Thursday, May 31, 2007
(9:18 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
An All-Purpose ResponseIf someone asks you why you're doing something and, as often happens, there either isn't any particular explanation or you don't want to go into it, a good all-purpose response is, "It's for tax purposes."
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
(10:05 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Fun with TortureRemember how Illinois Senator Dick Durbin tearfully apologized for suggesting American interrogation techniques looked like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union to him? Well, as it turns out, the interrogation techniques are explicitly modeled on what the Soviet Union was believed to do to its prisoners.
I recommend reading the entire article. The idea that the techniques of marketting are more effective than torture in generating compliance is virtually a summary of Discipline and Punish.
Since 24 is mentioned in the article, this seems like an appropriate time to bring up a reinterpretation of a scene from this season. After Jack rescues Assad from the missile strike (in the first few episodes), they take Assad's subordinate, who is working as a mole for the evil Fayyed, to an empty house. Jack decides not to torture him, apparently because his experience of two years in a Chinese torture camp has left him squeamish, but Assad steps up to the plate and gets the necessary information by stabbing the guy in the kneecap. As a result, Jack and Assad are able to stop a suicide bombing.
The overt message of the scene seems to be that Jack needs to toughen up. But there seems to be another message at work, too. Before killing the guy, Assad tells him that he believes he has given all the information and that he respects his conviction, but that it was misdirected. One almost begins to think that the torture is conceived as a way of showing respect, of taking the guy seriously -- a secret handshake of sorts. Had Jack actually gone forward with the torture, the guy might not have responded the same way. He thought Assad had "gone soft" by trying to negotiate with the West, but the use of torture shows that he's still tough.
So the message isn't simply that torture is effective and one must be willing to do the sadly necessary thing -- it's that the culture of terrorists is in part predicated on torture, that it's the most effective means of communication even within their own circle.
(12:15 AM) | Amish Lovelock:
DemosThere is no demos.
But the demos is made to believe that it is.
And is important.
Or, a desirable thing to be a part of.
It is but a little object.
Democracy without demos, being the freedom to elect one's dictator, or the desire for such a freedom, is something of an open joke.
So, we need a demos?
It is but a little object.
You have been told.
I am. We are. That is genug.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
(6:08 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
America, AmericaThe latest blog post at N+1 (in honor of Memorial Day) is interesting. It discusses the high number of suicides among Vietnam veterans and the efforts to provide more support for suicide-prevention among Iraq veterans now. Then it ventures into what seems to me to be somewhat questionable territory:
Confronted with low poll numbers on the Iraq war, President Bush has called for “a national discussion” on the consequences of withdrawal. Presumably, this would be the discussion that his administration avoided in the lead-up to the invasion, just as the Johnson administration did over 40 years ago.On the one hand, this appeals to me -- it views the present moment as an opportunity to redeem the defeated potentials of Vietnam. (This fits with the broadly Benjaminian or Agambenian tone of N+1 as a whole.)
But what exactly would a national discussion look like? The President, we can safely assume, means a “policy” discussion, conducted among “experts” whose job it is to hand down judgments and courses of action. The self-regarding discourse of expertise is largely to blame for the insistently vacuous talk about the Iraq war, in which the worst judgment leveled is that it’s a “foreign policy disaster.”
The Vietnam anti-war movement was a revolutionary attempt to create the conditions for an alternative kind of discussion, one that took place constantly among non-expert people, with everyday vigilance – the same kind of effort that produced the American constitution. It was an attempt to give a new meaning to “Vietnam” – to say the word, as John Kerry had hoped, and “not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead the place where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped in the turning.” This turn never took place, unfortunately, and so the need and opportunity to make such a turn continues to arise, most recently with regard to Iraq. Once again duty requires us to organize ourselves, to form a “public” that makes demands and demands acknowledgment. Nothing would be more astonishing than to give the President the national discussion he calls for. It would be exactly what he never wanted – democracy – and the surest sign of our moving on from Vietnam, “in unity and resolve.”
But looking at it from the level of our ruling elites, doesn't the Iraq War indicate the active choice of the America that Vietnam revealed? We have a kind of "first time as tragedy, second time as farce" structure here -- the supposed miscalculation of the "best and brightest" sincerely following through on a strategy that basically everyone in the cultural elites agrees was fundamentally sound and in the best interests of the world (i.e., "containment"), followed by the neo-cons' heroic determination to make a mistake among in their pursuit of a policy of naked aggression and domination (the Project for a New American Century). Iraq is like a Vietnam stripped of idealism and realism.
Iraq also fits the pattern of the post-Vietnam American style of war -- that is, fighting a war in which the actual target is irrelevant. It's not that America wanted to directly conquer and subjugate Vietnam -- it was a proxy war against the Soviet Union, and the Vietnamese happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now we get "proxy wars" increasingly deprived of a concrete "real" target. Iraq is a proxy war against a fantasy on three levels:
- Against the fantasy of a unified "terrorism"
- Against the fantasy of some other nation that would try to challenge the USA's role as the Unprecedentedly Great Super-Hegemon of All Existence (a position that, incidentally, the US doesn't even really hold presently)
- Against the fantasy of Iraq itself, conceived as a threat
Both Iraq and Vietnam give us an image of America as the worst of all possible hegemons: both ruthlessly self-serving and wilfully blind to reality, both convinced of its own omnipotence and willing to destroy whole countries based on the most distant perceived future threat (whether we think in terms of WMDs or in terms of preventing China from gaining control over Mideast oil reserves). Our leaders sell policies with a web of lies -- but there's no reality underneath! It's just a sheer nihilism.
We're left speculating that we might attack Iran, even with nuclear weapons -- apparently just for the sheer unadulterated hell of it. I sincerely hope that it doesn't happen, but I, for one, don't trust the Democrats to do anything to stop it if it does. You'd hate to set the dangerous precedent of constraining the president's discretion in choosing when to go to war. You'd hate to set the dangerous precedent of in any way trying to contain the destructive fury that America has chosen to be.
(9:21 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Tuesday Hatred: Non-Hate EditionI have reached a low point in my life as a hater. Whole classes of petty annoyances have, over time, ceased to bother me. It is only as I sit down to write this that I fully realize the extent of the loss.
Most notably, I no longer hate other people's sloppiness or lack of initiative in cleaning. In the past, this has been a subject of distasteful rants, but now I understand that non-cleanliness is not a moral issue. In fact, I hope that I eventually marry someone who is indifferent to housekeeping, because if I was with someone who was similar to me, we would face two obstacles: (1) guilt when the other person does more work and (2) dissatisfaction with the inadequate or unusual way the other person goes about a particular task.
I should probably put this on my online dating profile: in marriage, I am willing to take on all indoor and outdoor chores, with one exception -- cooking dinner. That's right, I'll even cook breakfast and lunch! I'll make you sandwiches and cut them diagonally, if that's what you want. In exchange, all I ask is that we send the kids to boarding school as soon as they're weaned.
I hate that I'm allergic to cats, because I really like them. I hate saving up quarters for laundry. I hate my bank's website in almost every respect.
