Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Dispossessed

It’s Monday Everywhere But In Your Heart Links

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* Very regrettably, SFRA 2020 has been cancelled. The 2020 Science Fictions, Popular Cultures conference at HawaiiCon might be our next chance…

* The Best Solo Board Games, or Welcome to the Gloomhaven Century. And while we’re on the subject: the Frosthaven kickstarter starts this week!

* I’ve been debating about whether to ‘go public’ on having coronavirus – which I kind of did inadvertently this morning. So, now I may as well share my experience(s) with you in order to help those who are worried about it or who are thinking they might have it. Here goes…

‘Since I Became Symptomatic.’

* Teachers’ Herculean Task: Moving 1.1 Million Children to Online School. With Coronavirus Disrupting College, Should Every Student Pass? Marquette goes pass/fail (if you want it). Forced off campus by coronavirus, students aren’t won over by online education. Coronavirus threatens the UW system. If the Coronavirus Collapses State Budgets, What Will Happen to Public Colleges? Will Coronavirus Close Your College for Good? Liberty University once again finds a way to do the worst possible thing. It will only get weirder. After Coronavirus, the Deluge. And I’ll look down and whisper… no.

* How the World’s Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-Cent Face Mask. Pandemics Show How the Free Market Fails Us. The Lockdown Is an Opportunity to Redefine What Our Economy Is For. Coronavirus May Add Billions to the Nation’s Health Care Bill. Canada’s Coronavirus Response Shows Why We Need Medicare for All to Fight This Pandemic. ‘White-Collar Quarantine’ Over Virus Spotlights Class Divide. Rural Towns Insulated From Coronavirus Now May Take A Harder Hit Later. This Crisis Has Exposed the Absurdities of Neoliberalism. That Doesn’t Mean It’ll Destroy It. Workers Are More Valuable Than CEOs.

The Curve Is Not Flat Enough. Illinois reports death of infant with coronavirus. Teachers’ Herculean Task: Moving 1.1 Million Children to Online School. Doctors And Nurses Say More People Are Dying Of COVID-19 In The US Than We Know. Zoochosis. Who’s to blame. Some U.S. Cities Could Have Coronavirus Outbreaks Worse Than Wuhan’s. The U.S. Now Leads the World in Confirmed Coronavirus Cases. 13 Deaths in a Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge at an N.Y.C. Hospital. Inside a Brooklyn Hospital Right Now. How the Pandemic Will End. A 9/11 Every Day for a Month.

* The World Needs Masks. China Makes Them — But Has Been Hoarding Them.

* Having cancelled the Olympics, Japan discovers that it too is awash in coronavirus.

* Study ‘Clearly Shows’ Putin Did an Amazing Job Secretly Brewing Up the Novel Coronavirus.

* More Americans Should Probably Wear Masks for Protection. Blood from people who recover from coronavirus could provide a treatment.

EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus.

People With Intellectual Disabilities May Be Denied Lifesaving Care Under These Plans as Coronavirus Spreads.

A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy. Record-breaking unemployment claims may be vast undercount. Coronavirus unemployment benefits. Here’s who qualifies and how much they get. How do 3 million newly unemployed people get health care? Why Is America Choosing Mass Unemployment? Coronavirus Shock Is Destroying Americans’ Retirement Dreams. MLMs are using the coronavirus to recruit new sellers. Billionaires Want People Back to Work. Employees Aren’t So Sure. Inside Trump’s risky push to reopen the country amid the coronavirus crisis. Trump Wants to ‘Reopen America.’ Here’s What Happens if We Do. Our Political System Is Hostile to Real Reform.

* Now that’s what I call setting expectations. The Real Donald Trump Is a Character on TV. Inside Joe Biden’s bizarre coronavirus bunker. He’s gonna lose, folks. The amazing thing. The tough choice. Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Response Doesn’t Mean He’s Crush-Worthy. Report: Fox News is worried about legal action after misleading viewers about coronavirus.

* That time Hemingway was quarantined with his sick kid, his wife, and his mistress. Animal Crossing and social distancing. Abbey Road restored to original glory while everybody and their cameras are stuck indoors.

* Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance.

* Life after COVID-19.

* Coronavirus pandemic could inflict emotional trauma and PTSD on an unprecedented scale, scientists warn.

* Once is misfortune; twice looks like carelessness.

* A story of the twentieth century.

This is not to say there is no such thing as biopolitics nor any power to make live and let die. Clearly there is; clearly it is this that is wielded by all the Trumps great and small. Nonetheless it is apparent that the sovereign is not sovereign. Rather he is subordinated entirely to the dictates of political economy, that real unity of the political and economic forged by capital and its compulsions. Make live and let die is simply a tool among others in this social order whose true logic, from Trump’s tweet to Dan Patrick to the Senate bill, is the power employed always as a ratio of make work and let buy.

