Sunday, March 31, 2019

Women's History Month Review Roundup: Nalo Hopkinson, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Kate Manne

March is Women's History Month, so I decided to make a point to read only books by women this month.  Since today is the last day of Women's History Month, I thought it'd be a good time to post reviews of some of the books I've been reading: a short story collection by Nalo Hopkinson, a classic novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, and a detailed analysis of misogyny by philosopher Kate Manne.

On a related note, yesterday I took part in a "visionary fiction" workshop led by Walidah Imarisha, the co-editor of Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements.  She was on campus at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga at the invitation of my colleague Dr. James Arnett.  If you ever get a chance to hear Imarisha speak or participate in her workshops, I wholeheartedly recommend doing so!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Non-Spoilery Impressions of Jordan Peele's Us

I've been eagerly awaiting Jordan Peele's new film Us.  I've always liked Peele from his comedy work (which often had horror and science fiction aspects), but Get Out was a paradigm shift in modern horror film.  It was a central part of my course on horror and philosophy last fall, where we focused on the idea of double-consciousness from W. E. B. Du Bois as well as absurdity from Albert Camus.

I went to see Us yesterday as research for the next iteration of my horror and philosophy class this fall.  It lived up the hype.  Exceeded it, even.  It's the kind of movie I will need some time to wrap my mind around -- or rather, to allow it to wrap itself around my mind.  I can't write a proper review just yet.  And I'm mindful of spoilers seeing as it was just released yesterday.  So instead I present these non-spoilery first impressions.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Book Blogs Back!: Responses to Malcolm Keating – Chapters 6-7 (Śrī Harṣa) and Conclusion

My book with a Starfleet Academy mug: both seeking the final frontier?

This is continuation of my responses to Malcolm Keating's excellent blog posts on my book, Three Pillars of Skepticism in Classical India: Nāgārjuna, Jayarāśi, and Śrī Harṣa, which Malcolm wrote in preparation for an event on March 7, 2019.  You can see my previous responses here and here.

In the present post I'm responding to two of Malcolm's posts, which you can find here and here.  As will become clear, this post isn't going to make much sense without reading Malcolm's posts first.

So, here we go!

TV Roundup, Part 2: Russian Doll, Castle Rock, American Horror Story: Apocalypse

In "TV Roundup, Part 1" I discussed The Expanse, The Haunting of Hill House, and Future Man.  Here in Part 2, I'll discuss Russian Doll, Castle Rock, and American Horror Story: Apocalypse!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Spring Break Movie Adventure: Mini-Reviews of Captain Marvel, Alita: Battle Angel, Glass, and More!

Today is the last day of my spring break for 2019.  I didn't go to the beach or leave the country, but I did see a lot of movies in what I called my Spring Break Movie Adventure.  In the last week I've seen the following either in theaters or at home: Captain Marvel, Alita: Battle Angel, Glass, Sorry to Bother You, Hellraiser: Judgment, Bird Box, The Hidden Fortress, and Train to Busan.  Onward to the mini-reviews!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Blogs Back!: Responses to Malcolm Keating – Chapters 2-5, Nāgārjuna and Jayarāśi

This post continues from my previous post responding to some blog posts from Malcolm Keating that he wrote in preparation for a recent event on my book, Three Pillars of Skepticism in Classical India: Nāgārjuna, Jayarāśi, and Śrī Harṣa.  More details here.

As I wrote before, this post won't make much sense unless you've read Malcolm's posts on his excellent blog.  In this post I'll be responding to two of his posts: one on chapters 2-3 on Nāgārjuna and another on chapters 4-5 on Jayarāśi.  In the previous post I edited my original comments (written as my notes for the event on March 7) to avoid referring to Malcolm in the second person, but I decided it seemed odd to continue doing so, especially as this is genuinely a response to him (admittedly in a public forum). So, when I say "you" I generally mean Malcolm.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Book Blogs Back!: Responses to Malcolm Keating – Introduction and Chapter One

My friend and colleague Malcolm Keating (who teaches at Yale-NUS in Singapore) was recently kind enough to read and blog about my book, Three Pillars of Skepticism in Classical India: Nāgārjuna, Jayarāśi, and Śrī Harṣa, which was published by Lexington Books in September 2018.  Malcolm's posts were in preparation for an event held in Singapore on March 7, 2019 sponsored by Bras Basah Open School of Theory and the Yale-NUS Philosophy Society.  I Skyped in for part of the event and really enjoyed talking to organizers Farhan Idris and Malcolm, as well as several other participants.  Hopefully one day I will visit Singapore in person rather than merely via Skype.

I recommend reading Malcolm's blog, Śābda-bodhaḥ: Musings on Philosophy and Sanskrit.  He wrote a total of six posts on my book over there, starting with one on the introduction of my book and another on chapter one.  I'll start by responding to both of those posts.  More will be coming soon!

Before diving in, I want to sincerely thank Malcolm for taking the time to read and seriously engage with my book.  He provided valuable clarifications (I occasionally thought, "Oh, that's how I should have put that!") and even more valuable than that, he provided incisive criticisms.  It may come as a shock (maybe more to non-philosophers than philosophers), but I'm neither terribly surprised nor terribly troubled that Malcolm disagrees with me.  More on that later.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

TV Roundup, Part 1: The Expanse, The Haunting of Hill House, and Future Man

It's been awhile since I've written about TV on this blog.  Even though we still live (I think?) in the "Golden Age of Television"(tm), I don't watch a whole lot of TV, at least by our contemporary "Golden Age"(tm) standards.  These days it seems like everyone is required to binge watch three seasons of content every day, or at least to brag about doing so whether one has done so or not.

I don't usually enjoy binge watching.  I like some time to digest what I watch.  I actually preferred olden times of waiting a full week between episodes and tuning in at a specific time when you could share the experience with others at the same time.  Weird, I know.  If you think about it, it's odd that "binge-worthy" is a compliment.  Imagine eating at a nice restaurant and exclaiming, "My compliments to the chef!  I ate that dish really fast!  It's binge-worthy!"

I also live with a TV enthusiast of very different tastes.  If I'm going to watch straightforward science fiction, fantasy, or horror shows, I tend to watch them late at night by myself, which is a time when I often would rather take advantage of the quiet and get some reading in.

I'm exaggerating a bit, of course.  I watch plenty of TV.  About as much as I want to.  And here is the first part of my roundup of some interesting shows I've watched in the last six or seven months, starting with The Expanse, The Haunting of Hill House, and Future Man.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Sci-Fi Vampires: Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

I'm a huge Octavia Butler fan, but somehow I had never read Fledgling, the last book she wrote before her untimely death in 2006.  Vampires aren't usually my thing, and there's always something melancholy about reading books by favorite deceased authors knowing there will never be more (luckily I have most of Butler's Patternist series yet to read).

I recently taught Butler's Kindred in a class on horror and philosophy and I had read and enjoyed Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot, so I thought vampires maybe aren't so bad and maybe Butler would do interesting things with the concept.

And she did! Fledgling is an interesting science fictional take on vampires with some deeper thoughts on identity, difference, bigotry, belonging, freedom, and memory.  It's not my favorite Octavia Butler book by a long shot (that's probably Parable of the Talents), nor is it really a horror novel (Kindred is more horrific than this).  But I'm glad I read Fledgling.