I hate how badly Stephen Colbert messed up his recent interview with Tom DeLay (which was rerun last night). I hate that I just spent ten minutes searching YouTube for the clip before realizing that YouTube had been cleansed of all Comedy Central programming.
I hate Peter Griffin of TV's Family Guy. A few seasons ago they were set to do the same kind of world-historical shift as The Simpsons once did -- going from Peter to Stewie in much the same way they went from Bart to Homer. Now they focus more and more on Peter as he gets less and less interesting, and more pointlessly offensive -- as in his constant verbal abuse of Meg, which culminated with a rape threat. They need to kill Peter off (at least for one season) and put Brian and Stewie back at the center, or else I'm going to have to find some other way to unwind on Sunday nights. That's right, Seth MacFarlane -- I'm laying down the gauntlet!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
(9:55 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Book ShoppingThe past couple days, I have been in an incredibly intense book-shopping mode. I've got my newfound early modern fetish to serve, plus it's the Seminary Co-op's annual member sale. Since I am financially secure for a change, I decided that I would give myself about $100 to spend on books -- this is the first time in years that I've felt able to go book shopping without reproaching myself afterward. Anyway, here's what I got:
- Bergson, Creative Evolution
- Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues (used)
- Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations
- Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (used)
- Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics and Monadology
- Roth, Portnoy's Complaint (used)
- Spinoza, Ethics
- Sterne, Tristam Shandy (used)
(4:01 AM) | Brad:
Firday Night Jazz: The Hip-Hop EditionI've been drinking, a lot, tonight. Nothing like a bottle of wine to get me flipping through my old hip hop CDs. So ... nothing especially new tonight, but that's not always a bad thing.
We'll start off with two songs that reach all the way back to those heady years that make up my time in high school, A Tribe Called Quest's "Excursions" and Public Enemy's "By the Time I Get To Arizona".
From there, we're off to the hip-hop torch-bearers: The Roots (Thought At Work"), Blackalicious ("Do This My Way"), and Black Star ("Definition").
And, as a kind of coda, just because it strikes me at the moment as fucking hilarious, Patton Oswalt on Robert Evans.
I just realized I've uploaded a metric dick ton of stuff. So, if you're interested, be sure to download it sooner rather than later. This stuff may not remain here too long.
Friday, May 25, 2007
(12:00 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Friday Afternoon Confessional: ...an even worse infinityI confess that this week hasn't been nearly as productive as last week. I confess that at the very least, I've gotten somewhat back in the habit of doing regular language work -- when I enter into a "state of exception" (such as studying for the 20th Century exam or writing a paper), language work is the first to go, and it's difficult to work it back into my routine afterward.
I confess that I use the concept of the "state of exception" far too often in thinking about my everyday life. I confess that I overuse the word "deploy."
I confess that I've really taken a liking to Philip Roth lately.
I confess that I'm a little disappointed that Futurama never had much mainstream success. I confess that I didn't much care for this season of Family Guy. I confess that the last half hour of this season of 24 was surreal beyond measure.
I confess that I put way too much effort into making a really fancy grade spreadsheet as a last hurrah for my TA position. I confess that I applied to be a TA for three courses next year, basically all the MDiv required theology courses (I can only get a maximum of two, one for each semester). I confess that someone is probably going to tell me that doing too many TA positions will really hurt me once I'm on the job market -- as will doing too few TA positions, wearing my hair the way I do, getting a haircut, being too tall, being too short....
I confess that my newfound interest in early modern philosophy is probably a residual effect of my whirlwind "Whitehead phase" last summer -- I immediately realized that I needed to read Locke, Berkeley, Hume, etc., to understand Whitehead better, but couldn't take the time out due to the demands 20th Century. Now that I'm done with the exam, my Lockean (etc.) longings have returned in full force.
I confess that I've been eating Frosted Mini Wheats almost every day for so many years now that whenever I change to a different cereal, it seems to throw off my entire bodily equilibrium.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
(4:44 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Encore un effort, if you want to be materialists...A couple more "pingpong in Adam's basement"-style remarks to follow up on my post "Underdeveloped". First, does it seem to anyone else that when people say "materialism," they basically mean "Newtonian mechanics"? I find that to be extremely counterproductive -- it leads to an artificial and unhelpful reductionism, and frankly, it's not even up-to-date scientifically.
I object to reductionism in general because it seems to be so counterproductive intellectually -- we almost always have to "give up" some element of our experience (free will is impossible, etc.). We don't seem to think that it's intellectually productive to "reduce" an animal's organs to a series of chemical reactions and leave that as the "truer" explanation -- the biological level has a certain autonomy. But we're supposed to leave this behind when it comes to consciousness, or morality, or whatever -- it's "truer" to say that our experience is "really" all a bunch of neurons firing, or a reaction to evolutionary pressures. (Not that positing some transcendent "other scene" of "the soul," etc., is any better -- that's obviously reductionist in its own way as well.)
That's also partly what's annoying about the "doctrinaire atheist" literature that's been springing up lately -- all of a sudden, we have to rehash the debates of the 19th century. Could we please at least put some effort into a disproof of the existence of God that relies on quantum mechanics and relativity theory? Here, I'll help -- go through Anselm's Monologion and note all the places where he says that mutual causality and infinite regress are impossible. His "ontological proof" depends heavily on these presuppositions! Get to work!
And another thing: one of the great tragedies in the history of philosophy is the fate of Whitehead. The guy was offering a genuine philosophical revolution, from the very heart of the empiricist tradition. But he shot himself in the foot by bringing in the word "God" -- which doesn't even seem to me to be very appropriate to the underlying concept that he's using. And then of course his most prominent follower (Hartshorne) had to develop precisely the "God" stuff. Process theology is the dirt piled onto the grave of Whitehead's most important contributions.
(8:51 AM) | Amish Lovelock:
Rant of the PrudeVOL - a rather trendy looking A4 size intellectual magazine published here in Tokyo has just published its second issue. It's generally regarded to be a magazine run by a new young generation (most born in the late 60s and early 70s) of non-tenured professors; their big enemy: neoliberalism. The last issue contained translations from Ranciere, Zourabichvili, David Graber and others. Most of the contributors are up on their Deleuze, Foucault, Zizek and Badiou and have translated their work into Japanese. Mainly Deleuze though.
They seem to be picking two themes an issue. The last one was: What is the Political? and, Avant-Gardening (the, mostly guys, seem to like New York). This issue is: Basic Income and Deleuze's Cinema (just translated). Here comes the question. Is Basic Income, or for that matter any of the other currency based political options being thrown around at present, such as LETS etc... anything more than a call back to the era we can now set as starting around the 1920s/30s and ending in the 1970s/80s which was characterized by the advanced industrial nations forming heavily rationalized, mobilized societies with high levels of social integration and control? Ok, Basic Income may not have been introduced but on a theoretical level...
