Friday, February 07, 2014

can hiphop help the cathedral's bronies get their testicles to descend?

foreignpolicy | But instead of sulking, whining, or grabbing the mic from Taylor Swift, Kendrick used his scheduled Grammy performance to make Imagine Dragons, one of the year's top-selling rock bands, into his backup band and, well, let Kendrick tell it: "I need you to recognize that Plan B is to win your hearts right here while we're at the Grammys." And he did, with a triumphant, uncompromising performance that brought down the house and momentarily made the Grammys matter again. Instead of brooding over the ignorance of the gatekeepers, Kendrick just seized the moment and went out and relegated them to irrelevance.

That's what academic bloggers have been doing for the last decade: ignoring hierarchies and traditional venues and instead hustling on our own terms. Instead of lamenting over the absence of an outlet for academics to publish high-quality work, we wrote blogs on the things we cared about and created venues like the Middle East Channel and the Monkey Cage. Academic blogs and new primarily online publications rapidly evolved into a dense, noisy, and highly competitive ecosystem where established scholars, rising young stars, and diverse voices battled and collaborated. 

These new forms of public engagement, whether on personal blogs or the Duck of Minerva or Political Violence or the Monkey Cage or Foreign Policy or EzraStan or the countless other outlets now available for online publication, are exactly where academics need to be if they want to fulfil their own educational, policy, or research missions. Online publishing actually reaches people and informs public debates that matter. The marketplace of ideas is intensely competitive, and if scholars want their ideas to compete, then they need to get out there and compete. 

This seems so obvious that it's sometimes hard to know what thearguments are all about. Some of it is no doubt nostalgic anxiety for an older, more regulated, hierarchical world, and some of it is driven by the admittedly noxious nature of a lot of online commentary. The ISA's president, Harvey Starr, defended the proposed policy as necessary to preserve a "professional environment" in light of the kinds of discourse often found online. Many of the profession's gatekeepers recoil from the public nature of the intellectual combat, as well as from the invective, personal abuse, and intense stupidity that populate most comment sections and the occasional Twitter feed. 

But Kendrick Lamar, along with everything that produced him, shows exactly why the ISA would be insane to try to block its membership from blogging or engaging at all levels with the public sphere. It might as well try to outlaw gravity or place restraints on the moon's orbit. If scholars want to have impact on public policy debates -- and many don't, and that's fine -- then there's really no option. You have to play the game to change the game.

Blogs and other online publications should be seen as the equivalent of the mixtapes in the hip-hop world. Mixtapes emerged in hip-hop, far more than in most other musical genres, as a way for rising artists to gain attention, build a fan base, display their talents, and battle their rivals. Sometimes they would be sold at shows or on websites, but more often they would be given away for free on the Internet. Mixtapes would often feature tracks that weren't quite ready for prime time or were recorded over somebody else's beat, but demonstrated the quality and originality of the artist's vision. 

Where the earlier generation of rappers found fame through signing a deal and a major label release (the equivalent of getting a tenure-track job straight out of grad school), mid-2000s monsters like 50 Cent and Lil Wayne broke through with their mixtapes. The current generation of stars followed in their paths: Drake, Wale, J. Cole, B.o.B, and company were defined by, and arguably did their best work, not on their formulaic, label-shaped albums but on their earlier creator-shaped mixtapes. But -- and it's an important but -- they couldn't actually consolidate their careers without the major-label deal. Academics need to understand the implications of both dimensions of this new structure of the field: The road to a major-label deal (tenure-track job) lies through the mixtapes (blogs), but career success (tenure) still requires successful albums (books and journal articles).


CNu said...

The leverage and ROI of this attack are phenomenal. What I'm struggling with processing is how it takes a "group" 19 minutes to bust only 100 caps? Even at my advanced age, I could carry a few hundred rounds of 7.62x39 - do a two mile run in and a two mile exit run out (backpack substantially lightened) A lone shooter could easily do this work in under 5 minutes and with zero chance of information leakage.

