Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘tragedy

Monday Morning Links!

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* CFP: Call for Papers: Series Books and Science Fiction (National PCA Conference). CFP: Contemporary American Fiction in the Age of Innovation. CFP: Indigenous lands, waters, and ways of knowing.

The Labor Movement’s Newest Warriors: Grad Students.

“Time and again we’ve seen university administrators accommodate neo-Nazis with pious encomia to free speech only to cosign or encourage repression when it comes to Palestine and other matters of anti-racism.”

Schools Are Deploying Massive Digital Surveillance Systems. The Results Are Alarming.

* Appeals court consider whether youth can sue the government over climate change. A Levee Fails and an Illinois Town Is Thrown Back in Time. White House blocked intelligence agency’s written testimony saying human-caused climate change could be “possibly catastrophic.” Biodiversity loss is the very real end of the world and no one is acting like it. The Democrats are climate deniers too. And some more good news: Industrial methane emissions are underreported, study finds. 130°F heat index in South Texas, 13 days from the start of summer.

* The all-too-real possibility we must confront — and which David Wallace-Wells and Bill McKibben notably refuse — is that the story we’re living is a tragedy that ends in disaster, no matter what.

* Border Patrol is confiscating migrant kids’ medicine, U.S. doctors say. Reports reveal ‘egregious’ conditions in US migrant detention facilities. US opens new mass facility in Texas for migrant children. Third undocumented migrant in 3 days dies after being apprehended at US-Mexico border. ICE is struggling to contain spread of mumps in its detention centers. “He gave them food, he gave them water, he gave them a place to stay…He did a bad thing.”

* In 2014, China released sweeping plans to establish a national social credit system by 2020. Local trials covering about 6% of the population are already rewarding good behavior and punishing bad, with Beijing due to begin its program by 2021. There are also other ways the state keeps tabs on citizens that may become part of an integrated system. Since 2015, for instance, a network that collates local- and central- government information has been used to blacklist millions of people to prevent them from booking flights and high-speed train trips.

From Whole Foods to Amazon, Invasive Technology Controlling Workers Is More Dystopian Than You Think.

* While bioethics fiddles.

* YouTube is a radicalization engine for fascists.

* Prez in 2019: Are These Teenagers Really Running a Presidential Campaign?

* The heroes are split on opposing sides, and among the key matchups was a Wolverine vs. Mr. Fantastic battle that ended with Reed Richards pinning Wolverine down, extending his hands until they’re one molecule wide, and using them as scissors to cut the mutant’s arms off. You know, for kids.

When it comes to westerns, the difference matters. Especially in the streaming era, the words “television” and “movie” have gotten disconnected from their origins; no one watched the Deadwood “movie” in movie theaters (and the old “television” show lives in the same HBO app, on the same computer, as I watched the movie). But television Westerns are all about the gap between one event and the next — and the random vagaries of life that get lived in the interval — while it’s film Westerns that tell the Big Stories about History, epics about Beginnings and Endings and Grand Historical Transitions (with plenty of capital letters), with ordinary people getting swept by the tides of modernity and progress.

* John Wick as modern fairy tale. John Wick 3 Delivers the Justice We All Crave. I’m so out of touch I haven’t seen one of these.

* John Rieder reviews Nisi Shawl’s New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color.

A more honest show, I think, would acknowledge that there isn’t that much of a difference between Serena and Commander Lawrence.  They’re both smart people who created a hell on Earth to justify their own twisted notions of superiority, and they both realize that fact, on some level, and are tortured by it (though not nearly as much as their victims are and have been).  I think episode 3 is trying to draw a distinction between them when it has Lawrence continue his mind games with June (and his casual acceptance of female fawning from the dependent members of his household) while Serena at least opens herself up to the idea of rebellion.  It might be rooting that distinction in gender, in arrogance and humility, and even in religious faith.  But I don’t buy it.  A person who did the things Serena has done (notice how her orchestrating June’s rape has simply been memory-holed?  Not just ignored for the sake of expediency, but completely forgotten) wouldn’t be as open to remorse as she is.  You don’t just wake up one morning and think “you know, maybe creating a fascist, theocratic rape-dystopia was a bad idea.”