Isn't this just the kids mourning something the parents caught the tail-end of? Why can't the critique of neoliberalism go beyond harking back to the welfare state on the one hand - however "realistic" that option might argued to be - and on the other hand not form a critique of liberalism, or democracy for that matter? Answers on a postcard (...or in the comments)
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
(5:30 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Unmixed MixingI just sat down to try to put together a mix CD for someone. I realized that my mix CDs tend to be pretty formulaic. Around the third or fourth track, I usually start a grouping of low-key, "depressing" songs, then I'll have another group of more quirky songs, and I'll normally end with a fairly short, sad song, followed by a really long concluding number. The classic ending sequence for me is Regina Spektor's "Somedays" followed by Sigur Ros's "Track 08" (from the parentheses album). This homogeneity seems to come from my over-emphasis on "flow" when producing a mix.
My favorite songs to put on mixes, other than the ones already mentioned, are as follows:
- Pedro the Lion, "Magazine" (from Control)
- Bjork, "Joga" (from Homogenic)
- Pavement, "Zurich is Stained" (from Slanted & Enchanted)
- Wilco, "Radio Cure" (from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
- Modest Mouse, "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" (from The Moon and Antarctica)
- Pulp, "TV Movie" (from This is Hardcore)
I was going to continue the Zizek parody with a riff about how the shift from the mix CD to the iPod perfectly encapsulates the decline of symbolic efficiency in our "post-Oedipal" era, but instead I leave that as an exercise for the reader.
UPDATE: This is the list I came up with. This is a challenging one, because it's intended for someone to whom I copied over all my mp3s about a year ago -- as a result, only one of my old standbys appears.
- Maurice Ravel - "Valses nobles et sentimentales: I. Modere, très franc"
- Saint Etienne - "Lose That Girl"
- Bjork - "Joga"
- Sonic Youth - "Pattern Recognition"
- Andrew Bird - "Cataracts"
- Damien Jurado - "Smith 1972"
- Feist - "I Feel It All"
- Flaming Lips - "Flight Test"
- Gorillaz - "Sound Check (Gravity)"
- The Shins - "Spilt Needles"
- Modest Mouse - "Bankrupt on Selling"
- Joanna Newsom - "Only Skin"
(12:03 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Follow-up on Religious Right ConversationsIt's amazing that no matter what I say about the religious right, it indicates that I sympathize with them, consciously or unconsciously. If I express doubt about the degree of their influence, I'm "minimizing" them in such a way as to help their nefarious schemes to go undetected. Presumably if I were hysterical about their power, clear-headed commenters would read my exaggerated idea of their power as a secret identification with them. If I don't respond to them on the theological level (something I have already done, probably hundreds of times on this very blog), it's because I'm unwilling to examine the presuppositions I share with them. If I did respond theologically, people would be complaining that I'm implying that the only possible grounds of debate are religious and thereby silencing secular voices.
I literally cannot win here. I can't put out a good-faith opinion on this matter without some hackneyed, ill-informed version of my "personal history" -- and again, if anyone actually wanted to know about my personal history rather than simply deploying stereotypes, I have been more than forthcoming on this blog for years and years -- allowing people to psychologize away what I'm saying.
There is apparently no way for me to prevent this. Thus, the logical solution is to ignore the problem. But I find it difficult to ignore, however, because it plays into a persistent fear -- that no matter what I do, I will be dismissed as a fundamentalist. It's back to the old conundrum of whether The Weblog is a Christian blog -- I'm always too Christian for some, not Christian enough for others, and for some, I'm both at the same time.
(9:47 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
ZMDBUntil such time as Scott McLemee's Zizek Movie Database is constructed, I am forced to ask the web at large: is there anywhere that Zizek analyzes Being John Malkovich? I'm thinking specifically of this scene:
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
(2:49 PM) | Dominic:
Tuesday Hatred: Odi et odiI confess that I keep thinking it's Friday. I hate it when that happens.
Today I hate especially the following: bullet points, Visio diagrams, "high-level" overviews and the demand that all knowledge be capable of being reduced to such...rudiments. Honestly, it's like trying to do Japanese calligraphy wearing boxing gloves. Fie to those who claim that my love of prose (you know, with sentences and paragraphs and semicolons and...oh, oh...) is due to its almost limitless capacity for obfuscation. You may call it obfuscation; I call it nuance.
I hate that I bought a copy of Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy that was going cheap purely so I could look up the outrageously obtuse and dismissive chapter on Bergson. I hate that I then read through that chapter thinking, "well, yes, quite...". I hate that you could pass off the opening sentences of the chapter on the "philosophy of logical analysis" as vintage Badiou, and it would be a while before anyone noticed.
I hate middle class women who confidently and unashamedly declare their ignorance of basic mathematics, as if this were just the most feminine thing ever. Even more, I hate the men who fawn on them. If you're going to fawn on someone, fawn on someone who can do pointless topology, wretches! (I hate that I cannot, as yet, do pointless topology).
I hate all opinions expressed in conversations about the UK education system, including my own. It's patently obvious that no-one engaged in such conversations has a fucking clue, again including myself. The UK education system is an entirely imaginary construct, a vaporous phantom conjured by the fluctuations of the housing market. If we stop believing in it, it will go away.
I feed on your hatred!
Monday, May 21, 2007
(4:39 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Best News Story EverBringing the culture of complaint surrounding the CTA to its logical conclusion: We were promised delays -- now where are they?
(7:56 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Article at Inside Higher EdI have an article in IHE today. It is based on the second half of this confessional.
(12:54 AM) | bitchphd:
Permission SundayLook, people. Sunday is totally the shittest day to expect me to blog anything, because it's either "family day" or "Mama's day off." So yeah, no permission-granting the last two Sundays. DEAL.
Anyway, as one of my Catholic heroes reminded everyone in today's Salon--okay, I admit it, she informed me; unlike some of you people I am not a theologian and I'm not even a very well-educated Catholic--you can't really be excommunicated for abortion if you believe that having one is a moral act. And since abortion is, like, Rilly Rilly Bad, you gotta figure that whatever it is you want permission to do is really pretty much a-okay if you think it's morally justifiable.
That said, you all have permission retroactively to have done whatever it is you did the last two Sundays, and I grant myself permission, DAMMIT, to have taken PK to the Strawberry Festival today rather than finishing a belated talk I'm supposed to deliver on Wednesday and pre-circulate by, like, early last week.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
(11:44 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Reflections on the Religious RightReading Frank Rich's column this morning, it seems to me that the current conventional wisdom is that the religious right -- once declared all but omnipotent in the wake of its role in getting George W. Bush a commanding 51% victory in 2004 -- may now be on its way back to virtual irrelevance. I have long thought that despite the real dangers posed by the religious right, both in terms of policy influence and random outbreaks of violence, they are basically, at the end of the day, pathetic. Their political power only manifests itself when they are organized from the outside, most famously by the Machiavellian agnostic Karl Rove.
