Elaine Scarry Has a New Book on Nukes, and Other Links

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a discussion of Elaine Scarry‘s new book, Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom (2014). Nathan Schneider has written an extensive review of Thermonuclear Monarchy, “A Literary Scholar’s Voice in the Wilderness: Elaine Scarry Fights American Complacency About Nuclear Arms.” Scarry is also the author of the monumentally important, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (1987).

“Melting Ice Makes the Arctic A Much Worse Heat-Magnet than Scientists Feared.”

January was actually one of the warmest months on record.

And more disastrous weather to come.

Lennard Davis and Walter Benn Michaels writing for Jacobin on the University Illinois-Chicago faculty strike.

Davis and Michaels explaining why they’re striking at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Noam Chomsky: Zombies are the New Indians and Slave in White America’s Collective Nightmare.”

“David Foster Wallace, Mathematician.”

Samuel Cohen on Wallace, “Future Tense.”

My friend David Letzler reviews Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge (2013).

On Dead Poets Society (1989) and the humanities.

“Feminism, Depravity, and Power in House of Cards.” I just finished watching the fairly incredible second season last night.

Paranoia and Conspiracy: 2013 Style

So, amidst the nearly daily revelations of the NSA, Scott Shane for The New York Times reports that “No Morsel Too Miniscule for All-Consuming NSA”:

From thousands of classified documents, the National Security Agency emerges as an electronic omnivore of staggering capabilities, eavesdropping and hacking its way around the world to strip governments and other targets of their secrets, all the while enforcing the utmost secrecy about its own operations. It spies routinely on friends as well as foes, as has become obvious in recent weeks; the agency’s official mission list includes using its surveillance powers to achieve “diplomatic advantage” over such allies as France and Germany and “economic advantage” over Japan and Brazil, among other countries.

I am tempted to say that the NSA represents something like the capital T Truth of our global, hyperarchival reality.

And in still paranoid, but less frightening news, Carolyn Kellogg, friend and writer for The Los Angeles Times, appears on a podcast discussing Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge at Three Percent.

More Bleeding Edge Reviews and The Crisis in the Humanities

This month’s issue of Harper’s Magazine has a lengthy and interesting review of Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge by Joshua Cohen (article link requires subscription), and an interesting take on the crisis in the humanities (something this blog has posted frequently on this last summer) in Thomas Frank’s monthly column, “Easy Chair,” titled, “Course Corrections.” Frank nicely summarizes many of the issues facing humanists and the humanities today, and ends with a fairly bold call: “The world doesn’t need another self-hypnotizing report on why universities exist. What it needs is for universities to stop ruining the lives of their students [financially]. Don’t propagandize for your institutions, professors: Change them. Grab the levers of power and pull.” (On a semi-related note I’m happy to report that my own current department looks like it is doing just that.)