Tuesday, February 27, 2018

About posthumanism (again)

The career paths that remain free from threats by encroaching technology seem to be vanishing by the day. Now, fashion models join the list, as Dolce & Gabbana replaces the skinny, glum-looking ladies with drones.

PS: On similar lines, the tale of Shudu Gram, the model who doesn’t exist.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018

About empathy

President Trump’s notes for his meeting yesterday with high school students and parents to discuss school shootings. Picture by Carolyn Koster/AP.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

About sensitivity

An interesting article from the Chicago Tribune about the trend for publishers and authors to hire “sensitivity readers” to scan texts for That Which May Offend. A couple of excerpts:
Clayton [one of the readers], who is black, sees her role as a vital one. “Books for me are supposed to be vehicles for pleasure, they're supposed to be escapist and fun,” she says. They're not supposed to be a place where readers “encounter harmful versions” and stereotypes of people like them.
Vehicles for pleasure? Escapist and fun? Why would you pay for your book to be read by someone who has such a reductive view of what reading is for? Then author Kate Messner opines:
I wouldn’t dream of sending those books out into the world without getting help to make sure I’m representing those issues in a way that’s realistic and sensitive.
Realistic and sensitive? If you had to make a choice between the two, Kate, which would you pick?


Sunday, February 18, 2018

About education

Education secretary Damian Hinds on proposals for variation in tuition fees between courses:
What we need to look at is the different aspects of pricing — the cost that it is to put on the course, the value that it is to the student and also the value to our society as a whole and to our economy for the future.
“Value.” Such an interesting word.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

About the skeleton

And it’s the Winter Olympics, when we suddenly become experts on the strangest sub-zero pastimes, and then forget about them for another four years. This time round I’m particularly fascinated by the skeleton, but that may be down to my youthful obsession with 1930s horror movies.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

About class

Facebook is apparently developing technology that determines users’ social class. But I don’t know why they bothered. You can immediately judge anyone’s class on the basis of how they refer to their grandmothers. If you call her “nan” or “nanna” you’re almost certainly working class. If you call her “grandma” or “granny” you’re probably middle class. And if you call her “the Dowager Duchess of Chorlton-cum-Hardy” you’re proper posh and there’s no mistake, missus.


Tuesday, February 06, 2018

About culture wars

Stolen from Hegemony Jones on Facebook.
If we are going to have a made-up intergenerational culture war where one generation gets accused of being “problematic”, and the other gets accused of being “snowflakes”, can we agree in advance to make it about something - anything - other than FriendsI’m well up for a completely meaningless and invented ruck with the youth, not least because they are all going to outlive me, the little bastards, but I’m not prepared to die in a ditch in defence of the most anodyne shit known to man. A man has standards. It’s hardly Ice-T or Piss-Christ.

Monday, February 05, 2018

About robots

In-class thinking: posthumanism, encompassing androids, cyborgs, VR, zombies and more.


Saturday, February 03, 2018

About Atwood


A nugget I’d missed when first reading Margaret Atwood’s recent, rather controversial piece answering the preposterous charge that she’s a bad feminist:
The aim of ideology is to eliminate ambiguity.