Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Dark Knight

Tuesday Links

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* David Graeber teaches my superheroes module in one long go at the New Inquiry.

Affirmative action and the fantasy of “merit” comes to the Supreme Court. Buckle up.

* The wisdom of markets: Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week.

The main victim of the ongoing crisis is thus not capitalism, which appears to be evolving into an even more pervasive and pernicious form, but democracy — not to mention the left, whose inability to offer a viable global alternative has again been rendered visible to all. It was the left that was effectively caught with its pants down. It is almost as if this crisis were staged to demonstrate that the only solution to a failure of capitalism is more capitalism.

* Annals of Canadian crime: Canada cheese-smuggling ring busted – policeman charged.  Maple syrup seized in N.B. may have been stolen in Quebec.

* Illiteracy and Star Wars.

* Obama makes a strong pitch for my particular demographic.

* Are drones illegal? Well, we’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality, so…

* Let six-year-olds vote: Afghan war enters twelfth year. And onward! And onward!

* The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellioius children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21… You know what? Let me stop you right there.

* “Man who defaced Tate Modern’s Rothko canvas says he’s added value.” And he’s probably right!

* Community not coming back on schedule is/is not a catastrophe. I’ll just go ahead and assume that they need more time to bring Dan Harmon back.

* Louie on hiatus until 2014.

* Why do Venezulans keep reelecting Hugo Chávez?

To understand why Chávez’s electoral victory would be apparent beforehand, consider that from 1980 to 1998, Venezuela’s per capita GDP declined by 14%, whereas since 2004, after the Chávez administration gained control over the nation’s oil revenues, the country’s GDP growth per person has averaged 2.5% each year.

At the same time, income inequality was reduced to the lowest in Latin America, and a combination of widely shared growth and government programs cut poverty in half and reduced absolute poverty by 70%—and that’s before accounting for vastly expanded access to health, education, and housing.

Oh.

The Rise and Fall of the Cincinnati Boner King.

Admitting that scientists demonstrate gender bias shouldn’t make us forget that other kinds of bias exist, or that people other than scientists exhibit them. In a couple of papers (one, two), Katherine Milkman, Modupe Akinola, and Dolly Chugh have investigated how faculty members responded to email requests from prospective students asking for a meeting. The names of the students were randomly shuffled, and chosen to give some implication that the students were male or female, and also whether they were Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Indian, or Chinese.

Campus officer kills naked freshman at University of South Alabama.

* The Ohio Statue University marching band pays tribute to video games.

* Johnny works in a factory. Billy works downtown. / Terry works in a rock and roll band looking for that million dollar sound. / Got a job down in Darlington. Some nights I don’t go. / Some nights I go to the drive in. Some night I stay home. On “The Promise.”

* digby imagines what would happen if we tried to ban lead today.

* Like Darth Vader at the end of JediRidley Scott ends his career a hero.

* Behind the Scenes of the Planet of the Apes.

* And get ready for competing Moby Dick projects! Who says Hollywood is out of ideas?

Obama, Joker, Capitalism, Schizophrenia

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From one of my first published pieces as an academic, a slightly strange bit of cultural criticism called “Person of the Year: Obama, Joker, Capitalism, Schizophrenia,” originally written for the Yale “Politics of Superheroes” Conference in 2009 and unexpectedly available in its entirety here:

That CHANGE is a highly adaptive buzzword meaning nothing and everything briefly fed the fantasy that 52% of the country now agreed on some soon-to-be-enacted radical program of change—but now we know better. This is to say that Obama achieved the presidency through a largely content-free, Joker-like demand that the applecart be overturned and the flows of our own military-industrial-mafia-corruption complex be disrupted, and that this demand has, paradoxically, catapulted him to a Batman-like office where his job is to preserve, not disrupt, capital’s flows.

I’ve been thinking a bit about that piece tonight, particularly the way it ends with a quiet echo of Obama’s own once-frequent calls for his supporters to “hold my feet to the fire”:

It is not surprising that Obama’s sky-high approval numbers have sharply dipped since his inauguration; it is Obama himself who has returned to Earth as his ambition, his taste for CHANGE, has been tempered by the duties of the office he now holds. There is only one way for Obama to retain his vitality and his creative energy as a political actor—to remain in his own way, if you’ll forgive me, Batmanesque. He must let himself dance with the Joker, pushing on and being pushed by the limits of CHANGE. He cannot grow complacent; he will have to, in the Joker’s words, let a little chaos in. And to the extent that he cannot, to the extent that any person in his position will necessarily become the champion not of change but of continuity, it will be up to those who supported him—those who are psychologically invested in Obama’s success but who at the same time want to see the flows at last disrupted and the old codes finally overturned, who want in the end CHANGE (whatever that means)—to reassert their impossible demand for a Utopian break from history, to push the limits, to resist the schemers, to Jokerize themselves in opposition.

