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).

34

This leaves me with the thought that the problem and possibilities of the contemporary social novel are not exclusively tied to genre—i.e., they are not the classical problems of the novel, per se. They aren’t exactly the problems and possibilities offered by the familiar challenge of maintaining a balance between action and description (famously described by György Lukács in his rants on the political efficacy of realist prose). There’s something challenging in this unfamiliar territory but also something hopeful, not just because we seem still to like novels, but because it’s clear that literature can contribute, in a significant way, to contemporary events. And where literature can help is in its combinatory and experimental capacities. Novelists can do things and try things that academics and critics cannot. So I am advocating for that now. Let’s have more social novels that explore the disruption and near-impossibility of our cherished narrative forms. Let’s have more social novels that look for narrative—and even fail to find it. In their spectacular and detailed failure, such novels may more closely resemble us.

—p.34 Orphans of Dickens (24) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This leaves me with the thought that the problem and possibilities of the contemporary social novel are not exclusively tied to genre—i.e., they are not the classical problems of the novel, per se. They aren’t exactly the problems and possibilities offered by the familiar challenge of maintaining a balance between action and description (famously described by György Lukács in his rants on the political efficacy of realist prose). There’s something challenging in this unfamiliar territory but also something hopeful, not just because we seem still to like novels, but because it’s clear that literature can contribute, in a significant way, to contemporary events. And where literature can help is in its combinatory and experimental capacities. Novelists can do things and try things that academics and critics cannot. So I am advocating for that now. Let’s have more social novels that explore the disruption and near-impossibility of our cherished narrative forms. Let’s have more social novels that look for narrative—and even fail to find it. In their spectacular and detailed failure, such novels may more closely resemble us.

—p.34 Orphans of Dickens (24) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
43

Also under Eisenhower, USIA sent hundreds of thousands of books overseas to USIS libraries, subsidizing the U.S. publishing industry in an effort to woo the world’s readers away from the lures of communism. USIA officials carefully vetted books to ensure that only those that supported official U.S. policy and met with positive reception among the American public were designated as “acceptable” to foreign cultures and ticketed for wide cultural export. While the CIA funded and organized a Russian language edition of Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, USIA rejected Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, James Jones’s From Here to Eternity, and William Lederer’s The Ugly American as far too morally equivocal statements on U.S. participation in the Second Word War and (in Lederer’s case) the ensuing promotion of American-style freedom abroad.

USIA also got into the business of directly bankrolling the publication of books that would promote a positive image of America. [...]

let's bring this back but like only for communist books

—p.43 An American Tale (36) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Also under Eisenhower, USIA sent hundreds of thousands of books overseas to USIS libraries, subsidizing the U.S. publishing industry in an effort to woo the world’s readers away from the lures of communism. USIA officials carefully vetted books to ensure that only those that supported official U.S. policy and met with positive reception among the American public were designated as “acceptable” to foreign cultures and ticketed for wide cultural export. While the CIA funded and organized a Russian language edition of Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, USIA rejected Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, James Jones’s From Here to Eternity, and William Lederer’s The Ugly American as far too morally equivocal statements on U.S. participation in the Second Word War and (in Lederer’s case) the ensuing promotion of American-style freedom abroad.

USIA also got into the business of directly bankrolling the publication of books that would promote a positive image of America. [...]

let's bring this back but like only for communist books

—p.43 An American Tale (36) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
54

Exiting the social-democratic nightmare meant, in part, learning, and teaching, a new language. The socialistic shibboleths of “security,” “planning,” “economic democracy,” and “full employment” would have to be confronted and countered with new ideals of competition and entrepreneurship. People like the Brooklyn high school juniors had learned, through years of Depression and war, to associate freedom with security from the thing called “the market,” in its various manifestations: a cruel boss, a closed factory gate, a sped-up assembly line. To redeem the free enterprise system, the apostles of private property needed a vocabulary for emancipation through the market. [...]

—p.54 The Innovator’s Agenda (52) by John Patrick Leary 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Exiting the social-democratic nightmare meant, in part, learning, and teaching, a new language. The socialistic shibboleths of “security,” “planning,” “economic democracy,” and “full employment” would have to be confronted and countered with new ideals of competition and entrepreneurship. People like the Brooklyn high school juniors had learned, through years of Depression and war, to associate freedom with security from the thing called “the market,” in its various manifestations: a cruel boss, a closed factory gate, a sped-up assembly line. To redeem the free enterprise system, the apostles of private property needed a vocabulary for emancipation through the market. [...]

