Monday, August 29, 2022

ENG 102 Resources: August 29, 2022

Benton, Michael and Michael Marchman. "So long—it’s been good to know ya: Remembering Howard Zinn." North of Center (February 13, 2010) ["Zinn, as much as anyone in our lives, revolutionized how we understand our history, ourselves, and, our roles as educators. “In a world where justice is maldistributed,” he wrote, “there is no such thing as a neutral or representative recapitulation of the facts.” We agree. There is tremendous injustice in the world and as educators we feel a deep responsibility to our students, our community, and ultimately to ourselves, to acknowledge these injustices, to seek explanations for them, and to challenge them. Zinn provided a model for us, urging us to encourage our students to be active participants in democracy rather than passive spectators. And he showed us how to do it." Howard Zinn is the author of the landmark A People's History of the United States and many other books/articles.]

Eisen, Lauren-Brooke. Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Colombia University Press, 2017. ["When the tough-on-crime politics of the 1980s overcrowded state prisons, private companies saw potential profit in building and operating correctional facilities. Today more than a hundred thousand of the 1.5 million incarcerated Americans are held in private prisons in twenty-nine states and federal corrections. Private prisons are criticized for making money off mass incarceration—to the tune of $5 billion in annual revenue. Based on Lauren-Brooke Eisen’s work as a prosecutor, journalist, and attorney at policy think tanks, Inside Private Prisons blends investigative reportage and quantitative and historical research to analyze privatized corrections in America. From divestment campaigns to boardrooms to private immigration-detention centers across the Southwest, Eisen examines private prisons through the eyes of inmates, their families, correctional staff, policymakers, activists, Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees, undocumented immigrants, and the executives of America’s largest private prison corporations. Private prisons have become ground zero in the anti-mass-incarceration movement. Universities have divested from these companies, political candidates hesitate to accept their campaign donations, and the Department of Justice tried to phase out its contracts with them. On the other side, impoverished rural towns often try to lure the for-profit prison industry to build facilities and create new jobs. Neither an endorsement or a demonization, Inside Private Prisons details the complicated and perverse incentives rooted in the industry, from mandatory bed occupancy to vested interests in mass incarceration. If private prisons are here to stay, how can we fix them? This book is a blueprint for policymakers to reform practices and for concerned citizens to understand our changing carceral landscape."]

 Gardner, Caden Mark. "Polyester." Reverse Shot (August 3, 2022) ["Polyester (1981) was the first John Waters film of the eighties, and it has an unmistakably different vibe from his earlier films. Waters and his muse, Divine, had not worked together since her tour de force performance as Dawn Davenport in 1974’s Female Trouble, and with Polyester, the Waters-Divine collaboration feels less content to ride on pure shock value. Instead, they are stretching their artistry and deepening their approach to performance with a devilish wink. Polyester is on its surface a cocktail of pop culture artifacts where the cross-gender drag casting of Divine as Francine Fishpaw becomes less of a punkish transgression than an homage to the tradition of the “women’s picture” melodramas of the 1950s—with the added stunt of Odorama scent, achieved with scratch-and-sniff cards. While Polyester is an undeniable transition film for Waters, which feels informed by the changing standards of Hollywood and the world around him, it’s also very much the work of a prankster."]

Gould, Steve, et al. "The Elgin and El Topo plunge NYC into Midnite Madness."  MUBI Podcast (July 7, 2022) ["In 1970, a scruffy repertory theater — led by the visionary Ben Barenholtz — quietly placed a print ad in the Village Voice, advertising midnight screenings of a Spanish-language western they claimed was "too heavy to be shown any other way." The movie was Alejandro Jodorowsky's EL TOPO, and it'd kick off the "Midnite Movie" craze that changed moviegoing. Hear the history of the Elgin Theater and its legendary, weed-soaked screenings of EL TOPO, featuring commentary from ex-Voice critic J Hoberman, Amy Nicholson of the podcast "Unspooled," ex-Elgin programmers Chuck Zlatkin and Steve Gould...and Jodorowsky himself."]

Herzog, Katie. "The Pride Generation." Conversations with Coleman (July 17, 2022) ["In this episode, we talk about Katie's upbringing as a lesbian in a less than accepting environment. We also discuss the rapid rise in the salience of trans issues in the past couple of years, the element of social contagion, and the recent rise of Gen Z girls with gender dysphoria. We talk about the mission creep of gay rights organizations and the increasing salience of drag queens in the culture as well as the backlash against them. We discuss the concept of being non-binary and the difference between male and female sexuality. We also talk about pedophilia and so-called virtuous pedophiles. We discuss puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender reassignment surgery. Katie also gives advice to parents with gender dysphoric children. We go on to talk about trans women in sports and the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill and much more."]

