Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘theory

Tuesday Night Links!

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* Climate Fiction Short Story Contest judged by Kim Stanley Robinson. Fall fiction contest judged by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.

* Whoa: Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Black Panther Comic for Marvel.

* Whiteness, Political Economy, and the MFA.

The majority of these reasons have to do with student desire. It is obvious that people have to want the degree for universities to feel motivated to create programs. But there are many economic pressures that induce colleges and universities to expand and aggressively advertise and recruit for programs in creative writing. We do not think it is an overstatement that, prior to the 1990s and the intensifying financial pressures that brought about the corporatization of the university, English departments tended to have a studious lack of interest that bordered on disdain about the teaching of creative writing. And top-tier schools still tend to not offer graduate degrees in creative writing. Of the top 10 universities according to USNWR rankings, only Columbia has an MFA program.

The story of how these financial pressures show up in the college where we work — a small liberal arts college that admits self-identified women and people assigned female at birth who do not fit into the gender binary — might provide a useful illustration here. In 1990, the board of the college voted to go co-ed. In response, students went on a strike that they won after two weeks; the board backed down and the school did not go co-ed. Despite the outpouring of support, the college still had significant enrollment issues. Administration responded to this in the 90s by focusing on co-ed graduate programs. Between 1990 and 2013, graduate students went from 25 percent of the total enrollment at the college to 40 percent. The MFA in creative writing was targeted for growth. During the same period, the number of MFA graduates in the creative writing program more than doubled, from an average of 13 to 34 annually. This growth was not under department control. In 2005, after a long discussion, the department decided that they wanted to admit a smaller, more selective class. It was clear that “targeted for growth” meant adding more students, not more resources. But the president of the college held the acceptance letters until the department agreed to admit everyone on the fairly large wait list. This resulted in the largest class ever admitted.

* An excerpt from Claire Vaye Watkins’ upcoming novel, Gold Fame Citrus, “a sweeping, apocalyptic vision of the Southland after the water wars turn California into a roaming sand dune sea.”

Interdepartmental research shows that during that 12-month period when body cameras were in use, instances of some types of force by San Diego police officers actually rose by 10%.

* If You Live In These States You’ll Soon Need A Passport For Domestic Flights. I can’t imagine that this will actually come to pass, but I just got my driver’s license renewal and Wisconsin is treating its default ID as not-airplane-ready.

In honor of the ten years since speculative fiction author Octavia Butler’s untimely transition, the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network and the Octavia E. Butler Society are joining forces to create simultaneous West and East coast events February 25-28, 2016 in L.A. and at Spelman College in Atlanta respectively. The two organizations will also be collaborating on a special edition of the academic journal Palimpsest that highlights her written work and impact on humanity.

The majority of white people who take the implicit association test (IAT) for racial bias do demonstrate biases against dark-skinned people.

* Higher education as Veblen good.

Dispatches From the Future’s Past: How a collection of sci-fi fanzines helps us understand the prehistory of the Internet.

A Newspaper Report on Administrative Bloat: Some Remarks on the Sum of the Details and on Some of the Specific Details.

Why Is College So Expensive if Professors Are Paid So Little?

* “Canada’s oldest independent arts university has struggled financially in recent years, and currently faces a $13-million debt.” So of course the solution is to build a new campus for $25 million.

Cornell’s Pitch to Humanities and Social-Sciences Ph.D.s: All of You, Apply Here.

If 2008 taught us anything, it’s that the whole culture has followed the economic quants far enough down the complexity rabbit hole. I would argue that it might be the scholarship that neoclassical economists dismiss most forcefully that we should look to for help in questioning the self-interested models that the financial sector asserts are real. As these books help us realize, it is humanists who are best trained to pull back the curtain on what we are talking about when we talk about finance.

* Criminal charges for Volkswagen? A CEO just got 28 years in prison after nine people died from his salmonella-tainted peanuts, and VW probably killed more people than that in California alone.

* Men haven’t gotten a raise in forty years.

* Sheboyganfreude: Scott Walker suspends presidential campaign.

* Eleanor Rigby, greenlit for six seasons and a movie.

One dad’s sad, expensive, and brief encounter with Ron Weasley.

* “Hit Charade: Meet the bald Norwegians and other unknowns who actually create the songs that top the charts.”

I Confronted Donald Trump in Dubai.

* Disproving Godwin.

* Why does light have a top speed?

No, I’m Not Piercing My Daughter’s Ears.

A Glossary of Gestures for Critical Discussion.

* Gymnastics and the abusers. Incredible, incredibly disturbing read.

* “Preventing Ethnic Fraud.” Should Universities Be Policing Professors’ Ethnicity Claims?

Games connect you with the sublime infinity of the mathematical universe, but they intersect with the real world only in secret and for pretend. Only in your head.

A new scandal, though, is putting Johnson’s rise at serious risk. It involves the mayor replacing civil servants with private citizens funded by the Wal-Mart empire and tasked with the twin purposes of working to abolish public education and bring in piles of cash for Kevin Johnson. The rising star, it seems, set up a fake government—and some people are starting to notice.

The Road to a 100% Clean-Powered Planet.

The rise, and rise, of literary annotation.

Selfies Killed More People Than Sharks This Year.

* And it was certainly nice of them to name the whole generation after my kid.

Tuesday Night Links!

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* In case you missed it, last night I put up my syllabi for the fall, on J.R.R. Tolkien and American Literature after the American Century.

