Posts Tagged ‘the arc of history is long but it bends towards justice’
* 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.
Martin Luther King, Jr., famously said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” We can take this to be the standard liberal-progressive way of looking at the arc of history.
There are two other possible variations:
the reactionary right: “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward vengeance.”
the revolutionary left: “The arc of history is long and it’s going to keep getting longer unless we put a stop to it.”
* Enrollment trends place different facilities pressures on institutions of different sizes, the report found. Many small institutions that recently borrowed money to renovate or build in a bid to attract more students are now facing enrollment declines. They have seen enrollment drop by 3 percent since 2012 even though they’ve increased facilities development by 4 percent. Comprehensive institutions are opening new space just as they’re hit by enrollment stagnation — they increased their space by almost 14 percent cumulatively since 2012 but only posted a 1 percent enrollment increase over the same time period.
* Thus the nation-state is not with the common people – it is an enemy of the peoples. Some timely political theory from Abdullah Ocalan.
Essentially, the nation-state is a militarily structured entity. Nation-states are eventually the products of all kinds of internal and external warfare. None of the existing nation-states has come into existence all by itself. Invariably, they have a record of wars. This process is not limited to their founding phase but, rather, it builds on the militarization of the entire society. The civil leadership of the state is only an accessory of the military apparatus. Liberal democracies even outdo this by painting their militaristic structures in democratic and liberal colours. However, this does not keep them from seeking authoritarian solutions at the highpoint of a crisis caused by the system itself. Fascist exercise of power is the nature of the nation-state. Fascism is the purest form of the nation-state.
* Democrats: we’re with him.
* Democrats shouldn’t assume their “Trump loves Putin” argument is a political winner. Oh, I think that ship has sailed.
* Let’s Geek Out Over All The Fascinating Technology Used In Rogue One. Rogue One and the troubling promise of one Star Wars film per year every year until you are dead. And I think Wired has the best “let’s try to figure out what Rogue One was originally going to be like” breakdown yet.
* Just in time for my animals book, Wes Anderson makes it official: his next movie is Isle of Dogs.
* It’s basically become a standing assignment at the Marquette Tribune to ask me about some weird thing I like once a semester. And while we’re on that subject: a preview of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther.
* Hard times at Mizzou. This new enrollment decline — seemingly on top of the demographic dip nationwide — looks like a complete disaster for the troubled campus, which the administration has effortlessly managed to weaponize in pursuit of its own goals. Meanwhile: Melissa Click Breaks Silence, Backs AAUP Inquiry.
* Alternate title: Bernie Sanders has no path to a delegate majority. Even so, that Michigan win was pretty great.
* Even the neoliberal Matt Yglesias: How Bernie Sanders convinced me about free college.
* Dystopia now: United confirms 10-abreast seating on some of its 777s.
* …just another instance of the bipartisan “smell weakness, then mercilessly swarm” routine that everyone has apparently decided is a healthy and beneficial norm for online life.
* At Secretive Meeting, Tech CEOs And Top Republicans Commiserate, Plot To Stop Trump. It’s Getting Harder For Donald Trump To Deny That His Top Aide Assaulted A Reporter. Donald Trump Encourages Violence At His Rallies. His Fans Are Listening. Legitimacy and violence. The plan.
* The arc of history is long, but Home Depot might pay up to $0.34 in compensation for each of the 53 million credit cards it leaked.
* 100% absolutely yes: Janelle Monae Will Co-Star in a Movie About the Women Behind the Space Program.
* As a result, the complaint stated, Choudhry was disciplined with a 10 percent reduction in salary for one year and required to write a letter of apology to Sorrell. Sorrell alleged in the lawsuit that she was told by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele that he had “seriously considered terminating the Dean” but had decided not to because “it would ruin the Dean’s career.” Berkeley’s handling of sexual harassment is a disgrace.
* Sleep is important, apparently. I know I miss it.
* And this is very promising: Huntington’s disease gene dispensable in adult mice.
* Protecting UW-Madison faculty from poaching cost $8 million. I realized just now though that these retention leaks are ultimately about trying to put a dollar sign on detenurization, as well as shift responsibility for the changes from the admin who forced them to the “star” faculty who acceded to them.
* What is love to a scab? Hillary Rodham, Bill Clinton, and the 1971 Yale Strike.
* Travelling to work ‘is work’, European court rules. This has been on my mind lately as I’ve heard of multiple Marquette employees being struck by cars in recent weeks as they walked from the parking garage to their offices.
An obscure law from the 1970s is being used by the NYPD to boot people from their homes and businesses when they are suspected of crimes, often in cases where no charges are ever filed. The move is called a “nuisance abatement,” and there are more than 1,000 such actions a year, nearly half of them residential and many that are permanent evictions, according to an investigation by the New York Daily News and ProPublica.