* The New Yorker remembers How To Read Donald Duck.

The Importance of ‘Godzilla’ Cannot Be Overstated.

* A finely oiled machine.

* A Joe Biden Nomination Would Solidify All Our Worst Fears About the Democrats. I mean really.

Newly Discovered Files Suggest GOP Lawmakers Lied in Court About Racial Gerrymandering to Stop An Election.

Inside the Fight to Define Extreme Poverty in America.

Pfizer had clues its blockbuster drug could prevent Alzheimer’s. Why didn’t it tell the world? Give you one guess.

* Why aren’t states doing more to lower the cost of insulin ONE GUESS

A truly bizarre trend is having an impact on the economy — wealthy people and corporations have so much money they literally don’t know what to do with it.

Reflections of an Incarcerated Worker.

Beach Blanket Barbarism.

* Men with guns.

* Star Trek’s characters, like all of us, live in a universe full of injustice, suffering, and struggle—not a utopian vision, but an optimistic one, because they also live as if that better world is possible. We have to do that. We have to. When someone tells us that they’re in distress, in pain, in danger, or in a time loop, we have to say “I believe you. I’ll help however I can.”

Catholic Church spent $10 million on lobbyists in fight to stymie priest sex abuse suits.

* The new American religion of UFOs.

Ultimate limit of human endurance found. Me at the end of spring semester, am I wrong folks.

* 108 Women’s World Cup Players on Their Jobs, Money and Sacrificing Everything.

* Dodgeball is a tool of ‘oppression’ used to ‘dehumanize’ others, researchers argue. As an incredibly unauthentic and uncoordinated kid, I was unusually good at dodgeball — so I’ve got mixed feelings here to say the least.

* And it’s a cookbook! A cooooooookbooooooook!

Written by gerrycanavan

June 10, 2019 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Morning Links!

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* If you only read one Star Trek: Discovery postmortem this week, it’s got to be Abigail Nussbaum’s. But if you read too, here’s mine at LARB! No Follow-Through.

* Then this one #3: In Its First Season, Star Trek: Discovery Asked Hard Questions It Never Really Wanted the Answers to.

Original pitch for Star Trek: The Next Generation had a hologram captain. Fake Research Paper Based on Star Trek: Voyager‘s Worst Episode Was Published by a Scientific Journal.

Science Fiction Film and Television 11.1 now available! With a special section on the science fiction of Scarlett Johansson, essays on District 9 and dating simulators, and a review essay on Get Out! 

* A CFP for the “Worlding SF” event in Graz, Austria, next December, with keynotes from Mark Bould, Cheryl Morgan, and me…

* Meanwhile, the 2019 CFP for the MLA’s speculative fiction discussion group, of which I am now the immediate past chair:

Activist Speculation and Visionary Fiction

How “visionary fiction” (Walidah Imarisha’s term for stories imagining “newer, freer worlds”) contributes to speculative fiction theory, pedagogy, practice. 200-word abstract, CV by 16 March 2018 to Alexis Lothian (alothian@umd.edu).

* I got the chance to watch this documentary on Flannery O’Connor last week as part of a Marquette English event. It was great! Can’t wait for it to find a home.

* Nothing but respect for my president.

Horrified Florida students beg the adults: Please, do something about guns.

I have a thing to say about growing up after tragedy.

* On the imperative of content. No one knows.

The goal was to create “products,” which could then be monetized, but according to Leslie, who took over oversight of the institute in 2015, “There was not the foundation of a business plan” at the institute’s inception. This is perhaps not surprising, given that the “Framework for Excellence” which midwifed the Institute was literally dreamed up in two days by Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and his advisors and passed by the regents “without asking a single question.”