I have come under a lot of harsh criticism in various corners of the blogosphere for taking the line that the religious right is not The True Danger. It has been suggested that this stems from some residual affection for the religious right. I can assure you that this is not the case -- but my position as a former "insider" does definitely play a role. First, I see how completely crazy the "true believers" really are, the kind of people who have really digested the talking points and want to push the stuff on everyone. These people can have real negative effects, and that shouldn't be unduly downplayed, but they're so incredibly naive and willfully ignorant that they're ultimately pretty ineffective in actually getting what they want. If Dr. Dobson is the leading political strategist in getting abortion outlawed, I think that abortion rights are pretty safe on the whole.
Second, and probably more importantly, I see that the rank-and-file evangelicals -- the "people in the pews" -- really don't hold too firmly to the "Kool-aid" type of stuff. Yes, they're patriotic, and yes, they'll tell you the right thing if you ask what they believe, but they are far from being totally brainwashed. I've seen too many people leave the evangelical movement, and I've had too many private conversations in which people have expressed skepticism on the reigning orthodoxy to believe that the average religious person is not open to persuasion.
The people who identify enough with it to become leaders and spokesmen (Dobson, Falwell, Robertson, et al.) are, for all practical purposes, total lost causes -- it would take a miracle to change them. But by and large, the "people in the pews" are really not like that. I don't have some prescription for how they can be reached, but I know it's possible. In fact, there seems to be a growing shift from within evangelical circles away from the culture war issues and toward social justice issues, including even the environment (which used to be a completely forbidden topic under the religious-right orthodoxy).
Again, I don't know exactly what will come of this, but it seems to further indicate that what I've called "religious-right hysteria" is misplaced. This is not to say that they're totally neutralized by any means, just to say that combatting the religious right doesn't seem to be the main front of the political battle. I'm more concerned with unfettered executive power, torture, endless war, etc. -- none of which are distinctively religious-right values, though the religious right does bear some definite responsibility for helping to enable the advocates of those things to take power. Overall, though, the religious right strikes me as too easy of a target, and as a target that is by now severely weakened. I understand the desire to continue kicking them when they're down, but perhaps if we secular left-wing types left them to nurse their wounds on their own, it would open up more of a space for them to recognize that they've been consistently duped by the Republican Party and are being callously cast aside now that they've outlived their usefulness.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
(5:09 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Crucial UpdatesMany of you have doubtless been thinking a lot about my dead coffee maker. I have gotten through the last couple days using my roommate's French press, but I finally decided that I would go to Sears and pick up a new coffee maker. My previous one was plagued by electrical problems for basically its whole career -- the clock constantly gained time, and the final problem was that the electronic component went haywire, rather than being a mechanical problem. Thus, I thought it was time to get back to basics. I don't need a programmable coffee maker with multiple temperature settings and a self-cleaning option -- I need something that basically has an on/off switch. That's what I got. Despite my experience of losing a coffee maker, I declined the extended warranty, as well as the new Sears charge card.
Also, I am in the middle of grading my very last exam. What a fun way to spend a beautiful spring afternoon! I may celebrate by going to the northside Powell's and picking up some early modern philosophy. Or -- what are those books where they kind of tell a story? But it's not a history book, it's a made-up thing, usually interspersed with memorable observations and turns of phrase? Oh yeah: a novel.
(9:23 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
The Comforting Thought of the Future LifeOne often hears it said that the joys of heaven are so great that even the worst earthly suffering will seem insignificant in comparison. It seems equally reasonable, though, to go the extra step and say that the pains of hell are so surpassingly terrible that in comparison to them, too, present suffering seems insignificant.
So really, no matter which direction you're headed, the message is the same: earthly suffering is insignificant. I don't know why this isn't preached more.
Friday, May 18, 2007
(8:00 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Friday Afternoon Confessional: Extra-Special SureI confess that I have had a good week. The semester has ended, I've finished the 20th Century exam with a high pass, I've submitted a non-academic article (the precise nature of which will be disclosed when it is published), I've written a short book review for Reviews in Religion and Theology, and I've been informed that my truck has finally sold and I'll be receiving the money soon. I plan on finishing my grading soon and then spending next week working on my Butler paper, meaning that I'll be pretty well set up for a summer without financial worries and with wide-open horizons.
I confess that I've developed a strange desire to read early modern philosophy. I confess that my wide-open horizon is slightly clouded by my medieval directed reading -- but what are such petty details to me?
I confess that I'm thinking of making those frozen vegetable sandwich patties a regular part of my diet, as a compromise between my desire to eat more healthy food and my dislike of cooking.
I confess that I don't actually mind grading. I'll admit that this might have something to do with the fact that so far I've only been doing one class at a time. It may also have something to do with the fact that I'm dealing with masters-level students rather than freshmen. I graded freshman papers when I was in college, and I remember it being pretty frustrating -- but I think I've become a much more patient, low-key person since then.
I confess that, this post notwithstanding, one must still be cautious.
I confess that the Mexican restaurants around my neighborhood use too many onions. Onions are not something I really associate with Mexican food. I confess that if they transplanted El Burrito Loco from Bourbonnais to Lincoln Square, I'd go there every other day or more. I confess that I've become mildly addicted to duck curry. Normally I dislike both tomatoes and pineapple, but somehow when you mix them both together and throw in some duck, I'm totally on board.
I confess that I may well just use two stamps in response to the postal rate increase instead of going to the trouble to buy 2-cent stamps, even though the post office is two blocks from my house.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
(9:44 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
The saddest day of my lifeMy coffee maker is dead.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
(3:34 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Academic Blogging ParanoiaAcademic bloggers, particularly graduate students and assistant professors, often display a significant level of paranoia about the possible effects of blogging on their careers. Yet it seems to me that even more than any particular opinion that would be expressed on blogs, the very paranoia itself is a potential offense. Doesn't the paranoia buy into the stereotypes of academics as petty and vindictive people, ready to ruin careers at the slightest provocation? Do potential employers really want to hire someone who thinks that way about their potential colleagues? Does the profession really need members who implicitly fear or even hate most of the established members of the profession? Or worse, who hate themselves due to having internalized stereotypes that feed into anti-intellectualism?
The overwhelming majority of academics I've met are good people who are doing their best and who try to be as generous as possible. Have I just hit an unrepresentative patch? Are most academics actually bad people? I'd prefer to think not.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
(12:41 PM) | bitchphd:
Tuesday HatredBoy howdy, do I feel the hate today.
I hate that I forgot to post the hatred last night, even though Adam asked me and I was going to do it right away. I hate that I went to go have a smoke first and apparently smoked my brains out. I hate that Adam asked me. I hate that I said yes.
I hate that the novel I'm reading right now is so good that I can only stand to read a chapter at a time. I hate that the novel's subject, child soldiers in Africa, isn't fictional. I hate that my motherfucking internet connection was down this morning.
I hate that I had to spend 30, 45 minutes on the phone with stupid Time Warner trying to figure out what was wrong. I hate that their customer service was actually quite helpful, so that my hatred of them is unjustified. I hate that they seem to think the problem is my airport. I hate that I'm such an idiot about network configurations that I can't prove them wrong. I hate that my idiocy also means that currently I am connecting through an ethernet cable hooked up directly to my husband's laptop, which is sharing its connection through a LAN. I hate that while I'm clever enough to do that, I'm not clever enough to get the fucking ethernet connection to work directly on my laptop, or better yet to get either the old Air Port or the one I use in the study to work.
