Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Interview

Weekend Links!

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* The commentators calling $3,000 salaries evil a century ago would have an aneurysm at the sight of coaching contracts today. Deadspin found last year that college football coaches were the highest-paid state employees in twenty-seven states. (Basketball coaches held that status in another thirteen.) The salary inflation is a direct product of increasing college sports revenue, thanks in large part to massive television deals. Because the colleges and their athletic departments are nonprofit, they need to spend the money they bring in, and since they can’t pay players, there are only so many places that money can go. Head coaches and other athletic staffers are direct beneficiaries.

* My Favorite Graph of 2014: The Rise and Rise of the Top 0.1 Percent.

* Americans Have Spent Enough Money On A Broken Plane To Buy Every Homeless Person A Mansion.

* Elsewhere in the richest society ever in the history of the world.

* David Harvey and Leo Panitch: Beyond Impossible Reform and Improbable Revolution.

* North Korea, Sony, and stenography.

* The successful attempt to reduce fat in the diet of Americans and others around the world has been a global, uncontrolled experiment, which like all experiments may well have led to bad outcomes. What’s more, it has initiated a further set of uncontrolled global experiments that are continuing. Editorial in the British Medical Journal.

A new study from Stanford looks at what happened in Italy, when a 1961 law doubled the number of students in STEM majors graduating from the country’s universities.

* …when people claim that the “free market” system outproduced Soviet Communism, what they are saying is that markets more effectively produced discipline. It was more successful at imposing patterns of human action and restriction conducive to military and economic production than a command economy was capable of imposing.

“Why Is My Curriculum White?”

When Rioting is Rational.

* If Tom Joad is alive after 1945, what is his future? Am I the only who sees him becoming a conservative like most of his fellow ex-sharecropper migrants and voting for Goldwater in 64? Grapes of Wrath fanfic at LGM.

* Neill Blomkamp’s Secret Alien Movie Looks So Good We’re Furious.

Math Suggests Most Cancers Are Caused By “Bad Luck.”

* Florida: We’re The Worst. Arizona: Not So Fast.

* And then there’s Wisconsin. Pregnant woman challenging Wisconsin protective custody law.

At the clinic, a urine test showed Loertscher was pregnant, and also revealed her past drug use. Another test confirmed she had a severe thyroid condition.

Medical officials shared the findings with the county social services personnel, who subsequently went to court and had a guardian ad litem appointed for Loertscher’s 14-week-old fetus.

Social workers asked Loertscher repeatedly to release her medical records to county officials, and said that if she didn’t, she would be jailed until she had her baby, which would then be put up for adoption.

* Is the Gates Foundation Still Investing in Private Prisons?

* UNC-Chapel Hill Firing Professor Over Academic Fraud Scandal.

* Lines mankind was never meant to cross: LEGO Awarded 3D Printing Patent, May Allow Users to Print Own Bricks.

* The NYPD is Ironically Proving that Most of Their Police Work is Completely Unnecessary. The Benefits of Fewer NYPD Arrests.

* The eclipse of democracy.

* And Traci Reardon and J.W. Stillwater have a good old fashioned New Year’s Sentiment Off.

Monday Links!

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* Somebody thinks 2015 could be a doozy: Treasury Department Seeking Survival Kits For Bank Employees.

* Trends We Can Work With: Higher Ed in 2015.

* Remembering the reason for the season: During Holiday Season, City Erects Cages To Keep Homeless People Off Benches.

Christmas Eve Document Dump Reveals US Spy Agencies Broke The Law And Violated Privacy.

But, are they more likely to precipitate police violence?  No. The opposite is true. Police are more likely to kill black people regardless of what they are doing. In fact, “the less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black.”

Ending excessive police force starts with new rules of engagement.

What Does It Mean to Be Anti-Police?

How to Survive a Cop Coup: What Bill de Blasio Can Learn From Ecuador.

“It has been alleged that Officer Kattner has used his position as a peace officer to contact known female prostitutes and compel them to perform sexual acts while working an extra job.”

And whether or not people accept it, that new normal—public life and mass surveillance as a default—will become a component of the ever-widening socioeconomic divide. Privacy as we know it today will become a luxury commodity. Opting out will be for the rich.

“Enhanced interrogation” is torture, American style. Exceptional torture. Torture that insists it is not torture. Post-torture? This uniquely American kind of torture has six defining characteristics.

* “The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled”: In praise of The Usual Suspects.

* Decades of Bill Cosby’s shadow ops.

