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Grief Network

Grief Network

“Do you want to turn your notifications off?” Twitter asked. No. I went to work at 9 AM and told my boss it was very important that I stay online.

Most people I knew didn’t say anything. I got some texts from friends and acquaintances, some to say I did a good thing, most to ask if I was OK. A few days after our tweets first hit, I was messaging a friend and asked him if he’d seen them. He had not. “Not to be not-all-men . . .” he texted, “but not all men.” Another friend messaged me on Facebook to ask how things were. “Your Twitter has been a little dark lately,” she said.

It’s Already Here

It’s Already Here

Left-wing climate realism and the Trump climate change memo

The period of world history since the 1980s has been the most extractive in human history. Nearly 56 percent of all atmospheric carbon since the dawn of the industrial revolution has been produced in these past four decades. The crisis of the Anthropocene is not a story about individual consumption choices, or one about technology per se.

Postcards from DC

Postcards from DC

Bird-dogging against Kavanaugh

We are instructed to cheer those opposing Kavanaugh and to confront the people on his side as well as those in the weasel category, “undecided,” as if Flake, Collins, Manchin et al have been scripted by a Magic 8-Ball to say, “Answer hazy, ask again later.” I will see Cruz, who has the painted-on hair of a ventriloquist’s dummy, surrounded by what look like armed guards. I will not see Flake, who is in hiding, as is Collins.

A Trained Pigeon

A Trained Pigeon

Are these dark times, or are they unconscionably stupid times?

And most bizarre, I think—the moment I will not be able to forget, so utterly sincere and consistent and emotional did it seem, the emotional peak of his long, rambling statement—was when Kavanaugh told us the single thing he loves doing most in the world. Not the law (though this is the job he’s interviewing for). Not parenting (though he is a sentimentalist of kids and parents, or perhaps of himself-as-a-kid-and-parent). It was coaching youth athletics. “I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life.” Then a pause, and the explosion. “But thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.”

Decision Engines

Decision Engines

Behind him, a self-driving car approaches.

Scenario Three. It is a sunny day. On a one-lane road in upstate New York, a young boy is riding his bicycle toward a blind curve. A self-driving car rounds the corner carrying two passengers: a teenage girl and her boyfriend, both of whom attend the same high school. Although the self-driving car is driving at a safe speed, it cannot brake quickly enough to avoid hitting the boy on the bicycle. The car can either hit the boy, killing him instantly, or it can swerve off the road and crash into a large oak tree, sending the car’s passengers through the windshield and into the woods. Knocked unconscious by the impact, both passengers will die before an ambulance arrives. The boy will flee the scene.

Orthodoxxed!

Orthodoxxed!

On “Sokal Squared”

Even where they exist as departments, fields like gender studies are less institutionalized, more poorly-resourced, and more disadvantaged in hiring, promotion, and funding compared to mainline counterparts like psychology—doubly disadvantaged in the case of even newer fields like fat studies, also targeted in the hoax. They also tend to employ more women, people of color, and LGBTQ people, whose individual marginalization is compounded by the structure of academic institutions. The low impact factor of most of the journals that published the hoaxers’ papers testifies not just to the barrel-scraping to which they were reduced when more prestigious journals rejected them, but also to the struggle their fields face in the broader academic community. This is to be lamented, not celebrated, for these fields do in fact produce valuable and effective scholarship.

The <em>Village Voice</em>: Another Last Goodbye

The Village Voice: Another Last Goodbye

How did I make my way to the place I most wanted to be?

I remember the smell of fresh ink on stacks of papers at the office and the thrill of lifting one from a red box on the street and seeing my work there. No one changes a word without consulting you. No one urges you to write like them. We’re depicted by others as a Bruegel scene of manic devils roasting each other’s body parts, and it’s kind of true. More keenly I remember late nights with Richard Goldstein, talking about every variant of sex. Is Beauty and the Beast, in which gorgeous Linda Hamilton hooks up with Ron Perlman, who has the face and mane of a lion(!), the first depiction of interspecies sex on TV? Check, yes. I remember receiving a book in the mail containing hundreds of pictures of vaginas and turning the pages, staggered by the array, while leaning against the wall of mail cubbies. I remember Guy Trebay’s expanding collection of snow globes. Some contain autopsy remains dusted with glitter. (Not true.) One day I pass his cubicle with a spiky hair cut and dangly, dart-shaped earrings, and he says, “Laurie Stone, the oldest living punk.”

How Asia Got Crazy Rich

How Asia Got Crazy Rich

Toward a materialist history of Crazy Rich Asians

What the film’s central conflict turns upon is not simply strife between rich and poor, Asian and American, but rather the friction between different forms of accumulation—landed rents, financial interest, industrial profits, et cetera—that are historical in character and can be located throughout the diasporic division of labor that has evolved across Asia the past half-century. These tensions are a palpable reality in everyday life in Asia today, bubbling up periodically in the tabloid press, from the Kyoto locals who deride the recent influx of Chinese tourists as “pollution” to Hong Kong TV commercials in which Chinese actors wear dark makeup to portray Filipina domestic workers. Such economic racism is perhaps the clearest marker of all of modern Asia’s shared resemblances with Europe and America.