Sunday Reading

Sunday rhymes with Zungu, especially on Zaturday.
Sunday reading, as usual, blah blah. EXCEPT! Today, with special bonus link roundups from two awesome guests! Scroll down to the bottom... Occupy the Farm: Whole Foods, Your Tax Dollars and Occupy the Farm, a model of action Ideology and Electricity: The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss Makode Linde–the ‘Swedish Cake’ artist–explains himself The verdict on Charles Taylor and The Verdict on Charles Taylor (Take Two) What's at Stake on May Day Kenyan Afro-jazz trumpeter and composer Christine Kamau Africa News Roundup Anatomy of a Hoax and Media Credulity Why I Don't Care if You Go To Graduate School Forgiving Dead Student's Zombie Loans Slavoj Zizek: 2011 Year of Living Dangerously  Mad Cow California  Historic NYC Photos The Debate over Student Loan Interest is Nothing But A Sideshow: "Keeping the cost of borrowed money a bit lower for one… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Why? Because it's there.
 Elia Suleiman's cinema as the premonition of the Arab revolutions WHEN INCOME REDISTRIBUTION IS OK: THE LOTTERY, PART 1 and RUNNING THE NUMBERS: THE LOTTERY, PART 2 Jefferson, Paine, and the Question of Generations Obama Gets Away With Legal Moves Bush Wouldn’t Have Nasser is not Hamlet Dear Ayn Rand People Power 2.0 Backdrop. Dark Arts Summit 39 Ways to Limit Free Speech The amiable madness of Green Acres Undocumented Immigrants Paid $11.2 Billion In Taxes While GE Paid Nothing Middle East memes: a guide Voices from Solitary: Waking Nightmares 40 Years of Solitary Confinement: Resisting Social Death at Angola Prison, Louisiana Michael Hudson: Productivity, The Miracle of Compound Interest, and Poverty: Suppose you were alive back in 1945 and were told about all the new technology that would be invented between then and now: the computers and internet, mobile phones and… Read More...

Reading Katehi: The Pepper Spray Chancellor

“our context at the time was seeing what’s happening in the City of Oakland...my fear is a longterm occupation with a number of tents where we have an undergraduate student and a non-affiliate and there’s an incident. And then I’m reporting to a parent that a nonaffiliate has done this unthinkable act with your daughter,
When confronted with a sentence like this one (is it only one?), it's difficult to know how to respond: “We were worried at the time about [nonaffiliates] because the issues from Oakland were in the news and the use of drugs and sex and other things, and you know here we have very young students . . . we were worried especially about having very young girls and other students with older people who come from the outside without any knowledge of their record . . . if anything happens to any student while we’re in violation of policy, it’s a very tough thing to overcome.” That's Linda Katehi, the Chancellor of UC Davis, explaining her decision to send police to clear away the Occupy encampment on the Davis campus, a decision that quickly led to the now infamous "pepper… Read More...

The Privileged White Men of Treme, and Their Hard Working Others

...however much the show might occasionally be tempted by the jouissance that Davis celebrates and represents -- the overriding imperative to work as little as possible -- the show’s much more powerful rebuke to that perspective comes from the incredible labor that goes into hand-stitching the feathered Indian costumes worn to great effect by Albert
While I found it useful to read Adolph Reed’s very biting answer to the question of why The Wire is so much better than Treme, I also didn’t find it very satisfactory. Mainly the problem is that Reed wants Treme to be a different kind of show than it ever seems to have tried to be, not only demanding that it “help us make sense of the social forces that have produced New Orleans and its patterns of social relations and that will shape its and its residents’ future” but demanding a kind of cultural politics that seems quite foreign to the aesthetic that has defined David Simon’s work. I’ll say more about what I think Treme actually is, in a moment. For the moment, I will just say that I suspect Reed didn’t watch Treme to learn something new… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Today, Sunday happens on Sunday. But it doesn't always.
Empire’s Ways of Knowing - The Mystery of Chapatis The Bumpy Road to May Day Red State Gun Culture Kills Cops Speculation and Criminal Manipulation of Food and Commodities PRices In Which I Rain on Everyone’s Cory Booker Parade Rape victims say military labels them 'crazy' Fix income inequality with $10 million loans for everyone! Patients Occupy Mental Health Clinic To Prevent Closure Sahrawi Music isn't easy on Western ears ‘FILIPINOS BELONG TO GEOGRAPHY’ Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 4: An earthquake before spent fuel rods are moved to safe storage would be “the end” Einer Elhauge: If Health Insurance Mandates Are Unconstitutional, Why Did The Founding Fathers Back Them? “Code is law.” Literally. Witness for the Prosecution How 25 National Magazine Award Nominations Went To 25 Male Writers Airplane Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style Paul Feig on Freaks and Geeks… Read More...

Sunday Reading

This week, we begin and end with briefs.
Three New Briefs Confirm It: The Minimum Wage is Way Too Low Shakespeare, Visualised Saudi Arabia's Use of Water Trash the Stache The Black Flag Flies in Mali The Secret Science of Memorable Quotes The Jungle, revisited Manan's "Slow Burn Lahore": Meeting Old Masters, “This is My Culture,” See Through Cement Apparently there is a thing called "The New Aesthetic"; by Bruce Sterling: An Essay on the New Aesthetic, and two responses: New Aesthetics — New Politics and The New Aesthetics of the male gaze What happens when social surveillance goes mainstream? "Empty Buildings Are the Crime": Occupy SF Commune Evicted After One Day Stranger Orientalism Hired Guns on Astroturf: How to Buy and Sell School Reform The Case Against Passion Walking is Political Looking at a Foreclosure Ground Zero: Jacksonville, Florida Betty Draper Francis Needs Your… Ice Cream? A Few Notes on the Evil TV… Read More...

We Cannot Afford to Protect the Anuses of the Condemned

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects shall not be violated unless it would be difficult to determine whether individual detainees fall within the proposed exemption. No Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause and describing the place to be searched except in cases where the seriousness
Strip searches are invasions of your privacy. If there is one part of you that you have a right to keep private, under normal circumstances, it is your "private parts." The question, then, is when and how and why you might (permanently or temporarily) lose that right. At what point does your normal and reasonable right to privacy and security from search go away? What would justify that? Yesterday, as the Washington Post put it, the Supreme Court "upholds jail strip searches, including for minor offenses"; as the New York Times wrote "Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest"; and as the AP headlines it: "People arrested on minor charges can be strip searched, Supreme Court rules." And I'm interested in these headlines because the words "offenses," "arrests," and "charges" are all ways of demarcating the moment the state judges a person… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Because it isn't Sunday, it is Sunday.
Results of the ACLU's Records Request on Policing and Surveillance of Cell Phones: Frequent Violations of Americans' Privacy Rights "Cellular phones have become the virtual biographer of our daily activities. It tracks who we talk to and whe r e we are. It will log calls, take pictures, and keep our contact list close at hand. In short it has become an indispensable piece of evidence in a criminal investigation. Want to know where your suspect was last Saturday? The cellular service provider can provide you the location information of the cellular phone as it relates to the provider's network. What about the last person your victim called? Both the cellular phone and the cellular provider will keep a record of this . How about finding gang member photos associated with their gang moniker? It will be located within their… Read More...

Sunday Reading

It's Sunday somewhere.
Occupy the War Machine Government Jobs Buoyed Bush’s Economy And Sunk Obama’s The Foreign Language of 'Mad Men' The Drone of Permanent War Capitalism: A Ghost Story Obama’s Creepy Executive Order: Permanent War Economy UC Berkeley and Its Lawful Business How Not to Study Gender in the Middle East The Sorrows of the Affluent; or, Notes Toward a Speculative Romney-Fiction The Myth of Middle East Reporting Bifo says relax The Hiring Hall and the Home Defense Trayvon Martin and the History of Lynching Edmund Wilson’s Patriotic Gore: One of the most important and confounding books ever written about the Civil War Bruce Schneier on TSA security: ...in the entire decade or so of airport security since the attacks on America on September 11th 2001, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not foiled a single terrorist plot or caught a single… Read More...

The Jimmy McNulty Gambit: Mike Daisey and the Thickening Crust of Our Awareness

...if truth and fiction are not black and white – and they are not – then it is simply not enough to condemn Mike Daisey for lying...
In season five of The Wire, Jimmy McNulty invents a serial killer and tries to use the press to spur a systemic reaction to an irritant that doesn’t really exist, but also sort of does exist. Marlo, after all, is actually a serial killer, just not the kind that anyone really wants to actually try to stop. So he invents one that the system really does dislike, the kind of sensational killer that gets people excited. This fails, of course, but that’s not the important thing; the important thing is why he even tried. After all, Jimmy McNulty’s problem is not only that he’s an unscrupulous narcissist, but that he combines that quality with a streak of good intentions, a kind of idealism and desire to do some version of the right thing. Cynics and fatalists wouldn’t fall into this trap, because… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Meanwhile, on the internet.
The Hand That Feeds: "Any intellectual project that begins with the premise of the power elite’s positive contribution to American social progress will be necessarily deaf, blind, and tasteless." The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center Birth Control McCarthyism Pussies vs. Dicks in Putin's Russia Greece on the breadline: cashless currency takes off The Irish Begin to Wake Up to the Fact That They are Repaying Money That is Then Burned Jadaliyya's Syria Media Roundup (March 15) When Americans Made Toys By Hand: Inside a 1915 Teddy Bear Factory On South African Desis Three Crises in Higher Ed Affordability Two Parks Were Occupied Today. In One, People Were Beaten. In the Other, Ice Cream. For U.S. universities, a failing grade in economics Dysfunctional and Codependent “The book reader of the future”, 1935 No Exit? Imagining Radical RefusalHow do… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Every week, the internet says a bunch of things. Here are SEVERAL of them.
The First Black Disney Princess Loves Watermelon Gay marriage and birth control: Why not? and The questionability of the traditional family Margaret Atwood in the Twittersphere The Scourge of Overemployment The Journey of Everywoman The 1% Had a Fantastic 2010 Exotic Dancers in 1890 and the Plump Body Ideal » Sociological Images Weaponizing the Body Politic Professional Boredom The unpalatable Manto, More on the unpalatable Manto, Naya Qanoon censored, and History and the textbook board Ludic Despair: HBO in Dixie Mining the Grid in San Francisco Johnny Depp as Cultural Appropriation Jack Sparrow...I mean Tonto. Raising Taxes on Rich does not Slow Jobs Growth (video) Fight Birth Control Battle Over the Counter GROUPTHINK: The brainstorming myth. People Who Think Carl Weathers Is Joseph Kony Jadaliyya Roundtable on Targeted Killing The politics of bread in Egypt Doug Henwood with Vijay Prashad and Sean… Read More...

