Sunday Reading

by zunguzungu

Obama Loves Queers! (Except Not):

This is the problem with this whole same-sex marriage thing (okay, there are a lot of problems with it, but this is one). It’s not really about equality. Not for everyone (which is what equality means). It’s just about extending a few more “rights” to a select few people. It’s just a way of saying, “As long as you are otherwise as much like us normal people as you can possibly be, we will overlook the fact that you do icky things in bed and let you have some more rights. You’re welcome.”

It reminds me of white folks, liberal-types, who think they’re not racist because they have black friends, only their black friends have their same level of education, talk just like they do, live in houses and neighborhoods that look just like theirs, and are basically indistinguishable from them except for their skin color, which happens to be browner. They need their colored folks to be just like them, or as near as possible. Otherwise, it’s just awkward.

In fact, this whole marriage thing is a lot like whiteness. Over time, certain groups get to be added to this realm of privilege, so that other groups can always be left out of it. (see: Irish folks, Jewish folks, etc.)

Surveillance State democracy:

[A] mere six weeks earlier, a major controversy had erupted when Saudi Arabia and the UAE both announced a ban on BlackBerries on the ground that they were physically unable to monitor the communications conducted on those devices. Since Blackberry communication data are sent directly to servers in Canada and the company which operates Blackberry — Research in Motion — refused to turn the data over to those governments, “authorities [in those two tyrannies] decided to ban Blackberry services rather than continue to allow an uncontrolled and unmonitored flow of electronic information within their borders.” As I wrote at the time: “that’s the core mindset of the Omnipotent Surveillance State: above all else, what is strictly prohibited is the ability of citizens to communicate in private; we can’t have any ‘uncontrolled and unmonitored flow of electronic information’.”

In response to that controversy, the Obama administration actuallycondemned the Saudi and UAE ban, calling it “a dangerous precedent” and a threat to “democracy, human rights and freedom of information.” Yet six weeks later, the very same Obama administration embraced exactly the same rationale — that it is intolerable for any human interaction to take place beyond the prying eyes and ears of the government — when it proposed its mandatory “backdoor access” for all forms of Internet communication. Indeed, the UAE pointed out that the U.S. — as usual — was condemning exactly that which it itself was doing

Sunday Reading from longtime friend of the blog, Reclaim UC, who reminds us “Poor UC! So far from God, so close to Sacramento!”

Occupy the Farm and the Conditions of Academic Labor [be sure to check out the comments for a special visit from a UC administration's blustering, red-faced spokesman!]:

The University’s ultimatum to those farming on the Gill Tract implies that academic inquiry, in order to be free, should occur entirely within the bounds of the university, and that it should be carried out using university property, undisturbed by any thing or person not bound contractually to the UC Regents. This is a conception of the proper ‘location’ of academic research that is also reiterated every time a University employee is forced to sign a form declaring that the fruits of their academic labors – their discoveries, curricula, and lectures – are property of the UC Regents. It’s a narrow (not to mention fantastical) conception of free inquiry, which assumes that knowledge can be cordoned off from broader publics and can be wholly contained within the parameters of private ownership. According to this view of academic inquiry, the greatest threat to academic freedom is the possibility that research might be contaminated by the bodies and minds of those not affiliated with the university, whether they be squatters on university farmland, those who would freely disseminate inventions or other effects of research, or publics that would seek to give direction to professors’ research. For someone like George Breslauer, university police and administrators exist to keep such unruly elements at bay, and thus to allow academic research to be carried on in isolation.

Poet Joshua Clover and 11 Students May Face Prison Time and $1 Million in Damages for Shutdown of US Bank

Mark LeVine on the destruction of the UC system and why it matters: “universities, especially public universities, are the canary in the coal mine for determining the health of of society at large.”

Defend UCLA Activists: A Letter from Professor Katherine King:

[After being violently arrested by UCPD, t]he three were held in a small room off the atrium for about an hour. Ms Deutsch, who was able to peek around the corner, saw President Yudof walk up, shake each officer’s hand, and thank each one individually.  She leaned out and asked him “What are you thanking them for?” She received no answer.

Another round of UC tuition hikes on the horizon:

University officials are considering a plan to raise tuition by 6 percent this fall if the state doesn’t increase funding by $125 million for 2012-13.

Administrators say the 10-campus system would need to consider a mid-year tuition increase in the “range of double digits” or make drastic campus cuts if voters don’t pass Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan in November.

Also see Chris Newfield’s detailed analysis of these budget scenarios

Sunday Reading from the great Bint Battuta:

And last but not least, the fall of the republic, from Frank Pasquale: