Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘thinkpieces

Monday Morning Links!

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Mary Karr Reminds the World That David Foster Wallace Abused and Stalked Her, and Nobody Cared.

* “I would just like to say that my inbox is full of accounts of Díaz’s behavior right now. And I mean full.”

They Revealed Harassment Claims Against a Professor, and Were Disciplined.

* Leaving Herland.

The Real Free-Speech Crisis Is Professors Being Disciplined for Liberal Views, a Scholar Finds.

* Bullshit Jobs in academia.

* Identification, Investigation, and Understanding of Ritualistic Criminal Activity (February 4, 1989).

Millennials Are Way Poorer Than Boomers Ever Were.

America’s teachers on strike: ‘We are done being the frog that is being boiled.’

The think piece doesn’t so much diminish art as render it wholly incidental. The mere existence of a work—and the contemporary proliferation of work after work after work—is enough to justify the think piece. The fundamental problem with so much  contemporary criticism is that the prospective critic is structurally encouraged to not care, to treat the value of one-or-another book/TV episode/movie as wholly irrelevant to the task of writing about it. Sontag wrote that desperate, interpretive searches for meaning constitute “the compliment that mediocrity pays to genius.” (One thinks of Henry James’s yearning lit-crit protagonist.) The think piece effectively inverts this formulation. Now it is more common to see genius (or perhaps “genius,” the work of people who, to nip a phrase from the controversial and cuttingly mean critic Armond White, “think they think”) pay compliments to mediocrity. The clarity of critical judgment alights on every rotten movie, grating pop singer, or paperback book written for awkward adolescents alive in the throes of their protean horniness, and dissolves, ultimately, into a sprawling field of meaninglessness. It’s not that, following Sontag, erotics has replaced bloodless hermeneutics. It’s that we’re now subject to soft, dopey forms of both. Enormously erudite and intelligent expositions about extremely stupid things have degraded both the standard for writing about serious things and the seriousness of those serious things themselves.

* Yeah, you better run: China bans Peppa Pig because she ‘promotes gangster attitudes.’

University apologizes to Native American students detained on college tour.

* The man who cracked the lottery.

Misreading the manufacturing statistics.

The key to reading paeans to McCain is realizing that they’re really just love letters from normative centrist militarism to itself.

* On lunar hay fever.

* RIP, Killmonger’s mom.

A team of scientists undertakes an ambitious experiment which could change thinking about welfare.

* “In America, you can be too poor to die.”

* And if you follow me on Facebook, you know that I’ve been raving all weekend about Nintendo Labo. Believe the hype! It’s truly great. Like Calvin’s magic cardboard boxes came to life. It’d buy three more kits if they were available, and might eventually buy a second robot one so my kids can play the Vs mode….

Thursday Links!

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Two days before she died, Nina Riggs made a request: Don’t be afraid to read my book.

Hell Is Empty And All the Hedge Fund Managers Are At The Bellagio.

* Indeed, this kind of repression is perhaps more sinister because it ropes you into participating in your own silencing. You become the policeman in your own head. When considering whether to attend a demonstration, the powerful internal suggestion is that, even if you do everything “right”—even if you are being peaceful but just happen to be in the same vicinity as someone who isn’t—you could get caught up in a costly legal battle and face serious fines, even jail time. Your entire life could be turned upside down. You might be left alone. But it’s impossible to know—and the only way to be sure is to stay home. You still have the “freedom” to choose, but fully exercising that freedom amounts to playing Russian roulette with an entity all too eager to take that freedom away if you get caught standing near a smashed window. So, really, how much freedom do you have?

The government is spying on journalists to find leakers.

* Not exactly happily, I found this AAUP unpacking of procedural issues in the recent John McAdams decision pretty persuasive.

* An oral history of “The Inner Light.” The second-best discussion of “The Inner Light” you’ll see this year!

Monopoly vs. the Nazis: How British intelligence used board games to thwart the Germans.

How Jalada Is a “Revolution Uniting African Literature.”

Five current and former U.S. officials said they are aware of classified intelligence suggesting there was some sort of private encounter between Trump and his aides and the Russian envoy, despite a heated denial from Sessions, who has already come under fire for failing to disclose two separate contacts with Kislyak. Congress investigating another possible Sessions-Kislyak meeting. Here’s why the feds are looking at Jared Kushner. More. Sorry. On Kushner, There’s No Innocent Explanation. They’re also looking into Trump’s personal attorney.

