Looking Mugshot. David Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books. David Bowie’s Dark Past. Last Words. The Longreads. Almost Elrond. “Will Brooker is studying David Bowie by trying to live like him for a year.” We Won’t See His Like Again.

* MLA is dead; long live MLA.

* Selling the English major.

* Selling out the faculty.

Between 2009 and 2013, public universities reported increasing their annual expenditures on football to more than $1.8 billion — a 21 percent jump in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to Knight Commissiondata reviewed by International Business Times. In that same time period, public universities’ reported debt on their athletic facilities has grown to $7.7 billion — up 44 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars in that time. In all, two thirds of Division I public universities increased their spending on football or athletic facilities in that time period — when average tuition and student fees at public universities have risen more than 40 percent in the last decade. The payoff for all that investment? Nearly three quarters of all Division I football programs now run deficits, which are eventually covered by the rising tuition and student fees.

* Daisy Ridley: The Carrie Fisher Interview.

Robert Kilpatrick on The Feminine Future : Early Science Fiction by Women Writers.

* The Force, by the numbers.

Why Wisconsin city’s bid to tap Great Lakes water is a big deal.

Like Harry, though, I’ve never intended to let that happen. I have no interest in trying to tell other people what to do if they find themselves close to death, but my choice has always been clear: I don’t want to die in pain—or drugged into a stupor by pain meds—all while connected to tubes and respirators in a hospital room. When the end is near, I want to take my own life.

* Meanwhile: This Doctor Wants to Treat Your Crippling Fear of Death With Uncut Ecstasy. Okay, dammit, I’m in.

Alternatively, maybe the fact that El Chapo—who we can probably assume has someone in his employ who does, in fact, speak English—didn’t exercise his veto is as damning an indictment of such an arrangement (or, more specifically, the product of such an arrangement) as if he had and the magazine acquiesced. The 14 weirdest moments from Sean Penn’s El Chapo interview. Reality truly is a hoax.

I’ve played the Powerball simulator for 1,092 years and have lost 91% of my money.

The forgotten way African Americans stayed safe in a racist America.

* Today, of course, anti-beardism is the last acceptable prejudice.

Texas School Triples Recess Time And Sees Immediate Positive Results In Kids.

Tax Cuts Don’t Lead to Economic Growth, a New 65-Year Study Finds.

The Company Behind LA’s Methane Disaster Knew Its Well Was Leaking 24 Years Ago.

The Black Fantastic: Highlights of Pre-World War II African and African-American Speculative Fiction.

There is literally zero chance that anyone will misconstrue this, and the great news is that if someone actually does, the Supreme Court will set them straight. 

* You had me at Hello: Arrested Development Season 5 will echo Making a Murderer and Trump.

* The Colorspace Atlas.

* What could possibly go wrong?

* What could possibly go wrong?

Despite Frigid Winter Temperatures, Students Are Waking Up To Unheated Classrooms. Elsewhere in Baltimore: Women In Baltimore Public Housing Were Forced To Trade Sex For Basic Repairs.

Whitesboro’s racist town logo up for vote. Good news everyone.

Breastfeeding is overhyped, oversold, and overrated. The real story: Class Differences in Child-Rearing Are on the Rise.

Trinity Cube was created by melting these two forms of glass together into a cube, then installing the cube back into the Fukushima Exclusion Zone as part of the Don’t Follow the Wind project. The artwork will be viewable by the public when the Exclusion Zone opens again, anytime between 3 and 30,000 years from the present.

* Against Serial season two. I think there’s a lot more one could say about what’s seemed to go wrong this time around, but on the level of why the show seems so boring now this is a good start.

* And on the local beat: South Milwaukee man behind homemade fireworks launcher escapes citation.

Lucky for Me I Minored in Transporter Metaphysics

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Speaking of Star Trek, the Poli-Sci-Fi Radio podcast got deep into the weeds this week on Dollhouse, The Prestige, clone “immortality,” and how the transporter on Star Trek is a fax machine that shreds its input when it’s done with it. (Bill has more on his home blog.)

Having spent a good portion of my childhood working out the metaphysical implications of such technology, I myself was moved to comment. As someone with a well-documented and simply unhealthy fear of death, I must admit that the consciousness-as-Ship-of-Theseus direction these discussions invariably take is both the only possible solution to the problem as well as a clear ontological horror in its own right.

"Synecdoche, New York"

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Lately I’ve shied away from reviewblogging, partly because I don’t think I’m especially good at it but mostly because I haven’t been moved to write about anything I’ve seen. Synecdoche, New York moves me, but only to say “Go see it.”

Almost certainly the best film of 2008—only Dark Knight really comes close—and Kaufman’s best film since Being John Malkovich, Synecdoche can’t really be described without being reduced to a series of gimmicks. I wouldn’t even read reviews of it. Just go.

For those who have seen it, or who plan to flaunt my sage advice, the best writing I’ve seen about Synecdoche has been from Adam Kotsko, who writes, insightfully:

While watching Synecdoche, New York this week, a thought occurred to me: the reviews that presented the movie as an elaborate puzzle requiring multiple viewings to unravel are wrong….

[T]here is, within the frame of the movie, no “underlying reality” that can be uncovered through the work of decoding, not even that of Caden Cotard’s dream. All the action is taking place directly at the surface. That’s what the proposed title “Simulacrum” is telling us (a name he suggests to Claire, not Hazel, pace Dargis).

“What really happened” is only what you can see: Kaufman is being brutally direct. No amount of plot summary can get at what it feels like to be watching this movie, and to get to caught up in trying to decipher “what’s going” on is to run the risk of failing to feel what it feels like to be watching this movie.

I’d even go so far as to suggest that Synecdoche should really only be viewed once. The novels to which one might be tempted to compare it—Ulysses? Pale Fire? If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler?—are surely not “elaborate puzzles” to be solved but do possess rich textual subtleties that reward an nth reading. Synecdoche, I fear, may not only lack these subtleties, but may in fact be significantly worse when re-viewed in the context of a known whole.

In particular I’m afraid any rewatch would just direct us more and more towards the notion that [SPOILER—HIGHLIGHT TO READ] Cotard is in the process of dying, likely from suicide committed either very early in the movie or perhaps slightly before it began, and Synecdoche is his dream. To the extent that the suggestion of any “underlying reality” can be deciphered in Synecdoche, it seems to me it can only be this one—and just the slightest taste of that is more than enough.

But wherever they point us, I feel fairly certain the uncovering of any “clues” upon rewatching would only throw the movie’s vital ambiguity off-balance. It’d ruin it. Synecdoche‘s a truly great film, that is to say, but probably just the once.

UPDATE: Copied from Facebook wall scribblings:

my fave reader review from the nyt:

This movie was really boring! Just like life! This movie thought it was original and cutting edge but wasn’t! Just like life! This movie has been made before about seven trillion billion times! Just like life! This movie was way too long! Just like life! The first half was okay but the second half made up for it! Just like life! I almost walked out of this movie! Just like life! Some people don’t realize how awful this movie is and actually think it is good! Just like life!

Written by gerrycanavan

November 24, 2008 at 4:40 am