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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia

Who’s with me in thinking that Ian Welsh is a Putinbot blogger who gets paid to write his hysterical posts? Because if he doesn’t even get paid for producing this idiocy, I will lose all faith in humanity.

People are beginning to compare Illinois to a country famous for things beginning with S: Sophocles, Socrates, and sovereign debt. That’s right; according to the Economist, Illinois may be the Greece of America.” Not that anybody should trust the Economist, a magazine that publishes only the people who don’t understand anything about the economy, but there is a problem in Illinois: its new governor is very openly and shamelessly trying to rob the state to enrich his private companies two seconds after being elected.

[Spanish.] If this is the architecture of the future, why does it look so much like the butt-ugly architecture of the 1960s?

[Spanish.] The surprisingly nationalistic rhetoric of the new and popular radical-Left party of Spain. I’m really, really hoping that the entire Leftist program isn’t reduced to resisting the collapse of the nation-state. If that happens, progressives will become conservatives because trying to conserve the outdated models of the past is precisely what conservatives do. Are the conservatives and the progressives about to swap seats?

A great insight into the concept of “white privilege.” I will be a happy person if I never hear the stupid word “privilege” again in any context.

Russian prosecutors are seeking a 10-year sentence for Alexei Navalny, a leading opponent of Vladimir Putin and a Western media darling. Navalny, who has focused on exposing state corruption, is already under house arrest for a previous charge that many claim is trumped up, and now he stands accused of corruption himself.”  I don’t know about “a Western media darling.” Have you heard of Navalny anywhere but on my blog? But this trial is worth following.

The latest developments in the war against Ukraine fell on fertile ground in terms of the info-war in Germany. As we have seen, Russia had been engaging in co-option of German elites in politics, academia, media, business and culture for the last ten years with stunning success. Almost in every area, networks of support for Russian interests have garnered sensational results.”

I find it absolutely terrifying that people over the age of 9 can actually write such stuff in deadly earnestness: “Gilchrist, I think — like many other people who have always lived in that bubble of wealth — is truly convinced that virtue and success are inevitably connected.  Hard work, really, and toughness are all you need.  Do your job and wealth, beauty, and good things will come raining down on you. I mean, that’s how winner happen, right?  They work hard and make good choices and don’t whine? Right? And therefore it follows, ipso facto, that anyone who does not have success, who is not a brilliant winner, living in a lovely three-bedroom house with hardwood floors (paid off, of course) and a tenure-track job, I mean obviously, just did not work hard and make good choices and should stop whining, because all your fault, loser.”

[Spanish.] The real tragedy of the Cuban people comes out in their own words. They are about to experience a very rude awakening when they start finding the truth about “the best country in the world” that they believe Cuba to be.

[Russian.] Gosh, I so wish everybody could read the post by this refugee from the war zone in Ukraine. Everything about the region and its problems becomes crystal clear from this author’s post.

Why it has become very hard to teach rape law. I don’t teach rape law but I know exactly what this educator is talking about. The number of complaints about the”discomfort” that my (and everybody else’s, really) teaching creates is growing. I have no idea how to teach about art, history, and life “comfortably.” But the “happy pill” culture doesn’t accept the possibility that there might be any discomfort in life.

[Spanish.] And this is a post on the attempts to make Don Quijote more comfortable and easy to consume.

[Russian.] A great collection of photos from my native city of Kharkiv.

An interesting interview with Jeff Bezos.

A housing bubble in San Francisco.

Soon law schools will pay people to enroll. I wish students read more of these articles to find out that their strange dream of attending law school is extremely misguided.

The shamanistic origin of Santa Claus.

[Russian.] What Hunger Games mean to Ukrainians.

Did I mention how much I hate Uber? And people who are using it should remember: tomorrow an unqualified bored amateur will come for your job. And everybody will drop you and use the amateur because it’s just so convenient. Think about it.

