Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Debate

"Sartre's emphasis on the humanist values in Marx and the emphasis on the early Marx this gave rise to, led to a famous dispute with the leading Communist intellectual in France in the 1960s, Louis Althusser, in which Althusser attempted to redefine Marx's work into an early pre-Marxist period, with essentialist generalizations about Mankind, and a mature, scientific, authentically Marxist period (starting between the Grundrisse and Das Kapital). Some say this was the only public debate Sartre ever lost."

A debate worth following, unlike the crappy he-said-she-said "debate" between Dems and Repubs portrayed in the NYT and others. Another plug for is apt. The "large staff" at the Daily Howler shows how laughable our discourse really is.

Lump of labour fallacy

"This fallacy also occurs with variables other than labor. As an example, some critics have suggested that certain arguments justifying American military action in Iraq during the insurgency of 2003–2004 commit this fallacy [1]. An example of such an argument is implied by the statement: It is better for America to fight the terrorists on the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York. According to these critics, this statement implicitly assumes that the number of terrorists will remain constant and will eventually diminish as terrorists are killed off by military action in Iraq."


By the way, I love wikipedia.

Friday, April 29, 2005

NOOOOOOO... fucking hipsters

On the downtown streets of New York, in the hipster hangouts of Los Angeles and on college campuses in between, the young and style-conscious are affecting a look that until recently could not claim to be either. In the few years since Luke Wilson sported a full beard as an anachronistic oddball in "The Royal Tenenbaums," it has shaken off its fusty image as the badge of the out-of-date guy who refuses to make concessions to fashion.

"It's very, very current," said Jimmy Paul, a New York hairstylist who works exclusively on fashion shoots and who until recently did not take a beard trimmer to work. "It's a very subversive and strong look. It's like a new punk. I don't think you can really have a job with one."

For the record, I have been slightly unshaven or fully bearded since last October. I didn't know that the hipster crowd was not shaving. I think I might now have to shave.

Damn hipsters.

Can you really blame the kids?

"My decision [also] does have something to do with dissatisfaction with the U.S. After all George Bush did in his first term to prove that he was unfit to hold any public office--as much as you could expect in that regard from anyone--Americans voted for him anyway. I think that fact speaks more ill of America and its future than all the unspeakable, shameless things Bush has done since re-election. I shall be glad to be living elsewhere." - Philosopher Charles Travis on the reasons for his move from Northwestern to King's College, London.

I have to ask: Is it fair to blame duped people? Give me a minute before calling me elitist. When most of the country works 9-5 then gets their "education" from television news, I think it is only to be expected that most people will reflexively vote for Bush.

We have nothing close to a critical public.

Marking This Post. "It was."

“Revenge, for Nietzsche, is the will’s revulsion against time. This now means: revenge is the will’s revulsion against the passing away and what has passed away, against time and its ‘It was.’ The revulsion of revenge is not against the mere passing of time, but against the time that makes the passing pass away in the past, against the ‘It was.’” - Heidegger's "What is Called Thinking?"

Now for some immaturity:

I: newbieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
He: yo
I: library?
He: new jersey
I: why are you in nj
He: I'm going to a conferance in NY this weekend
He: newb
I: oh right
I: that newbie conference
He: newbie
I: haha... every other word in our conversation is newbie
I: whats so bad about being new
I: brb.. piss time
He: much better
I: damn.. i forgot to refill my water bottle
He: I took a huge dump before
He: newbie
I: im going to post this to my blog

Krugman = Brilliant

The most striking inefficiency of our health system is our huge medical bureaucracy, which is mainly occupied in trying to get someone else to pay the bills. A good guess is that two million to three million Americans are employed by insurers and health care providers not to deliver health care, but to pass the buck to other people. - Krugman.

Two to three million Americans are effectively wasting their lives. How sad.