We must take this fact with the utmost seriousness: that Foucault’s new regime of power appears in the late eighteenth century, which is to say, alongside the steam engine and the industrial revolution, which is also to say, alongside the liftoff of anthropogenic climate change. We need to stop fucking around with theory and say, without hesitation, that capitalism, with its industrial body and crown of finance, is sovereign; that carbon emissions are the sovereign breathing; that make work and let buy must be annihilated; that there is no survival while the sovereign lives.

Massive online library project is venturing into uncharted legal waters: Internet Archive offers 1.4 million copyrighted books for free online.

* A sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

* #actually there’s at least one more copy of Data’s engrams still in B4 so this is definitely not over. Elsewhere on the Picard beat: Star Trek: Picard is the dark reboot that boldly goes where nobody wanted it to. Star Trek: Picard, Fancy Sheets, and the Meaning of Home.

* These Researchers Want You to Live In a Fungus Megastructure.

* Rick and Morty Just Released a Short Samurai Film and It’s Awesome.

* The Dispossessed, Part II: May You Get Reborn on Anarres!

* The only good Twitter account is this Third Amendment memes one.

* Polarized Near-Infrared view of Saturn, processed using Cassini data taken in November 2012. NASA Data Shows Something Leaking Out of Uranus.

* And in a time without heroes, people are skipping Zoom meetings by looping videos of themselves paying attention.

Not CoronavirME — CoronavirUS

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* The new SFFTV is out, a special issue on Blade Runner and its legacies. It’s a really good one — check it out! Elsewhere on the SFFTV beat: Congratulations to Joseph Jenner, whose ‘Gendering the Anthropocene: Female astronauts, failed motherhood and the overview effect’ (from #12.1) has just been shortlisted for the British Association of Film, TV and Screen Studies’ Award for best Doctoral Student Article/Chapter!

* This week’s must-read: The fossil-fuel companies expect to profit from climate change. I went to a private planning meeting and took notes.

Apocalypse camp at the dawn of the Great Extinction.

* “Oh My God, It’s Milton Friedman for Kids”: A historian of capitalism exposes how Choose Your Own Adventure books indoctrinated ‘80s children with the idea that success is simply the result of individual “good choices.”

* UC Santa Cruz Fires 54 Graduate Student Workers. UCSC cancels classes, shutters services as demonstrators block roadways. I Believe in the Strike. UCSC, The Fate of Graduate Education, and the Future of the University. After Announcing Firing of Grad Assistants, UC-Santa Cruz Is in Turmoil. “So far UCSC has spent $5.1 million dollars on police rather than meet with striking graduate students; this is nearly 25% of the cost of an annual COLA for all graduate students.” MLA Statement. Donate to the strike fund.

* The Bleak Job Landscape of Adjunctopia for Ph.D.s. The New School of Labor Rights.

* Critical theory represents the power, not the corruption, of the humanities.

* Debtors of the World, Unite!

* First Covid-19 outbreak in a U.S. nursing home raises concerns. The ominous days leading up to the coronavirus outbreak at Life Care Center in Kirkland. ‘We’re gearing up for something extremely significant’: Top hospitals across the US told us how they’re preparing for the coronavirus outbreak. Cronyism and Conflicts of Interest in Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force. ‘To hell and back’: my three weeks suffering from coronavirus. The new normal. To Tame Coronavirus, Mao-Style Social Control Blankets China. Coronavirus Will Test Our New Way of Life. WHO says coronavirus death rate is 3.4% globally, higher than previously thought. Another senior politician has died of coronavirus in Iran, where 8% of the parliament is infected. State by state, we’ve still barely tested anyone. When Purell is Contraband, How Do You Contain Coronavirus? New CDC guidance says older adults should ‘stay at home as much as possible’ due to coronavirus. AIPAC. CPAC. Get ready for live-streamed funerals. Lourdes shrine closes healing pools as precaution against coronavirus. Port of Los Angeles Sees Coronavirus Impact Sharply Reducing Imports. As the coronavirus spreads, one study predicts that even the best-case scenario is 15 million dead and a $2.4 trillion hit to global GDP. CoronaCoin: A coronavirus speculative deathwatch cryptocurrency. ‘If We Don’t Work, We Don’t Get Paid.’ How the Coronavirus Is Exposing Inequality Among America’s Workers. America Is About to Get a Godawful Lesson in Why Health Care Should Never Be a For-Profit Business. The Invisible Hand Wants You Dead. We’re in trouble.