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28 thoughts on “Sunday Link Encyclopedia

  1. Here’s the thing about Uber that people are recently learning the hard way: Since Uber doesn’t provide insurance and instead the drivers buy it themselves, instead of providing insurance equivalent to a taxi, if you’re in a car accident in an Uber vehicle, then your insurance company isn’t obligated to cover you for any injuries you sustain during the accident. A friend of mine in Texas experienced that recently and is now warning people away from Uber.

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  2. Профессор, доцент и ассистент популярнее Путина
    http://taki-net.livejournal.com/1998046.html

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  3. I liked this comment:

    ” I have no idea how to teach about art, history, and life “comfortably.” But the “happy pill” culture doesn’t accept the possibility that there might be any discomfort in life.”

    Full humanity seems like a real burden for a lot of people. Actually, that can be of benefit as it gives us other types of people something to laugh at. For instance, yesterday I spied a page on Facebook by a woman telling us that she was selling her memoir which was “all about you”. I liked that a lot. She has a lot of psychobabble going on, which was very impressive, and she used grammar in interested ways, saying that she “relished in” things. I’m now certain she will make a killing with her well-formulated methods.

    As I have said before, there is kind of systematic eugenics going on, whereby many, many people can be drawn off by sugar sprinkled in their paths.

    If, for instance, I can be drawn off to gaze at myself in a pool, whilst believing that I am in the process of self-improvement and that I am really a conquering hero or heroine, though encountering troubles presented in the book, which is about another woman but is really about me. It’s a good formulation that has never been thought of before.

    I’m sure there is money in it.

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  4. I use uber and consider it equivalent to asking an acquaintance to drive me. That is exactly how uber operates legally.
    Convenience is not always a trivial thing. For me Uber is the difference between a ten minute drive and 1.5 hour walk and bus ride out of a terminal notorious for robberies. Otherwise, I would have to purchase a car (something I am not in a financial position to do) or stop taking night classes from a real university in favor of the online variety.

    Traditional taxi service is an option, but then I need to suffer a driver texting and speaking on the phone, a 20 minute wait for the cab to come, I must give the dispatcher a specific address over cross streets for some unknown reason, I must call on the phone, and worst of all the cabs may not accept card. The cab companies in my city deserve to die – the sooner the better. Yes, these are trivial complaints but I am a consumerist and I will patronize the best business.

    I know my job will be replaced someday for the sake of price and convenience – why do you think I’m taking classes 😉 ?

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    • Evelina Anville on said:

      I am conflicted. I don’t really like Uber and find it creepy. But at the same time, taxi service in some parts of the country is terrible/ wildly expensive. In other parts of the country taxi service is virtually non existent and in both cases, Uber feels a real need. Altogether the larger problem though is the lack of infrastructure/public transportation in this country.

      So I “get” Uber. But what I will never understand? Air B and B. Really? Random people staying in other random people’s homes? Perhaps I’m too introverted. But Air B and B sounds like my personal nightmare! 😉

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      • I think the “wildly expensive” part comes from local governments seeing taxis as some kind of luxury good and taxing them accordingly, which leaves the working poor with one less transportation option.

        Some years ago a taxi driver in a large city in the US told me he had to pay a $100 fee every day he worked. There is pretty much no way you can expect reasonable fares from someone with that kind of overhead and that’s why Uber was able to get a toehold in the market.

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      • This post and the one just above are making me start to like Uber. We could really use it where I live. The reason Air BnB works where I live is that without it, people would be in dubious and poorly located motels. I am against the whole model … the fleecing economy, a friend calls it … but on the other hand, where there are no services …

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  5. Zimbabwe has its own socialized system of transport: 1- 2 USD for a short trip and $4-5 for a longer trip. Private citizens are free to pick you up.

