Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

3

[...] As union jobs have disappeared, participation in the labor force, the political system, and cultural affairs is increasingly regulated by professional guilds that require their members to spend the best years of life paying exorbitant tolls and kissing patrician rings. Whatever modest benefits accreditation offers in signaling attainment of skills, as a ranking mechanism it’s zero-sum: the result is to enrich the accreditors and to discredit those who lack equivalent credentials.

Jean Baudrillard once suggested an important correction to classical Marxism: exchange value is not, as Marx had it, a distortion of a commodity’s underlying use value; use value, instead, is a fiction created by exchange value. In the same way, systems of accreditation do not assess merit; merit is a fiction created by systems of accreditation. Like the market for skin care products, the market for credentials is inexhaustible: as the bachelor’s degree becomes democratized, the master’s degree becomes mandatory for advancement. Our elaborate, expensive system of higher education is first and foremost a system of stratification, and only secondly —and very dimly —a system for imparting knowledge.

hell yeah

—p.3 Death by Degrees (1) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] As union jobs have disappeared, participation in the labor force, the political system, and cultural affairs is increasingly regulated by professional guilds that require their members to spend the best years of life paying exorbitant tolls and kissing patrician rings. Whatever modest benefits accreditation offers in signaling attainment of skills, as a ranking mechanism it’s zero-sum: the result is to enrich the accreditors and to discredit those who lack equivalent credentials.

Jean Baudrillard once suggested an important correction to classical Marxism: exchange value is not, as Marx had it, a distortion of a commodity’s underlying use value; use value, instead, is a fiction created by exchange value. In the same way, systems of accreditation do not assess merit; merit is a fiction created by systems of accreditation. Like the market for skin care products, the market for credentials is inexhaustible: as the bachelor’s degree becomes democratized, the master’s degree becomes mandatory for advancement. Our elaborate, expensive system of higher education is first and foremost a system of stratification, and only secondly —and very dimly —a system for imparting knowledge.

hell yeah

—p.3 Death by Degrees (1) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago
3

As the credentialism compulsion seeps down the socioeconomic ladder, universities jack up fees and taxi drivers hire $200-an-hour SAT tutors for their children. The collective impact may be ruinous, but for individuals the outlays seem justified. As a consequence, college tuitions are nowhere near their limit; as long as access to the workforce is controlled by the bachelor’s degree, students will pay more and more.

locally optimal, but globally absurd

—p.3 Death by Degrees (1) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago

As the credentialism compulsion seeps down the socioeconomic ladder, universities jack up fees and taxi drivers hire $200-an-hour SAT tutors for their children. The collective impact may be ruinous, but for individuals the outlays seem justified. As a consequence, college tuitions are nowhere near their limit; as long as access to the workforce is controlled by the bachelor’s degree, students will pay more and more.

locally optimal, but globally absurd

—p.3 Death by Degrees (1) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago
5

[...] major political questions are rarely complex in that sense. They are much more likely to be complicated, in the Avril Lavigne sense, meaning that they involve reconciling disagreements among competing stakeholders —or, as the situation may demand, ratcheting them up.

—p.5 Death by Degrees (1) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] major political questions are rarely complex in that sense. They are much more likely to be complicated, in the Avril Lavigne sense, meaning that they involve reconciling disagreements among competing stakeholders —or, as the situation may demand, ratcheting them up.

—p.5 Death by Degrees (1) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago
5

Quadrupling the supply of gold stickers is one way to devalue the credential; getting rid of the sticker system altogether is another. In our pay-to-play society, many of those toward the bottom of the educational pyramid are getting fleeced; others, though, are getting a leg up. Because it’s callous and unreasonable to ask the disadvantaged to decline opportunities to advance, subverting credentialism must start at the top. What would happen to the price of a bachelor’s degree if the 42,000 high school valedictorians graduating this spring banded together and refused to go to college? And is it too much to ask the Democratic Party to refrain from running any candidate for national office who holds a degree from an Ivy League school?

