I am quite pleased to announce that, for the first time in quite a while, I will be reading some of my poems at Assemble in Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday, 27 March 2014. The reading has been put on by the Hour After Happy Hour Writing Workshop & Journal. Weenta Girmay, Tyson Himes, Jessica McNally, Jason Peck, and a surprise guest will also be reading. I am quite looking forward to sharing some of my recent writing with an audience. It has been far too long.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian President and autocrat, had a plan for the winter of 2014: to reassert his country’s power a generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He thought that he would achieve this by building an Olympic wonderland on the Black Sea for fifty-one billion dollars and putting on a dazzling television show. It turns out that he will finish the season in a more ruthless fashion, by invading a peninsula on the Black Sea and putting on quite a different show—a demonstration war that could splinter a sovereign country and turn very bloody, very quickly.
In other news, Luke O’Neil has a piece in Esquire: “The Year We Broke the Internet: An Explanation, an Apology, a Plea.”
From my old neck of the woods, “Say Goodbye to Phoenix–And the American West.”
And a blast from the past. A video for The Faint‘s new single, “Help in the Head,” from their forthcoming album Doom Abuse. I cannot help but see this video as a paranoid reflection on the total surveillance of contemporaneity.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a discussion of Elaine Scarry‘s new book, Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom (2014). Nathan Schneider has written an extensive review of Thermonuclear Monarchy, “A Literary Scholar’s Voice in the Wilderness: Elaine Scarry Fights American Complacency About Nuclear Arms.” Scarry is also the author of the monumentally important, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (1987).
“Feminism, Depravity, and Power in House of Cards.” I just finished watching the fairly incredible second season last night.
Nicholas K. Geranios has has reported for the AP that “Whistle-blower Donna Busche, who raised safety concerns at the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site, was fired Tuesday from her job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.” I feel like there’s been quite of bit of this kind of thing lately.
“The NSA and Climate Change: What We Know So Far,” by Joshua Eaton.
“How Iowa Flattened Literature,” or rather, the CIA and the Writer’s Workshop.
NASA is going to turn the moon into computronium, ur, I mean give licenses to mine it.
Dragonlance should be the next fantasy movie franchise. I agree, esp. if it means they make the Legends series into films.
A new anthology of post-apocalyptic fiction, Wastelands 2, edited by John Joseph Adams.
A pretty scathing review of Matthew Barney’s River of Fundament (2014) that actually makes me want to see it more.
And a book I had an essay appear in last year, The Silence of Fallout: Nuclear Criticism in a Post-Cold War World, was just selected as one of Zer0 Books‘ best books of 2013.
The New York Review of Books just put up the audio for a conference it held on “Power, Privacy, and the Internet.” The conference was held 30-31 October 2013 in New York City, and there are some significant people that took part. (I also note that the image they used for the page is the same as the cover of Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge .) Here is Simon Head addressing the themes of the conference:
The Internet is a transformative technology of our times and it is changing our lives as perhaps nothing else has done since the coming of the telephone, the telegraph, and the mass production automobile a century and more ago. Where the Internet surpasses these earlier technologies is in the speed with which its reach is expanding—in our contacts with one another through Twitter and Facebook, in what we read, hear, and buy; in our dealings with business, government, colleges and schools, and they in their dealings with us. Whether we like it or not we are caught up in these flows of technology and as we are carried along by the flows, some barely visible to us, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand back and distinguish between what is good about these innovations and what is not.
I am especially interested in listening to the panel on “The Internet, the Book, and the University Library,” with Robert Darnton and Anthony Grafton. (Among Grafton’s many other accomplishments, he is also the author of The Footnote: A Curious History [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997], a surprisingly fascinating history of the footnote that I read a few years ago to help me think about David Foster Wallace’s use of footnotes, something I never really ended up working on. . . .)