Kumar, Bhavik and Mini Timmaraju. "Trigger Laws Make Abortion Off Limits for Millions; Patients Face 'Intolerable' Risk & Uncertainty." Democracy Now (August 26, 2022) ["Millions of pregnant people in the United States have now lost access to abortion in their state since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Anti-abortion “trigger laws” have gone into effect in numerous states across the country, including Texas, where it became a felony to perform an abortion starting Thursday,​​ punishable by up to life in prison. We speak to Dr. Bhavik Kumar, a Texas-based abortion provider, and Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, about how doctors are navigating the legal environment after the end of Roe v. Wade. “What I’ve seen over the last seven years of providing abortion care in Texas is that politics has found its way into my exam room, into my health center. It’s soaked its way into everything I do as a healthcare provider,” says Kumar, who adds that conservative politicians have attacked both abortion and trans healthcare in similar ways. Meanwhile, Timmaraju says even anti-abortion laws that allow abortion under extreme circumstances undercut bodily autonomy by leaving life in the hands of a panel of judges or hospital staff. “It’s an absolutely intolerable way to manage reproductive healthcare in this country,”"]

Russell, Nicholas. "An American Werewolf in London." Reverse Shot (July 14, 2022) ["John Landis claims the inspiration for 1981’s An American Werewolf in London came in 1969, when, as a production assistant on Brian G. Hutton’s World War II caper Kelly’s Heroes, he witnessed a Roma ritual. “It was an elaborate gypsy funeral rite which the film’s crew witnessed from the back of a truck as they passed by,” The Telegraph recounted in a retrospective piece on the film in 2016. “The corpse was being buried feet-first, wrapped in garlic, in a deep grave right in the middle of a crossroads.” Later, the piece mentions Landis’s love of the 1941 Universal classic The Wolf Man, which, coincidentally, features a Roma caravan harboring a werewolf that goes on to infect Lon Chaney Jr.'s Larry Talbot. The similarity seems a little too involved to be true. At the very least, even if Landis’s story checks out, it is the necessity of the Roma element that, in some way, concretizes and emboldens the cinematic character of the werewolf: an ethnic outsider, perceived as a monstrous abomination. In his film, Landis trades overt exoticism of the creature’s origins for a narrative about exoticism itself."]

Ryan, Chris. "Civilized to Death." Dosed #16 (August 22, 2022) [Chris Ryan is the co-author of Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships. His latest book is Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress: "Most of us have instinctive evidence the world is ending--balmy December days, face-to-face conversation replaced with heads-to-screens zomboidism, a world at constant war, a political system in disarray. We hear some myths and lies so frequently that they feel like truths: Civilization is humankind's greatest accomplishment. Progress is undeniable. Count your blessings. You're lucky to be alive here and now. Well, maybe we are and maybe we aren't. Civilized to Death counters the idea that progress is inherently good, arguing that the "progress" defining our age is analogous to an advancing disease. Prehistoric life, of course, was not without serious dangers and disadvantages. Many babies died in infancy. A broken bone, infected wound, snakebite, or difficult pregnancy could be life-threatening. But ultimately, Christopher Ryan questions, were these pre-civilized dangers more murderous than modern scourges, such as car accidents, cancers, cardiovascular disease, and a technologically prolonged dying process? Civilized to Death "will make you see our so-called progress in a whole new light" (Book Riot) and adds to the timely conversation that "the way we have been living is no longer sustainable, at least as long as we want to the earth to outlive us" (Psychology Today). Ryan makes the claim that we should start looking backwards to find our way into a better future."]

Sale, Anna, et al. "No Call Goes Unanswered: A Lifeline in Wyoming." Death, Sex, and Money (July 13, 2022) ["As the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline becomes a 3-digit number, 988, I visit a call center in Wyoming, which had the highest suicide rate per capita in the US in 2020. If you or someone you love is at risk of harming themselves, or needs some help with mental health, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. After July 16, you can just dial ‘988.’"]

West, Steven. "Bruno Latour - We Have Never Been Modern." Philosophize This! #169 (August 20, 2022) [Bruno Latour's book We Have Never Been Modern: "With the rise of science, we moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably, separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this fond conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? His book, an anthropology of science, shows us how much of modernity is actually a matter of faith. What does it mean to be modern? What difference does the scientific method make? The difference, Latour explains, is in our careful distinctions between nature and society, between human and thing, distinctions that our benighted ancestors, in their world of alchemy, astrology, and phrenology, never made. But alongside this purifying practice that defines modernity, there exists another seemingly contrary one: the construction of systems that mix politics, science, technology, and nature. The ozone debate is such a hybrid, in Latour’s analysis, as are global warming, deforestation, even the idea of black holes. As these hybrids proliferate, the prospect of keeping nature and culture in their separate mental chambers becomes overwhelming—and rather than try, Latour suggests, we should rethink our distinctions, rethink the definition and constitution of modernity itself. His book offers a new explanation of science that finally recognizes the connections between nature and culture—and so, between our culture and others, past and present. Nothing short of a reworking of our mental landscape. We Have Never Been Modern blurs the boundaries among science, the humanities, and the social sciences to enhance understanding on all sides. A summation of the work of one of the most influential and provocative interpreters of science, it aims at saving what is good and valuable in modernity and replacing the rest with a broader, fairer, and finer sense of possibility."]

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