Posts Tagged ‘they say time is the fire in which we burn’
* Don’t miss my flash review of The Avengers: Age of Ultron! As I say in the update, thanks to my friend Ryan Vu for priming the pump (and look for his brilliant review of Captain America 2 in a few months in SFFTV).
* 2030 is set largely in the titular year, 100 kilometers south of Ho Chi Minh City. The initial title card establishes that 80% of the population has been evacuated due to the rising sea level as an effect of global warming.
* Late last week, using the hashtag #talkpay, people began tweeting about how much money they make—a radical thing to do in a culture that treats disclosing your salary as the ultimate taboo.
* I’ve been buried in final book manuscript revisions, and have been noticing that I’m increasingly using the term “management” rather than “administration” in my analyses of university governance. Part of the reason is that my employer, the University of California, uses Senior Management Group as a formal employment classification. But it’s also because the friendlier aspects of the term “administration” seem decreasingly part of everyday academic life. Friendliness was administration as support structure, as collaborator, as partner, as the entity that did not take orders from obnoxious egocentric faculty prima donnas the way that frontline staff often had to do, but that accepted balanced power relations and a certain mutual respect that could make decisions move relatively quickly and equitably. It would avoid command and control of the kind that prevailed in the army and in most corporations, where executive authority consisted of direct rule over subordinates.
* Well, I guess that settles it: In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans.
* “No one has walked on the moon in my lifetime,” I told them. “Yet you try to tell me that it’s my generation who has lost their wonder? That it’s the young people of today who have let everything slip and fall into ruin? You don’t understand. You had the dream and the potential and the opportunities, and you messed it all up. You got hope and moon landings and that bright, glorious future. I got only the disasters.”
* In some ways Ex Machina may be considered a feminist film by sheer dint of our low standards, the scarcity of stories that explore female desire beyond the realm of sex and romance.
* This 5-year-old girl knows a lot more about presidents than you do. At this point I say put her in charge.
* If you’re 33 or older, you will never listen to new music again—at least, that’s more or less what a new online study says. The study, which is based mainly on data from U.S. Spotify users, concludes that age 33 is when, on average, people stop discovering new music and begin the official march to the grave.
* The arc of history is long, but Cheez-Its is finally going to sell a box of just the burned ones.
* The same joke but with this Iceland law allowing anyone to murder any Basque on sight.
* If you want a vision of the future, imagine James Cameron directing Avatar sequels, forever.
* So you want to loot a public institution: CUNY edition.
The higher tuition rates have not provided students with greater access to full-time faculty. In 1975, the last year that CUNY offered a free education, there were 11,500 full-time faculty members teaching 250,000 students. Today enrollment is at an all-time high of about 274,000 students. Meanwhile, there are only 7,500 full-time faculty employed at CUNY, according to testimony given by CUNY Chancellor James Milliken to the state Assembly earlier this year. CUNY relies on poorly paid, part-time adjunct faculty to teach the majority of its classes.
* …UC edition. What a stunning, sickening photo.
For while social constructivism, cultural studies, critical pedagogy, theory, and abstract notions of the digital dominate our scholarly journals, the truth is that in most places the study of writing is the study of the research paper, the argumentative essay, the resume. This isn’t a contradiction with what I’ve said before; my argument is that writing scholars mostly research subjects that have little to do with the actual day-to-day reality of teaching students to express themselves in prose. But the teaching of writing is undertaken not by tenure-track academics who have a research responsibility but, dominantly, by adjuncts, graduate students, visiting professors, and permanent non-tenure track faculty. It’s these people that I most fear we fail, because they frequently are at permanent risk, risk that amplifies greatly if they don’t do the kind of traditional pedagogy they are expected to by their institutions. When they need guidance for how to better teach library research, or how to help students in basic writing courses use paragraphs, or what research shows about whether peer review is helpful or not, where can they turn? To a degree, not to rhetoric and composition journals, or at the very least, not to our flagship journals, which I will again say simply do not publish that sort of thing regularly anymore.
* Three-hundred-twenty-five staff members — including those with tenure — are being offered “go away” packages by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. That’s a third of the people who work there.
* Great moments in not understanding what satire is. The kicker:
Asked whether he posted any of the photos, the frat member said “No, no, absolutely not. I’m a good guy.”
* Australian man’s dream was to go to UNC, but he went to wrong school for four years. I love that the closer of this thing is the man singling out the English department for praise. Go Spartans!
* Now offering my services as a consultant to prevent this sort of thing from happening. $1000/hour.
* Woman abandoned as baby in Macon in 1915 dies at age 100. Bringing new meaning to the phrase “never live it down.”
* The preferential option for the poor: Catholic Cathedral Installed Water System That Drenches Homeless People To Keep Them Away.
* The past isn’t even past: Britons still live in Anglo-Saxon tribal kingdoms, Oxford University finds.
* And this just seems like a background joke from the set designers that we somehow accidentally noticed: Obamas may be buying ‘Magnum, P.I.’ home in Hawaii.