Possible rambling: taken from my thesis notes

The text (Poe's "The Purloined Letter") is a little too sure of itself, a little too self-evident. The text dogmatically interprets itself. The text tries to offer set rules of reading and interpretation, tries to shut down the interpretative act, tries to limit the number of reading strategies, tries to too formally offer itself as a game with Poe/the narrator/Dupin setting the rules. Three games: queen/minister, minister/Dupin, narrator/Dupin, narrator/reader. The text is so self-reflexive that it offers its own solution to whoever reads it. The text says, “Be like Dupin. Interpret like Dupin.” Johnson, Derrida, Lacan say, “I’m like Dupin or even more self-aware than Dupin.” Yet, why cannot we interpret like the prefect? The prefect didn’t lose the game of the purloined letter. He probably made money off the purloined letter/Dupin and did little work (well… his policemen did much work in the minister’s residence). What am I trying to get at: an interpretive stance that does not try to be outside the system. Does not try to be like a Hegelian synthesis. A modest interpretation – a modest camera/thesis (think of the veil). A truly “scientific” or “skeptical” interpretation. An interpretation that truly is at odds with itself, that truly doubts itself, that truly does not want to be the last word. An interpretation that is “open-source” – a project that anyone can join and add to. A democratic interpretation. A non-monarchical interpretation. Dupin is a partisan of the queen. An interpretation without claims to the absolute – without reference to the divine or divine right.

What is at stake: where do we go from here with our interpretations? How do we respond to absolutist/fundamentalist/capitalist/neo-liberal/patriotic interpretations that delimit the analytic activity? Where do we move beyond when the only two options seem to be relativism (we all play our own language-games) or absolutism (God/ruler/me/you sets the rules of the game, discover the “true” text, and there is no real contestation)? Everyone seems to be sure of their reading technique: the narrator and prefect really believe that the minister has won the game (they are so flabbergasted when Dupin pulls out the letter), but then the prefect believes he has won the game because he has corrected the situation and earned money, the minister is still sure he has won the game because he doesn’t even know that the letter he has is a facsimile, Dupin believes he has won the game because he has returned the evil favor done to him by the minister.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?

I live in stately Wayne Manor. My name is Bruce Wayne. I'm 27 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I'll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser. Then a honey almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then apply an herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion. There is an idea of a Bruce Wayne, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our life styles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I see aestheticized politics.

“Fiat ars – pereat mundus”, says Fascism, and, as Marinetti admits, expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. This is evidently the consummation of “l’art pour l’art.” Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. Communism responds by politicizing art. - Walter Benjamin "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"

I see aestheticized politics. I see aesthetic molding of the United States. I see aesthetic molding of the Middle East. How are we to respond?

Fuck Microsoft

"WASHINGTON -- Microsoft Corp. is paying social conservative Ralph Reed $20,000 a month as a consultant, triggering complaints that the well-connected Republican with close ties to the White House and to evangelist Pat Robertson may have persuaded the company to oppose gay rights legislation..."

Support free software, such as GNU/Linux:

If only I had partied a little more...

At the end of a three-hour interview, Mr. Bhalla [a 22-year old psychology major at University of Arizona] is asked if he regrets anything he has done at Arizona. "These are the years that I'm not going to have back," he says. "And I don't want to be 30, 50, looking back and wishing I'd partied then because I can't do it now."

Critical Thinking! Oh my!

Since high school, Cordova had been a devout Christian, but as he studied science and engineering at George Mason, he found his faith was being eroded. "The critical thinking and precision of science began to really affect my ability to just believe something without any tangible evidence," he says.

Edit: Added link for a Mr. Andy Guess.

The best response to an idiot:

Your a idiot.

Obey or Disobey?

"You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul."
-Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


i want to but can't
feed your fingertips to the wolves
because they're in a cage.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Brian Leiter post here:
In most fields which require the ability to use words and ideas, many of those who make it to "the very top" have intellectual content and ability: this is true in law, in philosophy, in economics, and so on. But it is rather painfully not true in journalism, where, in general, "quality rises to the bottom." There are honorable exceptions, but they are few and far between.

Given that banal observation--a commonplace outside newsrooms--one might think it slightly perverse that media outlets should elevate former journalists to the role of pundits, analysts, and news commentators. The worst offender--if only because the most visible--has been The New York Times, which until fairly recently (Paul Krugman, an actual economist is the exception I can think of), has boasted op-ed columnists who were all former journalists.