Justice Denied to Steven Salaita: A Critique of the University of Illinois Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure Report. This was my reaction as well.

* Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US.

* Are ideas to cool the planet realistic? Meanwhile: Pope Francis Could Be Climate’s Secret Weapon Next Year.

The architecture of dissent.

* The red state economic miracle that wasn’t.

* Airlines want you to suffer.

* Games are ancient, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. But their stock is not rising at the rate that their fans’ Twitter streams and Web forums might suggest. Instead of a ludic age, perhaps we have entered an era of shredded media. Some forms persist more than others, but more than any one medium, we are surrounded by the rough-edged bits and pieces of too many media to enumerate. Writing, images, aphorisms, formal abstraction, collage, travesty. Photography, cinema, books, music, dance, games, tacos, cats, car services. If anything, there has never been a weirder, more disorienting, and more lively time to be a creator and a fanatic of media in all their varieties. Why ruin the moment by being the one trying to get everyone to play a game while we’re letting the flowers blossom? A ludic century need not be a century of games. Instead, it can just be a century. With games in it.

* Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed. Migrant World Cup workers in Qatar are reportedly dying at alarming rates.

* Enterprise, TOS, and “the scent of death” on the Federation.

* How Kazuo Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks.

I am no fan of the North Korean regime. However I believe that calling out a foreign nation over a cybercrime of this magnitude should never have been undertaken on such weak evidence.

* Longreads best crime reporting 2014.

A Drone Flew Over A Pig Farm.

The black and African writer is expected to write about certain things, and if they don’t they are seen as irrelevant. This gives their literature weight, but dooms it with monotony. Who wants to constantly read a literature of suffering, of heaviness? Those living through it certainly don’t; the success of much lighter fare among the reading public in Africa proves this point. Maybe it is those in the west, whose lives are untouched by such suffering, who find occasional spice and flirtation with such a literature. But this tyranny of subject may well lead to distortion and limitation.

* I’m a pretty big fan of “Jean & Scott”: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

* A profile of David Letterman from 1981.

How Colonel Sanders Became Father Christmas in Japan.

* The Song of Saruman.

The filmmakers’ cartoonishly evil vision of Saruman is unfortunate, as it deprives a fascinating narrative of its complexity, while also being untrue to Tolkien’s own vision. Jackson and his team seem incapable of imagining that a person can be wrong without also being evil. For example, the Master of Lake-town in The Hobbit was greedy, but he was an elected official, generally well regarded by the community (at least until he absconds with the municipal funds, a fact revealed only on the last page of the book); in the film The Desolation of Smaug, he is a murderous tyrant who opposes even the idea of elections. An even worse example is the case of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, who in the books has been driven mad by grief and despair, partly owing to the cruel machinations of Sauron himself; in the film (The Return of the King), he is made so irredeemably evil that Gandalf actually attacks him, while we the viewers are expected to cheer. If this is what Jackson does to weak and pitiable characters, what must he do to Saruman, who is a legitimate “bad guy” in The Lord of the Rings?

Quiz: Find out how your salary stacks up against other American workers. You know, fun.

L.A. studio to restore venerable ‘King’s Quest’ to its gaming throne.

* Is the anti-vax movement finally dying?

* You can’t beat the media at its own game.

* America’s own 7 Up: Johns Hopkins’s Beginning School Study.

* Sober People against New Year’s Eve SuperPAC.

* And of course you had me at Grant Morrson’s All-New Miracleman Annual #1.

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All Your Christmas Eve Eve Links

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* De Blasio and the police. Some amazing stuff in there.

According to a former de Blasio aide, during the general election campaign in 2013, de Blasio’s team was even convinced that members of his police detail were eavesdropping on his private conversations in his city-assigned car. Things got so bad that de Blasio, according to the staffer, would step into the street to make sure he was out of earshot of plainclothes officers.

NYPD Union President Patrick Lynch Is Completely Nuts: A History.

The NYPD Shooter Had A History Of Mental Health Issues And Violence Against Women. Slimy Baltimore FOX Affiliate Caught Faking “Kill a Cop” Protest Chant. The absolute bad faith of blaming protestors.

Die-ins demand that we bear witness to black people’s fears that they’ll be next.

* “The Cossacks were never funny. Cops never are. I invite you to imagine the international outrage and American horror, had one of Putin’s police choked an innocent man to death on camera for the crime of selling loose cigarettes.”

* For Tamir, who was stolen.

