Giljotin

Marie_Antoinette_le_16_octobre_1793

I knew another of my periodic retreats from the public expression of political opinions had arrived when, contacted by a certain French media outlet for my views on the recent electoral victories of the Front National, I muttered something about how I've been busy writing about animals recently, and then quoted Kropotkin to the effect that the animals, unlike us, seem to get by just fine without holding elections at all.

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“God is seven!”

by Justin E. H. Smith Different people, different closets. I don’t quite know how to say it delicately so I’m just going to come right out and say it. I believe in God. Apart from periodic spells of foolish pride, I have believed in God all my life. Even...

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Daniel Tutt: Atheism

Warkton, Northamptonshire: Monument by Vangelder, 1775, John Piper, 1964 by Daniel Tutt Difficult Atheism: Tracing the Death of God in Contemporary Continental Thought, by Christopher Watkin, Edinburgh University Press, 224 pp. Declaring oneself an “atheist” just isn’t what it used to be. Growing numbers of Generation Y prefer to...

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The Scent of a Monad

Louis Riel by Justin E. H. Smith This is a translation of Louis Riel’s Mémoire sur les Monades, composed in prison while awaiting execution. Riel was hanged in Regina in November, 1885. To read the original French, go here. For a brief biography of Riel, go here. Riel’s version...

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Stuart Elden: Kant, Space and Time

Kant lectured on a variety of topics through his career, including logic, metaphysics and ethics, but also on topics that were not strictly philosophical including anthropology, education and geography. Geography was one of his most popular—the most reliable figures suggest lectures on this topic were given forty-nine times from...

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Totally Extinct

by Justin E. H. Smith Since the Paris World Fair in 1900, the Galerie d’Anatomie Comparée of the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle exhibition has been housed together with the Galerie de Paléontologie, featuring the fossils of extinct creatures: the dinosaurs and outsized Pleistocene mammals that so enrapture the children, and...

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Masha Tupitsyn: About Two

All the President’s Men, Warner Bros., 1976 by Masha Tupitsyn For a long time it was all about the camera. The truths it presented and the truths it covered up. We knew the camera lied, but we also believed it told the truth. Now we know it only does...

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Bananas!

In his 1917 short story, “Report to an Academy,” Kafka tells the story of Red Peter, a chimpanzee captured in Africa and brought back to Europe to be studied by the members of an institution very much like the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Red Peter, by some unusual...

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Strange Monsters

Nearly a decade ago, I sat in a class entitled, quite simply, “Corporations,” taught by Vijay Prashad at Trinity College. Over the course of the semester, I was amazed at the extent of Prashad’s knowledge, and the complexity and erudition of his style. He has since authored a number...

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The Now

Nostalgia No. 3, Ma Leonn, 2006 From BBC: Throughout the 20th Century, the preservation of individuals’ memories became cheaper and so more ubiquitous, but it wasn’t until the last decade that the seamless interconnection of mobile recording devices with the world wide web allowed for the retention of the...

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The Peccaries and the Maize Beer

I am growing increasingly convinced that people who believe we have an absolute moral duty to see to the well-being of all other human beings, to install water-purifying equipment in villages on the other side of the world, etc., and who, at the same time, happily contribute to the...

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Jeremy Fernando: Bull

One of the first things to happen after the Occupy Wall Street protestors were evicted from Zuccotti Park was the caging of Arthur Di Modica’s sculpture, the charging bull that has become synonymous with Wall Street. According to the New York Post: “Law-enforcement sources say the cops are keeping...

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Do It For the Askesis

Babies, David Černý, 2005 by Justin E. H. Smith Before I proceed to estrange my reproductively proficient allies, let me begin by saying that I love kids; those who know me know that when I am around them, they delight in my comical ways, and after I’m gone they...

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Hoaxes of Dreams

From Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes. Illustration by Gustave Doré, 1863. by William Egginton Popularly known as the father of modern philosophy, René Descartes won that title ostensibly by rejecting traditional modes of intellectual inquiry largely associated with commentary on prior texts, and replacing them with the first...

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Stretch Out Your Neck

The Robbers and the Donkey, Paul Cezanne, 1870 by Justin E. H. Smith Whether species all emerged from the same origin, each representing slight variations on the same underlying type, or whether, to return to Buffon’s view, they are timeless variations on the same underlying type, related not by...

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The Origin of Just War Theory

The Underworld, Walter Bayes, 1918 From The New York Times: The origin of just war theory is usually traced to the writings of Augustine, though many of the theory’s elements became well established only much later, during its “classical” period between the early 16th  and mid-17th centuries. The principles...

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A Collision with the Scylla of Russell and the Charybdis of Wikipedia

Odysseus in front of Scylla and Charybdis, Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1794-1796 by Justin E. H. Smith I may have mentioned already that I am in the beginning stages of a massively ambitious, multi-year project: I have been asked to write a very long, but not nearly long enough, book...

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Quoth the Raven

Charles Dickens, in a note now lying before me, alluding to an examination I once made of the mechanism of "Barnaby Rudge," says- "By the way, are you aware that Godwin wrote his 'Caleb Williams' backwards? He first involved his hero in a web of difficulties, forming the second...

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Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Maurice Merleau-Ponty by Emily S. Lee Maurice Merleau-Ponty did not write much on race; he only mentioned it once, as far as I know, in his article, “The Child’s Relation with Others”. In these post-colonial times, it is recognized that one of the tools of colonialism is its epistemic...

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Masha Tupitsyn
sickert

No one can love anymore because of an overabundance of reaction formation. No one wants to owe anything to their desire(s); to other people’s...

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Hearn1

How could a man born on a Greek island in 1850 be a household name in Japan today? The answer lies in the story...

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kentridge1

Jean Améry titled his renowned book on voluntary death, Hand an Sich Legen – To lay Hands on Oneself. Beyond the argument of Amery...

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letters

Several months ago, I wrote a long letter by hand to a young woman I barely knew. That sounds pretty dubious, if not to...

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Kemmler

In a move that might strike readers as odd, Derrida spends most of these lectures not on the case made by death penalty proponents,...

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proust

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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carpo

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Daniel Bosch
dace-holland

Three of America's most famous poets announced today the immediate availability of new, moderately priced "diffusion lines" based on their celebrated high-end works to...

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Soren_Kierkegaard_i_Corsaren

When Johannes Climacus defines Christianity in the Postscript, he writes:

Christianity is spirit; spirit is inwardness; inwardness is subjectivity; subjectivity is essentially passion, and at...

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gosse1

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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A while back I found an online edition of Anouck Durant and Gilles De Rapper's monograph Ylli: Les couleurs de la dictature.

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noise

OK, I've been outed as a noise nut and it's true. I am crazed by noise. I have to put my fingers in my...

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I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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fusion

When Yaweh advanced into Ezekiel in the form of penetration, the four wings of the chariot became instantly erect and bloodshot and then fell...

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