Why not former scientists? sociologists? psychologists? philosophers? even political scientists? Who--other than journalists, that is--would think years of being a journalist qualifies you to have substantial opinions about the affairs of the world?

Herewith Karl Kraus (I may be mangling the aphorism slightly): "No ideas and the ability to express them: that's a journalist."

I'd also recommend reading if you want to laugh at journalists.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


I just saw in a bathroom the following phrase written on the wall behind the toilet: "Get your Cornell American" with arrows pointing downward.


Two people argue. We can agree, disagree, agree to disagree, or disagree to agree. We also want to move beyond mere understanding each other’s interpretive frameworks. Is moving closer to agreement the answer? Do I agree more with a random citizen of Iran than President Bush?

Friday, April 22, 2005

Interesting fact

Size of Texas: [] 261,914 sq miles (land) = 7.30174326 × 10^12 square feet []

Population of the world: [] 6,515,511,450 people

Area / people [] = 1120.67077 sq ft/person

Family/group of 4 = 4482.7 sq ft

Fake Work v. Real Work

A quote invented by yours truly:
"Fake work can be just as tiring as real work."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Rule of Law

Should we believe in the rule of law? It seems disingenuous to believe in it because it hides the fact that people interpret the law, and hence, interpreters (people, such as Supreme Court Justices) are the rulers. Just a thought. Can we imagine an ideal democracy adjudicating on a case-by-case basis, thereby avoiding universal claims of interpretation? I will think about this more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Science in America

"Today, when the president of the United States thinks the jury is still out on evolution; when teachers are afraid to teach evolution lest they incur the wrath of parents; when the majority of Americans embrace astrologers, psychics, and scam artists; when goverment agencies and Web sites are censoring scientific findings that do not support administration policies on everything from global warming to the alleged psychological effects of abortion and non-marital sex---we cannot afford to make a single citizen feel unwelcome in the halls of science. The president of Harvard, of all people, should know that." - Carol Tavris

Monday, April 18, 2005

What is the shape of space?

Hints from Einstein: "The fish will be the last to discover water."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I am tempted to say

"What we ‘are tempted to say’ in such a case is, of course, not philosophy; but it is its raw material." - Wittgenstein section 254 of the Investigations.

Monday, April 11, 2005

What is Called Thinking?

So long as authority inspires awe, confusion and absurdity enhance conservative tendencies in society. Firstly, because clear and logical thinking leads to a cumulation of knowledge (of which the progress of the natural sciences provides the best example) and the advance of knowledge sooner or later undermines the traditional order. Confused thinking, on the other hand, leads nowhere in particular and can be indulged indefinitely without producing any impact upon the world. --Stanislav Andreski, Social Sciences as Sorcery (1972, p. 90)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

"The revulsion of revenge remains chained to this 'It was'; just as there lies concealed in all hatred the abysmal dependence upon that from which hatred at bottom always desires to make itself independent - but never can, and can all the less the more it hates." - Heidder's "What is Called Thinking"

More coming on the relation to Adorno's "Resignation."

I also want to theorize the wink further.

With a wink

"With a wink the nations are informed that peace is the elimination of war, but that meanwhile this peace which eliminates war can be secured only by war. Against this war-peace, in turn, we launch a peace offensive whose attacks can hardly be called peaceful. War - the securing of peace; and peace - the elimination of war. How is peace to be secured by what it eliminates? Something is fundamentally out of joint here, or perhaps it has never yet been in joint." - Heidegger's "What is Called Thinking"

With a wink

"With a wink the nations are informed that peace is the elimination of war, but that meanwhile this peace which eliminates war can be secured only by war. Against this war-peace, in turn, we launch a peace offensive whose attacks can hardly be called peaceful. War - the securing of peace; and peace - the elimination of war. How is peace to be secured by what it eliminates? Something is fundamentally out of joint here, or perhaps it has never yet been in joint." - Heidegger's "What is Called Thinking"