If you want some more

September 05, 2021

A bit more overcast where I am today, but happily only in outer, not inner, weather.  (Shoutout to Robert Frost, there.)  A pretty restful day, though I could have been more deliberate about it.

For now, just some stuff for you to read if you want: 


I’ve long wondered about this “Adult Swim” thing on the Cartoon Network late at night.  This piece wxplains it, helpfully.


Oh this is interesting:

“It is for this reason that race talk lies askew the humanities. The problem isn’t just that the humanities are historically white, and in many Western countries remain so today. That is true and needs to be changed. The deeper problem is that the conceptual apparatus that underpins race talk, including the new view of whiteness, cannot be accommodated into the humanities’ commitment to inventiveness, interpretation, dialogue, persuasion, problematization, historicization, and so on.…It is because the race concept and the humanities have different logical structures that the charge of white supremacy against the humanities leads to an impasse. A binary opposition meets a model that is organized on very different terms. The two logics cannot connect.”

Interestingly, he argues that this means the problem requires a response fundamentally in the political arena, not the educational one (and yes, he knows by making that distinction he’s arguing for a view many would contest):

“those of us who hold university offices, especially those of who teach in the humanities disciplines with their extensive, complex genealogies, should try to remain at a distance from all logics, including the logics of race talk, that do not reflect affiliation and generosity as Cicero understood them. Our official role in coming to terms with the racist past is limited to that which honors the protocols, interests, and methods of our disciplines. It does not include dividing the world into friends and enemies, banning texts and words, or racially labeling archives and whole disciplines.

I realize that this way of looking at the situation is unlikely to be widely shared — and that it amounts to an avoidance of the impasse rather than a breaking free of it. But I find myself insisting on it because, even if it were to be accepted that the humanities need to be reconfigured in order to separate them from white supremacy, they’d need to stay tightly connected to the history I’ve briefly traced: a history that developed out of an idea first articulated long ago by a Roman lawyer on behalf of a powerless Syrian teacher, and that has no room for the natural logic of race. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be the humanities.”


A really helpful piece on the current conundrums around the US economy, especially about why there are so many jobs that need workers, and yet so many workers still out there looking for jobs.


An interestingly hopeful piece, but also a deeply sobering piece on racial integration and Whiteness in America.  Whiteness as a property of some people is still highly prized; but we seem willing to share it with Asians and Latinos.  But Blackness remains very vigorously stigmatized, even as there is some evidence that point to real changes in non-Black Americans’ overall hostility to Black Americans.


That's enough for now, isn't it?  Be well, try to reflect on the value of work tomorrow--and the value of unions, which brought us this holiday.