* Mark your calendars, East Coasters: Jaimee Hills reads from her award-winning book How to Avoid Speaking at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC on October 26. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that preorders are available now at Amazon and Waywiser Press.

* The world’s most popular academic article: “Fuck Nuance.”

That is the kudzu of nuance. It makes us shy away from the riskier aspects of abstraction and theory-building generally, especially if it is the rst and most frequent response we hear. Instead of pushing some abstraction or argument along for a while to see where it goes, there is a tendency to start hedging theory with particulars. People complain that you’re leaving some level or dimension out, and tell you to bring it back in. Crucially, “accounting for”, “addressing”, or “dealing” with the missing item is an unconstrained process. at is, the question is not how a theory can handle this or that issue internally, but rather the suggestion to expand it with this new term or terms. Class, Institutions, Emotions, Structure, Culture, Interaction—all of them are taken generically to “matter”, and you must acknowledge that they matter by incorporating them. Incorporation is the reintroduction of particularizing elements, even though those particulars were what you had to throw away in order to make your concept a theoretically useful abstraction in the first place.

See also: nuance trolling as academic filibuster.

* More ACLA CFPs: Utopia Renewed: Locating a New Utopian Praxis. Innovation, Creativity, and Capitalist Culture.

* Trying to figure out what percentage of instructors are adjuncts is the world’s most dangerous game.

But Thrun and other MOOC founders seem less than concerned about living up to their earlier, lofty rhetoric or continuing that tradition of bringing education to an underserved population. True, they haven’t entirely abandoned their rhetoric about equal access to educational opportunities. But they’ve shifted to what’s becoming a more familiar Silicon Valley narrative about the future of employability: a cheap and precarious labor force. That’s the unfortunate reality of “Uber for Education.”

* Artisanal college. Cruelty free, cage free, farm-fresh.

Aggrieved students find books dangerous; neoliberal administrators say they’re useless. I’d take the former any day.

From Corporate Leader to Flagship President?

Reform Higher Ed? Treat Badmin Like Bankers.

Literary magazines for socialists funded by the CIA, ranked.

* The strategic value of summer.

* Forty years of Born to Run. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

* Fun Home at Duke: 1, 2.

* Meanwhile, in today’s exciting new anti-academic moral panic: UNC’s The Literature of 9/11.

As Murray Pomerance points out, plagiarism is a form of theft, and we don’t steal our own work. On the contrary, we expand its reach, and build on it, thereby making it more relevant as the contexts that produce it change.

UT Knoxville encourages students to use ‘gender-neutral pronouns.’ Washington State University disavows syllabus with ban on certain words.

The Largest-Ever U.S. Gallery Of Jack Kirby’s Comic Art Heads To California.

* And no one talks about it: Barack Obama will leave his party in its worst shape since the Great Depression—even if Hillary wins. More here. I’m an outlier on the progressive side of the fence insofar as I think Clinton might really have to pull out of the race over the emails — so it’s even worse than it seems.

* The cartoon bodies of Mad Max: Fury Road.

How Many Men Did The Golden Girls Sleep With, Exactly?

* The FBI’s surveillance of Ray Bradbury. And the Sad Puppies.

Cold Opening: The Publicity Campaign for Go Set a Watchman.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina serves as a reminder that resilience is a function of the strength of a community. Gentrification’s Ground Zero: In the ten years since Katrina, New Orleans has been remade into a neoliberal playground for young entrepreneurs. The Myth of the New Orleans School Makeover.

* Incredible essay by Lili Loofbourrow on her sister’s death by suicide this summer.

* Psychology is bunk.

Žižek Says Thing.

* Against the Anthropocene.

* Whatever happened to DC Comics?

* Being Stephen Colbert.

* The free encyclopedia anyone can edit.

* Tinder as video game.

* Another Samuel Delany interview.

Janelle Monáe Vows To ‘Speak Up’ On #BlackLivesMatter.

* I love dumb stuff like this, when the corrupt screw up and lose: Business owners try to remove all voters from business district, but they forgot one college student.

Cancer cells programmed back to normal by US scientists.

British Library declines Taliban archive over terror law fears.

Upstate New York Secessionists Demand Freedom From City They Mooch Off Of.

* I told you that if there were something beyond the grave, I would contact you.

* RIP, Oliver Sacks.

* Inside Wisconsin’s Slender Man stabbing.

* I confess I am totally stunned by the Jared Fogle case. I thought I was cynical enough.

* The arc of history is long, but at least that Coach reboot has already been cancelled.

* The Racial Politics of Disney Animals.

* Mars by 2039?

* Renaming Denali.

* Why Dolphins Are Deep Thinkers.

Fall In Love with Your Job, Get Ripped Off by Your Boss. Related: workers shouldn’t work for free.

Firstborn Girls Are the Best at Life. Any Zoey could have told you that!

* The law, in its majestic equality, allows rich and poor alike not to clean up their billion-dollar toxic oil spills.

* The New Servility.

* Militarized drones are now legal in North Dakota.

Future Jails May Look and Function More Like Colleges. And, you know, vice versa…

* Never say “unfilmable”: The BBC is going to try to make a show out of The City and the City.

* Declare victory and go home to your panic room: America Has Lost The War Against Guns.

* And some things mankind was just never meant to know: See how easily a rat can wriggle up your toilet.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links! Catch Them All!

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* SFFTV CFP: “Stephen King’s Science Fiction.”

* Pluto, everybody!

To shill a mockingbird: How a manuscript’s discovery became Harper Lee’s ‘new’ novel. And now everyone’s super mad.

* From the archives! Radical Socialist Movement Ends After Three Semesters.

* Against TurnItIn.

University Rolls Out Adblock Plus, Saves 40 Percent Network Bandwidth.

* Innovation leaves structures intact, developing new processes to monetize the dysfunctional systems we already have.

* The Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association has recommended that the organization ban psychologists from taking part in interrogations conducted by the military or intelligence services, a prohibition long sought by critics of the APA’s involvement with a Central Intelligence Agency program, widely viewed as practicing torture, under the administration of President George W. Bush.

* The book argues that media theory (like science fiction) is often theology by other means, and my insistence on deep technicity, like all basic visions of the human estate, inevitably has religious resonances.

Science Fiction, Climate Change, and the Future.

* Sci-Fi Has Been Prepping Us for an Alien Invasion for Years.

So here’s the challenge for women’s professional tennis: is it a sport, or is it a modeling agency?

* Robots Might Save the Humanities. Probably not though.

* That ‘Volunteer Professor’ Ad.

Fear of a Scott Walker presidency.

* “Academic Unfreedom in America: Rethinking the University as a Democratic Public Sphere.”

* A Radical Vatican?

* The paradox of the underperforming professor.

These 20 schools are responsible for a fifth of all graduate school debt.

* Student debt and crisis.

* On Spinsters.

* If you want a vision of the future.

* If you want a vision of the future.

* If you want a vision of March 14, 2005.

* Here’s the crayons you shouldn’t let your kids draw with if you don’t want them to eat asbestos.

“Children’s playtime should be filled with fun, not asbestos,” the two senators said. “We need greater access to information about where asbestos is present in products children and families use every day.”

And this used to be a free country.

Why I No Longer Eat Watermelon, or How a Racist Email Caused Me to Leave Graduate School. I was nauseous reading this, on behalf of all parties.

* A study from the New York Federal Reserve claims that for every new dollar in federal student loans, tuition goes up 65 cents.

* Bad Math and a Coming Public Pension Crisis.

* The end of Greece.

* Hope from Brazil.

* Well, that’s not allowed: Undocumented Moms: Texas Is Denying Birth Certificates To Our U.S.-Born Kids.

* The FBI targeted MAD magazine.

* “US pilot flushed bullets down a toilet on flight to Germany.”

* “Police subpoenaed the Title IX records of the hearing and were able to use that as evidence against the student.”

* This ain’t good either.

The Hopeful, Heartbreaking Ads Placed by Formerly Enslaved People in Search of Lost Family.

* Its website was created by Career Excuse, a service which, for a fee, provides job-seeking customers with verifiable references from nonexistent companies. While the companies have phone numbers, websites and mailboxes manned by Career Excuse, they don’t conduct any actual business, besides verifying the great work done by employees they’ve never really had.

* Washington Post Writer Who Accused Amy Schumer Of Racism Never Saw Her Standup or TV Show.

* Firefly spawns its own Galaxy Quest.

* Probably the darkest thing I’ve ever posted: “More men have walked on the moon than been Ronald McDonald.”

* A Lego-Friendly Prosthetic Arm Lets Kids Build Their Own Attachments.

* Point: “The green case for fracking.”

* Counterpoint: California Has No Idea What’s In Its Fracking Chemicals, Study Finds.

* Double Counterpoint: We’re Already In The ‘Worst Case Scenario’ For Sea Level Rise.

* Some rare good news.

* The rule of law is the glue that holds society together: President Obama says he can’t revoke Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom.

* Also in the rule of law files: That Time Scott Walker Defined What A “Sandwich” Is In A Bill.

* I’m amazed that not even Robin Williams’s death could protect us from this.

* Why is Kickstarter letting a hologram “scam” raise $250k?

* If you haven’t watched Kung Fury yet, it’s time.

* Hear him out! Professor’s Manifesto: Vegans Must Illegally Overthrow Society to Save the World.

* Punishment Park is on YouTube.

* The end of Seattle.

* How privilege became a provocation.

* I’ll allow it, del Toro, but you’re on very thin ice.

* At first, there was soccer, but then we fixed it.

* The League of Regrettable Superheroes.

* A new survey puts the incidence of male rapists in a campus population at over 10%. That’s higher than I ever could have thought, to the point where I find the survey results difficult to accept.

* Think of it as needing more space in your house, so you decide you want to build a second story. But the house was never built right to begin with, with no proper architectural planning, and you don’t really know which are the weight-bearing walls. You make your best guess, go up a floor and… cross your fingers. And then you do it again. That is how a lot of our older software systems that control crucial parts of infrastructure are run. This works for a while, but every new layer adds more vulnerability. We are building skyscraper favelas in code — in earthquake zones.

* And they all lived happily ever after.


Written by gerrycanavan

July 16, 2015 at 7:34 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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It’s Been Much Too Long And Now There Are Much Too Many Links

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* Job ad (probably best for Midwest-located scholars): Visiting Assistant Professor of English (3 positions), Marquette University.

* There’s a new issue of SFFTV out, all about the Strugatskiis.

* CFP: Octavia E. Butler: Celebrating Letters, Life, and Legacy – February 26-28, 2016 – Spelman College.

* Episode 238 of the Coode Street Podcast: Kim Stanley Robinson and Aurora.

* The weird worlds of African sci-fi.

* Afrofuturism and Black Panther.

* To save California, read Dune.

* All episodes of I Was There Too are great, but last week’s Deadwood-themed episode was especially so.

* Jameson’s essay on Neuromancer from Polygraph 25 (and his new book The Ancients and the Postmoderns: On the Historicity of Formsis available at Public Books.

“My college has had five deans in the last 10 years. They want to make their mark. That’s fine, but the longer I’m in one place as a faculty chair, I see why faculty are cynical and jaded,” Dudley said. “Every time there is turnover, there is a new initiative. There is a new strategic plan. So many faculty are just at the point where they say ‘just leave us alone.’ “

Pomp and Construction: Colleges Go on a Building Tear.

6 Ways Campus Cops Are Becoming More Like Regular Police.

* Diversity and the Ivy Ceiling.

* What academic freedom is not.

7) Academic freedom is not a gratuitous entitlement for privileged faculty but essential in achieving societal progressivity. Those with academic freedom are more likely to produce higher quality research and effective teaching that benefits society, if not always the ruling elites. I frequently state in class: “If I am not free, you aren’t free! For me to do my job, I must speak freely and teach outside the lines to help you expand your frame of knowledge and question your world.” There may not be a” truth, however earnest the search, but the attempt to find it must be unfettered. Society spends billions of dollars on higher education, and the investment is more likely to reap dividends if revisionism, and not orthodoxy, prevails.

* Why Is It So Hard to Kill a College? Why do you sound so disappointed?

An LSU associate professor has been fired for using curse words and for telling the occasional sexually-themed joke to undergraduate students, creating what university administrators describe as a “hostile learning environment” that amounted to sexual harassment.

* Josh Marshall: Here’s an (fun in a surreal, macabre way) article about a recent example of how Twitter has dramatically increased the velocity at which bullshit is able to travel at sea level and at higher altitudes. In fact, the increase is so great that Twitter has become a self-contained, frictionless bullshit perpetual motion machine capable of making an episode like this possible. This is the story of Zandria Robinson, an African-American assistant professor of sociology at the University of Memphis who made some that were both genuinely outrageous and also a peerless example of jargony academic nonsense-speak, became a target of right-wing media and twitter-hounds, then got fired by the University of Memphis because of the controversy, thus making the University a target of left-wingers on Twitter and driving Twitter to cross-partisan paroxysms of outrage and self-congratulation. Except that she wasn’t fired and actually wasn’t even an employee of the University of Memphis in the first place. Thanks, Twitter.

Supreme Court to Consider Case That Could Upend Unions at Public Colleges.

* Adjuncting is not a career, TIAA-CREF edition.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 19: Resilience.

* Fraternities, man, I don’t know.

* Right-wing SF and the Charleston attack.

* Fusion is mapping the monuments of the Confederacy. Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.

* Tomorrow’s iconic photos today.


* There’s a dark side to everything: the secret history of gay marriage.

* Andrew Sullivan’s victory lap.

* Gay rights in America, state by state (updated 26 June 2015).

* The Y2Gay Problem.

How do you tell a person to choose between having food to eat and getting married?

* When docents go rogue.

* When image recognition goes rogue.

Greece just defaulted, but the danger is only beginning.

* Puerto Rico and debt.

Now We Know Why Huge TPP Trade Deal Is Kept Secret From the Public.

Let that sink in for a moment: “[C]ompanies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals….” And they can collect not just for lost property or seized assets; they can collect if laws or regulations interfere with these giant companies’ ability to collect what they claim are “expected future profits.”

* The Rise and Fall of LSD.

* How FIFA Ruined Soccer.

* Rape on the night shift.

* Self-driving cars and the coming pro-driving movement.

* Class and the professorate.

* “I’ve been a boy for three years and I was a girl for six.” Frontline on growing up trans.

* Why are colleges investing in prisons in the first place? Don’t answer that.

* The view from over there: 38 ways college students enjoy ‘Left-wing Privilege’ on campus.

How to Avoid Indoctrination at the Hands of ‘Your Liberal Professor.’

* Against students.

You Were Right. Whole Foods Is Ripping You Off.

* “You have the wrong body for ballet.”

* The toy manufacturing sublime.

* Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history. I really don’t think going on WTF is that big a deal.

* What Went Wrong: Assessing Obama’s Legacy. [paywalled, sorry]

* Debating polygamy: aff and neg (and more).

Alex Hern decided not to do anything for a week – unless he’d read all the terms and conditions first. Seven days and 146,000 words later, what did he learn?

Philip K Dick’s only novel for children to be reissued in UK.

Postcapitalist Posthumans.

* Preschool justice.

* The World Without Work. The Hard Work of Taking Apart Post-Work Fantasy.

* The Sweatshop Feminists.

Keita “Katamari Damacy” Takahashi is still making the best games.

The Assassin Who Triggered WWI Just Got His Own Monument.

Every state flag is wrong, and here is why.

US military admits it carried out secret race-based experiments to test impact of mustard gas on US soldiers.

Don Featherstone, Inventor of the Pink Flamingo (in Plastic), Dies at 79.

* A people’s history of the Slinky.

* How to fix science.

J.K. Rowling Announces “Not a Prequel” Play About Harry Potter’s Parents. There’s just no way we’re not going to get an official “next generation” sequel series in the next few decades.