* Ex-Milwaukee Cop Who Shot Unarmed Man 14 Times Will Not Be Charged. The National Guard has been on alert for the city since the weekend. A statement from the ACLU. “It may out-Ferguson Ferguson”: Why Milwaukee’s police violence will horrify you. And at HuffPo: Why I Was Arrested Standing Up for Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee.

“Ya’ll Ain’t Hearing Me”: White Liberalism and the Killing of Aura Rosser.

Charges Expected To Be Filed Against MOA Protest Organizers.

* The idea of “police reform” obscures the task. Whatever one thinks of the past half-century of criminal-justice policy, it was not imposed on Americans by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are, at the very least, byproducts of democratic will. Likely they are much more. It is often said that it is difficult to indict and convict police officers who abuse their power. It is comforting to think of these acquittals and non-indictments as contrary to American values. But it is just as likely that they reflect American values. The three most trusted institutions in America are the military, small business, and the police.

* Which is not to say that the security state isn’t somehow finding ways to stretch even the long leash it’s been given.

* And W. Kamau Bell has a one-off podcast on Earwolf called “Coptalk.”

Sorry, I know that was a lot of police links today. Some other stuff I’ve been looking at:

The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling last week that could clear the way for much more unionization of faculty members at private colleges and universities.

There Is No Higher Ed Bubble. Yet. I think I’d maybe like to hear more about how “eventually artificial intelligence will basically wipe out the demand for higher education completely” before I sign on to this part of the proposition all the way.

* Facts are stupid things: New Congress Dumping CBO Chief To Clear Way For Special GOP Budget Math.

How Vermont’s single-payer health care dream fell apart.

* Jacobin looks ahead to the new Cuba.

* Markets in everything: Rare book investment trust believed to be Ponzi scheme.

Which Jobs Have the Highest Rates of Depression?

* What 2000 Calories Looks Like.

* 101 Critical Theory Books That Came Out in 2014. As a society we probably could have gotten away with just the clean one hundred.

* An empirical study of heterosexual college sex practices based on a six-year survey.

* The Sony hack has cancelled what I bet would have been a great comic adaptation of Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang. At least I’ll have this in my back pocket the next time I teach it.

* Meanwhile: A Lot of Smart People Think North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony. Let’s not let caution get in the way of a good prank war.

* That’s solve it: MLA Will Discuss How to Deal With Controversial Issues.

The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking. The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.

* The FBI saw the film. They didn’t like it. Stick around for a nice little factoid about copyright!

The Year Having Kids Became a Frivolous Luxury.

The Best New Webcomics Of 2014.

* These Ant-Man rumors suggest Marvel really is going to go all the way with its “Civil War” plan for Phase 3.

* The Malfoys, after the war.

* No More Tony Starks: Against “The Smartest Man in the Room.”

Perhaps this is a good time to notice that when Anders says the Smartest Guy in the Room provides “wish-fulfillment for reasonably smart people” her examples go on to demonstrate that by people she happens always to mean only guys and even only white guys. She does notice that the Smartest Guy does seem to be, you know, a guy and provides the beginnings of a gendered accounting of the archetype: “the ‘smartest guy’ thing confirms all our silliest gender stereotypes, in a way that’s like a snuggly dryer-fresh blanket to people who feel threatened by shifting gender roles. In the world of these stories, the smartest person is always a man, and if he meets a smart woman she will wind up acknowledging his superiority.”

That seems to me a rather genial take on the threatened bearings of patriarchal masculinity compensated by cyborg fantasizing, but at least it’s there. The fact that the Smartest Guy keeps on turning out to be white receives no attention at all. This omission matters not only because it is so glaring, but because the sociopathic denial of the collectivity of intelligence, creativity, progress, and flourishing at the heart of the Smartest Guy in the Room techno-archetype, has the specific and catastrophic counterpart in the white racist narrative of a modern technological civilization embodied in inherently superior European whiteness against which are arrayed not different but primitive and atavistic cultures and societies that must pay in bloody exploitation and expropriation the price of the inferior. The Smartest Guy in the Room is also the Smartest Guy in History, naturally enough, with a filthy treasure pile to stand on and shout his superiority from.

* Star Trek as anti-Smartest-Guy fiction.

* And speaking of Star Trek: they’ve chosen a new director to ruin 3tar Tr3k 3. Kudos to all involved. Meanwhile Adam Kotsko is pitching the Star Trek anthology series I’ve always wanted to the unfeeling Philistines at the Daystrom Institute. Unrecognized in his own time…