All Bad Poetry Is Sincere.

Oscar Wilde.

Something’s been bothering me lately about the “sincerity defense”: “yes, I’m misreading and misrepresenting your position, but I’m sincere in my efforts” or “my ideas might not make any sense, but I’m sincere in my affirmation that I am indeed correct” – not that I’m against sincerity, but there’s something fishy about this appeal to sincerity that is supposed to make me feel better about someone’s obvious dickish behavior.

On “bad poetry” and related matters, see here.

(Im)morality of Walking Away

An interesting piece in L.A.Times today:

Professor advises underwater homeowners to walk away from mortgages.

Brent T. White, a University of Arizona law school professor, says that it’s in the homeowners’ best financial interest to stiff their lenders and that it’s not immoral to do so.

Reporting from Washington – Go ahead. Break the chains. Stop paying on your mortgage if you owe more than the house is worth. And most important: Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t think you’re doing something morally wrong.

That’s the incendiary core message of a new academic paper by Brent T. White, a University of Arizona law school professor, titled “Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis.” Continue reading

Holiday Music

I watched a great film – Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould – the other day and since I’ve been listening to Gould non-stop (I think my brains twist into a weird knot after several hours of things like French and English Suites). In any case, I found these clips of him playing Goldberg Variations (mannerisms are of course the best part) and I must share some of them: Continue reading

Foucault and Lacan Walk Into A Bar…

Here’s an interesting piece from Global-e:

One day, way back in the 20th century, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Roland Barthes sat under an equatorial tree, living in their own imagined primitive past, discussing Global Studies. “What,” asked Barthes, “might the four of us contribute to a field that analyzes the world as a global system, stitched together—as Michael Curtin deftly puts it—by trade protocols, governance covenants, and communications networks?” Lévi-Strauss checked his notes, Lacan thought introspectively, and Foucault answered complicatedly. Each spoke of the cultural schemes that inform public policy and that structure debate about contemporary life. Let me summarize their conversation—translated from French.

Read the rest here.

More Zizek

Looks like it’s Zizek all the way these days: Apocalyptic Times.

There’s a variety of reactions to Zizek’s appearance on HardTalk. Some are interesting, some are silly. I was particularly disappointed by comments like this:

It is sometimes too easy for us to think that Zizek was misunderstood or stitched up but we are still presented with a very real problem: if Zizek cannot get across his views in an interview like this what chance do his views have in their potential to make change? Precisely who is Zizek for? And by feeding into increasingly obtuse readings do we not simply make ourselves obsolete from the political scene? This is where I see a kind of reverse disavowal: we too are opting out creating a ‘faux-communism’ whose definition has become, and I’m being honest here, pretty damn obscure.

Sorry, Paul, but this is very likely the most ridiculous comment in the history of commenting – one might not agree with Zizek, but to say that he is in any way obtuse or cannot get his views across in the form of sound bites is to reveal an amazing ignorance of all things Zizek. Plus, the idea that only simple and presentable views can “make change” is just odd – there go Hegel and Marx, apparently their utter inability to be presentable doomed them to obscurity…