amor mundi

Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

Genius is born -- not paid.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Abolish Environmental Racism

"The iron law of climate change is: the less you did to cause it, the more likely you are to pay the price." -- Bill McKibben

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, September 17, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

A Hard Day Ahead

It's my long teaching day, six hours of lecture in a row are looming. Even if it's Nietzsche and Safiya Noble I'm talking about, this will be a slog. My brother called last night to let me know our father has died. He was just 79 years old. Long expected -- he has suffered from Alzheimer's nearly eight years, he hasn't recognized even close family for a couple of years now, and lately he has had some tough accidents -- and in the context of a longer political estrangement as he went from the supportive if confused pro-gay Southern bible-study Christian with whom I lived in Atlanta for a while right after college to being a supremely upsetting Fox News viewer later in our lives. I am remembering his earlier gentleness now, his insecurities, and the efforts he made to connect to his weird queer hyper-intellectual self-righteous son. Nights before my long teaching day are never easy -- I skip the cannabis assist that makes sleep a snap on other nights, and I'm always already nervous as hell anyway before a performance -- but last night I'd be surprised if I managed as much as three hours' sleep. Reminds me of the bad old insomnia nights of last winter -- but it's surely temporary. Still, I'm feeling rather bruised and bleary for the beginning of a long demanding day. We'll see how this goes.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Walk

Another long walk with Eric through sunny bucolic neighborhoods, blue skies and golden light and fading flowers, with a lettace-crisp breeze to keep us company, from brunch at our Piedmont Avenue Diner and Bakery to a quiet contemplation of our favorite big city rose garden, as beautiful as always and mostly with the whole place to ourselves. Mean to spend the rest of this afternoon prepping Nietzsche and internet history, from Standage and Lessig to Safiya Noble. I'm usually a bundle of nerves Sundays before my long teaching day, stage-fright and worries about being underprepared plague me as always, interfering all too much with the straightforward pleasures of connecting with students over interesting ideas and problems together. Since my hospitalization and then the ongoing Trumpmerican clusterfuck I've had a hard time clawing my way back to comfort and confidence in the classroom, tho' I'm back to fitness and sleeping better at any rate these days, and hope a string of successful courses will nudge me back to the pleasures I long took in teaching before this more recent couple years of distress.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, September 14, 2018

Prep...

Spent the day prepping my Nietzsche lecture for next week. For tomorrow, prepping to teach a material/practical history of what gets called "the internet." The next day? Green urbanities for my grad seminar "Designs on Us." Already, my thesis students are clamoring for meetings and students are eager to plan studio visits. Fall term really is something of a breezing buzzing confusion.

Today's Random Wilde

Nowadays we are all of us so hard up that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. They're the only things we can pay.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Shorter Teaching Day

Classes went well yesterday, this year's students seem comparatively more talkative than in recent years past, and this makes lectures more engaging. Still, the back to back lectures were demanding, and I returned home late and quite exhausted. Mondays are going to be a slog. In my graduate seminar today we turn to sustainable design discourse, Viridians, biomimicry, cradle-to-cradle, permaculture. Most of this stuff amounts to greenwashing in my opinion, but I do find Wes Jackson and the Land Institute interesting and inspiring at any rate. The Bruce Sterling Viridian stuff has not aged well at all, I am finding. My notes are far more sparse and my expectations looser for the grad seminar, today's at any rate. We'll see how the conversation unfolds...

Today's Random Wilde

To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, September 10, 2018

Long Teaching Day

Fontenelle, Kant, DuBois, Wilde, Jefferson, Barlow, Butler, and who knows who else? Lecturing from one to seven, more or less non-stop today. Should be home by 9.30. Then it's dinner and right to bed, because I'm teaching again tomorrow and need to do prep in the morning before it's off to the City again. Mondays are going to be a bear this Fall. Imagine, I'll still be at this past the mid-terms. Things may be looking a bit different by the end of term in this country. Or not.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Another World Is Possible...

