Posts Tagged ‘Vermont’
* I have a short piece up at the Cambridge UP blog: “We’re Sorry, the Final Frontier is Closed.” It talks a bit about the recent revival of space frontier and space opera fantasy in big-budget films like Jupiter Ascending, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Interstellar…
Now the trustees of Wayford Woods have announced ‘fairy control’ methods which will curb the “profusion of elfin construction”.
Trustee Steven Acreman said the trend was “in danger of getting out of control” but stressed he was not “anti-fairies”.
“It’s a very complex situation and nobody’s admitting that they’re evicting the fairies,” he said.
* “These beliefs persisted into recent times,” says Butler. “For example, in 1895 Michael Cleary convinced his family and community that his wife, Bridget, was a changeling. This was confirmed by a traditional fairy doctor, who attempted a herbal cure. When that didn’t work, they threatened her with fire, doused, and finally burned her to death.” Well, that’s certainly less charming.
* So by all means, criticize teachers when it is warranted. But resist education reformers at all costs, particularly when they rationalize their reforms as a way to address the problems of the teaching force. Education reformers, no matter their intentions, are the enemies of a unionized teaching force. They are the enemies of public education.
“The faculty and staff,” Mr. Brown said, “are feeling traumatized by this—not just by the loss of the institution, but by the way it has been handled. They seem to have no answers about anything, and that is what feels so deeply troubling.”
I hadn’t even thought about how impossible it will be for Sweet Briar faculty to sell their homes. What a nightmare.
* Who Gets the Endowment? I really hope higher ed media watches the dispersal of Sweet Briar’s endowment and property very closely.
Indeed, at the heart of the standard capitalist narrative is magic, as if the will to realize the abstract ideal of a cornucopia for all will itself — through fervent wishing and belief that can only be called religious — bring about the imagined state. It is the “invisible hand” idea from Adam Smith — the conviction that there really is a hidden force that given free rein sets everything aright. It is the God meme in capitalism and its writings, Smith’s among them, that is to capitalism what the Torah is to Judaism, the Gospels to Christianity, and the Koran to Islam: holy texts whose authenticity and reality must not be challenged or questioned unless as an adolescent moment of doubt, eventually subsumed by the re-embrace of total belief.
* I’ve always wanted a Trek anthology series. And with the ever-lowering cost of CGI effects it could be finally be done…
* In the short term, the contract faculty who teach the majority of courses at York University are striking for higher wages. In the long run, contract teaching needs to be abolished.
In some cases, regulation, not deliberative choice, has led campus leaders to rely on business advice. For example, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights II, signed into law in 1996, requires many of us to hire compensation consultants to ensure that “disqualified persons”—presidents, provosts, vice presidents for finance and administration, etc.—have not received an “excessive benefit” such as inappropriate compensation.In all situations that I have observed, this process has had unintended consequences. Using sophisticated tools developed for industry, the consultants have demonstrated that many higher-education leaders are undercompensated.
GASP! NO ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED! I wonder if a “compensation consultant” has ever, in history, determined that a CEO was receiving “excessive benefit.”
* Raped on Campus? Don’t Trust Your College to Do the Right Thing. I’d see the story about Oregon’s admin raiding the campus health center for ammo to use against its own students, but I’d never seen the outrageous legal justification for it before now.
If you are a student and seek counseling at your college’s counseling center, your medical records are most likely not protected by the typical medical-privacy laws, otherwise known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Instead, they fall under the aegis of Ferpa, just as Oregon said. And compared with Hipaa, Ferpa is about as protective as cheesecloth.
* This Is What It’s Like To Go To Court In Ferguson, Missouri. DOJ Finds Ferguson Police Routinely Discriminate. Ferguson Police Tolerate Sexual Harassment of Female Officers. What Is Wrong With the Ferguson Police Department? Particular lowlights from the DoJ report.
* What’s happening here is fundamentally simple: the surveillance state enforcing surveillance as the normative form of care. The state cannot teach its citizens, because it has no idea what to teach; it can only place them under observation. Perfect observation — panopticism — then becomes its telos, which is justifies and universalizes by imposing a responsibility to surveil on the very citizens already being surveilled.
* More Companies Are Run By Men Named “John” Than By Women. Just lean in!
* A singular event that has never happened in history before: Kenosha officer admits to planting evidence in homicide case.
* 2016 watch: Bernie’s Reasons Why Not.
* 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.”
* De Blasio and the police. Some amazing stuff in there.
According to a former de Blasio aide, during the general election campaign in 2013, de Blasio’s team was even convinced that members of his police detail were eavesdropping on his private conversations in his city-assigned car. Things got so bad that de Blasio, according to the staffer, would step into the street to make sure he was out of earshot of plainclothes officers.
* The NYPD Shooter Had A History Of Mental Health Issues And Violence Against Women. Slimy Baltimore FOX Affiliate Caught Faking “Kill a Cop” Protest Chant. The absolute bad faith of blaming protestors.
* “The Cossacks were never funny. Cops never are. I invite you to imagine the international outrage and American horror, had one of Putin’s police choked an innocent man to death on camera for the crime of selling loose cigarettes.”
* Ex-Milwaukee Cop Who Shot Unarmed Man 14 Times Will Not Be Charged. The National Guard has been on alert for the city since the weekend. A statement from the ACLU. “It may out-Ferguson Ferguson”: Why Milwaukee’s police violence will horrify you. And at HuffPo: Why I Was Arrested Standing Up for Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee.