* In case you missed them: the syllabi for my spring classes, which start tomorrow.
* Meanwhile MLA saves its best panel for last: 759. Guilty Pleasures: Late Capitalism and Mere Genre. Today at 1:45!
* On March 11-12, 2015, the Humanities Division at Essex County College will host its Spring 2015 Conference, “Speculative Humanities: Steampunk to Afrofuturism.” This two-day conference offers space for writers, musicians, artists, and academicians to explore, expand upon, and rethink the implications of speculative humanities. This year’s conference will feature a special emphasis on the life, work, and influence of Octavia E. Butler.
* Really, though, huge shoutout to all the literary critics heading home today.
* #FreeCommunityCollege. Did Obama Just Introduce a ‘Public Option’ for Higher Education? Angus is happy. Who Has a Stake in Obama’s Free Community-College Plan? Of course, it’s a Republican plan. And there’s a catch. Or two.
Sometimes you don’t get a sales pitch. It’s none of your business, it’s reactionary to even ask the question, it’s an assertion of privilege, something’s got to be done and what have you been doing that’s better? Sometimes you get a sales pitch and it’s all about will and not about intellect: everybody has to believe in fairies or Tinkerbell will die. The increments sometimes make no sense. This leads to that leads to what? And what? And then? Why? Or perhaps most frustrating of all, each increment features its own underlying and incommensurable theories about why things happen in the world: in this step, people are motivated by self-interest; in the next step, people are motivated by basic decency; in the next step, people are motivated by fear of punishment. Every increment can’t have its own social theory. That’s when you know that the only purpose is the action itself, not the thing it’s trying to accomplish.
As leverage, Silvia Federici outlines the two-part process of demanding a wage for previously uncompensated labor. The first step is recognition, but the ultimate goal is refusal. “To say that we want money for housework” she says, “is the first step towards refusing to do it, because the demand for a wage makes our work visible, which is the most indispensable condition to begin to struggle against it, both in its immediate aspect as housework and its more insidious character as femininity” (Wages Against Housework). Another way to say this is: it is only with the option of refusal that not-publishing is meaningful.
It is clear that “publish or perish” is undergoing a speedup like all other capitalist work. We must all struggle for a re-valorization of living labor. And in the first step against publication’s command over living labor, we agree with Federici, who demands that “From now on we want money for each moment of it, so that we can refuse some of it and eventually all of it” (Wages Against Housework).
* New research is first to identify which reserves must not be burned to keep global temperature rise under 2C, including over 90% of US and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands.
* Rave drug shows great promise in treating depression once thought resistant to drug therapy. I hope they found some way to control for the curative effects of glowsticks.
* The kids aren’t all right: Millennials Are Less Racially Tolerant Than You Think.
* And exciting loopholes I think we can all believe in: “He was doing research for a film,” said Sherrard. “It’s not a crime; it’s artwork… He’s an intellectual.”
* Huge congratulations to my colleague Larry Watson, three-time winner of the Wisconsin Library Association’s book of the year.
* The climate deal with China is the distraction, Keystone XL is the grift. More unhappy news: China Is More Likely to Keep Its Climate Promise Than We Are.
* But Democratic super-billionaires will save us… by suing their pollsters. Yay?
* United Kingdom universities are pioneering exciting new horizons in Mafia-style university management. Now to sell derivatives based on the proposition that the unis won’t able to pay back the money… now to force a situation where those derivatives pay off…
* Finishing a Humanities Dissertation in Six Years (or Less). There’s good advice here, though as I grousing on Twitter I don’t like the framing “with working relationships, marriage, health, finances, and sanity all still in good shape at the end.” These things are in many cases prerequisites for graduate work as much as they are things graduate study puts at risk; the “still” in that sentence is really crucial.
Rule of law watch!
* Of course, it’s not just cops, every bureaucratic structure in America turns out to be toxic just beneath the surface: LA School District: Students Can Consent to Sex With Their Teachers.
* These days, the idea of the cyborg is less the stuff of science fiction and more a reality, as we are all, in one way or another, constantly connected, extended, wired, and dispersed in and through technology. One wonders where the individual, the person, the human, and the body are—or, alternatively, where they stop. These are the kinds of questions Hélène Mialet explores in this fascinating volume, as she focuses on a man who is permanently attached to assemblages of machines, devices, and collectivities of people: Stephen Hawking.
* 200,000 brave and/or insane people have supposedly signed up for a one-way mission to Mars. But the truth about Mars One, the company behind the effort, is much weirder (and far more worrying) than anyone has previously reported.
* Against disability, kind of: Able-Bodied Until It Kills Us.
* Poster for They Still Live. I’d watch it.
* And they say adults in America are infantilized: Underoos Are Back, Adult-Sized, And Better Than Ever!
* DC in talks to let Michelle MacLaren
take the blame for direct Wonder Woman. Good luck to her!
* SMBC: Prayer and the speed of light.