Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Twilight Zone

Happy Valentine’s Day Links!

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* Very excited to welcome Adam Kotsko to Marquette later this week for his talk “Animated Nihilism: Rick and Morty, BoJack Horseman and the Strange Fate of the Adult Cartoon.”

* There was a nice interview with me at the ArchivesAWARE! site, kicking off a new series on Archives and Audiences.

* SFRA Review #323 is out! Check out the details on the upcoming SFRA conference in Milwaukee.

* CFP: The Journal of Dracula Studies. CFP: Žižek Studies special issue on “Žižek: What Went Wrong?”

* The Simpsons: What Went Wrong?

* A science-fiction narrative imagining an alternate universe in which Donald Trump never became President: he’s just a regular guy in New York City.

The Problem With Annihilation’s Messy Release.

Fantastic Beasts and What Could Have Been. They’re really not nailing this.

* Kim Stanley Robinson: The Radical Philosophy Interview.

KSR: Capitalism is still very feudal in its distribution of wealth. One of the great triumphs of Marxist historiography is to describe accurately the transition from feudalism to capitalism, why it happened and the differences. At a presentation I once gave with Jameson, I said something like capitalism is just feudalism liquidified. In the break he said, ‘Kim, it’s actually a big accomplishment for Marxists to be able to describe the change from feudalism to capitalism.’ I then brought up something he had taught me, Raymond Williams’s concept of the residual and the emergent, and said, ‘but there’s a lot more residual than people have imagined.’ That’s one of the only times I saw Fred startled by something I said. Although I think there’s an exchange of ideas between us, mainly he’s the teacher, I’m the student. He’s explained things that I never would have understood, and I treasure him for that. So it was nice to see him think, ‘Mmm, that’s an interesting thought.’

The residuals out of feudalism would be the power gradient and the actual concentration of wealth per se. In the feudal period, kings might not even have been as proportionally rich as top executives are now in relation to the poor. And if peasants weren’t murdered by passing soldiers, they were living with their food source at hand and working a somewhat decent human life. That isn’t largely true now of the dispossessed. So, capitalism is like feudalism in that, but worse.

* The Good Place and Divine Justice. Meet the Philosophers Who Give ‘The Good Place’ Its Scholarly Bona Fides. TV’s Dystopia Boom. Breakfast and Groundhog Day. Rod Serling: human rights activist as science fiction showrunner. Why the Culture wins. Netflix created a monster with its Cloverfield stunt, and Altered Carbon won’t be the last victim. Reproductive Futurism and Its (Dis)contents. Why I barely read SF these days. Against dystopia.

* My Butch Lesbian Mom, Bruce Springsteen.

* The Sublimated Grief of the Left Behind. How Academe Breeds Resentment. International Grad Students’ Interest in American Higher Ed Marks First Decline in 14 Years. Columbia University Gets In Bed with Trump. I’m a Stanford professor accused of being a terrorist. McCarthyism is back. How Hard Do Professors Work? Shameless and Hypocrisy at the MLA. And meanwhile, on the Singularity beat: Teaching assistant robots will reinvent academia. Universities in the Age of AI.

Humanities Grads Gainfully Employed and Happy.

White Supremacists Are Targeting College Students ‘Like Never Before.’

* The Olympic hero for our time.

* To U.S. Border Patrol, the Canadian border is 100 miles wide. A good overview of how Trump’s ICE differs, and doesn’t, from Obama’s; the major distinction seems to be empowering street-level officer to make policy-level determinations about enforcement. A Short, Brutal History of ICE. ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump. ICE Grants Stay To Arizona Father Whose 5-Year-Old Son Is Battling Cancer. Kansas chemistry instructor arrested by ICE while taking his daughter to school. ICE detains man at traffic court after DACA status expires, then frees him after outcry. Public Defenders Walk Out Of Bronx Courthouse After College Student Detained By ICE. Cuban immigrant awaiting removal dies in ICE custody. Green card veteran facing deportation starts hunger strike. Trump administration considered testing “abortion reversal” on unwilling prisoner. Give all immigrants the right to vote.

* Know your police rape loopholes.

* How not to die in America. I Had to Bury My 26-Year-Old Son Because He Couldn’t Afford Insulin. Texas Woman Dies Because She Couldn’t Afford $116 Copay. What Aetna did here might not even be illegal.

* America: (Still) Not a Democracy. That’s not to say things still can’t get worse.

* In the richest country in human history.

FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered.