I hate that I went and looked at houses this morning in the neighborhood I, personally, want to move to and that apparently what we can afford there are all houses that are half the size of the one we're in now. I hate that apparently big houses with big yards in upper middle class sprawltopia are cheaper than cuter, older houses with smaller yards in midtown. I hate that the one house that looks appropriate sizewise also looks like it needs some fairly serious work and is right next to the parking lot for an autoshop. I hate that the neighborhood I want to move to is probably close to sea level. I hate worrying that it'll be under water in 50 years. I hate global warming. I hate having to choose between a neighborhood that's close to PK's school next year and funky and apparently much more my personal style, and upper middle class high ground big houses sprawl. I hate knowing that this decision just proves what a rich spoiled American I am.
I hate that my house is perpetually messy. I hate that I am so lazy and cranky about keeping it cleaner. I hate that we don't have a housekeeper. I hate the idea of spending the time to find one. I hate the feeling that I should apologize for complaining about how good help is hard to find, so I refuse to do so: fuck that shit, I want someone to clean my house. I hate that my eating and exercise habits are so completely lame. I hate knowing that this is all my own fault and probably contributes to my sloth and crankiness.
I hate that the article I finished yesterday has to use Chicago style for its citations. I hate doing citations. I hate that I have a talk to write this week as well as finishing the citations for that article. I hate that I have another article due in two weeks. I hate complaining about having two articles and a talk to write, which is really awesome and I should be thrilled. I hate knowing I should be thrilled, even though I am. I hate feeling ambivalent. I hate having to balance my writing pace and pattern with having to pick PK up from school and run errands and all the other horseshit that runs at a completely different pace and pattern. I hate having to be especially busy on days when I have the car. I hate being lazy enough to be car-dependent for errands rather than just getting on my damn bike like I wish I would.
I hate that yesterday, because my husband was late home from work, I had to cancel my bi-weekly errand of taking my aunt with M.S. to her Shakespeare reading group. I hate taking her to the reading group every other Monday night. I hate the fact that I hate doing it. I hate that she has M.S. I hate the combined obligation/pity/resentment that go along with having to try to help someone who is almost entirely incapacitated retain some quality of life. I hate knowing that I should drive over to see her this evening with PK to make up for last night.
I hate feeling busy. I hate feeling like I have nothing to do. I hate that I make promises to people. I hate that I get cranky about keeping my promises. I hate that sometimes I don't keep my promises. I hate trying to be good. I hate being unselfish. I hate that I am so selfish. I hate that I have such a shitty attitude.
Monday, May 14, 2007
(11:05 PM) | Amish Lovelock:
The End of Zidou?Come on then, let's be crass. Who has the upper hand? The pre-Kantian idealist metaphysician? Or, the illigitimate Subject-ontologizing psychoanalytic theory-of-everything anti-philosopher? People will say "oh, but its all about exploring the similarities and contradictions between the two blah blah." Deep down though you know this is void, lack, or infinite multiplicity and that that choice is yours...
(3:30 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
20th Century Theology ExamI just now completed it. My questions were as follows:
- Compare at least four theologians' approach to the human sciences, then tell what we can learn from them and what you think is the best way to go in this regard.
- Compare Derrida and Agamben's reappropriation of messianism with the position of 20th century theologians who tried to reintroduce apocalyptic or eschatology into theology. Assess the relative value, say what areas of further work in this area might be good to do.
I will take another exam in methodology in the fall, then some time next spring take the remaining four exams in rapid succession. Based only on this experience, however, it seems to me that qualifying exams are a kind of "vanishing mediator" of the PhD -- they're necessary as a transition between coursework and dissertation (and I really do think that they're necessary in some form), but once you succeed at completing them, they leave behind no tangible trace.
UPDATE: I have been informed that I received a "high pass" on the exam. Huzzah! It's really genuinely over!
(1:01 PM) | Alex:
Punk Rock Monday: Nottingham EditionSince Anthony in the States, I am going to repeat his Punk Rock feature. But like all the best punk rock, it has a twist. In order to remind him of his other home, with us UKian sorts, all bands from here on in are from Nottingham or nearby.
First up, some snotty, messy, foul-mouthed gutter-snipe punk. Lovvers tear it apart at every show I have seen them at, which is a few since their guitarist is a friend. I have never left one of their shows without being battered to crap.
Shaun, the leader singer, was a member of the objectively incredible art punk outfit The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg. I once tried to see them, but sadly didn't. Please forgive the sound quality and this does not reflect their entire oeuvre.
This was a band with dynamics and several modes. Their Secret Bark Language EP displayed an entirely different side to their character. Members who represented this side later left to form the more tranquil Scarecrows and the Elliot Smith pop of House of Brothers.
Though not punk rock, The Hellset Orchestra are my favourite prog-power-pop-weirdos. Incredible live, real presence.
Also notable are Lords, who play Beefheart influenced swampy blues, with occasional jazz overtones.
Chris from Lords does solo stuff under the name Last Of The Real Hardmen. Who are pretty damned different and gorgeous.
The drummer in the previous video is Patrick Farmer who is heavily involved with the Nottingham avant-garde scene and puts on gigs with Knee Knees. He's our answer to Chris Corsano, and plays in brutal free-improv Hella-falling-over-AMM with Art Ensemble of Chicago watching duo The Good Anna.
What is more punk rock than free improv? Best bit about that video: the faces of the punters.
Adam - if you want sexy, and I do mean sexy check out Felix, the mean streets of Nott's answer to Cat Power or Regina Spektor.
Thanks for having me.
Almost got kicked in the face for including one of my favourite other Nottingham avant-gardists - the Popul Vuh loving, Thuja sounding like, drone, free-folk types and good friends of mine The Exploits of Elaine. The previously mentioned The Good Anna play as part of them, Patch (Patrick) on bowed banjo and amplified objects and Graham on guitars and whatever else. Sublime stuff. Check out Dave Bell on the wok in this video. While not playing wok he runs an incredible indie record label that are well worth checking out for all manner of left of centre delights.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
(5:37 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
I'm warning you -- it gets pretty intense toward the end.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
(9:30 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
HITCHENS IS AWESOME-OApparently, God doesn't exist and religion is bad. From the sounds of the reviews, it sounds like this book may well be riddled with erroneous characterizations of religious belief -- for instance, the reviewer cites the claim that Jesus is supposed to die for our sins, but on the other hand didn't really die. They cleared up this confusion pretty early on, though I'm sure that orthodox Christians are glad to have in Hitchens an unwitting ally in the fight against Docetism.
I'm starting to think that writers of polemical doctrinaire atheism actually put in the errors on purpose. The goal is to produce a dynamic in conversation about the book that I'd call the Atheist Two-Step:
- Someone points out that the particular religious belief disproven by the doctrinaire atheist is not really held by anyone as stated.