* We should just create “incentive” / punishment structures that force college presidents to retire at 64 1/2, just like they all did to faculty.

When the White Supremacists Come to Campus.

* When the suits killed Barnes and Noble.

* The august sport of (checks notes) curling may never be the same.

* Male privilege is having never thought about this possibility.

Ban The United States From The Olympics.

* Cleaning products as bad for lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day, scientists warn.

* How banks block people of color from homeownership.

* ICE really doubling down. Man who called 911 about suspected burglary detained by ICE. He can’t get proper HIV treatment in Venezuela. But he’s being deported anyway. ICE Arrests in the Pacific Northwest Increased 25 Percent in 2017. Washington officials gave activist’s info to ICE. Refusing an interpreter to a deaf detainee. How ICE Works to Strip Citizenship from Naturalized Americans. ICE Arrests Man at a Green Card Interview. Tearing families apart.

* Know your immigration law.

* Like Uber but for human trafficking.

Westchester School Leaves Behind Disabled Students in Fire Evacuation.

This List of Every Reason Banner Hulks Out in the Classic Hulk TV Series Is Hilarious.

  • Receiving a lethal injection, and then having the person say, “Oh. I just gave you a lethal injection. Sorry, David.”
  • Wandering around in the service ducts of a hotel (predating Bruce Willis) only to accidentally yank several of the pipes loose and get a full blast of hot steam
  • Being tied up and fed soup by an elderly Japanese woman who doesn’t
    understand words like “You’ve GOT to cut me loose!”
  • Being thrown under a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade float by a mean guy in a gorilla suit who gives David a few kicks for good measure
  • Receiving a speeding ticket
  • Wandering around inside a carnival funhouse, only to have someone turn on the machinery so that David is somehow caught in a rolling tumbler and flipped over a few times and then thrown down a convenient slide

‘Minecraft’ Data Mining Reveals Players’ Darkest Secrets.

* When Fonzie time-traveled.

* How should we talk about Trump’s brain?

The Security Clearance Situation in the White House Is Bonkers.

* The case for impeaching Clarence Thomas.

Here’s What Critics Are Saying About Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs.

New York Federal judge rules that embedding tweets can violate copyright law.

* Black Panther killed it. Black Panther and the Invention of Africa. Black Panther Is Not the Movie We Deserve. The Man Who Made Black Panther Cool.

Winners of the 2018 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest.

The Donkey Kong Timeline Is Truly Disturbing.

Debullshitifying Uber’s financial statement reveals a hemorrhaging fountain of red ink with no path to profitability.

* Let kids have a sense of control over their own lives. The research is clear, let’s ban homework. In Defense of Picky Eating.

First ship crosses Arctic in winter without an icebreaker as global warming causes ice sheets to melt. Miami could be underwater in your kid’s lifetime as sea level rise accelerates.

* A History of the United American Socialist Republics.

Here’s All 290 Star Wars Movies Officially in Production Right Now.

* I loved this read of “The Voice of the Dolphins” at LARB, but it’s odd that the piece never notes the very strong suggestion in the story that the entire dolphin project was a hoax.

* ImOscar.com.

* What was only a trial run was taken seriously.

* And in a time without heroes: Cow escapes on way to slaughterhouse, smashes through metal fence, breaks arm of man trying to catch her then swims to safety on island in lake.

A Few Links for a Travelin’ Sunday

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After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered. A teacher resigns.

* Academics have finally “started” to talk about capitalism? Inconceivable!

Take the example of online education, for which excitement is rapidly building in California. Morozov notes in the book that it might very well produce more graduates per dollar spent, but it also might miss the very point of education.

* An outrage of the week right in my own backyard: Botched ATF sting in Milwaukee ensnares brain-damaged man.