So, then, let’s Jokerize…

The Post with No Name

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* Žižek, The Dark Knight, and Wikileaks.

* Computer to ruin Jeopardy! forever.

* Allen Ginsberg vs. Frogger.

* Democrats to fight meaningless symbolism with meaningless symbolism.

* But the only thing peopler really seem to care about on Facebook is whether or not their astrological sign has changed. Honestly, sometimes I don’t know why we even bother…

Crazy Busy Today

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Seriously busy day today—hardly able to catch my breath. In lieu of that, some links.

* It was an unexpectedly good day for the Communofascist wing of the Democratic Party, with Joe Sestak beating Arlen Specter, Mark Critz winning in PA-12, and Bill Halter forcing Blanche Lincoln into a run-off in Arkansas. That Richard Blumenthal has managed to completely shit the bed in Connecticut can wait perhaps for another night.

* The video of our most recent Polygraph event—John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark discussing “the consumer trap—is now on iTunesU. The download should be free to everyone.

* A from-bad-to-worse update on the story of a seven-year-old Detroit girl killed by police officers during a no-knock raid: they may have been filming a reality show.

* Extreme weather videos in hailstorm and tornado flavors. Both links via MeFi.

* It’s pretty scary to think that a person without basic qualifications could fraudulently pilot jets for 13 years without being caught, but at the same time it’s actually fairly comforting that in all that time nothing bad happened.

* This Dark Knight / Toy Story 2 mashup is an instant classic of the genre.

* Raising academic dishonesty to the level of art.

* Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 will be set in New York. I am intrigued.

* Lenin’s Tomb on why neoliberalism persists.

* And preparing now for next year’s job market. And the next year’s. And the next year’s…

God-Man Goes Dark

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Not even God-Man can escape the trend of “dark” superheroes.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 30, 2009 at 3:45 am

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V-Day Links!

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V-Day links.

* I feel stimulated, and I bet you do too. Here’s Arlen Specter with your partisan post-mortem.

“When I came back to the cloak room after coming to the agreement a week ago today,” said Specter, “one of my colleagues said, ‘Arlen, I’m proud of you.’ My Republican colleague said, ‘Arlen, I’m proud of you.’ I said, ‘Are you going to vote with me?’ And he said, ‘No, I might have a primary.’ And I said, ‘Well, you know very well I’m going to have a primary.'” […]

“I think there are a lot of people in the Republican caucus who are glad to see this action taken without their fingerprints, without their participation,” he said.

Your modern Republican party.

* The headline reads, “Large Banks Are on the Brink of Insolvency.” You heard it from Brad Miller first.

* Heath Ledger fans want the Joker retired in honor of Ledger’s turn in the makeup.

“When Michael Jordan retired, they withdrew the number 23 jersey as an honor. It’s the same thing with Heath.”

Yes, it’s exactly the same.

* Space debris. Via Cynical-C.

* Images from Watchmen. Clock’s at 11:59…

* Paul Auster, science fiction writer.

* Joss Whedon, cultural humanist.

* And Henry David Thoreau, vegetarian.

Vegetarian ideas figured prominently in 19th-century intellectual circles. Though practicing vegetarians remained outside the mainstream, as they do today, vegetarianism itself was intriguing, its arguments compelling. Thoreau, for instance, was not a strict vegetarian, but he did believe that the vegetarian diet was “the destiny of the human race.” Not because animals were cute and fuzzy and therefore ought to be saved from brutality, but because they were dirty and difficult and expensive. “The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness,” he wrote in Walden, “and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth.” You can stand around in the forest, waiting to spear, skin, and roast a bunny for your next meal, but…why?

Celebratory Links

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I had a nasty case of food poisoning or something last night—fever, chills, the whole bit. But now I’m back and quite literally better than ever. A few links to celebrate my recovery:

* Early reviews of Dollhouse remain mixed. We’ll know tomorrow….

* This YouTube clip (via MeFi) captures just the barest sliver of the greatness of the Conan DVD commentary. It is our civilization’s highest cultural achievement.

* The trailer for the new Tarantino is out.

* How to teach non-canonical material responsibly in a composition class: lesson plans from Scott Eric Kaufman on Dark Knight and Watchmen.

* Two satellites have collided in orbit. Apparently that’s never happened before. More from MeFi.

* Happy birthday, Charles Darwin. More from Satisfactory Comics.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 12, 2009 at 5:16 pm