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  6. Man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ drives into crowd in France, injuring 11
    Media reports attacker may be mentally ill and will be taken to psychiatric hospital; police search for two other people reportedly seen in vehicle.
    […]
    The driver reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “This is in the name of the children of Palestine”. French authorities refrained from speculating on the motive.
    […]
    The incident came a day after an attack on a police station in central France, in which a Muslim stabbed three police officers while shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4606216,00.html

    I LOVE “French authorities refrained from speculating on the motive” part.

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  7. On the left and extreme nationalism this isn’t new. Milovan Djilas stated that all communists became nationalists as well. I have noticed among a number of US “progressives” that they are extremely parochial. The same people protesting daily against police brutality in the US think that France which props up the regimes of Togo and Gabon is a great state because of its health care system. They couldn’t find Togo or Gabon on a map.

    http://jpohl.blogspot.com/2014/12/african-lives-matter.html

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    • Yes, I find being nationalist and being on the left part of the spectrum very compatible, given the current economic situation in the world. The gains the labor movement struggled for so long to achieve are being gradually diluted. These gains seems to be unsustainable due to globalization. And in these conditions working class seeking refuge in nationalism looks like a very logical thing – the nation-state should (of course it could not, but people believe that it could) protect the workers from global competition; and also is expected to limit the participation of immigrants and thus improve the internal job market chances of the majority / “owners of the country” workers…

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  8. Because it’s so fun to troll you occasionally, Clarissa …

    “I will be a happy person if I never hear the stupid word ‘privilege’ again in any context.”

    That would, of course, mean that you’d be privileged if you could maintain the position of never having to hear that particular stupid word again, would it not? 🙂

    CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE OF BEING UNPRIVILEGED TOWARD PRIVILEGES

    [ahem] 🙂

    As for the architecture bit, this is pre-fabricated constructivism: it’s no worse but no better than the sort of paint-by-numbers post-modern bent of the likes of Michael Graves.

    “Hey, I know, let’s pattern a building after a fucking mausoleum in Italy, but tell the people of Portland, Oregon it’s their new city hall so we can have a joke at their expense, both figuratively and literally …”

    http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Portland_Building.html

    Instead of a mausoleum cube tarted up with colour, you’re getting a double-wide mobile home, American style, with gaudy curved railing and supposedly tasteful wood colours, essentially Nordic but making Spanish pretences.

    “En una mañana se coloca la grúa y en tres días la casa está lista para entrar a vivir, quedando la parcela limpia, sin escombros …”

    100 square metres of ugly, where you can move into your “clean parcel” without encumbrances before next week!

    The United States went through this period, BTW, in the 1970s — the equivalent functional type of architecture was called the “FHA home” (although it was actually HUD who approved the building), an American version of this kind of “existenzminimum” dwelling you’ve linked to …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Housing_and_Urban_Development

    Oddly enough, the HUD headquarters also resembles that Italian mausoleum, stretched out so it can fit more bodies. 🙂

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  9. About Uber, or actually more about Transport for London …

    TfL runs adverts that warn that “unless it’s booked, it’s just a stranger picking you up”:

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/campaign/be-cabwise?cid=fs016
    (and)
    http://www.btp.police.uk/advice_and_information/our_campaigns/safer_travel_at_night.aspx

    Mini cabs and private hire vehicles have warnings on them that they must be booked in advance — you can only hail Black Cabs (at your wallet’s peril) on the street and at taxi ranks.

    Uber is more or less the same as that great American custom known as “hitchhiking” …

    I can see when Uber would be tempting — it’d be convenient to avoid the roughly 45 to 65 GBP it costs me to make my way toward home from Central London after the Tube has shut down, but then again behavioural modification makes this relatively infrequent anyway.

    Otherwise, it really is just another ride in a stranger’s car without anyone else being the wiser …

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  10. Re Hunger Games… It is complicated. Part of the appeal of the Hunger Games is that its content can be weaved together with whatever worldview the person happened to have prior to reading the story or watching the movies. I talked about it with “regular Americans”, so to speak. Who became quite uncomfortable with me offering the idea that we are the citizens of the Capitol… They simply identify with an abstract tale of the fight for freedom that is happening somewhere else. Maybe in Russia, maybe in North Korea, maybe in Iran… Whoever happens to be the current favorite dictator – the US is District 13 to them…
    Let me offer you two more visuals (To those who did not read the third book – major spoiler to follow. So read at your own risk.):
    a) 2020. International Tribunal in Moscow. The hero of Ukrainian revolution Nadezhda Savchenko, when given the honor of personally publicly executing the war criminal Putin, shoots Poroshenko instead. Or, for those who are into more global conspiracies – she shoots the US president instead…
    b) 2020. International Tribunal in Washington. The hero of the resistance Motorola (District 15, oil and gas industry), when given the honor of personally publicly executing the war criminal Hillary Clinton (the last president of the US), shoots Putin instead…

    As for the main idea of the particular post that you’ve linked – that one should not wait for everyone fighting for a good cause to be completely 100% ethical before joining the fight… Yes, but there is some limit to how far one can go this way. Because technically, this is the idea of the Russian propaganda men as well – that whichever lies they spawn are justified by the noble goals of “Russian World”, reducing the influence of the evil US, “Gayrope”, etc.

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    • “As for the main idea of the particular post that you’ve linked – that one should not wait for everyone fighting for a good cause to be completely 100% ethical before joining the fight… Yes, but there is some limit to how far one can go this way. ”

      • Maybe I should have mentioned that I in no way agree with the linked post. To me, Hunger Games is just regular Hollywood entertainment. Good, interesting entertainment. There is no difference between it and The Devil Wears Prada, Maid in Manhattan or Dr. Phil’s Show. Entertainment is important and necessary. I, for instance, am a great fan of Dr. Phil. But I don’t organize my intellectual development and emotional existence around the show. I just chuckle at it as I make dinner. Ukrainians are entitled to a hyper-emotional reaction to movies and TV shows at this moment. But the Americans who publish endless screeds about the profound meaning of this (or any other, really) Hollywood flick scare me.

      In terms of a social purpose, 50 Shades of Grey was enormously more significant than Hunger Games.

      “Who became quite uncomfortable with me offering the idea that we are the citizens of the Capitol”

      • I would have the same reaction because I don’t believe that the trilogy deserves a profound analysis. Or any analysis beyond that of its powers to titillate and assist digestion.

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      • —because I don’t believe that the trilogy deserves a profound analysis. Or any analysis beyond that of its powers to titillate and assist digestion.

        I am not prepared to discuss RELATIVE importance of the Hunger games and the 50 shades of grey as I did not read the latter. But in general I tend to believe that any bestseller and blockbuster should be analyzed as this analysis provides valuable information on the collective subconscious (and also conscious belief systems) of the people who read/watch it.
        Besides, forgive me, but in my humble opinion your are contradicting yourself here – if indeed the Hunger games is nothing but the means of titillation of ones imagination (and colon 🙂 🙂 ) – then why bother with including link on connection between the Hunger Games and the situation in Ukraine into your weekly Encyclopedia?

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        • I thought people would find it curious that even in Ukraine this is being discussed. Anything I can do to humanize Ukrainians in everybody else ‘s eyes is worth trying.

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  11. You will love to hear that:

    Czech Jews oppose Putin invite to Shoah event
    Jewish group says it considers Russian president’s visit to Prague to attend ceremonies marking 70th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation ‘inappropriate for the day of Holocaust remembrance and prevention of crimes against humanity.’
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4606319,00.html

    Also, somebody shot at the synagogue in France.

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    • “Jewish group says it considers Russian president’s visit to Prague to attend ceremonies marking 70th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation ‘inappropriate for the day of Holocaust remembrance and prevention of crimes against humanity.’”

      • Good! At least, somebody has a spine.