—p.54 The Innovator’s Agenda (52) by John Patrick Leary 7 months, 2 weeks ago
82

[...] the only time the economic circumstances of the people become important is in their cynical and strategic deployment as cultural signifiers enabling the conspicuous display of a political leader’s putative earthiness.

also relevant to tech ceos talking about their army of underpaid workers

—p.82 A Different Class (78) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] the only time the economic circumstances of the people become important is in their cynical and strategic deployment as cultural signifiers enabling the conspicuous display of a political leader’s putative earthiness.

also relevant to tech ceos talking about their army of underpaid workers

—p.82 A Different Class (78) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
83

Behind all this frenetic policing of culturalized class authenticity is a deep and worsening contradiction at the heart of Anglo-American politics on the right. Modern conservatism on both sides of the Atlantic has frequently bedecked itself in an of-the-people rhetoric in the face of a range of hard-to-refute egalitarian and redistributive critiques. We know this much about the spread of right-wing populism across the generations: it’s what happens when elites can no longer excuse their status on the grounds of kingly magnificence and exceptional genealogy. Instead, they have to turn to a range of bogus emotive rhetorical strategies to arrogate authority from below. Historically, liberals—as distinguished from the socialist left—have been swift to object to this sort of thing, priding themselves on their rationality, fairness, and ironclad faith in meritocracy. In the United States, Trump is a bogeyman for liberals precisely because he is regarded as the zenith—or nadir, as the case may be—of a uniquely unmitigated strain of demagogic truth-avoidance; the same can be said in the United Kingdom for Robinson and the Bad Boys of Brexit. But this placid and complacent mode of counterattack sidesteps, perhaps deliberately, the question of why liberals throughout the Anglosphere—and, indeed, beyond—are engaged in almost precisely the same thing they want to hang Trump or Farage out to dry for.

—p.83 A Different Class (78) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Behind all this frenetic policing of culturalized class authenticity is a deep and worsening contradiction at the heart of Anglo-American politics on the right. Modern conservatism on both sides of the Atlantic has frequently bedecked itself in an of-the-people rhetoric in the face of a range of hard-to-refute egalitarian and redistributive critiques. We know this much about the spread of right-wing populism across the generations: it’s what happens when elites can no longer excuse their status on the grounds of kingly magnificence and exceptional genealogy. Instead, they have to turn to a range of bogus emotive rhetorical strategies to arrogate authority from below. Historically, liberals—as distinguished from the socialist left—have been swift to object to this sort of thing, priding themselves on their rationality, fairness, and ironclad faith in meritocracy. In the United States, Trump is a bogeyman for liberals precisely because he is regarded as the zenith—or nadir, as the case may be—of a uniquely unmitigated strain of demagogic truth-avoidance; the same can be said in the United Kingdom for Robinson and the Bad Boys of Brexit. But this placid and complacent mode of counterattack sidesteps, perhaps deliberately, the question of why liberals throughout the Anglosphere—and, indeed, beyond—are engaged in almost precisely the same thing they want to hang Trump or Farage out to dry for.

—p.83 A Different Class (78) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
102

[...] As digital monopolies steadily enclose whatever still remains of a public sphere, an impressive array of PR professionals have worked overtime to make it all sound liberating and democratic. Press releases gush out of all available servers, print articles and op-eds consistently reminding us not of the use value of their products (useful products, it should be noted, are not a Silicon Valley specialty) but, just as Bernays taught us, of the value of the corporations themselves: the great services they provide, the glorious number of jobs they create, their moral and ethical right-mindedness, and their proper place as the cultural and social pillars of all things American and exceptional—which is to say all things Hayekian and free. Far from simply building brand stories and shaping images, modern public relations is a perverse spin on what Bernays originally imagined the profession to be: it seeks to enshrine a privatized technocracy, swathed in the shallow veneer of a rhetorical, and endlessly fungible, commitment to social justice. And if present trends continue, our digitally administered information state may indeed be poised to finally extinguish the irksome throwback legacy that Bernays and his milieu found so threatening: democracy itself.