* SXSW Cancelled, Unbelievably. The effect on Austin will be massive. Event Admits It Has No Insurance for Coronavirus Cancellation.

* First U.S. Colleges Close Classrooms as Virus Spreads. More Could Follow. UW, Seattle University classes moving online starting Monday. Stanford too. As Coronavirus Spreads, the Decision to Move Classes Online Is the First Step. What Comes Next? Coronavirus Looms Over March Madness.

* Graphic Novels Your Kid (Probably) Hasn’t Read Yet.

* The insulin years.

What to Say to Your Daughter About Campus Sexual Assault.

To bring the spirit of these lessons into a child’s home, parents can focus on building a relationship with their daughter that teaches her that she is equal to men and has the right to set her own boundaries and see them respected. For dads, a simple thing to try is letting your daughter brush you off sometimes. Let her question your authority, talk back, and leave the room in the middle of an argument. These changes could be especially important if the greatest risk to your daughter comes from an authority figure, but they will apply to her peers too.

* Is Miscarriage Is So Normal, Why Doesn’t Anybody Talk About It? The Diet Industrial Complex Got Me, and It Will Never Let Me Go.

* The race to save Polesia, Europe’s secret Amazon.

* We Re-Ordered The Entire Democratic Primary Calendar To Better Represent The Party’s Voters. Twilight of Chris Matthews. Daily Caller gets one I can’t help but pass along. Bring in the boss? ‘This Was a Grift’: Bloomberg Staffers Explain Campaign’s Demise. America’s black billionaires have no place in a Bernie Sanders world! The Liberal-Conservative-Socialist Case for Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren: A Populist for the Professional Class. Elizabeth Warren, Once a Front-Runner, Drops Out of Presidential Race. ‘Bailey’ vs. ‘blood and teeth’: The inside story of Elizabeth Warren’s collapse. How Elizabeth Warren Lost. It Will Be Hard to Get Over What Happened to Elizabeth Warren. Capitalism Is Rallying Behind Joe Biden. Joe Biden Has a Long History of Giving Republicans What They Want. Democrats Rallying Around Joe Biden Could Alienate Generations of the Party’s Youth Support. Biden can finish Bernie off in Michigan. Who Said It: Trump or Biden? Democrats, You Really Do Not Want To Nominate Joe Biden. Joe Biden’s 2020 Campaign Makes Me Sick with Fear for Our Future. I just remembered Joe Biden is fine. Electability in the time of coronavirus. What if there’s no hope? Sanders campaign hatches comeback plan.

* Lots of my political thoughts have been going viral on Twitter lately, from the proper level of identification with a candidate to the ego protection of despising Bernie Sanders to just straight up rants to a pretty solid sitcom pilot. But nothing approaches a random repost of a meme I saw on Facebook.

* This seems fine: Erik Prince Recruits Ex-Spies to Help Infiltrate Liberal Groups.

* The head of CIS was illegally appointed and it barely even registers.

* The Ursula K. Le Guin Reread gets to The Dispossessed. And from the archives: Sexual Violence in Le Guin’s The Dispossessed: Towards an Interpretation.

* I don’t want to shock you: Why algorithms can be racist and sexist.

* Larry Nassar victims want accountability. Olympic officials offered cash and veiled threats.

Woody Allen Memoir Dropped by Hachette After Staff Walkout.

* Can YouTube Quiet Its Conspiracy Theorists?

*  In a lot of office environments, “bad energy” might be code for “old” or “overweight” or “knows too much about labor law,” but one veteran WeWork employee said Rebekah’s firings were seemingly random and without obvious prejudice. “She was just a spoiled baby,” the employee said.

* Behind the Coors shooting.

* @ me next time

* Hideo Kojima’s Strange, Unforgettable Video-Game Worlds.

* Susana Polo writes for Polygon about her Twitter account, which, year-round, tweets out events in Lord of the Rings on the day that they happened. (via MeFi)

* Now I know you’re just making these up: “the snow firehose.”

* And Shell is now She’ll. Namaste.

‘You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.’

