Showing posts from December, 2013

Indiana: Thoughts on Indigenous Revitalization

I've just recorded my first ever podcast, and uploaded it to SoundCloud. It's entitled "Indiana: Thoughts on Indigenous Revitalization," or "Indiana" for short.

Please take the time to listen to it, or read the transcript below:

Hello, my name is Peter Stanton, and this is my very first podcast, entitled "Indiana." Be sure to check out the transcript of this podcast and my other writing on

Think for a moment about humble Indiana—Indiana, the land of corn and basketball. What does the name Indiana mean, anyway? Unsurprisingly, it means "land of the Indians"—a name thought up by white people, of course. But would you guess what percentage of people living in Indiana today are Native Americans? It's 0.4 percent. What kind of sick joke is that? That's about 25,000 people in a state of 6.5 million.

A Non-Epic Mistake — A Negative Review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug last night, one day after the film's U.S. release date of December 13th. I feel compelled to write a negative review of the film not because I didn't enjoy watching it; I did, just as most action-movie watchers in the world would. I feel compelled to write a negative review because the actions of director Peter Jackson and company merit critique.

I've come to believe these filmmakers' idea of drastically expanding the story of The Hobbit and adapting it to a trilogy of films was a mistake—ambitious and well-intentioned, but a mistake nonetheless. Above all else, I feel compelled to write a negative review because this Hobbit trilogy of films is not, and cannot be, epic.

Rentier States (Alaskan Exceptionalism)

Some rentier states are controlled by dictators who waste their land's wealth on corrupt spending.

Some rentier states are controlled by oppressive governments who attempt to buy their citizens' loyalty with public benefits.

Some rentier states, though, are controlled by politicians who impose austerity on the populace in order to funnel money to corporations.

Alaska is truly an exceptional place.

Eddard Stark, Game of Thrones, Counterfactuals, and Historical Narrative

It's incredibly difficult to find intelligent conversation on YouTube. Sure, you can find a limitless number of videos with elevated discourse—but YouTube's comment community is something else. Profanity, hate speech, trolling, pettiness, and mind-blowing ignorance are all run-of-the-mill fare in pretty much any sample of YouTube comments.

Several weeks ago, though, I found a video with some relatively intelligent comments—a video with a scene from the TV series Game of Thrones. (If you go to the video now and the most recent comments aren't so intelligent, you'll have to take my word for it.)

The scene in the video was the one in which Renly Baratheon asks Eddard Stark to help him seize the throne. Naturally, the honorable and legalistic Eddard refuses. The commenters all had opinions on whether Lord Stark had done the right thing—and how many lives might have been saved had he acted otherwise. All the commenters seemed to state their views with passion, and stated t…