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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Trump Is Indeed Presidential -- For Republicans

By far the majority of Republicans haven't stood for anything but white resentment and the infantile pleasure of reflexively pissing off liberals on every given issue whatever the merits for at least twenty years now, and Trump is precisely what looks "Presidential" from that vantage: He is the son of a Klansman and is a vulgar eugenicist reacting impulsively from moment to moment to perceived sleights while forever on the lookout for occasions to assert personal dominance, without anything like principles or a plan or even a sense of the day after tomorrow to guide him. His whole life and certainly his whole campaign modeled the Presidency with which we are now grappling: his voters have got what they wanted, though many of the worst of them clearly want even more of the worst of it. If you do not proceed on that understanding (and if that understanding isn't enough to get you out in protest now and into a voting booth as soon as possible) you probably cannot be reached or relied on as far as I'm concerned. The genocidal bigot and bully Andrew Jackson was similarly "Presidential." Trump Presidential is not so very far from war criminal W. Presidential less than a decade ago. None of this is the least bit surprising or unexpected.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wrapping the Present

Just ordered some new clothes for fall, something of an early birthday present to myself. At this point I've lost over sixty pounds this year and most of my shirts ensphere me like stadium domes and my trousers fall right down about my ankles without a belt clutching them tight. It all feels rather unreal, and distinctly strange spending hundreds of dollars on clothes I wouldn't have been able to wear for the last decade or even six months ago, really. I still superstitiously keep all my circus tent clothes folded in a drawer for the day when all that weight suddenly re-appears. Be all that as it may, I don't think I can maintain my professorial ethos while swimming in folds of fabric -- so a new wardrobe it needs must be. Of course, I'm still sticking to the changed eating and exercising habits that brought me to this pretty pass, and so there is the added perplexity that I might shrink still more in months to come, enough to render today's investment a bit moot. It's not like I'm skinny again yet -- as I was back in the days of the W. Bush administration, say. Man, these Republican assholes really wear me down to a nub.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Charlottesville Syllabus

Professor Walter Greason's Suggested Resources on Collective Racial Violence in the US Storified here. It is good this harrowing compendium of documentary video is made so handily and concisely available. Professor Greason says early on that a course he taught based on all the materials presented here was so traumatizing for students he subsequently separated the material into several different courses. Later in the thread, asked who should be taught this material he proposed: "Advanced students in junior high; most students in high school; everyone in higher education." Of course, far from everyone in higher education is confronted with this history. Traumatizing though it may be, in Trumpmerica conveying and processing this history with students is absolutely necessary work.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wake Up And Smell the Nazis

Hard to believe, but some, it seems, are only just now sniffing the white aynrancid wind.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday's Walk

Took a break from end of term grading to walk with Eric to a diner on Piedmont Avenue for omelettes, then walked further along to the beautiful Morcom Rose Garden where the trickle of the stepped waterfall and the faint perfume of roses in the air had hardly anyone to compete with for our attention -- since there was almost nobody else with us there in that truly magical place, and on a warm sunny blue-skied Sunday yet.     

Tolkien Snubs the Nazis

This is doing the rounds today, but I guess I found it a heartening reminder too.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Unnovation

For every substantial innovation, a thousand repackagings of failure and stasis as "innovation."

Tech + Company =

Appending the word "tech" to "company" rarely says anything about technology but usually signals everything about irresponsibility.

Monday, August 07, 2017

All the intelligence in so-called AI is in the people coding and using it.

Artificial Intelligence as a discourse functions primarily to deny responsibility for and disavow knowledge of the crimes, frauds, and abuses enabled and mediated by algorithms.

It Shouldn't Work -- But It Does

Republicans break government when elected so they can declare government broken to get elected.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Yep

One Week To Go...

My last week of instruction beckons... All their midterms are graded, all the works are read, my lecture notes are just sketches and I'm on my last legs, but I am as ready as I ever will be to take on a last, vast avalanche of papers and final projects... and scarcely two weeks ahead I begin two brand new courses for the Fall in the City, a course on queer manifestos and another on conceptions of political "nonviolence" at the Art Institute. It's been months since I gave these upcoming courses any thought, immersed as I have been in the daily scrum of lecturing- preparing- and-grading my way through these bonkers intensives, and the minute I do give them thought I am immediately in a hot strobing panic to prepare anew... but I honestly can't divert my energy into the next teaching tasks until these summer intensives are done. Onward, here we go...