* The idea of “police reform” obscures the task. Whatever one thinks of the past half-century of criminal-justice policy, it was not imposed on Americans by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are, at the very least, byproducts of democratic will. Likely they are much more. It is often said that it is difficult to indict and convict police officers who abuse their power. It is comforting to think of these acquittals and non-indictments as contrary to American values. But it is just as likely that they reflect American values. The three most trusted institutions in America are the military, small business, and the police.
* And W. Kamau Bell has a one-off podcast on Earwolf called “Coptalk.”
Sorry, I know that was a lot of police links today. Some other stuff I’ve been looking at:
* The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling last week that could clear the way for much more unionization of faculty members at private colleges and universities.
* There Is No Higher Ed Bubble. Yet. I think I’d maybe like to hear more about how “eventually artificial intelligence will basically wipe out the demand for higher education completely” before I sign on to this part of the proposition all the way.
* Facts are stupid things: New Congress Dumping CBO Chief To Clear Way For Special GOP Budget Math.
* Jacobin looks ahead to the new Cuba.
* Markets in everything: Rare book investment trust believed to be Ponzi scheme.
* 101 Critical Theory Books That Came Out in 2014. As a society we probably could have gotten away with just the clean one hundred.
* The Sony hack has cancelled what I bet would have been a great comic adaptation of Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang. At least I’ll have this in my back pocket the next time I teach it.
* Meanwhile: A Lot of Smart People Think North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony. Let’s not let caution get in the way of a good prank war.
* That’s solve it: MLA Will Discuss How to Deal With Controversial Issues.
* The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking. The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.
* The FBI saw the film. They didn’t like it. Stick around for a nice little factoid about copyright!
* These Ant-Man rumors suggest Marvel really is going to go all the way with its “Civil War” plan for Phase 3.
* No More Tony Starks: Against “The Smartest Man in the Room.”
Perhaps this is a good time to notice that when Anders says the Smartest Guy in the Room provides “wish-fulfillment for reasonably smart people” her examples go on to demonstrate that by people she happens always to mean only guys and even only white guys. She does notice that the Smartest Guy does seem to be, you know, a guy and provides the beginnings of a gendered accounting of the archetype: “the ‘smartest guy’ thing confirms all our silliest gender stereotypes, in a way that’s like a snuggly dryer-fresh blanket to people who feel threatened by shifting gender roles. In the world of these stories, the smartest person is always a man, and if he meets a smart woman she will wind up acknowledging his superiority.”
That seems to me a rather genial take on the threatened bearings of patriarchal masculinity compensated by cyborg fantasizing, but at least it’s there. The fact that the Smartest Guy keeps on turning out to be white receives no attention at all. This omission matters not only because it is so glaring, but because the sociopathic denial of the collectivity of intelligence, creativity, progress, and flourishing at the heart of the Smartest Guy in the Room techno-archetype, has the specific and catastrophic counterpart in the white racist narrative of a modern technological civilization embodied in inherently superior European whiteness against which are arrayed not different but primitive and atavistic cultures and societies that must pay in bloody exploitation and expropriation the price of the inferior. The Smartest Guy in the Room is also the Smartest Guy in History, naturally enough, with a filthy treasure pile to stand on and shout his superiority from.
* And speaking of Star Trek: they’ve chosen a new director to ruin 3tar Tr3k 3. Kudos to all involved. Meanwhile Adam Kotsko is pitching the Star Trek anthology series I’ve always wanted to the unfeeling Philistines at the Daystrom Institute. Unrecognized in his own time…
* In case you missed it from the weekend: a CFP for a Science Fiction Film and Television special issue on “Star Trek at 50.”
* Call for submissions: Accessing the Future.
* Today’s twenty-first-century political weirdness is the Scotland referendum on independence. The Guardian. MetaFilter. The economic case. Schroedinger’s Kingdom. John Oliver. Why Scotland thinks it can survive as an independent country. I’m Guardian editor Matt Wells. Got questions on Scottish independence? Ask away!
* Postdoc of the year: “The Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University invites applications for its 2015-2016 Postdoctoral Fellowship program. The successful candidates will couple their own research and publishing agenda with their contributions to the Center’s Collective Memory Project, a wide ranging oral history of the George W. Bush Presidency.” Friend, do I have a story for you.
* Chris Ware is serializing a novella in the Guardian: “The Last Saturday.”
* Unpopular opinions watch: Carceral progressivism.
Roddenberry believed there was no chest hair in the future.
The dream never dies.
* Cruel optimism watch: Are More MLA Faculty Jobs on the Way?
* The madness of crowds: Wealthy L.A. Schools’ Vaccination Rates Are as Low as South Sudan’s.
* Calvinball in Wisconsin: the rules on voting just changed again.
* What Are the Real Odds That Your Birth Control Will Fail? Pretty frightening.
* A King Kong prequel, because we haven’t even come close to hitting bottom yet.
* In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free. The price is too high!
* BREAKING: Immigrants aren’t stealing your jobs.
* Because you demanded it: “Play It Again, Dick,” the weird quasi-Veronica-Mars nega-sequel, is finally here.
* Why we can’t have nice things: Thievery marring Little Free Libraries.
* And no one could have predicted: Apple releases U2 album removal tool.