this is terrific

—p.102 The Century of Spin (92) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] As digital monopolies steadily enclose whatever still remains of a public sphere, an impressive array of PR professionals have worked overtime to make it all sound liberating and democratic. Press releases gush out of all available servers, print articles and op-eds consistently reminding us not of the use value of their products (useful products, it should be noted, are not a Silicon Valley specialty) but, just as Bernays taught us, of the value of the corporations themselves: the great services they provide, the glorious number of jobs they create, their moral and ethical right-mindedness, and their proper place as the cultural and social pillars of all things American and exceptional—which is to say all things Hayekian and free. Far from simply building brand stories and shaping images, modern public relations is a perverse spin on what Bernays originally imagined the profession to be: it seeks to enshrine a privatized technocracy, swathed in the shallow veneer of a rhetorical, and endlessly fungible, commitment to social justice. And if present trends continue, our digitally administered information state may indeed be poised to finally extinguish the irksome throwback legacy that Bernays and his milieu found so threatening: democracy itself.

this is terrific

—p.102 The Century of Spin (92) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
103

The logic of the corporate enclosure of the public sphere is truly a neoliberal wonder to behold. As our power elite steadfastly refuses to acknowledge any broader responsibilities or demands than the mandate to continue amassing ever greater quarterly returns, the rest of us meekly pantomime an odd parody of consent of the governed by focusing inordinate attention on the ever-mythic specter of enlightened corporate political agency. At least, we’ll cry, Twitter and Facebook will de-platform that rabid lunatic Alex Jones—that’s accountability! Or, at a minimum, we’ll plead, Nike will cast Colin Kaepernick in their sneaker campaign—that’s solidarity! Or again, at the very least, we’ll point out, Amazon is bringing jobs to Long Island City—that’s leadership!

In our actually existing consensual reality, it of course matters not a whit that the culture-war sport of celebrating corporate censorship betrays any supposed democratic commitment to protecting the rights of all citizens on an equal basis, subtly charging both Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey with the power to decide what is and is not free speech. (“If Trump supporters don’t care about my speech, I don’t care about theirs,” a typical liberal disputant will snort on any given social-media platform, in full Frank Rich dudgeon.) And no matter that Nike, a Hydra of exploitative global supply chains with dubious labor practices, degrades Kaepernick’s protest of racialized police brutality to the inert and content-free mantra “Believe in something”—a funny-except-it’s-not late capitalist parody of empty advertising slogans. (“Say what you will, but Nike is taking a risk and making a powerful statement,” the contented liberal online commentariat will predictably tweet.) Amazon might hold entire cities hostage, dangling jobs in front of desperate mayors in exchange for public cash, private development contracts, and access to municipal security apparatuses, but “only New Yorkers could complain about getting 25,000 jobs,” Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost scoffs.

damn this whole piece is so well-written

—p.103 The Century of Spin (92) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The logic of the corporate enclosure of the public sphere is truly a neoliberal wonder to behold. As our power elite steadfastly refuses to acknowledge any broader responsibilities or demands than the mandate to continue amassing ever greater quarterly returns, the rest of us meekly pantomime an odd parody of consent of the governed by focusing inordinate attention on the ever-mythic specter of enlightened corporate political agency. At least, we’ll cry, Twitter and Facebook will de-platform that rabid lunatic Alex Jones—that’s accountability! Or, at a minimum, we’ll plead, Nike will cast Colin Kaepernick in their sneaker campaign—that’s solidarity! Or again, at the very least, we’ll point out, Amazon is bringing jobs to Long Island City—that’s leadership!

In our actually existing consensual reality, it of course matters not a whit that the culture-war sport of celebrating corporate censorship betrays any supposed democratic commitment to protecting the rights of all citizens on an equal basis, subtly charging both Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey with the power to decide what is and is not free speech. (“If Trump supporters don’t care about my speech, I don’t care about theirs,” a typical liberal disputant will snort on any given social-media platform, in full Frank Rich dudgeon.) And no matter that Nike, a Hydra of exploitative global supply chains with dubious labor practices, degrades Kaepernick’s protest of racialized police brutality to the inert and content-free mantra “Believe in something”—a funny-except-it’s-not late capitalist parody of empty advertising slogans. (“Say what you will, but Nike is taking a risk and making a powerful statement,” the contented liberal online commentariat will predictably tweet.) Amazon might hold entire cities hostage, dangling jobs in front of desperate mayors in exchange for public cash, private development contracts, and access to municipal security apparatuses, but “only New Yorkers could complain about getting 25,000 jobs,” Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost scoffs.

damn this whole piece is so well-written

—p.103 The Century of Spin (92) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago
110

[...] It’s a wonder that anybody manages to raise any money at all in the whole mad profession, let alone eke out a living.