* Even the Democrats (still) won’t talk about climate change. Democrats’ ‘Resistance’ to Trump Is Eroding, and So Are Their Poll Numbers. What Happened To The Democratic Wave?

A map of the world after four degrees of warming. There’s even more good news below the map!

An Urgent Crisis of Leadership, Climate, and Water is Unfolding in South Africa.

* And in Kentucky: Sometimes they get no water. Other times just a trickle. Often, they say, their water is so discolored it resembles milk or Kool-Aid or beer.

The African Anthropocene.

* Floods and pollution.

* Just six months from victory in Afghanistan.

Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases. Podcast listeners are the advertising holy grail. A Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy. Whole Foods as Amazon Hell. What Amazon Does to Poor Cities.

I’m the Wife of a Former N.F.L. Player. Football Destroyed His Mind. Concussion Protocol.

Here’s Everything We Used to Know About Han Solo’s Early Years. A Primer on All Things Wakanda.

* Monopoly: Cheaters Edition.

Arizona Man Sells His $6.5 Million Ranch Because Of Constant, Violent Alien Attacks.

Supercut of Instagram travel photo clichés. Photos of Total Strangers Pretending to Be in Serious Relationships.

Why is Civilization 5 still more popular than Civilization 6?

* The arc of history is long, but Hot sauce king Billy Mitchell is in danger of having his Donkey Kong records stripped away.

Why Woody Allen hasn’t been toppled by the #MeToo reckoning — yet. This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry.

* Suicide and the opioid epidemic.

* Cancel student debt and grow the economy. Let’s Stop Normalizing Student Debt.

* College compiles first-ever index of slaves and their enslavers in NY. Slavery and the American University.

* Nation of Second Changes: Stories of people who received a pardon from Barack Obama.

* The Alt-Right Is Killing People.

The Median Young Family Has Nearly Zero Wealth.

* #NeverTweet.

Why Antonio Gramsci is the Marxist thinker for our times.

* I call it my brand: Marxism as Organized Sarcasm.

Worf’s Dad Is Repeatedly Disgraced When Predictive Text Writes Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Nintendo’s new cardboard extensions for Switch are blowing users away.

* Case Western in the news!

* Can’t stop the signal: here come the Firefly novels.

* Pets allowed.

‘Speaking’ orca is further proof they shouldn’t be kept captive.

* The mutant crayfish that ate Europe.

* And this guy gets it: Nigel, the world’s loneliest bird, dies next to the concrete decoy he loved.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 13, 2018 at 10:01 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Summer Classes Syllabi! “Science Fiction” (Sophomore Survey) and “The Law of Genre” (Grad Level)

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This weekend marks the tragic end of my research leave — I’m teaching two summer classes beginning Monday, a newly revamped version of my sophomore survey on science fiction (swapping in Never Let Me Go for Slaughterhouse-Five, Black Mirror for Avatar, and Ted Chiang for basically everything else) and a new graduate-level course on genre studies. I’m excited about both, but especially the grad course, which is laser-focused on books I find interesting.

I pulled back a bit on the writing assignments compared to last year because I think there’s a bit more reading, but some of that reading is deliberately structured as “secondary” so hopefully it won’t feel excessive. Main texts after some reshuffling are Never Let Me Go, The City and the City, Beloved, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Lolita, with guest appearances by Get Out, the Kubrick Lolita, The Twilight Zone, and Donald Barthelme…

Here’s the week-by-week:

M May 22 Introduction to the Course

viral video: “Too Many Cooks” [YouTube]

T May 23 Daniel Chandler, “An Introduction to Genre Theory” [D2L]

Donald Barthelme, “The Joker’s Greatest Triumph!” [D2L]

W May 24 Darko Suvin, “On the Poetics of the Science Fiction Genre” [D2L]

China Miéville, “Cognition as Ideology” [D2L]

(in class) The Twilight Zone: “The Eye of the Beholder” [Netflix]



Gerry Canavan, “The Suvin Event” [D2L]

Th May 25 John Rieder, “On Defining SF, or Not: Genre Theory, SF, and History” [D2L]

Ted Underwood, “The Life Cycle of Genres” [D2L]

T May 30 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Part One)
W June 1 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Part Two)
Th June 2 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Part Three)



film trailer: The Island [YouTube]

Martin Puchner, review of Never Let Me Go [D2L]



M June 5 Carl Freedman, “Marxism, Cinema, and Some Dialectics of Science Fiction and Film Noir” [D2L]

China Miéville, The City and the City (first half of Part One)

T June 6 China Miéville, The City and the City (second half of Part One)
W June 7 China Miéville, The City and the City (Part Two)
Th June 8 China Miéville, The City and the City (whole book)

China Miéville, “Notes on Walls” [Web]



Carl Freedman, “From Genre to Political Economy: Miéville’s The City & The City and Uneven Development” [D2L]

China Miéville, “Unsolving the City” [Web]

M June 12 Toni Morrison, Beloved, pgs. 1-63
T June 13 Toni Morrison, Beloved, pgs. 63-165
W June 14 Toni Morrison, Beloved, whole book



Carl D. Malmgren, “Mixed Genres and the Logic of Slavery in Toni Morrison’s Beloved” [D2L]

Grady Hendrix, “Beloved: The Best Horror Novel the Horror Genre Has Never Claimed” [D2L]

Elizabeth B. House, “Toni Morrison’s Ghost: The Beloved Who Is Not Beloved” [D2L]

Th June 15 film: Get Out



Steven Thrasher, representative Get Out thinkpiece [Web]



M June 19 Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (first half)
T June 20 Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (second half)

Charlotte Sturgess, “The Handmaid as a Romance Heroine” [D2L]

W June 21 Margaret Atwood, “Historical Notes on The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood, “The Road to Ustopia” [Web]



John McAdams, “Marquette Gender and Sexuality Resource Center: Demonizing Men” [PDF ON D2L]

Margaret Atwood, “What The Handmaid’s Tale Means in the Age of Trump” [Web]

Lili Loofburouw, “How Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale succumbed to the feminist curse” [Web]

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu series)

M June 26 Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita: “Foreword” and Part One, Chapters 1-22
T June 27 Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita: Part One, Chap. 23, through Part Two, Chap. 22
W June 28 Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (whole book, including “On a Book Entitled Lolita”)

Stanley Kubrick, Lolita [Netflix]


Friday Links Are Just a Party and Parties Aren’t Meant to Last

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51yLZieyZIL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_* Out today, a project very close to my heart: my edited 2016 rerelease of Darko Suvin’s Metamorphoses of Science Fiction. Here’s the Amazon order page, for you or your favorite academic library!

* The Ever-Tightening Job Market for Ph.D.s. The Mobile Academic.

The strange story of Hugo Gernsback, who brought science fiction magazines to America.

* Just in time for finals! MLA Eighth Edition: What’s New and Different.

* At LARoB Rebecca Evans reviews the reissue of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital series, Green Earth. David Perry reviews The Secret Life of Stories. Against Star Wars. Inside the Coetzee Collection.

* My desire to see The Twilight Zone has boomeranged on me in the most ironic possible way.

* An independent researcher claims to have discovered a lost civilization in China.

Existential Depression in Gifted Children.

* Mourning Prince and David Bowie, who showed there’s no one right way to be a man. Buzzfeed’s The Most Powerful Writing about Prince. Nation Too Sad To F*ck Even Though It’s What Prince Would Have Wanted.

The Secret Life of Novelizations.

The Hidden Economics of Porn.

Five Hundred Years of Utopia.

Harriet Tubman once staged a sit-in to get $20. The Treasury just gave her all of them. You have no idea how hardcore Harriet Tubman really was.


The smug style in American liberalism.

* How Chicago elites imported charters, closed neighborhood schools, and snuffed out creativity.

How Seattle Gave Up on Busing and Allowed Its Public Schools to Become Alarmingly Resegregated.

How to Blow $9 Billion in 6 Months.

* Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them.

Why America’s Schools Have A Money Problem. Related: 25 Best Wisconsin High Schools: U.S. News Rankings 2016.

Against Activism.

For forty years, liberals have accepted defeat and called it “incremental progress.” Bernie Sanders offers a different way forward. How Sanders fell short. The real scandal.

12 Reasons Not to Write Lord of the Rings.

I Talked to the Kid Whose Mom Used Craigslist to Find Him a Feminism Tutor, and It Got Weird.

* Do Honeybees Feel? Scientists Are Entertaining the Idea. Insects Are Conscious and Egocentric.

* Our foundation of Earth knowledge, largely derived from historically observed patterns, has been central to society’s progress. Early cultures kept track of nature’s ebb and flow, passing improved knowledge about hunting and agriculture to each new generation. Science has accelerated this learning process through advanced observation methods and pattern discovery techniques. These allow us to anticipate the future with a consistency unimaginable to our ancestors. But as Earth warms, our historical understanding will turn obsolete faster than we can replace it with new knowledge. Some patterns will change significantly; others will be largely unaffected, though it will be difficult to say what will change, by how much, and when.

