Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

La Séduction sensuelle

It's unclear whether Sebastien Tellier's image is in tribute to the lounge stylings of his mucis, or just because he's french. Some time ago, Owen suggested that Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction” was “wierdly desolate,” which is right. Part of what’s wierd about it is that it’s not obvious (at least to me) how much of that desolation is intentional. I’ve read a few people praising Snoop Dogg for the braveness of taking a disco direction; but the electro-disco revival has been bubbling under at least since Daft Punk’s Discovery. I wonder if the emotional tone of “Sensual Seduction” is simply a formal requirement of the genre; the doyenne of the revival, Sally Shapiro, makes records so icy I have to skip them if they happen to come up on my MP3 player on a winter day. I recently happened upon another participant, Sébastien Tellier, who, being French rather than Swedish, goes for more of a post-coital tristesse.

Which reminds me, without really being relevant, of k-punk’s description of (not actually that) new dubstep offshoot wonky as “occupying the tipping point where dubstep’s loping lugubriousness (d)evolves into a UK crunkstep” Read more↴

Academic material

DeLillo in White Noise is both funny and astute about the physical embodiment of academic specialization:

The chancellor had advised me, back in 1968, to do something about my name and appearance if I wanted to be taken seriously as a Hitler innovator…. We finally agreed that I should invent an extra initial and call myself J. A. K. Gladney, a tag I wore like a borrowed suit.

The chancellor warned against what he called my tendency to make a feeble presentation of myself. He strongly suggested that I gain weight. He wanted me to “grow out” into Hitler…. I had the advantage of substantial height, big hands, big feet, but badly needed bulk, or so he believed—an air of unhealthy excess, of padding and exaggeration, hulking massiveness.

Which makes me wonder, how should I shape my physical appearance to be appropriate to the kind of academic career I want? Or, have I already, by my sartorial choices, sealed my academic destiny? A troubling thought.

Which brings me to this article discouraging people from doing PhDs (via). Read more↴

Bridging the class divide

Christ, this is repulsive. An organization focused on ending classism by “bridging the class divide.” Actually, I wonder if it wasn’t set up by some old lefty to demonstrate the limitations of the theraputic model of identity politics. I’ve sometimes been worried that certain discussions of, for instance, white privelege, end up being about allowing white people to feel good about themselves, but surely this is the nadir: “because of intense class segregation in the U.S., we don’t benefit from each other’s strengths and grow past our limitations.” Oh yes, because that’s the problem with class society; we don’t get to “grow” from the splendid diversity of poverty. Read more↴