Then there are our own credentials. Che Guevara once declared that the duty of intellectuals was to commit suicide as a class; a more modest suggestion along the same lines is for the credentialed to join the uncredentialed in shredding the diplomas that paper over the undemocratic infrastructure of American life. A master’s degree, we might find, burns brighter than a draft card.

maybe the thiel fellowship is praxis

—p.5 Death by Degrees (1) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago

Quadrupling the supply of gold stickers is one way to devalue the credential; getting rid of the sticker system altogether is another. In our pay-to-play society, many of those toward the bottom of the educational pyramid are getting fleeced; others, though, are getting a leg up. Because it’s callous and unreasonable to ask the disadvantaged to decline opportunities to advance, subverting credentialism must start at the top. What would happen to the price of a bachelor’s degree if the 42,000 high school valedictorians graduating this spring banded together and refused to go to college? And is it too much to ask the Democratic Party to refrain from running any candidate for national office who holds a degree from an Ivy League school?

Then there are our own credentials. Che Guevara once declared that the duty of intellectuals was to commit suicide as a class; a more modest suggestion along the same lines is for the credentialed to join the uncredentialed in shredding the diplomas that paper over the undemocratic infrastructure of American life. A master’s degree, we might find, burns brighter than a draft card.

maybe the thiel fellowship is praxis

—p.5 Death by Degrees (1) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago
15

The accidental progenitor of the blogorrheic style is David Foster Wallace. What distinguishes Wallace’s writing from the prose it begot is a fusion of the scrupulous and the garrulous; all of our colloquialisms, typically diffusing a mist of vagueness over the world, are pressed into the service of exactness. To a generation of writers, the DFW style was the sound of telling the truth, as—in an opposite way—the flat declaratives and simplified vocabulary of Hemingway were for a different generation. But an individual style, terse or wordy, can breed a generalized mannerism, and the path once cleared to saying things truly and well is now an obstacle course. In the case of the blogorrheic style, institutional and technological pressures coincided with Wallace’s example. Bloggers (which more and more is just to say writers) had little or no editing to deal with, and if they blogged for money they needed to produce, produce. The combination discouraged the stylistic virtues of concision, selectivity, and impersonality.

—p.15 Please RT (13) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago

The accidental progenitor of the blogorrheic style is David Foster Wallace. What distinguishes Wallace’s writing from the prose it begot is a fusion of the scrupulous and the garrulous; all of our colloquialisms, typically diffusing a mist of vagueness over the world, are pressed into the service of exactness. To a generation of writers, the DFW style was the sound of telling the truth, as—in an opposite way—the flat declaratives and simplified vocabulary of Hemingway were for a different generation. But an individual style, terse or wordy, can breed a generalized mannerism, and the path once cleared to saying things truly and well is now an obstacle course. In the case of the blogorrheic style, institutional and technological pressures coincided with Wallace’s example. Bloggers (which more and more is just to say writers) had little or no editing to deal with, and if they blogged for money they needed to produce, produce. The combination discouraged the stylistic virtues of concision, selectivity, and impersonality.

—p.15 Please RT (13) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago
70

[...] when I trawled for their names on the 1860 census I came up empty. No enslaved African American was named on an antebellum federal census; they were counted, eighty to a page, and the count was made, by 1860 at least, by supplying the rough age, sex, and color of the individual, either black or mulatto. Prior to the search, it had made sense to me that three generations back I might face a wall of silence. But when I discovered the simple facts, witnessed the script on the census ledger, and interpreted the hash marks in a column, the historical record took on another kind of life altogether. It seemed—well, the word I would use is close: uncomfortably present, not in the past, not safely tucked away at all.

—p.70 The Ledger (67) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] when I trawled for their names on the 1860 census I came up empty. No enslaved African American was named on an antebellum federal census; they were counted, eighty to a page, and the count was made, by 1860 at least, by supplying the rough age, sex, and color of the individual, either black or mulatto. Prior to the search, it had made sense to me that three generations back I might face a wall of silence. But when I discovered the simple facts, witnessed the script on the census ledger, and interpreted the hash marks in a column, the historical record took on another kind of life altogether. It seemed—well, the word I would use is close: uncomfortably present, not in the past, not safely tucked away at all.

