A Few More October Links

October 16, 2014


Jason Schreier, “It Took Two Years To Make Final Fantasy VII‘s Midgar in Minecraft.”

It Took Two Years To Make Final Fantasy VII's Midgar In Minecraft

And more in huge fantasy worlds created in Minecraft: Laura Hudson, “How Fans Created Game of Thrones in a Minecraft Map the Size of LA.”

And I think this may very well be the death-knell of the age of superhero blockbusters (but also a megatext I’ll be writing about in, say, 2022): Dee Lockett, “DC Announces 10 New Superhero Films in Next Six Years, Including Wonder Woman (and Suicide Squad [!?] and Shazam [!?] and Cyborg [!?] . . . this can’t go well).


Literature and Culture

Sarah Brouillette, “Literature Is Liberalism: The Nobel Prize’s Wish to Separate Literature from Politics Isn’t Just Misguided. It’s Impossible.”

Zachary Loeb, “Program or Be Programmed,” a review of Wendy Chun, Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT Press, 2013).

LM Sacasas, “Our Very Own Francis Bacon,” a review of Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.

In news revolving in a Pynchonian orbit: Markus Krajewski, “The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy.” The Phoebus cartel engineered a shorter-lived lightbulb and gave birth to planned obsolescence. (Poor Byron.)

Ian Bogost, “Why Anything But Games Matters: On Isolationism in Game Development.”

Kyle Wagner, “The Future of the Culture Wars Is Here, and It’s Gamergate.”

Nick Wingfield, “Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats in ‘GamerGate’ Campaign.”

Briana Wu, “No Skin Thick Enough: The Daily Harassment of Women in the Game Industry.”

The abandoned mall in Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher, 2014).

Tampon Run.

Adriana E. Ramirez reviews Ghosts in the Machine: A Short Story Anthology.

And my colleauge at Pitt, Dana Och, and others debate the return of Twin Peaks.

Milemarker Circa 199?

October 12, 2014

I’ve been looking for a video from this period of Milemarker’s oeuvre for years. When they were touring in all black and having Roby Newton screaming/playing the lights, when I saw them for the first time, it was something else.

October Links

October 12, 2014

Hyperarchivalism and Big Data

Evgeny Morozov, “The Planning Machine: Cybersyn and the Origins of the Big Data Nation.”

Frank Pasquale reviews Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century: “Capital’s Offense: Law’s Entrenchment of Inequality.”

Nathan Jurgenson, “View From Nowhere: On the Cultural Ideology of Big Data.”

Cathy O’Neil, “Who Big Data Thinks We Are (When It Thinks We’re Not Looking),” a review of Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking).

Julia Prescott, “We Saw the World’s First Throne Made Out of Jerry Macguire VHS Tapes.”

And Torie Rose DeGhett, “The War Photo No One Would Publish.”


Literature and Culture

Carolyn Kellog on Patrick Modiano Winning the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature.

A short story from Haruki Murakami, “Scheherazade.”

Tracy K. Smith, “Sci-Fi.”

Michael Nordine, “Muted Golden Sunshine: David Lynch’s Los Angeles.”

Alison Flood, “Creative Writing Courses Are Killing Western Literature, Claims Nobel Judge.” (Someone needs to read Mark McGurl’s The Program Era [2009].)

Forrest Wickman, “The Honest Trailer for Transformers 4 Is a Masterpiece.”

Alexandra Alter, “Literary Biography of Jonathan Franzen to Appear Next Year.”

Manhattan Projects no. 24 has one of the more bizarre takes on the JFK assassination I’ve ever seen.

And Lauren Williamson, “The Alternate-Reality Games That Teach Kids the Cause and Effect of Their Circumstances.”


Humanities and Higher Education

Lynn O’Shaughnessay, “Where to Get a Free College Degree.”

The Trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Adaptation of Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and Other Links

October 6, 2014

Life has been quite busy, so I don’t even have that big of a backlog of links, but there’s been some interesting things afoot and I’m way behind on some of this stuff. So, without further ado. . . .

The trailer to Paul Thomas Anderson’s forthcoming adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice (2009) should be required viewing:

Logan Hill, “Pynchon’s Cameo, and Other Surrealities: Paul Thomas Anderson Films Inherent Vice.”

And a reflection on the trailer from some of the people at Grantland.


Environment and the Future

The sixth extinction event . . . Damian Carrington, “Earth Has Lost Half of Its Wildlife in the Past 40 Years, Says WWF.” !!!

Ian Bogost, “Future Ennui.”



Arif Dirlik, “Crisis and Criticism: The Predicament of Global Modernity.”

David Golumbia and David Simpson begin a conversation about drones.

