Thursday Link Encyclopedia

If my book fails to attract interest, I’ll know whom to blame: Trump! Thank you, Mr President, for being so convenient.

Another overwrought academic. But nobody wants to hear from the less pompous among us. I blame Trump. 

The positive developments in the Burqa Mom story

If you need any more reasons to hate the Saudis.

It’s impossible to “feel like a girl (or a boy.)” 

convicted rapist sues her victim for defamation.

Tech has plateaued.


26 thoughts on “Thursday Link Encyclopedia”

  1. On the lack of innovation in tech:

    “Monopolies are now so powerful that they dictate the roll-out of new technology, and the only things left to invest in are the scraps that fall off the table.

    When platform monopolies dictate the roll-out of technology, there is less and less innovation, fewer places to invest, less to invent. Eventually, the rhetoric of innovation turns into DISRUPT, a quickly canceled show on MSNBC, and Juicero, a Google-backed punchline.

    This moment of stagnating innovation and productivity is happening because Silicon Valley has turned its back on its most important political friend: antitrust. Instead, it’s embraced what it should understand as the enemy of innovation: monopoly.

    What once were upstarts and innovators are now enthroned. For instance, the iPhone is ten years old. Innovation means waiting to see if Apple will offer a bigger screen.”


    1. These huge companies are the place where innovation and brilliance go to die these days. This is why N prefers to work for a small company where there’s freedom to do real innovation (it’s a medical tech field).


  2. Yet another article on the trump phenomenon, with a european perspective. Echoes many of your thoughts.

    ” National borders are less salient to urban elites than the informal borders between urban and rural communities. As urban labor markets turn global, job applicants from the national hinterlands must compete with talent from all over the world. Globalization creates an incentive for governments and employers not to invest too much in education. Why bother? They can always poach skilled labor from other countries. This is how the United States combines one of the worst school systems in the world with the world’s best universities and research centers.”

    “Nations are imagined communities. Nation building entailed the creation of formal institutions extending previously informal, communal bonds of solidarity to all co-nationals. Globalization favors the equal access of everyone to worldwide markets. It has no use for national citizenship or national citizens. Another moral system is at work. Cultural reeducation is required to erase traditional solidarity and replace it with a morality of equal access and equal opportunity regardless of status (such as “race, creed, and national origin”). Justice is served as soon as market access is equalized. “


    1. Wow, it’s so similar to an article I submitted an hour ago. The part about erasing solidarity to serve neoliberal goals especially.

      I’m very glad people are catching on.


  3. “If you need any more reasons to hate the Saudis.”

    For some reason, what’s always left out of these reports is that these Saudi ‘coalitions’ are backed by US/UK military support. UK sends its planes to refuel Saudi planes in mid-air as they bomb the fuck out of Yemen. What a disgrace.

    Nice article on arming the plucky rebels in Syria (again, the media just refuses to spell out exactly who these rebels are).

    “In the ideology of the national security elite—especially its Democratic wing—regional alliances are essential building blocks of what is styled as the U.S.-sponsored global “rules-based order.” In practice, however, they have served as instruments for the advancement of the power and prestige of the national security bureaucracies themselves. The payoffs of U.S. alliances in the Middle East have centered on the military bases in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar that allow the Pentagon and the military brass to plan and execute military operations that guarantee extraordinary levels of military spending. ”


    “The lesson of the entire affair is clear: A malignant alliance between powerful national security bureaucracies and the Middle Eastern allies with whom they enjoy mutually profitable relations are pressuring the White House to approve actions that threaten the real interests of the American people—including strengthening terrorists. “


      1. I’d prefer to use active voice here, haha. ‘How come we pursue the nastiest bastards as our closest allies?’


  4. Freddie DeBoer makes a great point about campus speech policing. When put it like this, it makes total sense.

    “This past week, the Los Angeles Times was kind enough to run a revised version of an argument I had made here in the recent past – that Republican support of colleges and universities has collapsed, likely because of constant incidents on campus that create a widespread impression of anti-conservative bias, and that since our public universities are chartered and funded as non-partisan institutions, and because Republicans control enormous political power, our institutions are deeply threatened. I stand by that case.”


    1. This is a brilliant article. I love it. Some of my students were almost in tears of gratitude when I said it’s ok to watch and like American Sniper. It’s not something I’m going to watch, I said, but I don’t judge people who do. And once I show that I’m not judgmental or dismissive, they are more likely to hear me out on what I have to say. It’s not necessary to be a smug, superior person who is always right on everything. Most of us don’t indoctrinate in the classroom and it’s very counterproductive to be seen as part of a doctrinally rigid space.

      In the classroom, I have offered a pro-Franco narrative, a pro-Pinochet argument, a defense of the Inquisition, and even a colonialist perspective all of which I personally detest. But the goal was to provoke students into arguing, discussing, fine-tuning their arguments. Learning doesn’t thrive on agreement. And I’m very happy that my students are not dummies who will listen to my lecture and start tweeting outrage over what I say to promote discussion.


