Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘William S. Burroughs

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* Once again, this year as every year, we give thanks.

* CFP: SFRA 2016, in Liverpool, UK.

The first space age was about politics. The second space age was about science. The third space age is about money.

How to Read Žižek on the Refugee Crisis.

The basic dynamic here is that ostensibly left-wing parties have put the right wing in the driver’s seat and have no strategy other than to denounce the very right-wing racism that their preferred policies actually stoke. The refugee article aims to unmask a similar dynamic in more radical leftist circles. Among leftist commentators, academics, and online activists as well, there is an abdication of any responsible policy-making that takes actual-existing reality into account. In its place, we find only empty rhetoric aimed at guaranteeing the speaker’s ideological purity.

* xkcd has another supersize edition. Here’s what we know so far.

* Officially outsourcing all my political commentary to John Kasich.

* Some college activists think making the movement a nationally despised joke might be a tactical mistake, but opinions still differ.

* Meanwhile! Arrests Made After Protesters Destroy Part of City Christmas Tree.

Police killings since Ferguson, in one map.

The Statue of Liberty Was Originally a Muslim Woman.

* Teach the controversy: Life on Mars was ‘destroyed by nuclear attack’, says physicist – and we could be next.

Baba Yaga’s Guide To Feminism.

* The Fragile Framework: Can Nations Unite to Save Earth’s Climate? Spoiler alert: I have some terrible news.

* Disability and science fiction fandom.

Jessica Jones is a Primer on Gaslighting, and How to Protect Yourself Against It. How Jessica JonesAbsorbed the Anxieties of Gamergate.

Internet trolls have learned to exploit our over-militarized police. It’s a crime that’s hard to stop — and hard to prosecute.

Kinsey Was Wrong: Sexuality Isn’t Fluid.

* How Chicago Tries to Cover Up a Police Execution.

* Against Ta-Nehisi Coates?

In a Crazy Turn of Events, Viral Sensation “Phuc Dat Bich” Says It Was All a Hoax. Is nothing sacred?

* Neil Blomkamp wants to fix the biggest mistake in the Aliens franchise: the death of Newt.

* The law, in its majestic equality, permits rich and poor alike to sleep outside.

Every Hint and Clue Hidden in the Captain America: Civil War Trailer.

* And today in data visualization: The Magnificent Bears of the Glorious Nation of Finland.

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Avoid Your Family with This Very Special Thanksgiving Edition of Thursday Links

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* America’s Founding Myths.

* 100 New Debate Topics You and Your Uncle Can Turn into an Argument about Republicans.

* Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Police violence. Ferguson. America. Ferguson. Turkey pardons. Ferguson. New York. Cleveland. Cleveland. Utah. Everywhere. Everywhere.

B3U4BSXCMAERUvu

Winners are mad when winning lights the shadows.

Nation Doesn’t Know If It Can Take Another Bullshit Speech About Healing.

We should get rid of local policing. Ferguson shows why the system just doesn’t work.

* All my heroes are monsters.

* Rescind Cosby’s honorary doctorates?

* “Suicide Is My Retirement Plan.”

An expert hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) argued in court that a 9-year-old girl seeking damages after she was sexually assaulted would be protected from emotional stress by her low IQ.

* It’s almost as if the profit motive and what’s best for our schools and students are not well aligned!

Accumulation by Lockout.

* 41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes.

* While Detroit contended with largest municipal bankruptcy, its lawyers were robbing it blind.

* Tyler Cowen, for one, welcomes the hyper-meritocracy.

* Anthropology as white public space.

* In praise of Lovecraft.

* The Downside of the Boom.

* Here’s the guy who wants to run to Hillary Clinton’s left. Democrats! Catch the fever.

* While he wasn’t second in command of the United States nuclear arsenal, Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina not only had a 15 hour a week gambling habit he also may have had a one-man poker chip counterfeiting operation in which he used paint and stickers to make $1 poker chips into $500 poker chips. This led to repeated bans from local casinos, eventually a lifetime ban and finally his nuclear weapons were taken away.

* What is your research agenda for the coming year?

* Just another Afrofuturism megapost.

* Town Bans Winnie The Pooh For Lack of Genitals, “Dubious Sexuality.” Finally, someone said it.

* At some point this guy took a moment and smiled to himself, secure in the knowledge that he’d covered all his bases.

SDSU suspends all frat activities after members wave dildos, throw eggs at rape protesters.

UVA has expelled 183 students for honor code violations — and none for sexual assault.

End Fraternities.

* Alexey Pajitnov, hero, creator of Tetris.

Frederik Pohl Made Doing Literally Everything Look Easy.

* Strange Horizons reprints Darko Suvin’s “Estrangement and Cognition,” with a 2014 postscript.

All of us on the planet Earth live in highly endangered times. Perhaps the richer among us, up to 5% globally but disproportionately concentrated in the trilateral U.S.A.-western Europe-Japan and its appendages, have been cushioned from realizing it by the power of money and the self-serving ideology it erects. But even those complain loudly of the “criminality” and in general “moral decay” of the desperately vicious outside their increasingly fortress-like neighbourhoods. We live morally in an almost complete dystopia—dystopia because anti-utopia—and materially (economically) on the razor’s edge of collapse, distributive and collective.

In a look backwards to my writing of the 1960s from this most endangered cusp of history, I see a main limitation to my “Poetics of SF” essay in its innocently and naively Formalist horizon. That is, I presupposed the tide of history was flowing, even if with regrettable eddies, towards socialism or democratic communism, and concentrated on the problems of understanding, pleasure, and form within that tide. Thus I seem to have felt I could freeze or even freeze out history, as all pursuits of aesthetics do: transcending the moment. I was wrong.

* The official SF short film of the Thanksgiving holiday: Survivors Of A Nuclear War Find A Secret Bunker—But There’s A Catch

* Maybe the most twenty-first-century artifact possible: ‘Sunburn!’, A Gravity-Based Puzzle Video Game Featuring a Doomed Spaceship Crew That Is Determined to Die Together.

* Cli-Fi Is Real.

The good news: There is no substantial technical or economic barrier that would prevent the U.S. from reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, a target that would help put the world on track to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. In fact, there are multiple pathways to that target, each involving a different mix of technologies. Achieving the goal would cost only around 1 percent of GDP a year out through 2050, and if we started now, we could allow infrastructure to turn over at its natural rate, avoiding stranded assets. The bad news: Pulling it off would require immediate, intelligent, coordinated, vigorously executed policies that sustain themselves over decades.

Trotsky at the IMF.

* LEGO is dead, long live LEGO.

* But really, do they know.

* Guys, it’s not all bad news: After The Sun Incinerates Earth, Life Could Evolve On Titan.

* And this blog’s most sacred annual tradition: William S. Burroughs – A Thanksgiving Prayer.

Thanksgiving!

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Sunday Links

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* I left for Thanksgiving travel in a rush and wasn’t able to post a link to my traditional Thanksgiving post.

* What happens to turkeys that are pardoned?

“The birds are then, in proverbial fashion, said to live happily ever after. In reality, however, they are usually killed within a year and stand-in turkeys are supplied. This goes on year after year. The chosen birds are killed because they have been engineered and packed with hormones to the point that they are unfit for any other purpose than their own slaughter and consumption. They are fast-forward turkeys. Presidential turkey caretakers have explained that most succumb rather quickly to joint disease—their frail joints simply cannot bear the weight of their artificially enhanced bodies. The sturdiest survivors may live a little more than a year. But the birds are always finally put out of their growing misery. Then they are buried nearby in a presidential turkey cemetery—the ritualistic significance of which remains to be explored. (May the archaeologists of the future excavate it!)”

The reason that these turkeys are so ill suited for their lives of freedom is that they are supplied by the National Turkey Federation. They are products of industrial farms, bred to grow fat quick rather than live long. Much could be said about the fact that corporate lobby’s interests trumps even the symbolism of the ceremony, making even the pardon itself a lie within a lie.

To pardon, after all, is to forgive. And, if we’re talking about a turkey, it becomes difficult to discern what criminal or immoral behavior on the bird’s part may be said to establish the necessary preconditions for its forgiveness.