* Meanwhile.

Trump Exempts Entire Senior Staff From White House Ethics Rules.

“He now lives within himself, which is a dangerous place for Donald Trump to be,” says someone who speaks with the President. “I see him emotionally withdrawing. He’s gained weight. He doesn’t have anybody whom he trusts.” This is the most relatable Trump has ever been.

* Rise and shine, campers, ’cause it’s coooooold out there today.

* Don’t put ground wasp nest on your vagina to tighten muscles, warns gynecologist.

California Single Payer Is a No-Brainer.

* If you want a vision of every Thanksgiving for the rest of your life.

* SMBC roundup! We discovered a new form of ethical animal consumption. The older you are, the more people you have to deal with, so the number of lies to tends to go up quadratically. The anti-status-quo society. But a strange thing happened. Quantum hypocrisy. Marine biology. Ontology and the barbecue. Neoliberal magic. No funeral. You too.

* Confidence. Never corner a teacher. Flirting and coquettery. Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to ask if they should. Or, Twitter.

The visit is intended to focus attention on the estimated more than 230 military veterans deported from the U.S. and on the need for a more rigorous process to ensure legal residents recruited with promises of citizenship are naturalized.

Man Faces Deportation After Failing to Pay Fare on Minneapolis Light Rail.

* “Fearless Girl” is rapidly becoming an entire syllabus in the theory of art.

More Than One-Third of Teen Girls Have Experienced Depression, Study Finds. When you have numbers like this you have to conclude that the problem isn’t the girls.

In The Refrigerator Monologues, Catherynne M. Valente gives comics’ dead women their voices back. Buy it here!

Suffering Sappho! The Tortured History of Female Superheroes.

* If only there were an appropriate Marx quote for this.

* On taking candy from a baby.

* A vaccine for denialism? I’m skeptical.

* When a trip doesn’t end.

Buffalo launches nation’s first opiate intervention court.

* We Bought a Crack House.

White supremacists love Vikings. But they’ve got history all wrong.

* 1 in every 4 children robbed of their childhoods.

* “Uncle Julius just thought he was doing what he was supposed to do over there.”

The patent and copyright systems are clear examples of how the distribution of income is determined by the rules put in place as opposed to the intrinsic structure of the “free market.” There is nothing about the laws of the economy that says the government has to grant these monopolies, and it certainly was not a natural process through which their length and scope came to be extended in the last four decades.

* So you were buddies with a Nazi.

* The law, in its majestic equality.

* And a smart think piece from the archives: Rickrolling is sexist, racist and often transphobic in context. More relevant now than ever…

Written by gerrycanavan

June 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thursday Links!

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* A reminder: Marquette English has three open TT positions this year, two in rhet-comp and one in transatlantic Anglophone. The deadline is October 28.

If I were going to encourage you to take any one class simply because it’s good for the freshman soul, I would say this: Take some introductory literature class that forces you to memorize poems, heaps and gobs and mounds of poems, old poems.

* Jameson on time travel in the LRB.

* AAUP v. LSU.

* Leftist academics need to understand they are embattled both as leftists and as academics.

This afternoon at two o’clock the New York State Attorney General will announce the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Committee to Save Cooper Union, a group of activist students, faculty, and alumni against the Cooper Union trustees. The settlement will impose various reforms to Cooper Union governance, establish an independent financial monitor for the college, and begin the slow, difficult process of re-establishing Cooper Union as a free, healthy institution. Incredible turn of events. The tragedy of Cooper Union.

* A Proposed Heuristic for Academic Budgeting Decisions.

NY Fed Study Should Redefine How We Think About Student Loans and College Costs.

“Thanks, UCF, for having lecture-capture courses so I don’t have to go to class ever.”

A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself. I continue to think Democrats are completely in denial about how bad this story could get.

Massive hurricanes striking Miami or Houston. Earthquakes leveling Los Angeles or Seattle. Deadly epidemics. Meet the “maximums of maximums” that keep emergency planners up at night.

The Moral Panic Over Sexting. Today’s obscenity.

The Accreditation Wars: Where are the Faculty?

* Some rules for teachers.

* Films for the feminist classroom.

The proportion of people with intellectual disability who have been treated with psychotropic drugs far exceeds the proportion with recorded mental illness. Antipsychotics are often prescribed to people without recorded severe mental illness but who have a record of challenging behaviour. The findings suggest that changes are needed in the prescribing of psychotropics for people with intellectual disability.

Boom shakalaka! Read an interview with the NBA Jam voiceover artist.

* Concrete Action, the Wikileaks for architects.

* I’ll take three.

* Yahoo has added commentary tracks from Dan Harmon to its Community episodes.

* Harvard will let students select their own pronouns.

Iceland Caps Syrian Refugees at 50; More Than 10,000 People Respond With Support for Syrian Refugees.

* American Chess May Finally Emerge From The Shadow Of Bobby Fischer.

Meet the Twitter Bot Generating Unnervingly Plausible Think Pieces.

* Another Colbert profile.

California Uber Drivers Can Proceed With Their Class Action.

* Wow, finally: Octavia Butler’s Dawn is allegedly being developed for TV.

* Goonies forever.

* Piggy, Kermit, and domestic violence. Next up: why Elmer Fudd hunting animals out of season is actually no laughing matter…

Monday Night Links!

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* CFP for every online academic I know but me: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Representation in Scandal.

* I think this problem goes beyond just academia, though academic life is a particularly hypertrophic version of it. Basically every professional career left in America requires you to completely reboot your life at least three times between high school and your first job.

* Dana Carvey on Harmontown is an amazing episode, but honestly I’d turn it off after Carvey leaves unless you’re a real Harmontown diehard. It’s a pretty big bummer of an episode otherwise.

* BREAKING: Coca-Cola is delicious poison.

* This is what Pangaea would look like with modern borders.

This article takes as its starting point the observation that neoliberalism is a concept thatis ‘oft-invoked but ill-defined’. It provides a taxonomy of uses of the term neoliberalismto include: (1) an all-purpose denunciatory category; (2) ‘the way things are’; (3) an insti-tutional framework characterizing particular forms of national capitalism, most notablythe Anglo-American ones; (4) a dominant ideology of global capitalism; (5) a form of gov-ernmentality and hegemony; and (6) a variant within the broad framework of liberalismas both theory and policy discourse. It is argued that this sprawling set of definitions arenot mutually compatible, and that uses of the term need to bedramatically narrowed fromits current association with anything and everything that a particular author may findobjectionable.

* Is our bloated, monstrous prison system failing its teenage inmates? The New York Times is on it.

* Could a Single Marine Unit Destroy the Roman Empire? Popular Mechanics is on it.

The American Studies Association’s executive committee has called on the United States government to withdraw all support from the state of Israel, citing attacks on Palestinian universities, including a recent strike on the Islamic University in Gaza City.

* Too much power for any one man: Scientists reconstruct speech through soundproof glass by watching a bag of potato chips.

* First, they came for consumers of child pornography, and I said nothing because a Google bot passively uncovering child pornography on its email server didn’t seem like all that serious a privacy violation to me…

* Obama administration happily screwing up the legitimacy of humanitarian aid for absolutely no reason.

* Are fish far more intelligent than we realize?

* Who’s the richest person in your state?

What Real-Life Plants Could Groot Have Evolved From?

In fact, modern text-speak bears a striking resemblance to the system of abbreviations and shorthand present in medieval manuscripts, what I’ve termed here “quill speak.”

* There Is A “Bomb Gaza” Game On The Google Play Store And It’s Pretty Awful.

* Athletics Is Said to Drive Culture of Rape, Drug Use at Air Force Academy.

* They’re trying so hard to ruin the new Spider-Man franchise but test audiences keep saving us.

* 5000 words have been added to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, because ours is an age of weaklings.

* They Benghazi’d the Benghazi inquiry, now we’ll never know who Benghazied the Benghazi at Benghazi.

* Getting a bit ahead of ourselves, perhaps.

* But what was the Mad Hatter doing before he met Alice?

* Cruel optimism.

* Cruel optimism, part two: Chronicle scribe Max Landis to bring Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels to TV.

* Kickstarter: Designers & Dragons is a four volume book series of RPG industry awesomeness, meticulously researched and prettily packaged. Author Shannon Appelcline guides you company by company through the history of tabletop starting in the 1970s all the way up to present day. This series is chock full of fascinating insider tidbits, company profiles, and yes—enough drama to fuel a hundred campaigns.

* This computer program can predict 7 out of 10 Supreme Court decisions. Sadly, the model still can’t identify who has more money in the remaining 30% of cases.

* And my thinkpiece on Guardians of the Galaxy has been scooped. Alas.