—p.70 The Ledger (67) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago
82

When black Americans who barely knew the legal names of their own grandparents—people whose ancestry dates back to American shores for ten or eleven generations—look back to the era of bondage, we do this from the perspective of the families that we know today. The now-grandfatherly male cousins we have who have never, in all of their lives, had regular employment. The people known by “street” names, who never grew into adult names. The sisters, aunts, and female cousins raising children in poverty, sometimes with genteel flair, sometimes not. We are seeing immigrants of every hue offer lip service to our historic plight, take advantage of the legislation that we pioneered for two centuries, and then pass us by. We are thinking about the mental illness that seems as much a style as a neurological disorder. We are thinking about black people using illegal drugs and frowned-upon remedies for a hundred years for the same reason that tens of millions of Americans have sought prescriptions from physicians for relief. We are thinking about people who, for as long as they can recall, have experienced a simmering anger that was sometimes addressed with alcohol and narcotics, an anger that became a kind of manufactured commodity that fed an industry of incarceration, security, and hospitalization. We are thinking about neglected communities and decaying houses and public services that operate under multiple standards. We are thinking that in every new place we have ever traveled in the United States, we found a community with posh homes, quaint comfortable businesses that catered to desires we had yet to fully form, and regular traditions that we found enchanting and seductive—and yet just on the other side of the tracks were the crumbling huts for us. Even when these wore fresh coats of lavender or lime or canary or fuchsia paint, it didn’t ease our sight of blemish on the country that willed it.

this killed me

—p.82 The Ledger (67) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago

When black Americans who barely knew the legal names of their own grandparents—people whose ancestry dates back to American shores for ten or eleven generations—look back to the era of bondage, we do this from the perspective of the families that we know today. The now-grandfatherly male cousins we have who have never, in all of their lives, had regular employment. The people known by “street” names, who never grew into adult names. The sisters, aunts, and female cousins raising children in poverty, sometimes with genteel flair, sometimes not. We are seeing immigrants of every hue offer lip service to our historic plight, take advantage of the legislation that we pioneered for two centuries, and then pass us by. We are thinking about the mental illness that seems as much a style as a neurological disorder. We are thinking about black people using illegal drugs and frowned-upon remedies for a hundred years for the same reason that tens of millions of Americans have sought prescriptions from physicians for relief. We are thinking about people who, for as long as they can recall, have experienced a simmering anger that was sometimes addressed with alcohol and narcotics, an anger that became a kind of manufactured commodity that fed an industry of incarceration, security, and hospitalization. We are thinking about neglected communities and decaying houses and public services that operate under multiple standards. We are thinking that in every new place we have ever traveled in the United States, we found a community with posh homes, quaint comfortable businesses that catered to desires we had yet to fully form, and regular traditions that we found enchanting and seductive—and yet just on the other side of the tracks were the crumbling huts for us. Even when these wore fresh coats of lavender or lime or canary or fuchsia paint, it didn’t ease our sight of blemish on the country that willed it.

this killed me

—p.82 The Ledger (67) by n+1 1 year, 5 months ago
100

While it may seem odd, there are not many difficulties in adapting this model to the digital world: instead of buying a book and throwing it away after forty people check it out, a library simply buys a license to circulate an ebook forty times. Functionally, it’s the same. The problem is that where previously libraries could buy any book they liked on the open market for the same price that any individual would pay, the move to digital licensing allows publishers to enforce more fine-grained “library pricing.” Now, instead of paying $10.39 on Amazon for a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and circulating that book until it falls apart, libraries will have to pay whatever publishers demand for the right to circulate a book a set number of times—probably a lot more than $10.39. It’s likely as well that libraries will eventually be competing with the literary equivalent of Netflix for the right to circulate ebooks. But while this new regime may force circulating libraries to cut back on the number of titles they provide, it won’t threaten their basic existence. Once publishers determine the market price to circulate a book, they will be all too happy to charge libraries that price.

