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by Lara Killian

21 Jul 2009

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Not unlike a pile of reanimated zombie corpses, Jane Austen’s works, themes and characters are being resuscitated all over the place. Hacked up, monster-mashed together with more contemporary sensibilities that mix gore, B-movie violence, and possibly romance, Austen’s works are finally blunt-stitched back together in a manner befitting Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. (Authors take note: that one’s mine).

Following hot on the heels of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (also available in a “deluxe heirloom edition” with “30% more zombies”), Quirk Classics has just announced the next hybrid Austen tale: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Though the book is available for pre-order, it won’t be released until 15 September 2009.

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In a similar vein (so to speak) and capitalizing on the current wave of the vampire fiction craze, Mr Darcy, Vampyre is due out August 1. 

Next we’ll have Jane Bites Back, due in 2010, plus The Immortal Jane Austen, apparently the first in a series about Jane herself as a vampire hunter.

It turns out you can beat a dead horse.

Credit where credit is due: Quirk Classics has outdone themselves with a Youtube trailer for S&S&SM.

And you thought Austen was a one-trick pony.

by Rob Horning

21 Jul 2009

At The Week Brad DeLong has an essay about the current jobless recovery, which appears to be a repeat of the denouement of the previous few downturns. Why jobless recoveries all of a sudden? DeLong argues that it has to do with a change in how employers regard labor as more fungible now.

Manufacturing firms used to think that their most important asset was skilled workers. Hence they hung onto them, “hoarding labor” in recessions. And they especially did not want to let go of their prime productive asset when the recovery began. Skilled workers were the franchise. Now, by contrast, it looks as though firms think that their workers are much more disposable—that it’s their brands or their machines or their procedures and organizations that are key assets. They still want to keep their workers happy in general, they just don’t care as much about these particular workers.

A few thoughts on this:

1. This would seem to fly in the face of the various paeans to the “skill-biased technological change” that is presumed to responsible for growing income inequality. That thesis presumes that changes in technology have made an individual’s skills more valuable and capable of being leveraged more efficiently. What if technological change in the aggregate disempowers labor by deskilling it (as Marx generally assumed)? As a result, it’s easier to find and train workers capable of filling positions, and easier to offer them only part-time work. If workers are wise, they will start hoarding information about the procedures in their office and try to make themselves indispensable, even though this is sure to gum up productivity. Perhaps this is the form modern labor actions will take—employee resistance to codifying their function, to standardizing procedures, to training others, to cooperating with the process of making themselves replaceable.

2. No wonder people have suddenly begun worrying so much about their “personal brand”—brand equity has become more important to a firm, conceptually, than loyalty to employees. Employees, to make themselves less expendable, may also need to work to integrate themselves with a company’s brand, to merge the personal with corporate brand if possible, make them inseparable. The personal brand becomes far more important, too, in a labor market full of otherwise interchangeable parts. And with globalization and companies emphasizing their own flexibility rather than a paternalistic approach to workers—no more company men, or lifelong job security—we all can expect to be returned to the labor market repeatedly. So we will begin to need something more than a resume, something more comprehensive, like a personal brand. Depressing.

3. (added on 23 July) If this weren’t already the case before, we now have more incentive to work on polishing our personal brand than improving our skills.

by PopMatters Staff

21 Jul 2009

The Clientele
Bonfires on the Heath
(Merge)
Releasing: 6 October (US)

SONG LIST
01 I Wonder Who We Are
02 Bonfires on the Heath
03 Harvest Time
04 Never Anyone But You
05 Jennifer & Julia
06 Sketch
07 Tonight
08 Share the Night
09 I Know I’ll See Your Face
10 Never Saw Them Before
11 Graven Wood
12 Walking in the Park

The Clientele
I Wonder Who We Are [MP3]
     

Photo: Andy Willsher

Photo: Andy Willsher

by shathley Q

21 Jul 2009

In ‘Grand Theft America’, the final volume of the seminal Millar/Hitch run on Ultimates, the chips are down one last time. America has been overrun by super-powered terrorists and the Ultimates, the first line of defense seem down for the count. With Captain America and Thor incarcerated, Hawkeye tortured, and Black Widow revealed as a traitor, the odds seem stacked against the cadre of superheroes.

Unexpectedly, it is Tony Stark’s Iron Man, drunk and held at gunpoint by the Black Widow, who is first to turn the tide in America’s favor. Escaping capture he dons the earliest model of the Iron Man armor. In another twist, he does not engage the enemy directly; instead he flies towards Stark Space Station, there to activate the most advanced Iron Man to date.

With the theme of self-rescue, Millar provides a cogent argument for the superhero genre being a thematic successor to the western. In westerns the cavalry arriving was a sign of heroes being reintegrated into society, coming home from the frontier. But what happens when society is everywhere, and society itself is being threatened? In this way, superheroes always perform a self-rescue before rescuing others.

Millar’s genius however is to associate the theme of self-rescue with exhilaration of spaceflight. As the view of the Manhattan skyline recedes, eventually replaced with a view of the Eastern Seaboard from the troposphere, Millar and Hitch present their audience with a clear and concise logic. That performing a superhero-style self-rescue for our entire species, is as simple as entering into orbit.

by McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

21 Jul 2009

The following games are scheduled for release this week, according to GameSpot.com:

July 20:

The King of Fighters XII (X360 and PS3; genre: fighting games, rated T)

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Steep' Loves Its Mountains

// Moving Pixels

"SSX wanted you to fight its mountains, Steep wants you to love its mountains.

READ the article