Court Affirms It’s Completely Legal To Swear Loudly At Police.

* Oh, but we have fun, don’t we?

* They’re making a sequel to Lucy, more or less just for me.

* Kotsko flashback: Marriage and meritocracy.

If in the Mad Men era the mark of success was the ability to essentially ignore one’s family while enjoying access to a wide range of sexual experiences, now the situation has reversed: monogamy and devotion are the symbol of success. And the reason this can make sense as a symbol of elite arrival is that the trappings of a bourgeois nuclear family can no longer be taken for granted as they were in the postwar heyday of the “traditional family” — they are the exception rather than the norm. In the lower and working classes, successful marriages are increasingly difficult to sustain amid the strain and upheaval that comes from uncertain employment and financial prospects (a problem that is compounded by the systematic criminalization of young men in minority communities). While marriage is still a widely-shared goal, the situation now is similar to that with college: a relatively small elite get to really enjoy its benefits, while a growing number of aspirants are burdened with significant costs (student debt, the costs of divorce) without much to show for it.

I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery.

* When police kill the mentally ill.

* Despair bears

A broken bail system makes poor defendants collateral damage in modern policing strategies.

Drug cops took a college kid’s savings and now 13 police departments want a cut.

The 20 Best Lines From the Supreme Court Dissent Calling to End the Death Penalty.

* Inside Rikers Island.

Someone is turning the Saved By The Bell Wiki into a thing of beauty.

* Dystopia now: “Predictive Policing.” You’re being secretly tracked with facial recognition, even in church. Air pollution and dementia. Rivers of death. The dark future of ‘Advantageous’: What happens when the difference between child-rearing and job training collapses?

* Plus, there’s this creepy shit.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine Abramsverse Star Trek sequels, forever.

* No one else apply for this.

* And they said my English major would never be useful.


Written by gerrycanavan

July 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links, So Many

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* Special issue of Modern Language Quarterly on “Our Obstinate Future” from Ryan Vu and Sharif Youssef.

Historicizing the concept of the inevitable in literature presents many challenges. For inevitability is itself a theory of historical agency, and an adequate critical account must confront inevitability’s claims without simply falling back on conventional notions of freedom, originality, or creative expression. Indeed, the inevitable is not merely a discourse to be cataloged by positivist historiography; it names a threat to any attempt at making humanity the author of its own experience. In its antique versions, women and men chalked their situation up to fate and diagnosed their historical condition through prophecy. In the late medieval era, more sophisticated but equally deterministic accounts of humanity’s relationship to historical change came into circulation, such as Calvinist predestination, fatalism, modern compatibilism, probabilism, and the acceptance of political economy as a science. Eventually, Charles Darwin’s natural history posited the inevitability of extinction in conditions of scarcity. The politicization of inevitability and conflicting visions of civilizational collapse followed, with communism and capitalism each decrying the other as a doomed system to be overcome. Friedrich Nietzsche’s eternal return recast inevitability as the nonlinear recurrence of intensifying crises. Walter Benjamin wrote of an angel of history who is condemned to look back on the wreckage of civilization. Today, in the wake of both historicopolitical optimism and existential pessimism, notions of the Anthropocene present a fatal paradox: the effects of human industry have set in motion a geological transformation that modern civilization might well not survive. The concept of the inevitable spins these discourses into a common thread, as so many attempts to diagnose the fundamental problem of human agency’s internal limits as expressed in time, along with whatever consolatory freedoms we might draw from our constraints.

It is easy for left academics to be seduced by a rhetoric of public consumption for our work, since most of us see theory and practice as intermingled. But the American case should stand as warning for British academics. For many years, Usonian scholars chased the mirage of being “public intellectuals”. Few realized, however, that this means depending on their institution to protect them from the onslaught of a rabid conservative media machine. When the dogs of reaction barked in the culture wars, though, American deans slunk away, fearing damage to their own managerial careers. Progressive scholars without the protective benefit of a strong Left were abandoned to fend for themselves against unfair odds, since the spectacular “public sphere” is never a level playing ground in the age of Fox News.

The New York Times Confirms Academic Stereotypes: Two months of opinion essays on higher education.

The athletic department’s four-year hidden tax may very well exceed $4,000 per student. In 2014 the subsidy rose to more than $27 million, a 25-percent increase.

The women who originally celebrated Mother’s Day conceived of it as an occasion to use their status as mothers to protest injustice and war.

A Medievalist on Savage Love. Hi, Matt!

* “2015 is my 25th year of adjunct teaching.” Oh, oh no.

Complaint Claims University Where Student Was Killed Failed To Act On Relentless Yik Yak Threats. Horrifying story on every level.

* Another moral panic against a left-wing academic. Six more weeks of winter.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, was established in 1965 and has long been known for its radicalism. But officials’ reaction to a recent protest against tuition hikes suggests that times have changed. 

* The rise of “mama.” Interesting to see something we didn’t even know we were doing laid out like this.

Alberta Loses Its Goddamn Mind for the Fourth Time: A Guide for the Perplexed.

* The End of Labour. Labour, Pasokified. The University after Conservative Victory.

Baby kangaroo, goats stolen from Wisconsin zoo.

* For what it’s worth I think the latest big Hersh story is probably mostly garbage.

Report: Defense Dept. paid NFL millions of taxpayer dollars to salute troops. Would you like to know more?

How roleplaying games and fantasy fiction confounded the FBI, confronted the law, and led to a more open web.