    1. Who actually gives them money? I’m perplexed. There’s just no way I’d give some random backpacker money when there are tons of hard cases on the street.


  5. \ The gender binary is what these kids needed destroyed, not their reproductive systems. […] Because they can’t dress as boys or girls unless they’re made into boys and girls. They can’t be gay, so they’re being surgically made straight instead.

    Reminded me of :

    \ Iran is one of a handful of countries where homosexual acts are punishable by death. Clerics do, however accept the idea that a person may be trapped in a body of the wrong sex. So homosexuals can be pushed into having gender reassignment surgery – and to avoid it many flee the country.

    I have also read a heartwarming article in which a Christian mother accepts her son who wants to be a daughter despite the unwelcoming environment (the transition is social, not medical):

    I Had 4 Boys — Until One of Them Told Me She Was Really a Girl

    As early as 18 months old, Kimberly Shappley’s son started showing signs he identified as female. Now, the Christian mom shares how she learned to embrace Kai’s transition — for her child’s happiness and safety.


    1. At 18 months, kids only give us what we passionately desire. Whether we confess it to ourselves or not. It’s a survival mechanism on their part.

      At 18 months, kids don’t “identify.” They don’t understand male or female. And they can’t even see the mother as a separate human being yet because they lack capacity to understand such a concept. This rancid. . . erm, lady wanted a girl. And projected the narrative onto the kid who had no choice but service the damn freak of a mommy.

      It’s literal hatred that I feel for such parents.


    2. “strong female characteristics” at 18 months???? That woman is deeply disturbed.

      These are the people who perpetuate insane gender srereotypes. We’ll soon hear about fetuses who express gender identity in the womb by kicking this or that way.


      1. “Every time she’d say something like that, I’d get down on her level and firmly say, “No, you’re a boy.” It never worked. She would correct me by waiting until I was in the middle of something and unable to chase her around, then run into the room and yell, “I’m a girl!” and run out again. I did everything I could think of to cut off that kind of talk. There were time-outs, so many time-outs. There were spankings and yelling matches and endless prayers.”

        I’m speechless, speechless. A child engaged in age-appropriate imaginative play and she beats him? Which, of course, locks the kid in a rewarding S&M experience with Mom and reinforces the behavior. Smart.


        1. \ Which, of course, locks the kid in a rewarding S&M experience with Mom and reinforces the behavior. Smart.

          What is rewarding here? Getting Mom’s attention even if it’s negative?


          1. Of course. The kid will do whatever arouses strong emotions in the mother. Especially with a stiff competition from 3 other siblings.

            Example. Klara learned to make this very annoying noise to attract my attention that was driving me nuts. The moment I realized that my intense feelings on the subject were nourishing the behavior, I meditated, did some breathing exercises, stopped reacting internally, she stopped making the noise. It’s been months since she did it. One would think a mother of 4 would have figured that out. But apparently it’s easier to construct this elaborate charade around it.


        2. “Every time she’d say something like that, I’d get down on her level and firmly say, “No, you’re a boy.” It never worked. She would correct me by waiting until I was in the middle of something and unable to chase her around, then run into the room and yell, “I’m a girl!” and run out again. I did everything I could think of to cut off that kind of talk. There were time-outs, so many time-outs. There were spankings and yelling matches and endless prayers.”

          I’m a pony! I’m a unicorn ballerina pop star princess! I’m a martian! I’m a superhero! I’m a soldier of fortune! Come on, who takes these declarations seriously, especially at that age? Next thing you know we’ll be seeing articles about how kids are definitely seeing spirits because they talk to their imaginary friends and are furries because they love their teddy bears.


          1. Actually I have once read an article about a 5-year-old who was diagnosed with a mental disorder because he kept saying he was Superman and insisted on wearing the Superman costume everywhere.

            Of course, at his age I played at being Anne of Austria and I’m very happy nobody thought it meant I was crazy. I kept playing Anne until I was at least 11. No harm came out of it. A vivid imagination is actually a sign of healthy childhood development.


  6. I don’t have an internal feeling of being a man, a woman, or anything else. On documents, I check “man” or “male” for the gender or sex box simply because I have a penis and I don’t have a vagina. Apart from this, these words have no real meaning for me. Now if society tells me I’m supposed to act a certain way because I’m a man (this is what I understand as gender), then maybe I’m about 70% man. But I don’t have an innate sense of being a “man” or a “woman” or anything in between, and I don’t really have a personal gender identity nor do I actively “identify” as a specific gender.

    I only skimmed the article you linked to, but I really liked the following point: “That’s exactly what these trans youth needed. They need unbridled gender expression, not meds or sterilization.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. On that academic: everything I do or buy is based on exploitation, really. And I produce surplus value, so I can say I am exploited, as well. This does not justify abusing adjuncts, which I am not for, but something other than liberal guilt is needed to remedy that situation. As long as I am one of the only ones willing to stand up and have administrations hit me, or to sacrifice things I like better for the sake of working to improve matters, I am not going to sit around and berate myself about how my mini-role as very minor tenured faculty might be exploitative.


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