Sunday, April 20, 2014

Theme: Interview

  • Wittgenstein certainly regarded himself a philosopher, and certainly believed in the fundamental truth of what he was saying. So it would be a misleading oversimplification to maintain that he was “against philosophy” or against “the possibility of philosophical truth”. More accurately, what he criticized was a certain kind of philosophy – perhaps the dominant kind in the West.Read more
  • While China prepared for the 2008 Olympics, the artist Ai Weiwei was busy collaborating with the Swiss architectural firm, Herzog & de Meuron, on the Bird’s Nest stadium. Gradually, Ai began to experience a deep sense of disgust: “I was so involved in architecture that it opened my eyes to society, dealing with bureaucracy, policies and workers,” Ai observes, “and then you start to realise why they are building, and how they are using it. It is a very political act.”Read more
  • I understand why Freud at the end of Civilization and Its Discontents said that he couldn’t preach an alternative to the social order as it was, even as he saw it heading for total disaster. Once he jettisons the idea of the good, it becomes almost impossible to envisage political struggle. The political thinker smuggles it back in, even when she or he accepts its explicit rejection, because some idea of the good seems to be a necessary condition for the possibility of politics. But I wrote the book believing that the abandonment of the good still left a small opening for thinking politics. And I don’t see any other way of doing it than focusing on the opposition between the good and enjoyment. Once we accept that the good is antithetical to our enjoyment, is a barrier to our enjoyment, it becomes possible to think politics beyond the good.Read more
  • Zadie Smith speaks about LondonRead more
  • anyone familiar with Penny Goring (her work, her Tumblr, her Tweets) will understand why I’m chuffed to be featuring her here in the 3rd installment of my UK Author’s Spotlight. anyone not familiar with Penny should check her out. most every link in this post will be to her Tumblr or Twitter. except for the one to her book, the zoom zoom.Read more
  • It’s so easy to bridge it just for the fact that The Source Family put out so many influential records that have been coveted by devoted and discriminating psych collectors since the late ’80s, when Byron Coley and the Forced Exposure people got into the Yaweh 13 records not even knowing who the Source Family was. There were just wild rumors running around for years, and then Byron was able to piece something together from what was available. Read more
  • Professor of Modern European History at the Institute for Advanced Study located in Princeton, New Jersey, Israel built his reputation as a historian of the Spanish and Dutch empires. Over the past decade, however, he has published an extraordinary trilogy, Radical Enlightenment, Enlightenment Contested and Democratic Enlightenment, that has begun to reset the debate about the character of the period and its meaning for the modern world.Read more
  • “So you’ve shifted much of the actual labor from more highly-trained employees to less-skilled and therefore less-expensive workers?” “They do a much better job than we could do ourselves, with our sophisticated technologies. And because of their effectiveness, the scientists and management professionals on our team are free to pursue other matters.” “How much of the workers’ effectiveness is due to their size?”Read more
  • In politics, sometimes the thing that will never happen actually starts to happen, preparing the ground for transformation. Judith Butler speaks on the Israel/Palestine conflict and her recent book Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. By now, Judith Butler is used to improbable accusations. Among other things, she has been called a “useful idiot” for anti-Semites, a supporter of terrorism and – that old classic – a self-hating Jew.Read more
  • I had been emailing Stinson for approximately two weeks prior to randomly walking into him and recognizing him in the street on Houston, by the Angelika. It was a particularly bad day for me emotionally – or rather, “professionally?” – as I had completed an immense amount of work I did not feel happy conducting and had spent approximately half an hour crying uncontrollably in a cubicle. “Erik?” I said, to which he responded affirmatively.Read more
  • Historians are notoriously reluctant to give yes-or-no answers to any question, and this one is a particularly apt candidate for an ambivalent response. Marx certainly made lots of hostile comments about Jews in his correspondence, whether about his encounters with obscure individuals or in regard to his relations with his pupil and rival Ferdinand Lassalle. In his 1844 essay “On the Jewish Question,” he denounced Judaism as a religion encouraging haggling, greed, obsession with money and a whole host of obnoxious capitalist attitudes.Read more
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