The University of Nevada, Reno, a land grant research university, is recruiting for a Coordinator, Innovation and Transformation. This could be the most buzzwordy, administrative-bloaty job ad of all time. It gets better/worse.

* Are we reading and watching Game of Thrones wrong?

Apples for the Teacher, Teacher is an Apple.

After 46 years of playing Big Bird, Caroll Spinney has some great stories.

* The Joss Whedon Avengers 2 podcast.

Marvel accidentally made a great female superhero, and now they have no clue what to do with her.

Judge Dismisses Nebraska Woman’s Lawsuit Against All Homosexuals.

Daily Express And Mail Celebrate The End Of Human Rights, A Horrified Twitter Despairs.

The US payday loans crisis: borrow $100 to make ends meet, owe 36 times that sum.

* New York and the slave trade.

* Headlines from the nightmare future. And again. And again.

How $45 worth of drugs landed a Baltimore man 20 years in prison.

The most senior Baltimore police officer charged over the death of Freddie Gray used his position to order the arrest of a man as part of a personal dispute just two weeks before the fatal incident, prompting an internal inquiry by Baltimore police department.

The mathematically proven winning strategy for 14 of the most popular games.

After an Eighth Grader Stayed Seated During the Pledge of Allegiance, the School Nurse Refused to Treat Her.

The ghetto was a deliberate policy invention, and investing in a path out of it would have been completely contrary to the point of creating it.

“I think we’re ready for capitalism, which made this country so great,” he said. “Public radio is ready for capitalism.”

* The death of the K-cup.

How Marvel Is Killing the Popcorn Movie.

Berkeley to Stop Adding Lecture Videos to YouTube, Citing Budget Cuts.

UBC student writes 52,438 word architecture dissertation with no punctuation — not everyone loved it.

How to Talk to Your Child’s Wary Professors.

Don’t let the police teach your kid a lesson.

Man Banned From Airline Over Frankly Hilarious Pinocchio Tattoo.

An Interview with the Publisher of a Magazine Printed Using HIV-Positive Blood.

In the Suburbs of Amaurotum: Fantasy, Utopia, and Literary Cartography.

Why cloth diapers might not be the greener choice, after all. I’ll believe anything on this subject to be honest.

Dictionary of Regional American English funded through summer 2016.

People Have Misconceptions About Miscarriage, And That Can Hurt.

“She’s likely to be in her twenties or thirties, middle-class, probably married, probably Christian, probably average intelligence,” Harrison said. “I just described, you know, your next-door neighbor.”

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal forever.

* The Pope just gave me the thumbs up.

* The arc of history is long, but.

Mother Still Searching For Preschool That Focuses Exclusively On Her Son.

* Great TNG prehistory from David Gerrold on this Mission Log supplemental.

* Kim Stanley Robinson explains his great new novel, Aurora.

Bigfoot Truthers Turn On Their Leaders.

Four Myths About the “Freelancer Class.”

The best way to nab your dream job out of college? Be born rich.

* And another great list of words that can’t be easily translated.


Written by gerrycanavan

May 12, 2015 at 8:07 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Morning Links!

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* One might, it’s true, wonder how cultural capital has survived the last half century’s apotheosis of pop, the rollback of the old patrician-bourgeois culture of the West, postmodernism’s putative muddling of low and high. But the sociologists have gone and checked, and the answers are not hard to find: Fancy people are now more likely to consume culture indiscriminately, that is, to congratulate themselves on the expansiveness of their tastes; indistinction has become distinction. They are more likely to prefer foreign culture to their own, at least in some who-wants-takeout? kind of way. And they are more likely to enjoy culture analytically and ironically, belligerently positing a naïve consumer whose imagined immersion in the object will set off everything in their own approach that is suavely arms-length and slaunchwise. Such, point for point, is the ethos of the new-model English department: of cultural studies, new media, the expanded canon, of theory-courses-without-objects. To bring new types of artifacts into literature departments is not to destroy cultural capital. It is merely to allow new things to start functioning as wealth. Even here, the claim to novelty can be overstated, since it is enough to read Bourdieu to know that the claim to interpret and demystify has always been an especially heady form of symbolic power. The ingenious reading confers distinction, as do sundry bids to fix the meanings of the social. Critical theory is cultural capital. Citing Judith Butler is one of the ways in which professional people outside the academy understand and justify their own elevation. Bickering recreationally about the politics of zombie movies is just what lawyers and engineers now do.

* The Kindle edition of The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson is (still) on sale for $1.99. Here’s the LARoB review!

* Meanwhile, LARoB also reviews Paradoxa 26, which has my essay on Snowpiercer in it.

* Extrapolation 56.1 is now available.

Sherryl Vint, “Skin Deep: Alienation in Under the Skin
Isiah Lavender, “Reframing Heart of Darkness as Science Fiction”
Sharon DeGraw, “Tobias S. Buckell’s Galactic Caribbean Future”
Karen May and David Upton, “‘Ser Piggy’: Identifying an Intertextual Relationship between William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones
Lee Braver, “Coin-Operated Doors and God: A Gnostic Reading of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik”

Nepal After the Earthquake.

* Baltimore after Freddie Gray.

* The good inequality. Policy debate in the age of neoliberalism.

* Gene Wolfe, sci-fi’s difficult genius.

* The slow apocalypse and fiction.

* Can you fix the NBA draft?