- The doctrinaire atheist then says that religion is so obviously stupid and pernicious that one can't be held accountable for detailed knowledge of it.
Friday, May 11, 2007
(11:08 PM) | Brad:
Friday Night Jazz: The Free EditionPer Alex's request last week, we're going "free" tonight. It's late in the East, which means that it's a perfect time to get your avant-garde groove on.
A little triple-shot action:
First, the granddaddy of free jazz, Albert Ayler, from his Spiritual Unity album, "Spirits".
Followed by Chicago's own Vandermark 5, from their 1999 release Simpatico, "Fact and Fiction".
And lastly, a recent discovery for me, from his Sound Unity, William Parker's "Hawaii".
(5:50 PM) | Brad:
Picture Pages, Picture PagesRecently I've been going through this blog, the other blogs I write for, and my hard drive in search for solid writing samples to shop around in hopes of landing a writing gig. Most of what I've written in blog-form is pretty crappy, I'll admit. But there are moments of nice writing. One example is the travel diary I posted a few years back, detailing a trip a friend & I took across the country in his pickup truck. It needs some editing, but all in all, I stand by it as an entertaining read. In fact, reading it last night made me sad that I wasn't disciplined enough to do something similar during my trip out here with K. & Ireland. The crucial difference this time, I guess, was that I did most of the driving, and ended up too tired in the evenings even to watch the free soft porn on HBO, let alone plug in the computer and fire up Blogger.
Fortunately, K. & I did take plenty of pictures. In lieu of a travel diary, I figured I'd post a few of my favorites. The entire collection is available online, but there's no reason to subject yourself to them unless you're that bored:
(1) Ireland enjoying her Holiday Inn accommodations; (2) Me with Charlie Parker in Kansas City; (3) Approaching Monument Valley; and (4 & 5) An abandoned phone booth and general store in an abandoned tourist-trap ghost town.
(2:22 PM) | Brad:
No DepressionWhen you're alternating between fighting and indulging a depression brought on by one's unemployed / unemployable state, there's nothing like a little non-Nirvana early-90s rawk, Uncle Tupelo-style. Building management has already called once to tell me to turn down my music, and the dog has repeatedly closed the door to the bathroom, seeking sonic sanctuary.
This isn't replacing Friday Night Jazz, which may or may not happen tonight, depending on how long the Blogger outage is going to be. But it should get you through the rest of your day. It has me.
All from Uncle Tupelo's first CD, appropriately titled "No Depression":
Before I Break
(12:58 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Friday Afternoon Confessional: Readiness, Cereal, Claire, Crescat ScientiaI confess that I'm really ready for the 20th Century exam and the semester to be over with. I confess that the month of May, post-semester, should be pretty nice -- just a few small projects to finish up. I confess that I am addicted to finishing things, to caffeine, and to the Internet. I confess that I derive a little more satisfaction than is healthy from the sight an empty dishwasher.
I confess that I am naturally drawn to ice cream that incorporates some kind of name-brand candy. Oreo™ ice cream is better than plain old cookies and cream, for instance. But I don't think this is just a hallucination! Have you all tried the actual Breyers Oreo™ ice cream? Even comparing across the same brand of ice cream, the Oreo™ tastes way better. I confess that years of living near a Jewel-Osco where they rotated every week or so which brand of ice cream was 2-for-1 has given me very detailed opinions about ice cream. I also have highly refined expertise in cereal pricing. I confess that Honey Bunches of Oats is simultaneously the cheapest and the worst cereal. When that stuff gets soggy -- i.e., thirty seconds after the milk is poured -- it's like eating a cardboard box that's been left out in the rain.
I confess that I'm very happy for Claire now that she's found a new job and is also going to get to take a week-long vacation before starting.
I confess that in all my years of hanging around U of C, I've never bothered to figure out what "Crescat scientia, vita excolatur" means. I confess that the $1 milkshakes in the coffee shop at Reynolds Club are a gift from God.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
(9:53 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Mitt RomneyI hate all Republican candidates out of the gate, but even so, Mitt Romney looks to me like the very model of a douchebag.
What the hell kind of name is "Mitt"? Is it short for something? Did his parents just love baseball? Is his brother named "Bat"?
(1:32 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Bible DeathmatchWhat if the various biblical superheroes had a final battle to determine who is the ultimate biblical badass? This is a question that I discussed at some length yesterday with my CTS colleague Jessica Ireland, and I think it will be helpful to everyone if I write up our conclusions.
There are only a few viable candidates: Moses, Samson, Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus. There are other heroes (Ehud obviously comes to mind), but they don't have superpowers. I am listing these characters from the weakest to the strongest, in my estimation; we can debate this in comments.
Samson: Ultimately, I don't think he stands a chance. The big variable, however, is exactly how strong this guy actually is. Yes, he can bring down the whole stadium by pushing on pillars, but what kind of construction quality are we dealing with? The Philistines don't strike me as the type of tribal entity to get hung up on building codes. The same with uprooting the gates at Gaza and carrying them off -- yes, it sounds impressive, but do we really have enough information to go on? His ability to find honey in the carcasses of lions seems like it could work, at best, as a distraction, but I would steer clear of Samson once he gets his hand on a donkey's jawbone.
Elijah: This greatest prophet after Moses specializes in fire-based attacks. Even if you're soaking wet, that won't save you from Elijah's ability to call down fire from heaven. Then, just when you think he's going to jump on his flaming chariot and retreat -- he causes a torrential rain-storm!
Elisha: This is a man who has a deep-seated sense of insecurity and resentment, founded in his frustration at having been confused with Elijah for so long. This is reflected in his best superpower -- the ability to command she-bears, which he is shown deploying against some youths who make fun of his baldness. He has formidable healing powers, but those don't really come into play unless we're envisioning a team battle. His ability to multiply vegetable oil might conceivably come in handy, but he appears to need a certain amount of preexisting oil to start with.
Jesus: Most of Jesus' attacks are defensive in nature -- in addition to being able to retreat by walking on a body of water, he also seems to be able to walk through angry mobs bent on his destruction without being harmed. Additionally, he can throw off his opponents by changing into a little piece of bread in the middle of the battle, and post-resurrection, he is able to walk through walls. His only real offensive attacks are found from his Revelation persona -- in addition to simply freaking out his opponents with his bizarre appearance, he can do some serious damage with his tongue, which doubles as a flaming sword.
Moses: For sheer diversity and destructiveness of attacks, no one can beat Moses, who has no fewer than 10 plagues at his disposal. Let's say Jesus retreats onto the water to try to evade him -- then Moses has the option of either parting the sea or changing it into blood. Jesus might be able to preempt this by changing the body of water into wine, but it's unclear that he's able to walk on liquids other than water. As soon as Jesus regains his composure, he suddenly finds himself buried in frogs and attacked by gnats. In the last resort, of course, Jesus is the firstborn -- not just of Mary, but of all creation -- and so is vulnerable to Moses's legendary Tenth Plague, or would be, if his death and resurrection hadn't permanently liberated him from the power of death. (But of course, with the exception of Elijah, all of the warriors under consideration have suffered physical death already.)