What we have here is a situation where a company offered a wage in the marketplace and couldn’t get any workers to accept it. Consequently, it went out of business.

* David Mitchell on how they filmed his unfilmmable novel.

* What Would Combat in Space Be Like?

* All about Münchausen syndrome.

Farmers Told To Buy Insurance If They Don’t Want To Get Sued By Monsanto.

If Walmart were a country, its GDP (US$443.9bn) would be greater than that of South Africa’s ($422bn). Visa would be bigger than Zimbabwe, Wells Fargo dwarfs Angola, and eBay, Amazon, Costco, Proctor & Gamble would swamp Madagascar, Kenya, Sudan and Libya respectively.

* A Roundtable Discussion featuring Jacqueline Dutton, Daniel Heath Justice, Kim Stanley Robinson and Lorenzo Veracini.

I am very reluctant to speak of “climate change adaptation” in this connection, because I feel that that phrase is a seized term, like “sustainable development,” and both are coded ways of saying “business as usual” or “capitalism must endure no matter the damages.” Because of that I think we should still be insisting on “climate change mitigation” as the appropriate task for our time. Ultimately, however, the entire biosphere will be adapting to the new physical conditions we are creating by our impacts, and we are going to have to get involved with that adaptation to make the best of it, meaning keeping the number of extinctions to a minimum, and trying to steer the biosphere toward best outcomes for all the species on the planet. This is necessary, because all the species together form one single supra-organism, and the health of all together determines the health of any individual species, including ourselves. Because of that reality, inhabiting the Earth successfully in the centuries to come will necessarily be a utopian project. It’s become a case of utopia or catastrophe.

* Year-to-date Temperature Anomalies for Contiguous US.

* Outstanding achievements in bullshitting: John Podhoretz.

Chevy Chase Is Leaving Community, Effective Immediately. Bring back Dan Harmon? It’s not too late!

Alicia Keys Sings the Gummi Bears Theme Song.

* Action Philosophers has a digital exclusive issue 13 at Comixology.

* And finally: Zissou vs. the whale.

97

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm

On Book Thieves

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Via A&L Daily: There’s an underground economy of boosted books. These values are commonly understood and roundly agreed upon through word of mouth, and the values always seem to be true. Once, a scruffy, large man approached me, holding a folded-up piece of paper. “Do you have any Buck?” He paused and looked at the piece of paper. “Any books by Buckorsick?” I suspected that he meant Bukowski, but I played dumb, and asked to see the piece of paper he was holding. It was written in crisp handwriting that clearly didn’t belong to him, and it read:

1. Charles Bukowski

2. Jim Thompson

3. Philip K. Dick

4. William S. Burroughs

5. Any Graphic Novel

This is pretty much the authoritative top five, the New York Times best-seller list of stolen books. Its origins still mystify me. It might have belonged to an unscrupulous used bookseller who sent the homeless out, Fagin-like, to do his bidding, or it might have been another book thief helping a semi-illiterate friend identify the valuable merchandise. I asked the man whether he preferred Bukowski’s Pulp to his Women, as I did, and whether his favorite Thompson book was The Getaway or The Killer Inside Me. First the book chatter made him nervous, but then it made him angry: He bellowed, “You’re just a little bitch, ain’t’cha?” and stormed out.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 4, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Thxsgvng

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It’s Thanksgiving again, already, and I really can’t think of anything that tops last year’s post. So here it is again: “Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986,” by William S. Burroughs.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986
William S. Burroughs
For John Dillinger
In hope he is still alive

Thanks for the wild turkey and the Passenger Pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts —

thanks for a Continent to despoil and poison —

thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger —

thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcass to rot —

thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes —

thanks for the AMERICAN DREAM to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through —

thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces —

thanks for “Kill a Queer for Christ” stickers —

thanks for laboratory AIDS —

thanks for Prohibition and the War Against Drugs —

thanks for a country where nobody is allowed to mind his own business —

thanks for a nation of finks — yes,

thanks for all the memories… all right, let’s see your arms… you always were a headache and you always were a bore —

thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 22, 2007 at 5:00 am

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