“I have never heard of anything so ludicrous in my life,” said Greg Thiele, who spent 30 years working for the Milwaukee Police Department including on undercover stings with federal agents, including those with the ATF. “Something is very wrong here.”

* The latest from the law school scam.

* How people die in Shakespearean tragedy.

* And when continuity collides: The new Doctor Who companion’s ten-second appearance in Captain America.

Newtown – 2

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10108_459964520730062_231269014_n* The victims of the Dunblane massacre would have turned 21 this year. The United Kingdom responded to this tragedy by banning private ownership of handguns; they had 39 gun homicides this year. We are radically free; we can choose to live in any type of world we like. Tax bullets. Ban bullets. Mandate insurance for gun ownership. Institute onerous licensing requirements and registration fees. Figure out some way to stop people from being murdered in movie theaters and schools. There’s no reason this should go on.

*  In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.

* Nine kids dead from guns in 24 hours. From 2007.

Fuck Everything, Nation Reports.

* How to talk to your kids about tragedy, from St. Rogers.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.

Newtown

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

What Can Be Worse Than to Sell Your Soul and Find It Not Valuable Enough to Get Anything For It?

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Many losing candidates became elder statesmen of their parties. What lessons will Romney have to teach his party? The art of crawling uselessly? How to contemn 47 percent of Americans less privileged and beautiful than his family? How to repudiate the past while damaging the future? It is said that he will write a book. Really? Does he want to relive a five-year-long experience of degradation? What can be worse than to sell your soul and find it not valuable enough to get anything for it?

Written by gerrycanavan

November 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Local Tragedies

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This week’s mass shooting happened just a few miles from our new house. What a tragedy for the Sikh community here, and for the city as a whole.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm

#unPCthoughts

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Tuesday Night

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* Post-Apocalyptic Book List. Awesome.

* Slavoj Žižek: The Wire, or, the Clash of Civilisations in One Country.

* Back From Yet Another Globetrotting Adventure, Indiana Jones Checks His Mail And Discovers That His Bid For Tenure Has Been Denied.

* Final Polls Say Michigan Primary as Close as Possible. Rush Limbaugh says Romney stinks, Santorum’s dirty tricks are just fine. Romney says no brokered convention. Exit polls show Romney winning the rich. McCain on the GOP primary: “This is like watching a Greek tragedy.” How they did it to themselves.

* Which persona is real? Neither. Romney’s soul isn’t in the five minutes he spent as a pro-lifer in that interview, or in the two seconds he spent as a pro-choicer. It’s in the flux, the transition between the two roles. It’s in the editing of his record, the application of his makeup, the shuffling of his rationales. Romney will always be what he needs to be. Count on it.

* Wisconsin working hard to make us feel just a little bit more welcome when we arrive this summer.

* Meanwhile, Olympia Snowe has unexpectedly retired, dealing a serious blow to Republican hopes of retaking the Senate.

* Dow Jones Closes Above 13,000 For The First Time Since May 2008; Obama-Style Communism Responsible.

* NPR says it’s going to try to be “fair to the truth” rather than report the lies of both sides equally. Blasphemy!

* Colorado looks to legalize it. Vermont’s on board.

* I was very disappointed to have actually read none of the 10 Weird Science Fiction Novels That You’ve Never Read.

* “In 1994, the Air Force proposed a magic bomb designed to turn foes into gay vampires with bad breath.”

* The New Yorker has your secret history of Mormonism.

* Ze Frank has your insanely successful Kickstarter project. Almost $100,000 in 24 hours!

* Netflix takes another big hit.

One big difference between patents and other kinds of intellectual property, like copyrights and trademarks, is that patent-holders who want to sue someone for infringement don’t have to show that their patents or their products were actually copied by the defendant.

* This conspiracy theory is pretty byzantine, but I bet it could be more byzantine: Rep. Issa Says President Obama Wants To ‘Convert’ The Constitution ‘To Some South African Constitution.’

* And your ecology minute: Will the EPA’s new climate rules get killed in court? Scientists: Global Warming Played ‘Critical Role’ In Snowpocalypse Winters. NYRoB: Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong.

Two Tragic Tastes That Taste Tragic Together

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Two recent headlines tugged at my heartstrings: Could ocean acidification deafen dolphins? and Ancient tribal language becomes extinct as last speaker dies. Naturally the universe has found a way to combine these into a single, terrible Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of Tragedy.

For the last 12 years, a single solitary whale whose vocalizations match no known living species has been tracked across the Northeast Pacific. Its wanderings match no known migratory patterns of any living whale species. Its vocalizations have also subtly deepened over the years, indicating that the whale is maturing and ageing. And, during the entire 12 year span that it has been tracked, it has been calling out for contact from others of its own kind.

It has received no answer. Nor will it ever.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 6, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Genius in the Works of Wes Anderson

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The Suicide of Genius: Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson in Life and Art. At 24LiesaSecond, via The House Next Door.

The subtext of The Royal Tenenbaums is one of collisions. The sanctified world of genius, creativity and art collide with the world of contemporary psychology. Diagnosis, psychosis, breakdown, and divorce emerge like a hydra in the wings of Anderson’s work. And the point of collision is Eli Cash, played by Owen Wilson. Through Cash, Anderson’s tragic-comedic vision reaches its apex and foreshadows its decline into sentimentality and self-apologetic quirk.

Of course, as an unrepentant Wes Anderson fanboy, I don’t agree that his later works are failures in this or any other way—but the thesis is interesting. And I think there’s something to Lasky’s idea that Anderson shifts in Tenenbaums from a model of autonomous, tragedy-laced genius towards a comparatively more hopeless one of psychological and psychochemical dysfunction:

Genius, in their early work, is ineffable, resplendent with the trappings of depressive, rumple-haired Nietzschean eccentricity and Faustian striving and discontent. Anderson as writer/director and Wilson as writer/actor depict the creative spirit that defies diagnosis as it is ratified by its own insatiable drive, as it rebels against social pressures and cultural environments. Conversely, the therapeutic imperative of our contemporary society is to contextualize and diagnose, to encourage radical self-assessment in hopes of propagating permanent stability and happiness. As of late, Anderson’s original vision has been compromised by this imperative: his idea of the troubled genius has lost its romantic cache. Its integrity as a thing of heroism and beauty has been ostensibly diagnosed.

This may go a long way towards explaining why Rushmore is so much better-loved than Zissou.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 21, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Literally and figuratively

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Police are investigating one of the largest* art heists in Vermont history: the $1 million theft of 30 bronze statues from the home of artist Joel Fisher, some weighting as much as 1,000 pounds.

The sculptor’s life work is likely to be smelted for the material—unless, of course, he’s lying, which is what the police rep more or less accuses him of doing at the end of the article:

The burglary was reported last week, said Senior Trooper Callie Field of the Vermont State Police in Derby. Law enforcement has “no idea what the heck is going on,” she said. She has received no evidence to establish clearly what was stolen, or even whether the works were on the property, Field said.

“A lot of stuff’s not adding up,” she said. “Who knows what was taken?”


* not a pun

Written by gerrycanavan

December 5, 2007 at 2:54 pm

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The Sad Story of the Zápara

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Via the first page of The World Without Us, the sad story of the Zápara. More at NativeWeb and UNESCO’s list of oral tradition.

The smallest Indigenous group in the Ecuadorian Amazon is the Zápara. Often they are called “Zaparos,” which refers to a type of basket, while “Zápara” in their own language means “person of the forest.” Their history demonstrates the devastating impact of Western civilization as their numbers collapsed from about 200,000 people in 39 different groups at the arrival of the Europeans to approximately 200 people today living in five Zápara communities in Ecuador in addition to two other related groups in Peru.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 6, 2007 at 12:20 am

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