Sunday Reading

But what does a honey-bee look like when it GAINS a stinger? Huh, science?
Frank Pasquale: Technocracy as bankocracy as hypocrisy. 13 ways of looking at American decline. Rotten elites (PS: the book is brilliant till the last chapter). How does PersonicX classify you? The mustache will take your questions now. Columbia U and finance: Take 1; Take 2. "If you can imagine it, you can see it here," said a Broward Crime Stopper. "This is South Florida. I'm not that surprised." Ludic pharma: play with data. The Jonah Lehrer take-down you've all been waiting for. Big Elsie: "us or the stone age." Change you can barely believe, trade edition.  And "US government sides with Shell over victims of crimes against humanity." Outrage: "the servicers will get credit on the same loans they got taxpayer-funded checks for” Plausible deniability for the imperial CEO at JPM; Apple edition; Sarbox angle; "The CEO 'I’m in charge and I know nothing' defense is alive and well because it has proven to be so successful." "Executive prerogative is to not be quantified, to… Read More...

Sunday Reading

It's Sunday in Bangelore.
Enter Jane Hu, stage left: Write a short book review for the LARB Tumblr Veep and the Glories of Julia Louis-Dreyfus The Short Life of Publishing Tradition Talk, Talk: When does bar-room debate count as criticism? Getting Them Dead Where Things Stand A Courageous Little Gallery Takes on MoMA Philosophy’s Western Bias On the Terrors and Pleasures of Robert Frost "The book of love is sad and boring, no one can lift the damn thing. . ." Boring old me: How Mainstream Israeli Politicians Sparked the Tel Aviv Race Riot Walker’s victory, un-sugar-coated The Shock Doctrine Goes to College  Europe is a dead political project Why Elites Fail Oh Sue, If Only I Could Love You More Europe's exciting elimination tournament in 2012. The Pakistani Radical Reflections of a Spoiled Child on the Student Strike The Race Card Gaza's Zoo, the… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Sunday Reading is the answer; but what is the question?
From Frank Pasquale: Sanjay Wadhwa, SEC hero.  How to help people like him. Citigroup whistleblower: “Every time I turned over a rock, I found a snake.”   Hitchcock: "Actors are cattle."  Houston schools: So are students. From "Forward" to "Our plutocrats are more enlightened." I saw the best minds of my generation obsessed with the individual mandate; interoperability, not so much. Zombie cyborg commodity fetishization Some excellent presentations on New Media from McKenzie Wark, Jacob Gaboury, and many others. On Google promises re paid inclusion and profile maintenance. Fodder for upcoming Cato Institute report on "The Entertainment Value of Inequality." Slow violence. Top CEO pay equals 3,489 years for typical worker.  Only pays for 50 years at double typical wage for 17 family members; that's why they want more inequality. From Me: The militarisation of poverty in Africa Booker Tea Washington & Margaret Bourke-White How Coverage of Obama’s Role in Drone Executions Provokes Liberal Outrage The Paris Review… Read More...

Obscenity: I Know It When I See It

The child is naked, as you normally are when you bathe. I'd invite you to click that link, and think about what, if anything, distresses you about it.
Maria Gunnoe is a West Virginia coalfield activist, and this video is one version of her story. It always makes me tear up; I've seen it a half dozen times, and I just watched it again, and have the sniffles as a result. Watch it if you have a few minutes. My mother is the founder of the organization that Maria works with -- she makes an appearance in the video at about minute 3:20 --  and this is the part of the country I grew up in, so I can never tell how much the way it makes me feel comes from my emotional connection to her story. But I think there's plenty of rage-sadness to go around. Anyway, I want to tell a slightly different story. Yesterday, Maria went to Washington to testify in front of the House Committee on Natural Resources (the… Read More...

Damning With Faint Prize: Stanley Kenani’s “Love on Trial”

It is, in fact, precisely the opposite of “offensive”; so blandly unobjectionable that I have had some difficulty putting my finger on exactly why I dislike it. But for you, dear reader, I'll give it a shot...
This is my third (and regrettably tardy) post on the shortlist for the “Caine Prize for African Writing,” on Stanley Kenani’s  story “Love on Trial,” which you can read here (in .pdf form). For an updating list of the other bloggers writing on it, see the bottom of the post.   f Like many of my blogging comrades, my problem with Stanley Kenani’s “Love on Trial” is that it was shortlisted for the Caine Prize. I don’t mind that it exists – it does not “offend” me, in other words – but it does bother me that this story has been taken to be prize-worthy, judged to be some kind of exemplar of “African Writing.” I really hope it doesn’t win. As Stephen puts it in his review: By choosing a story that is so blatantly issue-led, a disservice has perhaps been done… Read More...

Sunday Reading

I liked Sunday Reading's first few LP's, before they sold out and got all commercial.
Frank Pasquale: The phantom fraud task force. Scientism is shallow. Manufacturing folk devils. New corporate education model: "online correspondence school for very rich adults who want to be flattered" CNIL: What real privacy regulation looks like, if supplemented with real fines. Compare with this podcast of Chicago profs questioning an FTC commissioner on privacy; they seem to assume the US is doing too much. Look who's talking about Facebook IPO. Imperial CEOs: "Certainly extreme, I hear you say, but could such behavior possibly be common, much less representative? Well, yes, actually." Food labeling crushes free expression; drug labelling crushes free expression; arrest of journalists does not. Small steps forward, for TBTF, for unpaid internships, and for networked monitoring of corporate crime. Me: An Open Letter to the Mainstream English Media: At 8pm, I rush out of the house with a… Read More...

Political Language on Police States and Political Language

"BE MORE PRECISE IN YOUR TERMINOLOGY!"
Andrew Exum -- who blogs for the "Center for a New American Security" -- doesn't like the fact that people on twitter used the word "police state" to describe what happened in Chicago yesterday: Yesterday, I watched some folks describe the United States as a "police state" because of some allegations of police brutality in Chicago. Without either defending the Chicago police department or agreeing with its critics, I tweeted that those who describe the United States as a "police state" have never lived in or visited an actual police state. I then watched as leftists went berserk in response. And yes, fair enough. Exum is right that if we compare the US of the present moment to Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Bashar al-Assad's Syria, and if we use the latter as the dictionary definition of "police state," then the USA will stand out as much less… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Sometimes Sunday Reading happens on Saturday. Sometime it happens on Monday. Sunday Reading is unpredictable like that.
Bint Battuta: A “Persian” Iran?: Challenging the Aryan Myth and Persian Ethnocentrism It's Time to Stop Saying 'Caucasian 'The Andalus Test: Reflections on the Attempt to Publish Arabic Literature in Hebrew On poetry in Northeast India A walk through the Institut d'Egypte wreckage Wax statues of Iraqi clerics [YouTube] The Far-Flung Archives Arab Women Writers A journey to the other Iraq The Most Beautiful Corn in the World Libyan street art Kuwaiti Google Earth Alphabet A politics of non-recognition? Biopolitics of Arab Gulf worker protests in the year of uprisings [pdf] How do the Egyptian Presidential Candidates' Posters Compare? On the connections between Sanskrit and Lithuanian The Tombouctou Manuscripts Project Frank Pasquale: OccupyData. The Neglected Right of Assembly. “My mother got all the care she needed and no one presented her or us with a bill” Congressional Data: conservative outside… Read More...

Il faut défendre la société contre les étudiants: Québec’s Law 78

IANAC but this SIFUAB. Or: Oh Canada. Oh.
Rights are not rights if they are withdrawn in response to their use, in anticipation of their use, or to prevent them from being used. This is such a simple point, but it sort of needs to be shouted from the rooftops: to change the basic and fundamental framework of the law in response to the crisis of the moment – or what is deemed to be a crisis – is to clarify that the law is a dead letter, like a fire insurance policy that is not valid in cases of fire. I’m talking, of course, about the passage yesterday of Québec's Bill 78 – which lasts for one year or until dissent is crushed, whichever comes first – because the second part of this sentence is (or should be) implied by the first: The Québec legislature passed a special… Read More...

What It Takes to Build Your Credit: “Urban Zoning,” by Billy Kahora, Week Two of Blogging the Caine

At the risk of being irritatingly solipsistic and meta, allow me to be irritatingly solipsistic and meta. Also, banks and credit.
This is my second post on the shortlist for the "Caine Prize for African Writing," on Billy Kahora's fine story "Urban Zoning," which you can read here (in .pdf form). For an updating list of the other bloggers writing on it, see the bottom of the post. It's taken me longer to write this post than the previous one, and at the risk of being irritatingly solipsistic and meta, there's actually something interesting in that, just as it's worth noting that the group of bloggers writing about this story is both (a little) diminished from last week's numbers and als0 characterized by a somewhat diminished enthusiasm for the story itself. Perhaps the story is simply less good? I don't think so; I don't think this story is simply anything. But before I can even get to that, I have to be irritatingly solipsistic… Read More...