So I'm scratching my head about this notion of a group and that it took a group 19 minutes to shoot up this substation. The downside of any group exercise is information leakage - so there must be yet more to come on this story?

John Kurman said...

Genes alone cannot explain eukaryotes. Just... can't. In fact, the evidence is, it happened only once. An optimistic answer to the Fermi Paradox perhaps. Prokaryotes simply don't have the oomph it takes for multicellular beings, and I'm betting that, no multicellular critters => no flying saucers. That would be some nice news for once.

CNu said...

Even without taggants, explosives are a whole lot easier to trace than ammo. 7.62x39 is sold at gun shows by the barrel - originating from anywhere around the world. You could be sitting on an untraceable stockpile of czech ammo from 10 years ago still perfectly up to this task, and the low cost at the time of purchase would've been negligible. It would take a substantial amount of kaboom and comparatively high risk to plant and detonate it (they put cameras and other sensors on substations and other SCADA infrastructure nowadays)

Sitting comfortably concealed three football fields away with engine-block piercing muzzle velocity is a helluva lot better proposition for doing dirt to vulnerable infrastructure than kaboom. Now you talk about your crime scenarios, it's been made fairly common knowledge - by this story alone - that a whole lot of malicious mischief can be wreaked for a few dollars and with minimum risk of detection or leaving evidence.

CNu said...

lol, dood you slippin? How you go and manage to leave depreciation out of your argument?

CNu said...

sssshhhhh...., now John. We gotta maintain a united front in the presence of the creation scientists.Multicellular blue-green algae made the transition from single-celled to
multi-celled not once, but several times over the course of history,
according to a study published last week (February 14) in BMC
Evolutionary Biology, giving support to the idea that the evolution of
multicellularity may not have been as big of an evolutionary leap as
scientists once believed.

CNu said...

lol, you may wanna google parasitism and watch all the Alien movies before associating symbiogenesis and kumbayah...,

Vic78 said...

Man, the immigrants are coming. Chua's trying to help these simple ass critics. The immigrants are looking to run shit since Americans don't have the goddamn sense to handle their own business. The easier way to break it down is that American outliers are the norm among certain groups. I believe Chua's book was for those parents that didn't go to Ivy League schools. She's being socially responsible. It might be that some critics are protecting their turf. They sound so weak. How the fuck do you think people succeed? It sounds like the triple threat could be better described as vision, focus, and determination with a feeling that one hasn't quite made it yet. Now why is that such a problem and how is it racist? It looks like the Cathedral wants to stay a gang of whiney bitches. I say fuck 'em and take their lunch money.

I'm starting to like the Cathedral idea. It works better than calling them the left.

Tom said...

The immigrants are looking to run shit since Americans don't have the goddamn sense to handle their own business.

Yeah. We take pride in not having the sense to pour piss out of our own shoes.

CNu said...

Ah, I see the distinction you're drawing. The distinction between parasite and symbiont is a very fine one and I suspect that for every symbiotic equilibrium/evolutionary leap achieved, there are literally thousands of purely predatory parasitic failures. It takes an immensely strong host to overcome the onslaught of a parasite. Take for example the peculiar history of America. The native Americans have not fared particularly well in the face of repeated european onslaughts. Africans, captured and kidnapped for the purpose of pure plantation parasitism - on the other hand..., nevermind, I can hear BD snoring peacefully and dreaming of a Wewelsburg Christmas

CNu said...

Thanks Vic, I couldn't have asked for a better segue into the next ripple in my stream of consciousness given the presence of Janet Mock on that MHP/MSNBC stage.

makheru bradley said...

"The downside of any group exercise is information leakage." Unless they are similar to the team that broke into the Pa. FBI office.

Dale Asberry said...

The downside of any group exercise is information leakage - so there must be yet more to come on this story?

You did say things are getting Dickensian...

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

umbrarchist said...

You mean Depreciation is not implied in Net Worth? LOL