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

Monday, December 31, 2018

Year's Last Tweet

As always (not that I really tweet much of anything these days really),

ABBA New Year To You All!

As every year....

2018 turned out to be a better year than 2017 was for me personally, even if the first few months were something of rough patch, to say the least, but at least this New Year's doesn't feel like these last two did...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sunday Walk

It felt quite cold this morning as we struck out into the neighborhood for our long walk and brunch at the Piedmont Avenue Cafe, but we soon enough felt hot under our layers in the sunlight. Morcom Rose Garden was even emptier than usual here between the big marquee holidays, but the ramshackle blooms were charming and all the lovelier for being sporadic. Water cascaded down the long stepped fountain to pool among pink petals, all for us. A beautiful day. Just discovered I'm teaching a second course this upcoming Spring, an undergraduate survey replicating my critical theory seminar more or less so the prep won't be too onerous. We can always use the money! For now, tho', I'm continuing to take it easy, binging science fiction and Hollywood musicals and Britsh detectives, reading a little intersectional feminism and snarky art criticism in the tub, what's not to like?

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Today's Random Wilde

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Blame Disclaim

Friday, December 28, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thinking About Resolutions...

DOCTOR: Run like hell, because you always need to. Laugh at everything, because it’s always funny.
CLARA: No. Stop it. You’re saying goodbye. Don’t say goodbye!
DOCTOR: Never be cruel and never be cowardly. And if you ever are, always make amends. CLARA: Stop it! Stop this. Stop it!
DOCTOR: Never eat pears. They’re too squishy and they always make your chin wet. That one’s quite important. Write it down.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

And What Have We Done

Spastic declarations of the end of hostilities here and the beginning of bombings there, without congressional consultation or approval or expert consensus or diplomatic support by our idiotic incompetent infantile Trumpublican id notwithstanding, this is yet another Christmas in wartime, lived in dangerous destructive denial of the many wars being illegally, immorally, catastrophically waged in our names for plunder, for power, for poll numbers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Uganda, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere, right now, and across the planetary archipelago of military bases and at our many (imaginary) borders in militarized prisons and detention centers and carceralized social spaces throughout the nation as the colored lights twinkle and smiling puppies tinkle, and the slogans robotically exhort us on to buy, buy, buy! As every year, a dumb numb contrarian thought:

Monday, December 24, 2018

Hark, the Herald Fugelsang

I know, I know. I do these every year. I know.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Christmas Effects by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

As every year on this day, a remembrance for a scholar who mattered to me when it mattered quite a lot:
What’s “queer?” Here’s one train of thought about it. The depressing thing about the Christmas season -- isn’t it? -- is that it’s the time when all the institutions are speaking with one voice. The Church says what the Church says. But the State says the same thing: maybe not (in some ways it hardly matters) in the language of theology, but in the language the State talks: legal holidays, long school hiatus, special postage stamps, and all. And the language of commerce more than chimes in, as consumer purchasing is organized ever more narrowly around the final weeks of the calendar year, the Dow Jones aquiver over Americans’ “holiday mood.” The media, in turn, fall in triumphally behind the Christmas phalanx: ad-swollen magazines have oozing turkeys on the cover, while for the news industry every question turns into the Christmas question -- Will hostages be free for Christmas? What did that flash flood or mass murder (umpty-ump people killed and maimed) do to those families’ Christmas? And meanwhile, the pairing “families/Christmas” becomes increasingly tautological, as families more and more constitute themselves according to the schedule, and in the endlessly iterated image, of the holiday itself constituted in the image of "the" family.

The thing hasn’t, finally, so much to do with propaganda for Christianity as with propaganda for Christmas itself. They all -- religion, state, capital, ideology, domesticity, the discourses of power and legitimacy -- line up with each other so neatly once a year, and the monolith so created is a thing one can come to view with unhappy eyes. What if instead there were a practice of valuing the ways in which meanings and institutions can be at loose ends with each other? What if the richest junctures weren’t the ones where everything means the same thing? -- Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Tendencies, Duke University Press, 1993, pp. 5-6

My Favorite Christmas Movie

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sunday Walk

Cool but sunny day to walk in... reindeer antlers on the heads of staff at our favorite diner on Piedmont Avenue... unusually quiet at Mountain View Cemetery among little white lights twining trunks and rooflines... a beautiful cheerful quiet day with Eric... Amor Mundi is on autopilot a bit, even more than it has been for the last few years, I might as well be a bot posting Barbara Lee tweets and traditional (for me) holiday links amidst sporadic reports of holiday reading (still enjoying Ann Russo's Feminist Accountability, now supplemented with Gary Indiana's Vile Days anthology of Village Voice art columns from the 80s right before I discovered his writing way back when)... things are feeling pretty good for a change, especially so long as I do not devote sustained attention to the idiotic inept criminal cruelties of the Trumpublican white-skinned evangelical greedhead shits.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, December 21, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Vacation, Reading

Just finished "On A Red Station, Drifting," the third of Aliette de Bodard's Xuya universe novellas. I found it quite good (though the sfnal Holmes and Watsonian "Tea Master and the Detective" remains my favorite so far), and like the Xuya universe more than the (also gripping) Acatl works. Very pleased to find many more Xuya tales, links, and more background here. Just started Ann Russo's Feminist Accountability: Disrupting Violence and Transforming Power. Already found usefully pithy and concise this formulation from the Intro: "[F]eminists [must] move from a politics of inclusion (come join us on our terms) or saving (we'll come save you so that you can be more like us) to a politics of accountability (we work in solidarity, recognizing that our lives are interconnected and that we are responsible for the shape of that interconnection)." As intersectional critique (Lorde, Combahee, Haraway) looms ever larger in my critical theory survey it's nice to find ways of weaving the language of violence critique and anti-violence work that I've already been teaching (via Fanon, Arendt, and Judith Butler) for so long right into this pedagogy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily (MundiMuster!)