So overall, it seems like Moses is the greatest biblical superhero. But maybe there's something I've overlooked.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
(5:48 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
The Other SceneWhile I think that there are wide swaths of the blogosphere (including, often, this very blog) for which my meditations of yesterday hold true, it is nonetheless the case that my own "always right" proclamations are consistently undercut by a blog that I helped to found, namely, An und für sich. I've even posted work over there, dread notwithstanding -- though it was all finished work for which all comments were "too late," a factor which somehow made an open discussion much more possible in my mind.
How it seems to be falling out is that "over there" we have our space of intellectuality, and "over here" we have mainly the goof-off shit -- the weekly quasi-rituals, the YouTube links, the Mr. Sprinkles exegeses. My gesture of threatening to "shut down The Weblog" in January has, in the long run, effectively shut down the "old" Weblog qua perfect mix of personal angst and intellectual reflection -- what we have here now is not simply a shell of a formerly great blog, but essentially a new blog entirely. And all the other blogs that were involved in my "career as a blogger" are no longer the same -- The Valve is no longer an "anti-Theory" organ, for instance. Long Sunday has now apparently shifted gears to become a venue for Heidegger exegesis. Things change.
What I've wanted out of blogging has already existed for months now -- on the one hand, the "ping pong table in Adam's basement" where people hang out (The Weblog); on the other hand, the slower-paced "intellectual" group blog where the pressure is not on me to single-handedly carry it and where the conversation is limited and, more importantly, limitable to a trusted circle (AUFS, where Anthony has largely taken the lead). The conditions are in place for me to enjoy blogging again -- all I need to do is restrain myself from getting into the stupid fights that make me question the value of human interaction in general.
But at the same time, I can't just disown what I said yesterday.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
(12:00 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Tuesday Hatred: My Career as a BloggerI hate how far I've fallen as a blogger. I hate that the University Without Condition failed. I hated the Theory Wars and the really destructive effects they had in our corner of the blogosphere, but all the same, I really did hate the cutesy long-winded anti-theory stuff, and I'm glad that's gone the way of the 8-track.
I hate that the whole point of academic blogging is supposed to be the free exchange of ideas and putting your work out there for people to critique it, but I have very, very seldom ever seen anyone admit to changing their mind about anything, ever. If people want to put out their work so that their adoring fans can congratulate them on it, then that's their business. (By the way: I hate JSTOR and links thereto.) The idea that blog commenters of all people are going to provide constructive criticism is beyond my comprehension -- petty sniping, useless praise ("Great paper, thanks!"), ill-informed criticism of minor points, total missing of the point, idiotic over-basic questions.... I can't imagine that anyone has failed to regret posting a draft of a paper on their blog asking for feedback.
Indeed, when I'm working on a project, anymore I make it a point not to even mention it on the blog, and if I do mention it to friends, I ask them to make sure not to mention it on the blog. That's how much the idea of getting feedback from the blogosphere horrifies me -- the thought of having it be publicly known on the blogs that I'm working on something, even something fairly minor (note that I've never disclosed the topic of my seminar paper on Judith Butler, for instance), fills my heart with dread.
I hate the compulsory liberal niceness that is so often enforced among academic blogs -- such that someone automatically has more credibility if they're calm, even if they're calmly saying crazy or slanderous things. I hate that the rules of nice liberal conversation mean that I must either legitimate a bad-faith opponent by continuing to treat the conversation like a real exchange of ideas, or else delegitimate myself by angrily denouncing him or blocking him. I hate that even private e-mails of support in such situations invoke the poor by-stander whom my behavior alientated: "You're right, of course, but you really undercut your credibility." Why couldn't someone -- just once -- drop in and say, "Put aside Adam's tone -- he's totally in the right here"? I hate that someone probably has, but I don't remember it.
I hate that I am so often compared to fundamentalists when I use an angry tone, as though the defining negative trait of fundamentalism is primarily a rhetorical one, rather than their hatred of homosexuals, their desire to regulate women's sexuality, etc., etc. -- no, no, it's their tone that's the problem, it's that they don't follow the rules of conversation.
Relatedly, I hate online arguments about religion and how I somehow can't bring myself to walk away from them. I hate how my stubbornness causes me to waste so much time in settings where an incisive intervention would be much more effective than arguing for hours with all comers.
I hate that this level of disappointment, disillusionment, and fatigue with the academic blogosphere attest to the high hopes I once had. Once I took the more pessimistic route, I became -- basically ontologically -- always right about academic blogging, but that wasn't always the case. I thought that blogs could be a way for genuine intellectual discourse to happen outside or alongside the academy. But we all need the big Other, we all need official validation and recognition, and working without it is a huge drain.
Blogs currently provide a kind of home-made validation -- the numbers don't lie, after all -- but that kind of validation is fragile. That may change, but if it does, it's most likely to be through the (increasingly popular) route of people becoming bloggers for institutions with established symbolic capital. One can imagine a crowd scene on The Simpsons: someone says, "I'm a blogger [crowd sighs heavily]... for the Atlantic Monthly! [crowd becomes exicted]."
So that's what I hate this week, and what I've been hating pretty consistently for months now. What about you?
Monday, May 07, 2007
(12:35 AM) | Brad:
Friday Night Jazz: The Very Early Monday Morning EditionTwo weeks in a row now I've served up belated jazz fixins. For that, I apologize. Last week my excuse was that I was only just getting used to a new time zone. This week, now that I'm a couple of days late -- so late that my original title "Sunday Night Jazz" isn't even appropriate for most of you -- the only excuse I can serve up is: Friday was really busy [NSFW].
Anyway, I'm home now, tapping out a new resume & cover letter in hopes of landing a dream job; or, barring that unlikelihood, something not completely nightmarish. All the while, Mingus is screaming avant garde jazz in my ear. Belated or not, I think you'll enjoy tonight's music.
From Mingus at Antibes, we kick things off with the tongue-speakin' opening track, "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting".
After that, we have the untitled opening track from Mingus' six-part ballet The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
(12:30 AM) | bitchphd:
Sunday permissionSince it was my idea in the first damn place, I'm going to high-handedly declare that I, BitchPhD, am the true representative of The Public--so like Adam to declare that it is he, the sexist bastard--and take over Sunday permission-granting this week.
So go on: ask, and ye shall receive. Unless I say no, in which case, stop making excuses, you slacker.
(12:15 AM) | Anthony Paul Smith:
Punk Rock Sunday: 'Mama I'm Coming Home' Edition(It's Sunday here bitches!)
