Monthly Archives: February 2014


From the Center for Responsive Politics, a list of the corporations that spent the most money to lobby Congress.

In 2012, the median income of someone 25 years or older was $26,989 before taxes and basic costs of living such as rent, food, utilities, and clothing.

So even assuming that you manage to avoid taxes and purchase nothing, it would take you over 2,759 years to earn what the US Chamber of Commerce spent in 2013 on lobbying the people’s government.

All told, corporations and their associations spent $3,210,000,000 on lobbying in 2013. It would take over 118,937 years to accumulate this amount of money on a tax- and expenditure-free median income. To gain some additional perspective, note that our species, homo sapiens, first appeared about 100,000 years ago.

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Reading Fatale (HUM415)

Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette



Do you play bridge?

Vomiting/ wanting to vomit.

Historical references:

1871: Bléville chamber of commerce commissions the market hall. Paris Commune.

Various street names, some of which represent reactionary figures while others represent revolutionary figures.

The etchings in Aimee’s apartment and the historical references in the guidebook.

The novel’s last lines, in all caps:


To those sensual and philosophical women in the class, then, this novel is for you. Fatale is a message. Can we interpret it? At what level will this act of interpretation be most effective? Are we to content ourselves with simply examining the story-content? Or does the novel’s narrative discourse—its form—constitute a message as well?

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The Reason Why

A group of U.S. experts has arrived in Ukraine to hold consultations on immediate economic reforms, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns has said.

He said that in Kyiv he was accompanied by a team of economic experts from the U.S. Treasury Department and the White House, and that after his departure on Wednesday they would remain in the city to continue bilateral consultations, the press service of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said.

On the economic side, the reality is that the new government that will be formed will inherit an economic mess. It’s a reality that Ukraine has always had a great deal of economic potential, but it’s also a reality that its business climate has never matched that potential. That can change. It is possible to realize that potential. It is possible to fight corruption and all the other impediments to realizing that potential. We recognize that that effort will require and deserves support from the friends of Ukraine like the United States, like the European Union, like the IMF. And we’re working quite practically and quite intensively to be ready to provide that support.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns

The Element of Crime (HUM425)

There are some minor changes to the syllabus: I’m dropping the secondary readings for next week. This coming Tuesday (3/4), just focus on getting The City and the City completed. That evening we’ll do an in-class writing exercise using clips from The Element of Crime and we’ll have a discussion about Mieville’s novel.

The Big Combo (HUM303)

Here’s The Big Combo (1955). It’s worth checking out as an exemplar of the film noir mode. The clip we screened in class today can be found at the 26:00 minute mark. Note the use of extreme close-up in addition to framing, figure position, etc. Susan’s face fills virtually the entire screen. What does such a shot do? What does it mean?

What is neoliberalism? (HUM415)

A really useful series of very short interviews produced by the Barnard Center for Research on Women. I think Elizabeth Bernstein’s taxonomy of critical approaches to neoliberalism is particularly helpful, but just as notable are remarks by other scholars on the roles of 1) gender and sexuality, 2) mass incarceration, and 3) the creation of “self-responsibilized neoliberal subjects” in the entrenchment and expansion of the neoliberal paradigm: