Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Vu

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.

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May 12, 2015 at 8:07 am

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Links for the Day after Christmas

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* I consider myself extremely skeptical about the overall theoretical usefulness of object-oriented ontology (see Vu’s excellent Polygraph review for a primer)—frankly I consider claims like these to be so preposterous as to be self-refuting—but nonetheless I’ve downloaded the PDF for new anthology The Speculative Turn at the terrible risk of someday having to writing a conversion essay.

* Hippeism: pray for a cure.

* They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They? Informative, almost-SFW essay via this AskMe thread about the violence and ugliness of contemporary pornography.

* Biden says gay marriage is inevitable, and Obama is teasing that he may even soon stop pretending that he opposes it. Progress!

* Where Obama failed: Nearly One In Nine Federal Judgeships Are Now Vacant.

* Republicans say they just won’t bend on the DREAM ACT. Obama’s eleven-dimensional strategy of aggressive deportation hasn’t brought them around at all; maybe it’s time to give it up.

* UNC plans to take the fight to grade inflation. There’s a pretty dramatic collective action problem here; more informative transcripts would disadvantage UNC’s own students while doing little or nothing to combat any larger nationwide trends.

The Scott Pilgrim Alternate Ending That Was Never Shot. The DVD also has the surprising original ending in which Scott goes back to Knives after all. I’m shocked this was really considered, much less lasted long enough to actually be shot.

* You had me at “Michelangelo painted a UFO.”

* And, at long last, the death panels are real.

Saturday Afternoon!

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* I was going to offer this post from Matt Yglesias on Weber’s “Politics as Vocation” as a potential intervention in the argument Vu and I have been having over the last few comment threads. But upon reflection I don’t think “compromise vs. compromised” is quite what we disagree about after all; it’s really a much smaller dispute about the efficacy of adopting an aggressive negotiating posture when you’re playing Chicken with sociopathically indifferent ideologues. The bad actors will always win such a fight, because we care about outcomes and they don’t. What we we need to do, therefore, is direct our attention away from mere political affect toward structural reform, wherever possible, of the various political institutions that give these bad actors final say.

* The Wonk Room compares the original health care bill to the (presumably final) manager’s amendment, with more on the new CBO score from Steve, Ezra, and TPM. I have to say this post from mcjoan on making sure doctors don’t take away our precious guns made me smile, as did the follow-up on mandates from the comments. So did Benen’s Botax/Boeh-tax bit.

* Stupak launches another desperate bid to be thrown out of the Democratic caucus.

* More ‘Flopenhagen’ analysis from Mother Jones, MNN, Wonk Room, Kevin Drum, and immanance. One’s level of happiness/sadness and optimism/pessimism on Copenhagen continues to strongly correlate with the extent to which one thought a genuinely successful agreement was ever possible at Copenhagen in the first place.

* ‘In the Shadow of Goldman Sachs’: Trickle-down economics on Wall Street. Via PClem.

* Jack Bauer interrogates Santa Claus. Via Julia.

* Captain Picard to become Sir Captain Picard.

* And very sad news: Influential film theorist Robin Wood has died.

A Few for Wednesday

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I hate to bury the more important Afghanistan posts, but I’ve been working hard to avoid my work this morning and I wanted to memorialize my efforts with a linkdump.

* Via The Rushmore Academy, Richard Brody says The Darjeeling Limited is the second-best film of the decade. Coming as this does just one day after a lunchtime argument with Ryan over whether Wes Anderson is a “serious” filmmaker, I think my affirmative case has now been definitively proved.

* Matt Yglesias had a good post this morning on the way institutional pressures in the military-industrial complex drag America’s foreign policy to the right no matter who is president.

* Bad behavior from conservative Democrats in the Senate has put Snowe and Collins’s votes back in play on health care.

* UC-San Diego’s Gordon H. Hansen: Despite all this, illegal immigration’s overall impact on the US economy is small. Low-skilled native workers who compete with unauthorized immigrants are the clearest losers. US employers, on the other hand, gain from lower labor costs and the ability to use their land, capital, and technology more productively. The stakes are highest for the unauthorized immigrants themselves, who see very substantial income gains after migrating. If we exclude these immigrants from the calculus, however (as domestic policymakers are naturally inclined to do), the small net gain that remains after subtracting US workers’ losses from US employers’ gains is tiny. And if we account for the small fiscal burden that unauthorized immigrants impose, the overall economic benefit is close enough to zero to be essentially a wash. The bolded phrase represents the reason why, despite ongoing shrieking nativism from the Republican party base, immigration reform never actually occurs. (via @mattoyeah)

* Kottke: Photos of Dubai in decline are the new photos of Detroit in decline. Have to admit I laughed at Stewart’s sad “It’s now Du-sell” pun last night.

* And Scott Lemieux has today’s deep thought.

I am absolutely shocked that, despite a near-total lack of precedent, a wealthy professional athlete has engaged in sexual relations with persons to whom he is not married, and I hope that cable news will devote more time to these remarkably surprising and important revelations.

SpecReal on MeFi

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MetaFilter discovers speculative realism. I’m still waiting for Ryan’s upcoming definitive piece on this in Polygraph 22…

Written by gerrycanavan

November 18, 2009 at 12:49 am

Pictures from Michigan

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The last of our pictures from Michigan and Indiana are now online at Flickr. There’s a lot, but keep in mind we had at least two cameras going at all times. Special shout-outs to the Labor Legacy Monument, one of the best monuments to anything I’ve ever seen, and Ann Lislegaard’s SF-centric project “2062” at MOCAD. Oh, and zombies.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm

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Waiting for Vu in Ann Arbor with the South Lyon Blues Again

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Waiting for Vu in Ann Arbor with the South Lyon blues again.

* The end of fish. Via MeFi.

* I must be getting old—it’s the second day in a row I’ve agreed with a conservative on the Supreme Court. And this time it was Antonin Scalia!

“The cross doesn’t honor non-Christians who fought in the war?” Scalia asks, stunned.

“A cross is the predominant symbol of Christianity, and it signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind for our sins,” replies Eliasberg, whose father and grandfather are both Jewish war veterans.

“It’s erected as a war memorial!” replies Scalia. “I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead. The cross is the most common symbol of … of … of the resting place of the dead.”

I think he’s right about this; it seems to me to be a pretty clear (and frankly inoffensive) case of civil religion, which is historically acceptable in our legal tradition. Dissenting views from Steve Benen and Pharyngula.

* Also via MeFi: results from OKCupid data that suggests race’s impact on online dating behavior.

* George Saunders lives in a tent city for GQ.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 8, 2009 at 11:15 pm