Details arise about U.S. Bank robbery in the Alumni Memorial Union.

* Behold, the Hasbro Cinematic Universe.

* The Tragic History of RC Cola.

U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High.

Hamilton just won the Pulitzer for drama. Here’s why it matters for American musicals. And congrats to Emily Nussbaum!

This map shows every place in the US that has ever had a woman in Congress.

The Average 29-Year-Old.

* Milwaukee’s Appeals, Vibrant and Cheap.

First Criminal Charges Handed Down After Flint Water Crisis.

* A man once described as a “perfect donor” at an August, Georgia sperm bank and who fathered at least 36 children around the world is actually a mentally ill felon whose lies on his donor forms went undiscovered for more than a decade.

We owe Rey and Finn’s friendship to Harrison Ford’s broken leg.

Love It Or List It sued over shoddy renovations, ridiculous falsehoods.

As A Father Of Daughters, I Think We Should Treat All Women Like My Daughters.

* Hello, from the Magic Tavern watch! There’s two noncanonical podcasts from Foon-16 over at One Shot. There’s also a band new, slightly less… rigorous improv podcast from some of the principals involved called Siblings Peculiar.

The U.S.’s Best High School Starts at 9:15 a.m.

Lab Mice Are Freezing Their Asses Off—and That’s Screwing Up Science.

New Evidence Suggests That Limbs and Fins Evolved From Fish Gills.

* How to Shakespeare.

* Cards Against Humanities.

* And rejoice, comrades! Twilight Struggle has come to Steam.


Written by gerrycanavan

April 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links!

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* Reminder: the deadline for abstracts for SFRA 2016 is the end of the month. MLA CFP: Science Fiction Comics. CFP: “Academic Insecurities: Precarious Labour and the Neoliberal University.”

* Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Sara Goldrick-Rab, the outspoken University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who vowed after tenure protections were changed by state lawmakers last year to leave Wisconsin, announced on her blog Monday night that she has accepted a job at Temple University and will start July 1.

* Black Study, Black Struggle.

* The end of Houston.

* Huge, if true: Universities Run Into Problems When They Hire Presidents From The Business World.

Ten Theses In Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes.

* Why Do Colleges Still Use Grades?

* No other discipline of comparable size in the humanities is as gender-skewed as philosophy. Women still receive only about 28% of philosophy PhDs in the United States, and are still only about 20% of full professors of philosophy — numbers that have hardly budged since the 1990s. And among U.S. citizens and permanent residents receiving philosophy PhDs in this country, 86% are non-Hispanic white. The only comparably-sized disciplines that are more white are the ones that explicitly focus on the European tradition, such as English literature.

* Northwestern University students who qualify for financial aid no longer will have to borrow to pay for their education, part of a plan announced Thursday to make the school more affordable and prevent students from being saddled with debilitating debt.

* How Has the MFA Changed the Contemporary Novel?

* Rowling explores the magical history of America.

* My deep wound is video games. In the same way Bell “pretended to be someone else whenever [he] stepped outside of the house” and learned “to never talk about computer games in class or on the school bus,” I learned that my love for video games was excessive and embarrassing. I was swept away by those worlds in a way that nobody else seemed to be, and I walked around with my head full of pixels and quests and ideas. Video games made me very happy and very lonely.

Dilbert creator Scott Adams tells Fox News Trump “isn’t just changing politics, he’s changing the human condition.”

* Case Western in the ne– oh.

This isn’t the first time that an idea in psychology has been challenged—-not by a long shot. A “reproducibility crisis” in psychology, and in many other fields, has now been well-established. A study out last summer tried to replicate 100 psychology experiments one-for-one and found that just 40 percent of those replications were successful. A critique of that study just appeared last week, claiming that the original authors made statistical errors—but that critique has itself been attacked for misconstruing facts, ignoring evidence, and indulging in some wishful thinking.

* Marquette in the — oh come on.

* Milwaukee in the etc.

* How a mistranslation made you think your tongue had ‘taste zones.’

* This simulation helps show you what it’s like to have dyslexia.

* Maps Show Where Bloomberg Aides Thought He Would Have Been Competitive.

* Meritocrats and Egalitarians.

* Reparations isn’t a political demand.

* Some Birds Are Just As Smart As Apes.

* The Future Of Telltale Games.

* “Some supporters of Rubio say bad strategy, poorly run campaign killing his chances.” What do the rest of them think is killing his chances?