Tom McKay, “Here’s the Ingenious Way Protesters in Hong Kong Are Organizing Themselves.”

Andrew Jacobs, “Chinese Web Censors Struggle with Hong Kong Protest.”



“Rethinking the Origins of the Universe.”


Literature and Culture

Joyce Carol Oates, “The Death Factory: Martin Amis’s The Zone of Interest.”

Zachary Loeb, “All Hitherto Existing Media,” a review of Christian Fuchs, Social Media: A Critical Introduction.

Vauhini Vara, “Ello’s Anti-Facebook Movement.”

Jay Caspian King, “ISIS’s Call of Duty.”

Michael Agger, “The Minecraft Parent.”

“The White Women of Empire.”

Joe Fassler, “David Mitchell on How to Write: ‘Neglect Everything Else.'”

Jillian Steinhauer, “Why Artworks Are Like People.”

Sasha Simic, “A Critique of the Gotham Programme: Marxism and Superheroes.”

Peter Frase, “In Defense of Gamers.”

The Modernist Studies Association Conference is coming to Pittsburgh.

Steph Roman, “Final Fantasy XV’s All-Male Cast: Why This Is Problematic.”

And this is about the most adorable/punk rock thing ever: a fifth grader on The Dead Kennedys.


Humanities and Higher Education

Rebeccas Schuman generates some controversy with “Why Your Cousin with a PhD Is a Basket Case.” Because, as I posted a while ago, Amanda Ann Klein already basically wrote this (part 1 and part 2) at Judgmental Observer.

David Francis Mihalyfy, “Higher Education’s Aristocrats.”

Danny Dorling, “Tuition Fees: A Bonanza for the 1%.”

Jon Wu, “A Generic College Paper.”

Two New Poems: “Oceanic” and “Survival City”

September 28, 2014

I am delighted to say that two new poems of mine just went up at the Organism for Poetic Research‘s journal, PELT, in its third volume. The poems are “Oceanic” and “Survival City.”

Organism for Poetic Research Launches Volume 3 of PELT in NYC

September 23, 2014


For anyone in New York (I’m not, sadly), go check out the launch of volume 3 of PELT, a journal published by the Organism for Poetic Research, in which I have two poems. This volume of PELT is a special issue on “Sci-Pulp Poetics.” The launch will be accompanied by a reading at Wendy’s Subway this Friday, September 26th at 7:00 pm. Wendy’s Subway is at 722 Metropolitan Avenue, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11206 and can be reached by taking the L train to Graham Ave.

There will be readings and performances by:
The Organism for Poetic Research
Anna Gurton-Wachter
Tiziana LaMelia
& Morgan Vo
Film Screenings by Amie Robinson (Nykur) and Sonia Levy (Pôle)
& more

The movie begins in this flat, journalistic style. A universe with a long natural history, spotted with strange and alluring artifacts of various ‘forerunner’ species. Plaster slides from the walls in the house it rains inside of; he feels for the tissue of sci-fi without the story. So, we invite the dystopian poetics of paranoia and ESP-powered feline-hybrids. “It is as if a cleavage, time, had opened in the floor.”

The US Is Modernizing Its Nuclear Arsenal and Backsliding on Nuclear Promises

September 23, 2014

In the past two days it has been reported that the US is undertaking an “atomic revitalization,” and will spend a significant amount of money modernizing its nuclear arsenal. William J. Broad and David E. Sanger report on the new direction in US Nuclear policy for The New York Times in “U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms.” They write that there is a “nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price tag, over the next three decades, at up to a trillion dollars. This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for ‘a nuclear-free world’ and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy. The original idea was that modest rebuilding of the nation’s crumbling nuclear complex would speed arms refurbishment, raising confidence in the arsenal’s reliability and paving the way for new treaties that would significantly cut the number of warheads. Instead, because of political deals and geopolitical crises, the Obama administration is engaging in extensive atomic rebuilding while getting only modest arms reductions in return.”

And the editorial board of the Times, in “Backsliding on Nuclear Promises,” also weighs in : “the Congressional Budget Office now estimates that Mr. Obama’s plans will cost $355 billion over the next decade; other studies put the price at $1 trillion over three decades. The wish list includes 12 new missile submarines, up to 100 new bombers, 400 land-based missiles, plus upgrades to eight major plants and laboratories. . . . Not only is this spending unwise and beyond what the nation can afford, multiple studies by the Government Accountability Office have described the modernization push as badly managed. In a statement released on Monday, nuclear weapons experts from the Arms Control Association, the Federation of American Scientists and others called the modernization plan excessive and said the country can reduce the number of missiles and bombers it buys and still maintain a safe and reliable nuclear arsenal. . . . Investing in nuclear security protects Americans more than unwise investment in new nuclear weapons.”


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