omg fuck this

—p.100 Lions in Winter (89) by Charles Petersen 1 year, 5 months ago

While it may seem odd, there are not many difficulties in adapting this model to the digital world: instead of buying a book and throwing it away after forty people check it out, a library simply buys a license to circulate an ebook forty times. Functionally, it’s the same. The problem is that where previously libraries could buy any book they liked on the open market for the same price that any individual would pay, the move to digital licensing allows publishers to enforce more fine-grained “library pricing.” Now, instead of paying $10.39 on Amazon for a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and circulating that book until it falls apart, libraries will have to pay whatever publishers demand for the right to circulate a book a set number of times—probably a lot more than $10.39. It’s likely as well that libraries will eventually be competing with the literary equivalent of Netflix for the right to circulate ebooks. But while this new regime may force circulating libraries to cut back on the number of titles they provide, it won’t threaten their basic existence. Once publishers determine the market price to circulate a book, they will be all too happy to charge libraries that price.

omg fuck this

—p.100 Lions in Winter (89) by Charles Petersen 1 year, 5 months ago
101

At the moment, most licensing arrangements for university libraries are set up so that students and faculty can log in and use the databases not just from the physical library but from anywhere in the world, twenty-four hours a day. University libraries can afford to pay for comprehensive access because they have a limited and well-defined user base—in the case of NYU, around 45,000 students, faculty, and staff. The New York Public Library can’t buy similar licenses because it has 1.9 million cardholders. “When a publisher hears that they get very nervous,” Denise Hibay, the library’s head of collection development, told me. That’s because if the New York Public Library did somehow persuade a company like ProQuest to let it buy licenses on the cheap, then NYU (and every other college and university in town) could just stop paying ProQuest and tell all their students who want access to sign up for a library card and log in through the New York Public Library.

abolish proquest tbh

—p.101 Lions in Winter (89) by Charles Petersen 1 year, 5 months ago

At the moment, most licensing arrangements for university libraries are set up so that students and faculty can log in and use the databases not just from the physical library but from anywhere in the world, twenty-four hours a day. University libraries can afford to pay for comprehensive access because they have a limited and well-defined user base—in the case of NYU, around 45,000 students, faculty, and staff. The New York Public Library can’t buy similar licenses because it has 1.9 million cardholders. “When a publisher hears that they get very nervous,” Denise Hibay, the library’s head of collection development, told me. That’s because if the New York Public Library did somehow persuade a company like ProQuest to let it buy licenses on the cheap, then NYU (and every other college and university in town) could just stop paying ProQuest and tell all their students who want access to sign up for a library card and log in through the New York Public Library.

abolish proquest tbh

—p.101 Lions in Winter (89) by Charles Petersen 1 year, 5 months ago
102

We assume that the internet can only make it easier and cheaper to access information, but what the internet really does, when it’s commercialized, is commodify information. In the future, publishers will be able to determine exactly how often a specific book or article is accessed, try a few different prices, and charge whatever turns out to be most profitable. If that profit can be generated by selling advertising, then the book will be made available “for free”; if not, users will be forced to pay. In the case of romance novels, this means “ad-supported books”; in the case of scholarly journals, if you don’t have an institution to support you, it means paying $5.99 to “rent” a single article for one day, the price currently being charged by Cambridge University Press.

—p.102 Lions in Winter (89) by Charles Petersen 1 year, 5 months ago

We assume that the internet can only make it easier and cheaper to access information, but what the internet really does, when it’s commercialized, is commodify information. In the future, publishers will be able to determine exactly how often a specific book or article is accessed, try a few different prices, and charge whatever turns out to be most profitable. If that profit can be generated by selling advertising, then the book will be made available “for free”; if not, users will be forced to pay. In the case of romance novels, this means “ad-supported books”; in the case of scholarly journals, if you don’t have an institution to support you, it means paying $5.99 to “rent” a single article for one day, the price currently being charged by Cambridge University Press.

—p.102 Lions in Winter (89) by Charles Petersen 1 year, 5 months ago