A poem of mine, “If the Marianas Trench Were a Gathering of Sound,” was just published in the very pretty first issue of The After Happy Hour Review, along with work from my friends Dean Matthews, Amy Hayes, and others.
Since this event is being sponsored by the Sprout Fund, I actually just heard a plug for it on Pittsburgh’s local NPR. So I thought it only appropriate to advertise here as well.
The Concourse has a great map of the ways that Hollywood films have depicted the destruction of various locales in the US.
Megan Garber at The Atlantic, “What It’s Like to be Right About the Big Bang?”
The search for Flight MH370 is revealing one thing: the ocean is filled with garbage.
Kim Stanley Robinson alert: Paul Rosenfeld, “Would You Take a One-Way Ticket to Mars?”
And as part of his forthcoming 3 million page novel, Breeze Avenue (2015), Richard Grossman has buried a crystal ball deep inside of Princeton Mountain in Colorado. The ball, “made of synthetic sapphire, which is almost as indestructible as diamond,” has the Ten Commandments inscribed on it in Hebrew, and in “20 million years, as a result of natural forces carefully calculated by the geologists, the Torah Ball will emerge from its eroded resting place and bear the Ten Commandments down the mountain.” Hyperarchivalists of the deep future rejoice!
Stephen Slemon, “The Humanities Crisis Industry.”
Simon During, “Stop Defending the Humanities.”
Timothy Burke on anxiety, academia, and the humanities: “Frame(d).”
Frederick C. Moten on “The Beauty of José Esteban Muñoz.”
Eileen Jones has a review of Wes Anderson’s new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) at Jacobin, “Wes Anderson and the Old Regime.”
Richard Brody, “Nymphomaniac: Lars Von Trier’s Joyless Sexual Tantrum.”
Alex C. Madrigal, “Why It’s Time for the Journal of Porn Studies.”
Heather Havrilesky on the contemporary injunction to “Play, Dammit.”
And more news in recently declassified nuclear stupidity that one of my students just drew my attention to (thanks Matt!): ‘”Starfish Prime” Video Shows 1962 Nuclear Explosion in Space.” “‘Starfish Prime’ [was] a test conducted in the summer of 1962 when a 1.45-megaton nuclear weapon was launched 250 miles into space above the Pacific Ocean and then detonated.”
US and International
Peter Beinart, “America is Too Broke to Rescue Ukraine.”
George Packer on understanding the Ukrainian Crisis for The New Yorker, “Terms of Crisis.”
Eric Schmitt, “Iranian Ship, in Plain View but Shrouded in Mystery, Looks Very Familiar to U.S”: “ is building a nonworking mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that United States officials say may be intended to be blown up for propaganda value.”
Radley Balko on how “overwhelming paramilitary force is on the rise”: “‘Why Did You Shoot Me? I was Reading a Book': The New Warrior Cop is Out of Control.”
In “NASA-Funded Study: Industrial Civilization Headed for ‘Irreversible Collapse’?” Nafeez Ahmed reports for The Guardian on a recent study produced by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center that “highlight[s] the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.” The most striking thing about the report to me is its interdisciplinarity, mixing bleeding edge environmental science, historical perspective, economics, Marxist cultural analysis, etc.: “Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most ‘detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners,’ allowing them to ‘continue “business as usual” despite the impending catastrophe.’ The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how ‘historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).'” We’re doomed.
Surveillance, consent, networks, numbers, the hyperarchival condition of the contemporary: Natasha Lennard writes “Of Being Numerous” for The New Inquiry.
This doesn’t seem like reading at all: the new “speed reading app.”
Rebecca Stoner in The Daily Sophist: “What’s Love Got to Do with Anything? DFW Biographer D.T. Max Speaks on Campus.”
“A Game is Being Beaten” by Leigh Alexander at The New Inquiry: “The trend in video game design is to comment on violence by asking players to perform violence. But could there be pleasure in performing consent?”
“How Benjamin Kunkel Went from Novelist to Marxist Public Intellectual” by David Wallace-Wells at Vulture.
A(nother) soundtrack for the apocalypse. Track 1 seems especially doomy. (Thanks Michael.)
My good friend Ryan Pierson on The Lego Movie: “On the Nonessential Beauty of Legos.”
And because I saw it yesterday and enjoyed it (though I am a bit confounded by this fact), another: Andrew O’hehir for Salon: “The Lego Movie: Plastic Blocks Fight for Freedom!”
German philosophers play Monopoly. (I wonder what would happen if they got a game of Risk [The Game of Ruining Friendships] going.)
And sad news in hyperarchival realism. Google is redoing its Street View for many places in Pittsburgh, and thus Ben Kinsley and Robin Hewlett’s wonderful Street With a View is going away. (Right now it goes from a marching band in the rain to a deserted, sunny street. Uncanny.) Ah, the transitory internet–perhaps it isn’t an archive at all, for really, how do we archive the present in the present. . . .
A short film on Street With a View:
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 one of my former students, Amy Hayes, 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.