Not Wrong

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sunday Balk

A gray wet and blustery day -- not to mention a gritty-jittery migraine for Eric -- have nixed our Sunday brunch and walk for today -- but with teaching days behind me (or more to the point five weeks ahead of me) a vista of weekdays is opening wide for a later stroll and breakfast so I'm taking it all in stride... Reading Aliette de Bodard's "Citadel of Weeping Pearls," sipping tea, listening to the raindrops fall on the ivy leaves outside the bedroom window, scratching a spoiled purring cat's chin and not paying the news a split second's attention apart from my daily dollop of Barbara Lee.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, December 14, 2018

Grades Turned In So... Xanadu!

It's been a long time since finishing grading left me with the energy and spirit to celebrate, but today I return to an old Amor Mundi grade-finishing ritual (sans the pink champagne and Cherry Garcia ice-cream, in neither of which do I partake any longer in my new lean however superannuated frame):

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Zinger

Greg Sargent has the zinger: Two years in, "[t]he case against Trump’s corruption and criminality is getting built & his border wall isn’t." I can't say I was particularly thrilled with the American, all too American bloodlust of Obama's own zinger, two year's in -- namely “Osama Bin Laden is dead & General Motors is alive” -- but it is easy to see which one is the winner and which one is the loser. You know, nearly two years ago I already complained that "I suspect that finding it simultaneously equally impossible to believe Trump will and also will not be impeached day after day is driving nearly every intelligent person quite mad right now." If anything, that feeling of madness is now more acute than ever. Trump and McConnell both seem to be unraveling a bit here at year's end -- it will be interesting to see whether Mueller and Pelosi and others can provoke Trump into fatal errors that empower Democrats to halt the worst abuses now and make a compelling case for a 2020 transfer of power for rising Millennials and dwindling Xers to fully join forces and begin cleaning up the mess of the sociopathic Boomers before the climate endgame takes its fully genocidal/suicidal course. Working for that outcome, sometimes hopelessly, sometimes hopefully...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily (MundiMuster!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The New Ew

New tech is old scams all the way down.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Grading, Grating

Two stragglers have handed in their papers, six stragglers remain as the hours to the deadline go pit-pat in the glass, always always always the straggler struggle at the end...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily (Well Deserved Congratulations Are In Order Edition)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

The Wait For the Eight

Eight stragglers, grading deadline looms, we'll see...

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Sunday Walk

We took our long walk through Mountain View after our weekly brunch at the Piedmont Avenue Cafe under a brisk blue bowl of sky, red maple and yellow ginkgo leaves shimmering in the light cold autumnal breath like elven magic. Nearly fifty final papers and projects and reading notebooks and peer editing workshop worksheets are done, stacked in piles like the monolith from 2001... Ten students have yet to hand in their final projects and so it is the usual fraught waiting game -- do they submit before my grading deadline and pass or nah? Fingers crossed: I want every single student to do well this year, for once! As happens most years I've got a bit of a cold, and was probably deferring it the last few weeks through by means of straight-up dumb grim grit-teethed denial, and so have spent no small part of my grading marathon sessions these last few days under blankets and amidst mounds of wadded kleenix.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily (All The Best People Edition)

Friday, December 07, 2018

Grading Grading

...the goal is to get one-third through today... ...looks like I just may make it... ...on and on it goes...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, December 06, 2018

This Is Us

Grading Grading Grading...

...and the late papers are still pouring in!

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

...Le Deluge

Fall's last lecture took place yesterday, another wonderful symposium of student work, quite uplifting and even fun I must say. And now I contemplate a stack of papers, workshop worksheets, peer edits, late midterms, reading notebooks, for sixty students or so. This stack will be my constant companion for many days to come, growing only larger as students with extensions add their contributions to the pile. Here goes!

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, December 03, 2018

Last Day First

Last lectures today in my critical theory undergraduate survey and my digital anti-democracy courses -- lots of loose ends in the one, not sure how everything will tie together all told, symposium of student work in the other, should be more fun. Feel as though I have been teaching on fumes for weeks, raw and ready for a little time off once the grading avalanche is behind me.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Barbara Lee Speaks For (Us All) Daily -- Congratulations Edition

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Calm Before The Storm

Cool, gray, wet afternoon. Winter in the Bay Area. Swept the patio and drank in the blanket of pine needles and strips of eucalyptus bark scattered across the damp aggregate concrete like a fragrant resin tea waking me into a dreamworld, as I sweep sweep sweep the rough embedded pebbles and shells beneath my feet. For the rest of the day I'm trying to fit lecture notes for all the texts left over from my syllabus after all the expurgations imposed by holidays and wildfire days and the rest, some of my most cherished texts in fact, Audre Lorde, Combahee, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, Aldo Leopold... It's a lot to expect students to have read anything for the final day, what with all the writing I am asking them to be doing at this point, and I am going to be bombarding them with new material on the last day, just to tie up all the loose threads that remain. Not that my students are likely to feel the need for this major cleanup operation, not that they are likely to thank me when after all-nighters and ramifying deadlines in other classes I drone on and on the last day through while other instructors will be letting them out early no doubt. But the class has an argument to complete and I am going to do my best to complete it, whether they are alive to it or not. Three courses means sixty unique students this term, give or take, and that's a hell of a lot of papers and reading journals and peer-edits to slog through in not so very much time given my own deadlines. And I have yet to begin the fraught season of missed deadlines, facile excuses (all of which I accept, recalling once being a student myself after all), cheerleading and cajoling them past the finish line at the last possible second, some of them.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

And, a reminder: