The fact that articles like this don’t refer to Nancy Reagan as an activist is how well conservatives have fooled everyone into thinking that what they do isn’t radical or activism.
Twitter post by @011scenes: “there’s no stranger things without her sorry”
Well, yes and no. While 11 is the catalyst for much of the overall plot – the writers can’t seem to have the character do anything besides scowl, stretch out an arm, and grimace until her nose bleeds black.
Sure, Stranger Things doesn’t exist without her (narratively and well, literally, I suppose) but Stranger Things doesn’t know what to do with her either.
There’s got to be a few, right? I’m not saying there’s not, but anything?
Sometimes research takes you in weird places. Honestly, I’m taking notes on Stephen Spielberg’s 2005 War of the Worlds and in disagreeing with a scholar’s opinion — well, part of the opinion, or actually the way the opinion was stated, fine, I didn’t like the tone of the opinion, okay??– I came across an abstract about Nocturnal Animals the 2017 Tom Ford film that I only know from TikTok.
I think it’s TikTok, or Instagram, the meme where you go to Netflix and watch the first few minutes of the movie and record your reaction because there’s nothing more shocking than fat bodies moving. Oh, wait, naked fat bodies. Eww!
Anyhooos, I read the plot in the Wikipedias because I’m never spending money on that film and in the references list came across Victoria Coren Mitchell’s amaze-balls review: “I’m so glad to spoil this film for you” in The Guardian.
Director Tom Ford, a fashion designer by day and a film-maker with a gorgeous aesthetic touch, can make anything beautiful – and he really does it with these cadavers. The whole image could be hung in an art gallery, if it weren’t for the risk of flies. They look exactly how a pair of raped, murdered women wouldn’t look. But if you want to believe that a pair of raped, murdered women would be a lovely sight to behold, then Nocturnal Animals is the film for you.Mitchell
And this, on that opening sequence of fat women existing:
On and on the dancing goes; we really get to have a good old goggle at the undulating folds of flesh. This is Ford’s David Lynch moment, but, in the darkest room of Tom Ford’s psyche, you don’t get dwarves speaking backwards, you get fat women dancing. Yeurggghhhhh, look at their rubbery tummies, their flabby thighs! Make it stop! Monsters! Fat fat fat fat fat!
And that’s what you get when you let a f***ing fashion designer make a film.Mitchell
Hats off to you, for an unwavering review that says the quiet parts out loud. This movie sounds like shit. It reads like shit. It may have wonderful performances, but it’s probably shit.
Also, fuck Tom Ford too. Just all of it.
While I was transcribing my notebook today, I came across this paragraph I wrote about the first chapter of Richard Miller’s Writing at the End of the World:
Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club is discussed in detail and while I’m pleased we found the time to discuss a female writer, I’m saddened that her story has to be about hope generated through the expression of her psychological and physical trauma and that her contribution is about forgiveness. Thank goodness for the lady nurturers. “It might seem that by organizing these readings in this way, I’ve been building up to a spirited defense of the social and therapeutic value of writing one’s memoirs” (24). Reader, he is not. Amis, Krakauer, Descartes all new that writing could exemplify, amplify their anxieties: “extend one’s sense of despair and one’s sense of superiority” (24) but they lacked the knowledge that Karr had, that writing could generate hope and forgiveness and an understanding of one’s own past and path. Miller forgets to point out that men often have the space, time, leisure to amplify their pain because the women compromise, cajole, and cooperate. Karr finds hope and optimism because she is not allowed the space to brood and sulk in the literary world. Her pain isn’t vented through literary doppelgangers or shooting sprees—it burns until it’s contained and only valued when her trauma is transformed into that most useful of all stolen artifacts—hope.
During my PhD, I have been concerned and a little jealous that I haven’t been able to connect personally with any of my professors. I am either their age or older, I live an hour away, and, to be fair, I don’t have the best personality. But when I see other students getting asked for favors, or editing, or other research work, I wonder what I’m missing out on and how that will affect me in the long run.
Lately, as I watch my colleague being taken advantage of by a professor with favors and tasks while not fulfilling their part of the deal, I’m a wee bit grateful that I am ignored. I AM VERY MAD AT THIS SITUATION BECAUSE MY COLLEAGUE DESERVES SO MUCH BETTER.
