[Thought I had lost this post. Now I’m going to have to finish the job, but not today. -CW]
What kind of items did I find so interesting in the last few weeks that I wanted to either link them or save them for a closer read when I had more time? Let me share them with you now so that I can finally clear off my bookmarks. Passages in italics are direct quotes from the link in question. I’ve done this in order to give fair warning to my non-political friends that herein lies material that may cause annoyance.
1. This appreciator of cartoons hates ‘tude. I’m kind of with him on this.
2. Do I qualify for a grant to go back to school? Beats me. Right now I don’t trust anything involving money. Pass.
3. One of my favorite links: More about the Iliad than you’ll ever need to know unless you’re a Classics major.
4. “Though there’s much in the video that’s shocking, somehow the part that stands out to me is when Shane Smith began to sing karaoke and his tour guides looked at him as if he were crazy because they had no idea music like that existed.
“How many people in North Korea have never heard rock ‘n roll? How many are convinced that their state of affairs is normal–no, better than the rest of the world?
“How many starve?”
5. One of my favorite groups, Madness, made a movie back in the 80s. It was news to me. What I liked about it was that because they weren’t actors and they more or less had to ad lib what their conversations would have been like (or hopefully as they remembered them), it comes off as quite real. There is, in fact, very little movie-style conversation in a band situation. One either wants to pointedly say something critical or avoid saying something critical altogether, which means lots of “um’s” and/or “screw you’s.” I always went for “um,” being essentially passive/aggressive myself, and easily bored. I wouldn’t have me in a band, is what I’m saying.
6. They must be stopped before they take over the world. Their insidious beaver handiwork can be seen from space.
7. Jerry Pournelle: He’s not just an excellent sci-fi author; he’s also a cranky, conservative blogger. My kind of guy.
8. The Jack Vance archive. Seemed more interesting a month ago. Maybe when I go through my next Vance binge . . .
9. Star Wars vs. Star Trek. A Plague on both their houses is my usual attitude these days.
10. Level 42’s Mark King makes my jaws drop. Fantastic bassist.
11. “For hermeneutics, a text means what its author intends but also necessarily more, acquiring new meanings as readers apply it to new situations. For deconstruction, an author can never succeed in determining the meaning of a text; every text participates in a code that necessarily eludes authorial control. Since both these projects are committed to the view that a text can mean something other than what its author intends, they are also committed to the view that a text derives its identity from something other than authorial intention. The text is what it is, no matter what meaning is assigned to it by its author and no matter how that meaning is revised by its readers. What gives a text its autonomous identity? On most accounts, the answer is linguistic convention—the semantic and syntactic rules of the language in which the text was written. One of the aims of this course, then, is to question the notion that there can be any plausible criteria of textual identity that can function independent of authorial intention. Because there can be no such criteria, I’ll argue, nonmethodological versions of interpretive theory are as incoherent as methodological ones and, like the methodological ones, should be abandoned.”
12. Remember when George Lucas could actually get the audience involved in what was happening on the screen? Before his movie budgets got real big?
13. “Moreover, agreeing to harvest organs from euthanasia/assisted suicides raises the very realistic prospect that despairing people with terminal illnesses or disabilities (or perhaps, just despair) could latch onto being killed for their organs as a way of bringing meaning to their lives. This is very dangerous territory, made all the more treacherous by doctors, spouses, and a respected medical journal validating the ideas that dead is better than disabled and that living patients can, essentially, be viewed as a natural resource to be killed and mined.”
14. “Are these movies ultimately condescending to blacks? After all, the white protagonist, the person who will be saved or damned according to his decisions, is invariably more interesting than the serene black angel hovering nearby. Indeed, the condescension, if such it is, is a cinematic version of affirmative action—a denial to blacks of Everyman’s struggle for salvation; a magnanimous extension to them of paradise.”
16. The Institute of Official Cheer is going on the blogroll.
17. “But a hater like Cone is far from anomalous in West’s circle of friends. As an undergraduate at Harvard, young Corn was elected co-president of the Black Student Association, in which capacity he invited prominent speakers: “At the top of my list was Imamu Amiri Baraka, a seminal man of letters, a revolutionary black nationalist and a mesmerizing poet. I had the high honor of introducing him.” Amiri Baraka, a.k.a. LeRoi Jones, was also by then a notorious black racist, gay-basher (“Most white men are trained to be fags. For this reason it is no wonder their faces are weak and blank . . . ”), and anti-Semite (“Smile jew. Dance jew. Tell me you love me, jew. I got something for you now, though. . . . I got the extermination blues, jew boys”). These rancid statements are absorbed and disappear into the jive ecumenical miasma of West’s “thought.” All that matters to West is that his “brother” Baraka is a fellow progressive at war with imperial America and its “white supremacist” masters.
By the early Seventies, when West tendered the invitation to Baraka, the Harvard community no longer had the moral intelligence to be appalled by such a gesture. When the event took place, the malice-drenched “poet,” Baraka, actually turned on his host, attacking him as “a two-bit Eurocentric wrong-headed boot-licking pseudo-Marxist slave to Western thought.” And West just stood there with the indomitable gap-toothed smile that was to become the signature of his public persona.”
19. Experimental Gummy Bear Surgery. Years ago, Evan and I worked at a Morrow’s Nut House (or whatever it was called) and I remember that Evan kept a growing collection of mutant Gummy Bears. Made perfect sense then; makes perfect sense now.
20. Another article on the death of print.
21. I’m a sucker for any good Shakespeare pun.
Man. Lots more to do yet. Gonna be a busy weekend.