Hearing Like an LRAD: When Violence is Speech and Speech is Violence

To ask the question of whether an LRAD is designed to hurt people or designed to communicate across long distances with people is to mystify its central design function: it is a technology whose purpose is to FORCE you to listen and obey, and one which is less interested in the difference than you'd think.
What's fascinating to me about the LRAD -- or "Long Range Acoustic Device" -- is the way violence and speech become literally the same thing. To ask the question of whether an LRAD is designed to hurt people or designed to communicate across long distances with people is to mystify its central design function: it is a technology whose purpose is to FORCE you to listen and obey, and one which is less interested in the difference than you'd think. Feature and bug merge. Ideally, perhaps, the "you" it targets will obey the communicated threat, sparing police the need to force you to obey and sparing them the need to produce the spectacle of people running away while holding their ears. But the whole point of having an LRAD is to ensure that one way or another, the police can get… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Time is an illusion. Sunday, doubly so.
Stonewall was a Wedding? Anti-Mother's Day Looking Back at Huey Newton's Speech in the Wake of Obama's Announcement Controversial Magazine Covers Awesome Tapes from Africa Dirty Art From Debt to Land: via the Farm and the Forest Maria Bamford Interview My Week in America's Rape Capitol Wall Street’s immunity Colin Powell Gets Mad at Me Volume 3 of the Settler Colonial Studies Journal, "Past is Present, Settler Colonialism in Palestine" Obama Loves Queers! (Except Not): This is the problem with this whole same-sex marriage thing (okay, there are a lot of problems with it, but this is one). It’s not really about equality. Not for everyone (which is what equality means). It’s just about extending a few more “rights” to a select few people. It’s just a way of saying, “As long as you are otherwise as much like us… Read More...

Everything Fantastic is Credible: “Bombay’s Republic,” week one

As is the case with so much African fiction, the claims that “Bombay’s Republic” makes about history don’t so much occur in a real historiographic vacuum as they occur in the context of a long history of Africa being read as a historiographic vacuum.
As I announced last week, for the next five weeks, I and a team of bloggers, writers, and readers will be discussing the five short stories that have been shortlisted for the "Caine Prize for African Writing" (see those links for more information). I will post and update a list of links to the other bloggers (and a schedule) at the bottom of this post. The first story is "Bombay's Republic," by the Nigerian writer, poet, and playwright Rotimi Babatunde. You can read it here, in pdf form, courtesy of the Caine Prize committee. As is the case with so much African fiction, the claims that “Bombay’s Republic” makes about history don’t so much occur in a real historiographic vacuum as they occur in the context of a long history of Africa being read as a historiographic vacuum. This is… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Sunday is English for Sunday.
Friends With Benefits + The Kids Are All Right = Friends With Kids The anti- vote. Datadump. Using NYPD Warrant Squads to Monitor Protesters May Violate Constitution: Experts The spy who came in from the code Drones: The Nightmare Scenario Classic African Films N°3: ‘Come Back, Africa’  Roman Emperors, Up To AD 476 And Not Including Usurpers, In Order Of How Hardcore Their Deaths Were the moral limits of confronting the bully, and calling his bluff Mali: Law-and-Order Islamism Reflections from UC Davis: On Academic Freedom and Campus Militarization You had me at "As a self-aware Predator Drone": As a self-aware Predator drone, I get my share of criticism. “You’re flying lost-link again!” “You vaporized a playground!” “You’re trying to usher in a post-human robo-dystopia!” Some of this is valid, some of it…okay, most of it is valid. But sometimes,… Read More...

Blogging the Caine Prize 2012

On May 1st, the short list for the "Caine Prize for African Writing" was released, and like last year, I and a group of intrepid bloggers will read and blog about the five stories in the next month and a half (schedule TBD). If you are a blogger, and also if you are not, join
On May 1st, the short list for the "Caine Prize for African Writing" was released, and like last year, I and a group of intrepid bloggers will read and blog about the five stories in the next month and a half (schedule TBD). If you are a blogger, and also if you are not, you should join the conversation (drop me a line if you want to take part: aaron A@T thenewinquiry DO.T com). Drum roll! The 2012 shortlist (these are links to full pdfs of the stories): May 9-11 Rotimi Babatunde (Nigeria) 'Bombay's Republic'  May 16-18 Billy Kahora (Kenya) 'Urban Zoning' May 23-25 Stanley Kenani (Malawi) 'Love on Trial' May 30-June 1 Melissa Tandiwe Myambo (Zimbabwe) 'La Salle de Départ'  June 6-8 Constance Myburgh (South Africa) 'Hunter Emmanuel'  I didn't love last year's winner, NoViolet Bulawayo's "Hitting Budapest," (my post on it is here) and I haven't… Read More...

The Albatross Around Johnny Depp’s Brain

"WTF. He's got a crow in his hair. If you haven't seen the picture, google it. He's got an actual crow, a crow, a bird, a crow, a crow, a bird, in his hair, he's got a crow, a bird. He's got a bird just chilling out. He's got a crow, an actual crow..."
Apparently Johnny Depp tried to recreate the top picture in portraying Tonto, and produced the bottom picture. Take a minute to observe his interpretation: Jessica Luther says most of what needs to be said about these two pictures -- mostly about the stripes -- but I wanted to add a couple observations. The top picture is entitled "I Am Crow" and its aesthetic is not realistic: whatever you want to call that crow flying in the air behind him, the one thing it is not is a literal crow body sitting literally on his head. It's partly a trick of perspective -- the other crows in the air show it to be one of many crows far off in the distance, only apparently situated in line with his head -- but this trick of perspective is also the means by which the artist… Read More...