Of course, management knows all this perfectly well. Gig economy jobs like this—designed to be temporary, ad hoc, offering little in the way of advancement, security, overtime pay, or health insurance—make up about 10 percent of the labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some places make you sign a contract informing you that you are an “at will” employee—meaning that you could be fired at any time, for any reason, at management’s sole discretion. Working at a job like this felt like a glimpse of the future; the gleaming gears of neoliberalism are grinding us further toward a working situation infinitely more precarious than the sturdy, family-supporting jobs of yesteryear.

In some cases, I’ve heard how new callers are recruited at addiction recovery groups. That can represent a welcome chance at a better life for the addicts in recovery or otherwise traumatized populations. But the strategic decision to target down-and-out souls as entry-level employees has a darker side: not unlike the recruitment of a workforce of undocumented immigrants, it likely ensures that your chosen stream of new workers will be extra pliable in any workplace disputes over their rights. This is far from an abstract problem. I’ve seen plenty of people abruptly booted off the shift because their numbers weren’t up to snuff. Getting the bum’s rush could come for a number of reasons: because they just weren’t great talkers that day, or they were reeling from a couple hours of bad luck, or were dealing with a family or health emergency, which was not at all a rare occurrence, especially given how broke everyone was.

And this is where the ruthless free-market logistics of the place collide with the façade of liberal idealism. At the end of the day, for all the uplifting rhetoric in the scripts about fighting the good fight against the fat cats and the bully Republicans, the motives of our own managers were scarcely any less avaricious. The call centers need to maintain an average of money-raised-per-person-called, under the terms of their contracts with client campaigns. The race-to-the-bottom logic of most campaign deals also means that, in order to be competitive, companies tend to undersell the competition. That means, among other things, they receive the least promising donor lists and call and recall them mercilessly [...]

an interesting example of competition provoking a race to the bottom, where the people who come up with the terms (who make the offer) are not the same people who will have to bear the consequences

—p.110 Beggar’s Opera (106) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] It’s a wonder that anybody manages to raise any money at all in the whole mad profession, let alone eke out a living.

Of course, management knows all this perfectly well. Gig economy jobs like this—designed to be temporary, ad hoc, offering little in the way of advancement, security, overtime pay, or health insurance—make up about 10 percent of the labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some places make you sign a contract informing you that you are an “at will” employee—meaning that you could be fired at any time, for any reason, at management’s sole discretion. Working at a job like this felt like a glimpse of the future; the gleaming gears of neoliberalism are grinding us further toward a working situation infinitely more precarious than the sturdy, family-supporting jobs of yesteryear.

In some cases, I’ve heard how new callers are recruited at addiction recovery groups. That can represent a welcome chance at a better life for the addicts in recovery or otherwise traumatized populations. But the strategic decision to target down-and-out souls as entry-level employees has a darker side: not unlike the recruitment of a workforce of undocumented immigrants, it likely ensures that your chosen stream of new workers will be extra pliable in any workplace disputes over their rights. This is far from an abstract problem. I’ve seen plenty of people abruptly booted off the shift because their numbers weren’t up to snuff. Getting the bum’s rush could come for a number of reasons: because they just weren’t great talkers that day, or they were reeling from a couple hours of bad luck, or were dealing with a family or health emergency, which was not at all a rare occurrence, especially given how broke everyone was.

And this is where the ruthless free-market logistics of the place collide with the façade of liberal idealism. At the end of the day, for all the uplifting rhetoric in the scripts about fighting the good fight against the fat cats and the bully Republicans, the motives of our own managers were scarcely any less avaricious. The call centers need to maintain an average of money-raised-per-person-called, under the terms of their contracts with client campaigns. The race-to-the-bottom logic of most campaign deals also means that, in order to be competitive, companies tend to undersell the competition. That means, among other things, they receive the least promising donor lists and call and recall them mercilessly [...]

an interesting example of competition provoking a race to the bottom, where the people who come up with the terms (who make the offer) are not the same people who will have to bear the consequences

—p.110 Beggar’s Opera (106) missing author 7 months, 2 weeks ago