I am sad to say that Tomaž Šalamun (1941-2014), one of my most important teachers, has passed away. I have written a short remembrance of him that either will appear here or in some other form.
Christopher Merrill, “Remembering Tomaž Šalamun.”
Andrew Epstein, “Tomaž Šalamun (1941-2014) and the New York School.”
Dalkey Archive Press on Šalamun.
And though I can’t read Slovenian, there is much here, including video of a television report.
Today’s sentencing of Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison has provoked considerable outrage. Birgitta Jónsdóttir addresses this nicely in her piece for The Guardian, “Bradley Manning’s Sentence: 35 Years for Exposing the Truth.”
And Rob Goodman has a very compelling piece on “dystopian narcissism” for The Chronicle of Higher Education titled, “The Comforts of the Apocalypse.” Dystopian narcissism is the selfish belief that your time, your civilization, your world is somehow unique in its proximity to the end times, to the disaster, to the apocalypse. As Goodman writes: “We’re virtually guaranteed to witness the end of nothing except our lives, and the present, far from fulfilling anything, is mainly distinguished by being the one piece of time with us in it.” I’ve been saying this for years. (Though perhaps the Doomsday Argument would disagree, as perhaps would Nick Bostrom [here and here and here and here] .)
Quite the fail safe. io9 reports that “according to recently declassified documents made available by the U.S. National Security Archive, the United States had a contingency plan in effect where, in the event that the President went missing or was killed during an attack on the country, the military was instructed to launch an automatic and simultaneous ‘full nuclear response’ against both the Soviet Union and China. And it wasn’t until 1968 that the government under Lyndon Johnson repealed the directive.”
And, in other news, “Scientists Plan to Test to See if the Entire Universe is a Simulation.”