I'm heading back corn-side on Thursday morning to do some work at DePaul. I've stretched the dates so I'll be able to visit my mom and my step-dad, who is just finishing his tour in Iraq, and then off to Chicago to drink heavily and sleep on random couches. Since hearing the news I've had Ozzy Osbourne's song 'Mama I'm Coming Home' stuck in my head:
Now that's not very punk rock. At all. But look at the kind of music he used to make:
That's damn good music! Earlier today I heard a banjo cover of this Motörhead song:
The cover was really good. Ironically they couldn't pull off 'Man of Constant Sorrow'. But, that's all a bit testicle heavy. This next band is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. They go by the name Cansei de Ser Sexy, which I'm told means Tired of Being Sexy:
OK, so they don't have testicles, but they can beat the shit out of each other. But they also know how to make love and listen to death from above (they sound like this):
Saturday, May 05, 2007
(5:37 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
The Obligatory Mr. Sprinkles
(10:00 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Born on this dayRob Breymeier informs me that today is the birthday of both Karl Marx and Soren Kierkegaard.
Friday, May 04, 2007
(7:41 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Friday Afternoon Confessional: The Committee on CommitteesI confess that I ate Subway the other night, and I hate myself for it. I confess that I enjoy watching TV and laughing out loud like a freak. I confess that I can't really get into Scrubs. I confess that House has overtaken 24 in my esteem, but only by virtue of not declining as rapidly.
I confess that someone needs to respond to Brad's solicitation.
I confess that the other night I reconfirmed my dislike of riding the Garfield bus over to the Red Line very late at night.
I confess that I've enjoyed my tenure as the student representative to the board of trustees at CTS. The Academic and Student Affairs Committee is truly a great committee. I confess, though, that if I had my "druthers," my natural love of meta makes me long to serve on the Board Affairs Committee -- the committee of the board in charge of the board as such.
I confess that in the past two years I have become an experienced, indeed hardened, vetran of committee work. My "service" section is now as long as most people's entire CVs. If you want me to sit at a table and doodle on the agenda, I'm there. (Still, there's one glaring omission: no task forces.)
I confess that this all stems from my family life. My grandfather, a lifelong union man, had a t-shirt that said, "Don't ask me, I'm not on a committee." Two enigmatic paw-prints accompanied this sardonic motto. From a very early age, I told myself: I'm not going to make the same mistake.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
(7:14 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Idea for a New Yorker CartoonTwo businessmen walk past a third businessman who is panhandling. One of the two says to the other, "Don't give him anything. He'll just invest it in some over-hyped hedge fund."
(3:40 PM) | Brad:
SolicitationI don't look at the site stats around here enough to know how many Bay Area readers we have, but I know we have at least a few. If any of you happen to know of an employer who might be interested in an affable, clever employee with a PhD in a field that provided him no exemplarily profitable skills, please let me know. Unemployment, especially here, really sucks.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
(8:53 PM) | John Emerson:
Congress should pass a Bring Home the Troops appropriation bill, not an Iraq War appropriation billInstead of sending Bush any form of Iraq War appropriation bill at all, Congress should send him a nice fat Bring Home the Troops appropriation bill. Give him no money at all for the war, and as much money as is needed to protect the troops and get them out of there.
The "abandoning our troops on the battlefield" accusation is lying bullshit, and appropriating money to get them off the battlefield would show that.
(12:25 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Women and BloggingSome obscure person named Tedra Osell has written an article on women, blogging, and pseudonymity.
(10:39 AM) | Amish Lovelock:
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
(8:51 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Taking InventoryI just finished the last book I plan to read for the 20th Century Theology exam, Pannenberg's Anthropology in Theological Perspective. Aside from a couple supplementary anthologies, the books I failed to read were as follows:
- Ritschl, Christian Doctrine of Justification (too long)
- Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding (too boring)
- Adler, Engendering Judaism (two books on feminist Judaism, the other being Plaskow, seemed a bit excessive in this context)
- Levinas, Difficult Freedom (I've already read enough damn Levinas)
Between now and then, I have some reading and grading to do, but nothing major. I'm taking an incomplete on the Judith Butler course, but I hope to finish my paper before the end of May. Then I'll have one incomplete (medieval theology) and one course to take in the fall; I'll also be taking my required "method" exam (over deconstruction) in the fall. And of course throughout this period I'll also have to be studying for my final "clusterfuck" of exams (though hopefully I won't have to read 70 books each for all four of them), hopefully writing up some stuff for publication, and coming up with a dissertation topic.
Ted says that I should pick a dissertation topic I can do in a year. He also told me that if someone pisses me off on the Internet, I should do push-ups before responding. (I'm going to be so strong.) Both strike me as sound advice.
I feel like my habit of continually taking inventory and envisioning the tasks I have to complete (thus envisioning them as complete) is one of my only positive and helpful habits.
(12:03 AM) | The Girl:
Tuesday Hatred: Molto OdioOh, denizens of the Weblog, you can now rest easy! While I certainly appreciate Ben Wolfson’s valiant Tuesday Hatred effort last week, things are now back to normal, with another hot broad picking up where equally hot broad Claire left off. In my typical fashion, I almost forgot about my hating duties, only realizing my commitment 79 minutes prior to this fine first day of May. As such, I will not bore you with (or rather, attempt to compose) a witty exposition; instead, I will launch into what you’re here for: The Hatred.
I hate Mario Batali. Even more, I hate his penchant for the evil that is neon Crocs, and further, I hate when he wears said Crocs with shorts and white socks. Men, take note: This is a bad, bad look that every other woman I know hates, as well.
I hate the varying opinions on interview attire. I hate that I will be interviewing at a corporate, yet creative office, and the ensuing confusion that arises from this combination. Traditional wisdom holds that a young lady ought to wear suiting to an interview, perhaps even taking the extra step, as my mother told me today, of donning pantyhose. (I hate pantyhose.) However, traditional wisdom also suggests that creative fields eschew suits and that you will look staid and stuffy if you show up wearing Ann Taylor when you really ought to be wearing some overpriced ensemble from a Bucktown boutique. I hate how much other people take into account clothing choices, although I suppose that would be the pot calling the kettle black.
I hate when big-ticket items such as cars, shelving systems and computers advertise their “starting from” rate. Specifically, I hate that the iMac I was going to purchase quickly jumped from $1199 to about $1750. I hate that I will thusly be left with my completely inept HP laptop for another several months.
I hate when friends’ boyfriends hit on me or flirt with me in front of their girlfriend. While this doesn’t occur frequently, I am nevertheless surprised and filled with hatred it when it happens. I hate the immediacy with which my girl friend awkwardly (and obviously) ushered me out the door this weekend, suddenly deciding that we should probably avoid having a late lunch and just call it a day after her boyfriend suggested that he go shoe shopping with me.
I hate that none of my friends are in healthy relationships. I hate that no one can offer advice on dating and love, as everyone else is in even more convoluted situations than me.
I hate not having a dishwasher. I hate how dirty I let my kitchen get due to the combination of not having a dishwasher and instead having a shallow, single sink that is inexplicably set diagonally into a corner about four inches from the edge of the counter. Please ponder this set-up, Weblogians. Yes, I can tell you would hate it too.
And, rapidly, I hate:
-the smell of the zoo
-the Bachelor and the naivete of the ladies vying for his affection
-that the Park District does not answer its phone
-not knowing what to buy my mother for Mother’s Day
-how silly I feel posting on the Weblog, as everyone else seems much more intelligent
-96.7% of jeans, and for that matter, pants