It has been a very busy past few months, and my links have suffered. But spring break has provided some lovely, unencumbered time, so here are many, many links (futilely) attempting to catch up with what’s been happening in the world. (In the interest of space, I’ve also passed over some of the more visible recent stories.)
Nuclear and Environmental
Paul Krugman, “Republicans’ Climate Change Denial Denial.”
Democracy Now, “Naomi Klein on Paris Summit: Leaders’ Inaction on Climate Crisis Is ‘Violence” Against the Planet.”
Adrienne LaFrance, “The Chilling Regularity of Mass Extinctions.”
Isabelle Stengers, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism.
Sebastian Anthony, “Scientists Discover an Ocean 400 Miles Beneath Our Feet that Could Fill Our Oceans Three Times Over.”
Kylie Mohr, “Apocalypse Chow: We Tried Televangelist Jim Bakker’s ‘Survival Food.'”
Alex Trembath, “Are You and Upwinger or a Downwinger?”
Eric Bradner, “Newly Released Documents Reveal US Cold War Nuclear Target List.”
These links are coming a day late, but as anticipated, it has been a very busy semester.
Nuclear and Environmental
Lizzie Wade, “Earth in 10,000 Years.”
John Metcalfe, “Imagining the Most Catastrophic Climate Future Ever.”
Steven Vogel, “Environmental Ethics in a Postnatural World.”
Chris Mooney, “Why Some Scientists Are Worried About a Surprisingly Cold ‘Blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean.”
Laurence Topham , Alok Jha and Will Franklin, “Building the Bomb.”
Ross Andersen, “Watching Nuclear War From Across the Galaxy.”
And a letter from Governor Jerry Brown.
Michael Robbins has a great piece in this months Harper’s, “Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives: A Poet’s Guide to Metal,” which, in the space of six pages, is able to reference John Milton, Rainer Maria Rilke, Black Sabbath, and Converge. I did not know that could be done. (Even R., who tends to abhor whenever anything loud and screamy even gets near our home’s turntable, enjoyed this piece.) Highlights of the short essay include: quoting a number of lines from William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell” and commenting, “sounds pretty metal to me”; describing a Converge show where they “took over that space like a bellowing wooly rhino crashing into a Pleistocene clearing. . . . It’s war music” (a pretty accurate description); and some reflections on metal and capital: “Sometimes I wonder what metal would sound like after capitalism, or whether we would even need metal then. I wonder the same about poetry.”
More DFW stuff. Peter Finocchiaro, “What David Foster Wallace Got Wrong About Irony: Our Culture Doesn’t Have Nearly Enough of It,” which, strangely enough, is actually an interview with Jonathan Lear about irony (rather than an article specifically about DFW’s sense of irony). In my revised version of an essay that will appear in David Foster Wallace and “The Long Thing” (forthcoming July 2014), I make some similar points about the need for irony at the present time. That said, Lear seems to have a better handle on Wallace’s specific take on irony from the television essay than Finocchiaro, emphasizing that DFW was both a gifted ironist himself and that, in “E Unibus Pluram,” he is critiquing institutionalized irony, which I think all us post-ironists or new sincerity people would do well to heed, along with Lear’s acknowledgment that irony can actually be a from of earnestness: “There’s a very famous quote from Kierkegaard — or, I don’t know how famous it is, but it’s one of my favorites — where he said, it’s ‘only assistant professors’ who think irony can’t be a form of earnestness. Basically his claim is that irony when properly understood is a very high form of sincerity and earnestness, not its opposite. As he put it, it’s a real misunderstanding of what irony is to think it’s the opposite of earnestness toward commitment.” I feel the earnestness or “sincerity” of irony as it plays out in DFW’s work and thinking has been something that has been overlooked to the detriment of both our understanding of DFW and irony more generally.
Alex C. Madrigal and Adrienne LaFrance, “Net Neutrality: A Guide to (and History of) a Contested Idea.”
Dexter Filkins writes a letter from Iraq in The New Yorker, “What We Left Behind.”
And from the University of Pittsburgh’s great graduate student film blog, Kevin Flanagan on “Introduction to Applied Airport Studies.”