On the genre of “Raising Awareness about Someone Else’s Suffering.”

A propos of absolutely nothing, a few texts I’ve found helpful in unpacking the aforementioned genre, in no particular order...
A propos of absolutely nothing, a few texts I’ve found helpful in unpacking the aforementioned genre, in no particular order: 1. Binyavanga Wainaina’s “How to Write About Africa.” You’ve probably read it already – and if you haven’t, get on that – but I need to get that out of the way first. It’s the entrance to any serious conversation, the prerequisite. Not just because he’s right, but because it’s funny. And its funny because it comes from a place of exhaustion, of total and complete exasperated frustration. That’s important, because it helps you understand how omnipresent this shit is, what an unstoppable energizer bunny of neverendingness it is. Humor isn’t enough, is never enough – after all, how can you satirize people who satirize themselves? – but the recourse to it tellingly reflects an experience that you need to… Read More...

Sunday Reading

Propaganda, Lies and Suppression of Constitutional Rights by the Oakland Mayor’s Office, DA and OPD Nothing Was Desirable: A Review Of ‘Punk In Africa’ Palestine…
Propaganda, Lies and Suppression of Constitutional Rights by the Oakland Mayor’s Office, DA and OPD Nothing Was Desirable: A Review Of ‘Punk In Africa’ Palestine Diaries A Proposal for Upgrading Bangalore's Leprosy Colony The Earnest Orientalist THE OFFICIAL KICKSTARTER PAGE FOR GREECE Smoking Kids The End of Taking the Syrian Revolution at Face Value Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche and On Making Yourself Right Where is Mario Savio when we need him? Class Warfare in the USA The novelist and the oil company Matt Taibbi on Bank of America Consequences of an attack on Iran are no joke "The recession has redefined our sense of home -- so movie heroes, like villains once did, now live in chilly lairs" Sid Meier’s Colonization: Is it offensive enough? Dissent Magazine - Arguing The World - Partial Readings: Student Debt Here Comes the Sun,… Read More...

The Deep Resentment of Having to Think About It: Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke

...why “privilege” is so importantly different from power or bigotry: privilege must remain ignorant of itself, because it’s the right to enjoy benefits which you aren’t even aware that others get denied...
This is a small point, but still worth making: Rush Limbaugh didn't attack Sandra Fluke because of her or anyone else's sexual behavior. Given his personal history -- and his more general ideological proclivities -- it's fair to say that he is vigorously protective of behaviors which are, as a function of what they are, fundamentally dependent on women who behave precisely in the manner of the straw-woman he is attacking. That's not what this is about. Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a "slut" because she asserted her right to speak publicly about and make publicly thinkable a set of experiences and problems that he has a very direct and personal interest in excluding from public space. The broader ideological question which Congress was ostensibly discussing -- the question of whether a religious institution can object to covering forms of medical care on the basis of… Read More...

On Privatization and Brutalizing Campuses

We knew he was out of town while campus police were brutalizing their campus, but that's all we knew.
(By Gina Patnaik and Aaron Bady, both graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley) Last November, a few days after videos of riot police beating Berkeley student protestors were blowing up on youtube, an article in the New York Times announced that UC-Berkeley's Chancellor Robert Birgeneau had been travelling to establish a satellite campus within the intimate confines of Shanghai’s Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park. Because Birgeneau had been in Asia during the entirety of the week leading up to and following the events of that day, he had had very little to say about what was happening on his campus, with the exception of two extremely tin-eared and downright offensive emails. We knew he was out of town while campus police were brutalizing their campus, but that's all we knew. (photo via OccupyCal) In retrospect, though, the chancellor’s junket is… Read More...