* Meanwhile: Report Raises New Questions About Trump’s Ties To N.J. Mob-Linked Figure. Yes, Mitt Romney Could Actually Become The Republican Presidential Nominee.

* The remarkable persistence of the Green Man.

* Dang. Too real.

* “What I wish I’d known before I had gender-affirming surgery.”

* Daughter of Civil War vet still getting a pension.

* Actually existing media bias: The Washington Post ran 16 negative stories about Bernie Sanders in 16 hours. Going for the record!

* The Problematic Rape Reporting On ‘This American Life.’

* We want dead bodies to be in the right place. Caring for the dead is a foundational human activity, and so the wrong dead body in the wrong place, or bodies abandoned or desecrated, is considered an affront to the moral order. Why We Need the Dead.

* Mr. Spock and the autism spectrum.

Is Luke Skywalker Gay?

* This is for you: an oral history of The Golden Girls.

* Abolish homework.

* Rise of the hiking game: The Witness and Firewatch.

* What could go wrong? U.S. military spending millions to make cyborgs a reality.

* On Poverty.

The neoliberal university will grind us down until there’s nothing left. Choose solidarity.

Three Thoughts on Westerosi Political Economy.

* Slavoj Žižek and The Twilight Zone.

* And I don’t know about the other two law, but the third law of politics here is pretty much literally the predicament academia and most other public institutions find themselves in in 2016:

The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 8, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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* Malcolm Harris reviews Ivory Tower.

Speaking for the elite private liberal arts school is Wesleyan President Michael Roth, who argues for small classes, a balanced education and a lot of contact with professors. “Ivory Tower” gives Roth a fair hearing, but he can’t avoid coming off like a huckster of humanities when pitching the $60,000-plus annual price tag to the parents of potential students. (Hell, for 60 grand you could rent an apartment in Brooklyn and your own post-grad fellow.) The cost of this kind of education makes it both a model of learning for learning’s sake — yes, a high cost but a priceless reward — and totally inaccessible to most young people.

* Euclid: The Game!

* Massive data dump on academic employment.

* Vladimir Nabokov’s Unpublished Screenplay Notes For Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Lolita.’

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. Ian Bogost, when the walls fell.

Let’s pretend that we want to start an organization to defend the rights of people across the globe that has no affiliation to any government or corporate interest. No More Imperial Crusades.

* Prosecutors closing in on Chris Christie and Scott Walker. How the State of Wisconsin alleges Scott Walker aides violated the law, in 1 chart.

* Aren’t You A Little Short To Be A Stormtrooper? The Passing of the Armor to A Bullied Little Girl. Fighting bullies with stormtroopers.

* The golden age of girls’ running.

Higher Ed Pays a High Price for Mediocrity.

* James Madison University Punished Sexual Assault With ‘Expulsion After Graduation.’ Department of Education Offers Proposed Campus Sexual Assault Regulations. Rape Victims At Fundamentalist Christian College Say They Were Told To Repent For Their Sins.

* “Turn Detroit into Drone Valley.” Sigh.

* “The death of a great American city: why does anyone still live in Detroit?”

* “By denying water service to thousands, Detroit is violating the human right to water.”

* The death of the mall.

* What we Yo about when we Yo about Yo.

* In celebration of Juneteenth.

* I’m losing hope for Episode 7, but Episodes 8 and 9 have promise.

* One more on LouieThis isn’t a model for romance. It’s a blueprint for abuse.

Labor and the Locavore shows that our society’s tendency to idealize local food allows small farmers to pay workers substandard wages, house them in shoddy labor camps, and quash their ability to unionize to demand better working conditions.

* “It’s a much bigger, more powerful question to ask, If today we are using management techniques that were also used on slave plantations,” she says, “how much more careful do we need to be? How much more do we need to think about our responsibility to people?”

* The secret history of Chief Wahoo.

* When drones crash.

Pennsylvania Instructed Its Employees To Ignore Residents Sickened By Drilling. Duke Energy Was Warned About Potential For Dan River Spill Decades Ago, Documents Show.

* The Lost Generation.

* Marriage, kids, college, and class.

* Great moments in governance.

In Kansas, 9-year-old Spencer Collins has been told by authorities that he must stop sharing books with his neighbors, and close the little free library–honestly, it’s just a bookshelf–in his yard.

* The “good” Anthropocene?

* The sixth season of The Twilight Zone we almost had.

* And Better Call Saul already has a second season. We just have to wait to see if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…