Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Post- (and Pre-)National Roundup

No, this isn't about Tillerson (or Goldstein, or McEntee ... goodness, this was a hell of a morning). I delivered the lecture on Nationalism in our Political Theory class today -- which went fine, except that I also have to teach a section on Nationalism tomorrow and now I've used up all my knowledge on the subject. Time for many rounds of my old standbys -- "say more on that", "well, what do you think?", and of course "break off into small groups to discuss."

Anyway, roundup time!

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Advances in turbine technology are making wind power a real player in electricity market -- and not grading on the "renewable energy" curve either.

A powerful story on a UC-Berkeley student living in an unheated trailer with no sewage hookup .... that he's about to be evicted from. This is an extreme story, but it gets to why I get very defensive when Berkeley students are attacked in the media as supposedly epitomizing careless, unserious millennial frivolity. Many of the students here are coming from places and backgrounds where they're well aware of what it means to be attending UC-Berkeley, and are behaving accordingly under conditions that God willing I'll never come close to. When they're lazily stereotyped as aimless hippie stoners, it disrespects them, their work ethic, their talent, and their perseverance.

U. Penn. Law Professor Tobias Barrington Wolff on his colleague, Amy Wax, whom he persuasively argues has converted into the academic equivalent of an Ann Coulter provocateur. This passage is also generally applicable:
What academic freedom does not provide, however, is a free pass entitling faculty who say inflammatory things to escape denunciation or to engage in toxic behavior without consequence. Invoking academic freedom to delegitimize sharp criticism or to claim impunity for improper conduct is a misuse of that principle.
Many people have seen Adam Serwer's excellent commentary on Tamika Mallory's relationship with Louis Farrakhan (a sterling example, incidentally, of how to explain the NoI's appeal to certain segments of the Black community without washing away it's hideously bigoted track record), but Stacey Aviva Flint is another good addition to the list of Black Jews whose opinions you should read on this matter.

Gretchen Rachel Hammond -- the half-Indian Jewish transwoman best known for breaking the story of the Chicago Dyke March expelling Jewish marchers and then being fired from her own newspaper for covering the story -- has a powerful piece detailing her experience and her "divorce" from the trans community in its wake. It is a poignant, cutting, and often very sad piece -- not the least because, for all her fulminations against "intersectionality", the concept in its original manifestation would be very well suited to articulating the sort of marginalization and exclusion Hammond details (one would not be off the mark in summarizing Hammond's experience as one of being "split at the root" -- Adrienne Rich's felicitous phrase which has often been approvingly quoted in the intersectionalist literature).

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