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Author Ursula K. Le Guin says she is in full sympathy with Occupy Oakland protesters who reportedly safeguarded themselves behind shields made to look like The Dispossessed, her 1974 sci-fi novel about anarchism on an alien world.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm

‘The Dispossessed,’ Against Grades

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A blogger at HASTAC reminds me of a favorite moment from The Dispossessed:

In The Dispossessed, Shevek, a physicist from Anarres, part of a binary planetary system, travels to Urras, his planets twina world defined by property, wealth, class, nation-states, and hierarchy: all things abolished and abhorred on his anarchist, revolutionary planet. He teaches at a state-run university during his stay on this foreign world that LeGuin obviously intends as a mirror to our Earth:

He was appalled by the examination system, when it was explained to him; he could not imagine a greater deterrent to the natural wish to learn than this pattern of cramming in information and disgorging it at demand. At first he refused to give any tests or grades, but this upset the University administrators so badly that, not wishing to be discourteous to his hosts, he gave in. He asked his students to write a paper on any problem in physics that interested them, and told them that he would give them all the highest mark, so that the bureaucrats would have something to write on their forms and lists. To his surprise a good many students came to him to complain. They wanted him to set the problems, to ask the right questions; they did not want to think about questions, but to write down the answers they had learned. And some of them objected strongly to his giving everyone the same mark. How could the diligent students be distinguished from the dull ones? What was the good in working hard? If no competitive distinctions were to be made, one might as well do nothing.

Well, of course, Shevek said, troubled. If you do not want to do the work, you should not do it.

They went away unappeased, but polite. They were pleasant boys, with frank and civil manners. Sheveks readings in Urrasti history led him to decide that they were, in fact, though the word was seldom used these days, aristocrats. In feudal times the aristocracy had sent their sons to university, conferring superiority on the institution. Nowadays it was the other way round: the university conferred superiority on the man. They told Shevek with pride that the competition for scholarships to Ieu Eun was stiffer every year, proving the essential democracy of the institution. He said, You put another lock on the door and call it democracy. He liked his polite, intelligent students, but he felt no great warmth towards any of them. They were planning careers as academic or industrial scientists, and what they learned from him was to them a means to that end, success in their careers. They either had, or denied the importance of, anything else he might have offered them…

Written by gerrycanavan

December 22, 2010 at 11:30 am

Another Semester, Another Syllabus

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Assuming I’m finally done obsessively tweaking it, here’s the syllabus for the Writing 20 I’ll be teaching this semester, subtitled “Writing the Future.”

Written by gerrycanavan

January 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Sunday Links

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As promised, some Sunday links.

* Jon Stewart had odious liar Betsy McCaughey on his show Thursday night, and you should watch it; video at Crooks & Liars. Kevin Drum says Stewart shouldn’t have had her on at all; I think the video made McCaughey look terrible and in that sense was an important public service.

* Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World’s Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica.

* Mandatory pre-Mad-Men reading: Pandagon’s defense of Betty Draper.

* Have we reached Peak Crazy? Fox forces Glenn Beck to take a vacation.

* Responding to Krugman, Glenn Greenwald considers whether Obama has lost the trust of progressives. More on the latest polls showing progressives’ loss of faith from Steve Benen, while Matt Yglesias ponders the meaning of GOP approval numbers that “appear to be stuck near some kind of theoretical minimum” and TPM reports Sarah Palin winning the all-important Birther primary.

* Margaret Atwood blogs her book tour.

* Cynical-C has the trailer for Michael Moore’s next film, Capitalism: A Love Story.

* Lt. William Calley has apologized for the My Lai massacre, though the MetaFilter thread suggests there may be significantly less here than meets the eye.

“In October 2007, Calley agreed to be interviewed by the UK newspaper the Daily Mail to discuss the massacre, saying, “Meet me in the lobby of the nearest bank at opening time tomorrow, and give me a certified cheque for $25,000, then I’ll talk to you for precisely one hour.” When the journalist “showed up at the appointed hour, armed not with a cheque but a list of pertinent questions”, Calley left.”

* Also at MetaFilter: SIGG admits to misleading the public about its water bottles and BPA.

* Inglourious Basterds as alternate history.

* Game of the night: Max Damage.

* And the Smart Set looks at The Martian Chronicles in the context of 1960s optimism and the New Frontier. My Writing 20 for the spring (“Writing the Future”) begins there as well (though with Star Trek instead of Bradbury) before veering off into The Dispossessed and, later, Dollhouse.

Great Opening Sentences from Science Fiction

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io9’s playing with great opening sentences from science fiction. (More at MeFi.) Contrary to the aesthetics of io9’s list, it seems to me that the best are those which refuse to immediately announce themselves as science fiction. Here are just a few from favorite s.f. novels that I haven’t seen anywhere else (all links go to Amazon):

“We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.”
—Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

“Mars was empty before we came.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars

“On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.”
—Richard Matheson, I Am Legend

“What’s it going to be then, eh?”
—Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Though what can match the quiet elegance of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed? “There was a wall.”

Unless of course it’s Octavia Butler in Dawn: “Alive!”

QUICK UPDATE: I realized too late that I’d omitted a book that should be on any list of this sort, Olaf Staledon’s Star Maker:

One night when I had tasted bitterness I went out on to the hill.