An open letter to NPR:
Why purposefully use “teenager” in this headline to describe the adult male pleading guilty? His attack was racially motivated and since we have a long history of “aging up “ Black people in our media to make them seem more threatening, this is a bad editorial choice.
“Man pleads guilty to killing ten Black workers and shopper in Buffalo.”
There. You don’t even have to put “white” before his name if it makes you uncomfortable, because we know. Of course, we know.
Thanks to the If Books Could Kill podcast and its co-host, Peter Shamshiri, I started listening to 5-4 — “a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks” which Peter also co-hosts. It’s good, infuriating, and informative. But handing you a new podcast to listen to is not why I’ve asked you here.
There is a promotion at the half-way point for a newsletter — Balls and Strikes — that another co-host, Michael Morbius, narrates. They seem to run it each episode and I’ve started noticing something. Actually, I’ve noticed that I’ve noticed something. It’s a bit meta.
I’m getting there.
At one point as he speaks I could tell that he starts smiling. The change is clear but undescribable. I don’t know why my brain has picked up on this. Less so, do I know why he’s smiling. So I went to the Internet, as I do, to find out why my brain does what it does.
My first stop was this article in Discover Magazine that showcases a study suggesting that if you can sense a smile in a voice you’re hearing, and not someone you can see, you tend to smile back. The article and the study it links to–well done, consumer science journalism–discuss the lack of research on what constitutes this auditory smile. Checking the paper’s sources, I ended up here: “The vocal communication of different types of smile” in Speech Communication. The study is from 2008 and I’m not sure if I’m going to see what builds upon this research. But I was still curious to see who else out there was wondering, “did I just hear you smile?”
“Smiling voices maintain [increased trust] even in the face of behavioral evidence of untrustworthiness.” (1)
“We present an experiment in which participants played a trust game with a virtual agent that expressed emotion through its voice, in a manner congruent or incongruent with its behavior.” (1)
“Using an investment game paradigm, we found that positive vocal emotional expression – smiling voice – increases participants’ implicit trust attributions to virtual agents, compared with when agents speak with an emotionally neutral voice. As previously observed, the monetary returns of the agent also affected implicit trust, so that participants invested more money in the agent that was behaving generously.”(1)
And this is the point where I’ve saved the citation in Paperpile, sat back with my arms folded and leaned over to look down into the murky depths of this rabbit hole. I still don’t know what stimuli my brain is picking up that translates into “smile” after Michael says “Supreme Court sucks”, but I can pick up the danger of being able to simulate this in such a way that creates trust between yourself and stranger on the phone.
This is more than just Cash Green’s white voice in Sorry to Bother You, this is the “right voice,” the one that flicks an unknown switch in your head and you picture a reassuring smile. The “right voice” is built upon the research that pull the secrets out of our brains and tools them for algorithmic benefit. The “right voice” won’t just relieve people of their hard-earned money, it will lead them astray, down paths not yet cut.
What do I do? This digression has made me thoughtful. Sigh.
(1) Torre, Ilaria, et al. “If Your Device Could Smile: People Trust Happy-Sounding Artificial Agents More.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 105, Apr. 2020, p. 106215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.106215
I noted that apparently horrible real-life person Armie Hammer’s Steve Lift had to be based off the “WeWork” guy, so looked up Adam Neumann, clicked on his wife’s Wikipedia page and then found this:
Her father had a direct mail business and spent a number of years in prison for tax evasion.Rebekah Neumann’s Wikipedia Page
Because, of course. That’s all.
I watch cryptocurrency drama from the nosebleed seats. I have some shallow understanding of the system and, I’m not ashamed to say, I rely on my students to fill in some details for me if I’m curious and they’re willing. If you keep hearing about FTX and wondering what’s going on, this piece in The Atlantic by Annie Lowrey will give you an idea of the most recent meltdown.
Perhaps instead of extending your deadline, you should offer a hybrid option for people with limited means, not ready to get on a plane, or unwilling to spend a lot of money in the state in which your conference is held.