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  12. Do you read trim_c ?

    В Германии мнения разошлись, но если верить Уланду, у экспертов полное единодушие
    http://trim-c.livejournal.com/299162.html

    Это не холодная война, это серьезнее
    Политолог Дмитрий Тренин об опасности ядерной конфронтации между Россией и Западом
    http://trim-c.livejournal.com/299688.html

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  13. Hmmm, that legal education and law license I want, I may soon be able to afford to study for! 🙂

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  14. What do you think of organizations like “Breaking the Silence” and Israeli Jews that are part of it? Here is an article on the topic:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4607265,00.html

    I read something new today: turns out Hamas has started to shoot on IDF again to pressure Israel into pressuring Arabs to give Hamas money:

    QUOTE
    Hamas, in fact, is trying to threaten Israel with the renewal of hostilities in an effort to get Jerusalem to pressure Egypt and the Palestinian Authority into working together to rebuild Gaza. Israel itself is actually doing more than anyone else to help the Palestinians, but the rebuilding is moving ahead at a snail’s pace.

    Meanwhile, Hamas knows that pressure from Israel is the only and most effective leverage at its disposal – not only when it comes to the PA and Egypt, but also with respect to the donor countries, which aren’t sending the funds they promised for the rebuilding process and for the salaries of the Hamas government officials.

    In October, the donor countries promised a sum of $5.4 billion, but have come up with just $100 million thus far. Hamas also wants Egypt to leave the Rafah Crossing open. The crossing was opened for the first time on Monday because Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi wished to appease the Qataris.

    The Saudi Arabia-mediated reconciliation between the two states is good news for Hamas. The organization may now be able to receive funds from Qatar, which supports the Muslim Brotherhood through Egyptian banks.
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4607574,00.html

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  15. Just read on the news:

    1. Iran holds ‘largest military exercise in history’, in bid to send ‘message’
    2. Arsonist sets fire to Swedish mosque, injuring five
      AND
      Thousands stage anti-Islam protest in Germany … That would make it the biggest gathering since the weekly protests started in October. […] Some 17,500 attend rally organized by group called Europeans against the Islamization of the West

    –> seems to me things in Europe are going to become worse before the situation improves.

    1. Father and daughter’s car attacked by Palestinians in West Bank, leading girl (11 years old) to suffer third degree wounds to over 50% of body, month after mother escaped a similar attack. […] doctors are currently fighting for her life.
      […] On Sunday, a four-year-old Israeli boy was wounded by Palestinians hurling stones at cars in the West Bank.
      Earlier this month a Palestinian splashed acid on a family with four girls, also in the West Bank.
      Recent months have seen an upsurge in violent confrontations in the West Bank and of attacks by Palestinians inside Israel.
      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4607975,00.html

    I looked at her photo and the girl with third degree wounds, Ayala Shapira, was so beautiful. We may be moving towards the next operation sooner than expected.

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  16. You once commented on nation state caring about feelings of every small group to make people ready to fight in wars (look at the part I put in bold):

    The IDF decided to support and assist transgender soldiers, starting from their first draft notice at age of 16 […] The purpose of the new policy is to offer help throughout the personal process which the soldier has chosen to undertake, whether it is partial or full sex change, requiring sex reassignment surgery.

    The IDF has five acknowledged transgender soldiers in active duty; the military hopes to open the door to any potential recruits who have avoided enlistment. Until now, transgender soldiers were forced to turn to their commander to receive individual care and insist on their rights – like exchanging uniform to the new sex, hormone therapy, and fitting sleeping quarters.
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4608141,00.html

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  17. I was very interested in Uri’s column about history and its revisions:
    http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/

    Never heard before that:

    “The Jewish religion was actually born in the Babylonian exile, some 500 years before Christ, and from the beginning the majority of the Jews lived outside Palestine, in Babylon, Egypt, Cyprus and many other countries around the Mediterranean.”

    Like

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