In the meantime, we will all have to cope with the fact that education technology has just become weaponized. Arizona State is now the first predator university. They are willing to re-define what education is so that they can get more students from anywhere. If they don’t kill other universities by taking all their students with a cheap freshmen year, they’ll just steal their fish food by underselling 25% of the education that those schools provide and leaving them a quarter malnourished. The result is that schools which stick to reasonable standards with respect to the frequency and possibility of teacher/student interaction now have to fear for their very existence.

Contingency and Gender.

The Invented History of ‘The Factory Model of Education.’

The obvious corollary is that, in order to stem the tide of tuition increases, we should seek to stabilize or increase state funding and curb the power of administrators.

Why They Hate Cornel West.

* I’m seeing it mostly mocked and dismissed, but I think the Columbia case (K.C. Johnson summary at Minding the Campus) will be important flashpoint in Title IX law. My sense is that the wind on this is really changing strongly against the feminist left; we’re going to see many of the received truths of campus anti-rape policies coming under serious challenge. It’s going to be difficult, and it’s going to require some unpleasant reconsideration of the way we talk about this issue.

New Simulation Shows How The Pacific Islands May Have Been Colonized.

Incredibly, the percentage of parents throughout the state who engaged in the civil disobedience of refusing the test for their kids is higher than the 15 percent of eligible voters who cast a ballot for Andrew Cuomo in the low-turnout election last year.

* All of the juniors at Nathan Hale High School refused to show up for state testing this week.

* Against the creative economy.

* What if Man of Steel was in color?

* Gasp! The Apple Watch May Have a Human Rights Problem.

Microsoft Word Spells the Names of Game of Thrones Characters Better Than You Can.

Nine Months After He Filmed Eric Garner’s Killing, the Cops Are Trying to Put Ramsey Orta Behind Bars.

“We must disband the police: Body cameras aren’t enough — only radical change will stop cops who kill.”

* Meanwhile.

* Yes please: Telltale is making some kind of Marvel game.

The Feds Say One Schmuck Trading From His Parents’ House Caused a Market Crash. Here’s the Problem.

* See, Dad? I knew you could survive on girl scout cookies.

* There’s always money in the banana stand: The Fed’s Cold War Bunker Had $4 Billion Cash For After The Apocalypse.

* Won’t you give? What you can? Today? Poetry is going extinct, government data show.

* I believe any crazy story with China in the headline. That’s my policy.

* Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything.

It’s Time To Stop Treating Childhood as a Disease.

* And you thought The Dark Knight Strikes Back was bad.

All The Wednesday Links!

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* I got some really good news the other day: an NEH Summer Stipend! Here’s the full list of $22.8 million in awards and offers for 232 humanities projects.

* Two of the poems from the award-winning first collection of my partner, Jaimee Hills, are up at Waywiser Press: “Synaesthesia” and “Derrida Eats a Dorito.”

* I taught #GamerGate in my video game class yesterday. It wasn’t my favorite day of the semester, not by a long shot, but TNI‘s “Gaming and Feminism” post was a great help, particularly the link to Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games: Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 and Playing with privilege: the invisible benefits of gaming while male. I didn’t spend that much time on it, but I’m still tickled by Why So Few Violent Games?

Salvage-Marxism embraces the Socialist rococo, the feel-good where we can and the feel-bad where we must, the utopian and the unflinching. Salvage will bring together the work of those who share a heartbroken, furious love of the world, and our rigorous principle: Hope is precious; it must be rationed.

An ontology of the present is a science-fictional operation, in which a cosmonaut lands on a planet full of sentient, intelligent, alien beings. He tries to understand their peculiar habits: for example, their philosophers are obsessed by numerology and the being of the one and the two, while their novelists write complex narratives about the impossibility of narrating anything; their politicians meanwhile, all drawn from the wealthiest classes, publicly debate the problem of making more money by reducing the spending of the poor. It is a world which does not require a Brechtian V-effect since it is already objectively estranged. The cosmonaut, stranded for an unforeseeable period on this planet owing to faulty technology (incomprehensibility of set theory or mathemes, ignorance of computer programmes or digitality, insensibility towards hip-hop, Twitter, or bitcoins), wonders how one could ever understand what is by definition radically other; until he meets a wise old alien economist who explains that not only are the races of the two planets related, but that this one is in fact simply a later stage of his own socio-economic system (capitalism), which he was brought up to think of in two stages, whereas he has here found a third one, both different and the same. Ah, he cries, now I finally understand: this is the dialectic! Now I can write my report! Fredric Jameson, “The Aesthetics of Singularity.”

Terry Pratchett: “Not having battles, and doing without kings.”

* Confabulation in the humanities.

Fantasy scholarship needs theory. Badly.

The first African science fiction short story? Leonard Flemming’s ‘And So It Came To Pass.’

* Adam Kotsko: Notes toward an overanalysis of a failed sci-fi spin-off.

Did the Anthropocene Begin with the Deaths of 50 Million Native Americans? Defining the Anthropocene. The Inhuman Anthropocene.

* Scars of the Anthropocene: Japan builds a sea wall.

Nestle Continues Stealing World’s Water During Drought. A $600-Million Fracking Company Just Sued This Tiny Ohio Town For Its Water.

Devastating report finds humans killed almost 3 million whales last century.

Costa Rica powered with 100% renewable energy for 75 straight days.

It’s May 2065, and Cornell’s Dean of Nonlitigable Revelry is angry. So good.

Welcome to Ohio State, Where Everything Is for Sale.

It’s true that some of the faculty opposed this deal (but only 84 percent,according to a survey), and it’s also true that since the Australian takeover, prices for parking permits have gone through the roof. But it is not true, as has been reported in some places, that faculty have formed hitchhiking co-ops because they can no longer afford to park on campus.

The important point here is that this deal puts the lie to the complaint we hear so often that college doesn’t prepare people for the real world. Our CFO, the guy who orchestrated this deal, has just landed a very lucrative job with the Australian firm he sold the parking to. It’s called synergy, baby! Look it up.

* Ayn Rand comes to UNC.

* UW Struggle: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Public Authority Edition. This Is What Wisconsin’s 2.5% Budget Cut Looks Like.

Sweet Briar Alumnae Outline Legal Case Against College.

U.Mass. Faces $3B in Debt. reclaimUC: “That’s nothing.” More links below the chart.


New York Attorney General Is Investigating Cooper Union’s Decision to Charge Tuition.

* “Why Tenure Matters.” Holy moly.

A former administrator at Chicago State University has accused its president and other officials of firing her in part because she refused their demands that she file a false sexual-harassment charge against a faculty member critical of the leadership.

University protests around the world: a fight against commercialisation.

* Free expression and academic labor.

It’s that mass contigency– the dramatic rise of at-risk academic labor like adjuncts and grad students– that creates the conditions that Cooke laments on campus. In the past, when a far higher portion of college courses were taught by tenured professors, those who taught college courses had much less reason to fear reprisals from undergraduates. They had the protection of the tenure system and often the benefit of faculty unions that could agitate on their behalf. But with so many instructors in a state of minimal institutional protection or authority, lacking long-term contracts, benefits, or collective bargaining, the risk of angered students multiplies. Adjuncts don’t even need to be fired; they can just not get any classes the next semester. Grad students don’t even need to be fired; they can just have their job applications placed on the deny pile. This is why I think the problem is actually probably much larger than the high-profile anecdotes would suggest. The greatest impediment to real pedagogical and political freedom on campus is self-censorship due to labor insecurity. Discussion of contingency is almost entirely absent in Cooke’s essay.

* Academics talking about money.

On the Meaning of “Natural Born Citizen.”

What If Education Reform Got It All Wrong in the First Place?

* Nearly a quarter century ago, “A Nation at Risk” hit our schools like a brick dropped from a penthouse window. One problem: The landmark document that still shapes our national debate on education was misquoted, misinterpreted, and often dead wrong.

Education is not a design problem with a technical solution. It’s a social and political project neoliberals want to innovate away.

What Happens When A 38-Year-Old Man Takes An AP History Test?

How one dad opted out his kindergartner from standardized testing.

Trying the 12-year-old “Slender Man” stabbers as adults is as illogical and barbaric as they are.

Plane Safety Cards Explained.

*A University of Calgary professor has written “the first scholarly study of the Archie comic,” titled Twelve-Cent Archie. Though some of his colleagues were skeptical, his motivation, Bart Beaty explains, was “to really challenge the kind of snobbery that’s inherent in the way that comics aren’t studied.” 

* Meanwhile, we live in very weird times: Archie vs. Predator.

* Ted Cruz, I think, speaks for us all: “My music tastes changed on 9/11.”

Lead prosecutor apologizes for role in sending man to death row.

* BREAKING: your weed killer is poisonous.

America’s race problem has been solved, and it was easier than you would have thought.

SF Bishop Sorry Sprinklers Installed To Roust Homeless Were Discovered ‘Misunderstood.’

* SMBC explains Heaven.

* Worst person in the world speaks.

* If you give a lion a CAT scan.

This Floating McDonalds Has Sat Empty For 28 Years.

* There goes my Plan B: Business Owner Millions in Debt Arrested Two Years After Faking Death.

Bruised Woman On Billboard Heals When People Look At Her, Reminds Passersby Of Dangers Of Ignoring Abuse.

* “As They Lay Dying”: Two doctors say it’s far too hard for terminal patients to donate their organs.

1. An Unknown Alien Being acquires a child’s forgotten book and mistakenly beliefs that it depicts proper protocol for interaction with the human world. Mustaba Snoopy.

Texas’ brazen attempt to silence one of its most effective death penalty defense lawyers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the leading trade group for compound pharmacists is now discouraging its members from supplying the drugs necessary for lethal injections — in what represents the first official stance the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) has ever taken on death penalty issues. Relatedly.

* I’m not one for tech solutions generally but they should figure out a way to put microlocal cell phone jammers in cars. Nothing else is going to stop this from happening.

* The best description of social media I’ve ever seen:

Podcast: Government Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know FBI Agents Can See They’re Creating Terrorists.

Why Health Care Tech Is Still So Bad.

The strange things people Google in every state. The most common job in every state.

Before Judges, the Godfathers Become Sick Old Grandfathers.

H-Bomb Physicist Ignores Federal Order to Cut 5,000 Words From Memoir.

​The Apple Watch Is the Perfect Wrist Piece for Dystopia.

* The Second Death of Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe, no longer at ease.

* Nothing gold can stay: The Zelda TV show isn’t going to happen.

* And it’s not all death and destruction: There are more museums in the U.S. than there are Starbucks and McDonalds – combined.



Written by gerrycanavan

March 25, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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