Sunday Walk

Beautiful long walk after brunch at our favorite Piedmont Street diner this afternoon, walking the crest of Mountain View Cemetery, "Millionaire's Row," where vast castles and pyramids and orientalist temples mingle before the most stunning views of Oakland and San Francisco and Berkeley and the endless stretch of blue Bay and blue sky to match... last week Eric Mom's and stepmom visited (I happen to feel much closer to and more congenial with Eric's family than my own, I'll admit) and we skipped our weekly jaunt, making our return to form that much more edifying today, creatures of habit that we are. The sun was hot as it has felt for months, and yet there was a real autumnal twang in the air as well. Trees and shrubs are settling in a bit, shadows seem already to be lengthening... Monday's are my long teaching day this term, two undergraduate lectures back to back, about three hours each, a survey of critical theory imparting so much information it feels exhausting to teach on its own, and then a topical course on digital anti-democratization via cyberlibertarianism (in David Golumbia's felicitous phrase) which is of course still urgent, but these days a topic that I feel a bit burned out about even as I keep flogging my usual anti-futurological critiques. The stage-fright and preparation worries (both over and under) are pretty ferocious the day before, so our long walks are an especially welcome distraction and grounding calm as I set out to look over my notes one more time before launching into the exactions of teacher-mode.   

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Keep Fighting for the Prison Strike Agenda


Elonging

The "thought leaders" of tech fleecing their fandoms like evangelists fleecing their flocks...

Today's Random Wilde

In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, September 07, 2018

More On A Public Banking Option

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mark Paul and Assistant Professor of Economics at Loyola Marymount University Thomas Herndon make the case for a public banking option, emphasizing the historical precedent set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “A forgotten lesson of the New Deal era is that a public option for basic services can both ensure universal access and empower regulators to curtail abuses. In the case of consumer finance, a public bank would go a long way toward improving the economic security of all U.S. households.”
Apart from and a part of urgent ongoing abolition struggles -- struggles to abolish white supremacy and patriarchy, pollution and waste, police brutality, prisons, nuclear weapons, illiteracy, homelessness, food insecurity, neglected treatable diseases and malnutrition, corruption, and so much more -- the work to provide a public option for banking (in part, I hope, via an expanded postal service), a public option for healthcare (in part via Medicare buy-in and Medicaid expansion), public options for internet and phone and streaming services (in part via community co-ops and expanded commercial-free national public radio and television programs with fairness doctrines and regulations against deceptive and fraudulent advertising and misinformation practices), public alternatives for sustainable energy, transportation, and food provision (mostly through co-ops and infrastructure and organic/permaculture farms and farmer's markets built and maintained and subsidized via full guaranteed public employment at a living wage programs -- not the basic income re-feudalization scam advocated by oligarchic "thought leaders" of tech) is looking like the work of the rising generation with whatever help my own eclipsed ineffectual dwindling generation can provide them as they rise in their diversity, awareness, rage, and promise.

Today's Random Wilde

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

India Strikes Down Sodomy Laws and Endorses Principle of Equal Treatment for LGBTQ People

Nico Lang for Into
It’s official: India has struck down its century-old law criminalizing gay sex. In a historic verdict announced Thursday, a five-judge panel ruled Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is unconstitutional. First enacted during British rule in the 1860s, the colonial codes outlaw “unnatural offenses… against the order of nature.” All four opinions submitted to the court were concurring, showing unanimous agreement. Justices concluded LGBTQ people are guaranteed equal treatment under the constitution and that anti-gay discrimination violates freedom of expression.
Joyful images of joy (for example, these via Buzzfeed) bring me joy. Nice to remember, how marvelous joy is. This is great news, and there is a big rolling world for the rising, secularizing, diversifying, greening, abolition-democratizing American coalition to join up with as we destroy the last vestiges of cisheteronormative white supremacist authoritarian extractive-industrial corporate-militarism here in sick sad Trumpworld.