Levels of Depravity


1. Enjoying a beer and a BBC documentary about opera: Privately pretentious but bearable.  

2. Enjoying a beer and a BBC documentary about opera while thinking “This is great. I am so cool and special. I must post about it on my blog so that strangers can read about it and appreciate my awesomeness.”: Slightly more pretentious, bordering on “but I am sincere about it therefore I am okay” Harman sentiment.

3. Enjoying a beer and a BBC documentary about opera while thinking “This is great. I am so cool and special. I must post about it on my blog so that strangers can read about it and appreciate my awesomeness” and actually posting about it while also being sarcastic about how it’s not really about how cool I am but how down-to-earth and relaxed I am as well: Some sort of tricky yet clearly evil way of being.

4. Suddenly creating a lexicon of my own philosophy for those who read to appreciate my affectations in all of their glory: Where is this post really going?

5. Projecting my own experiences onto others and suggesting that just because I like blogging and emailing “gatekeepers,” then everyone else must as well: Seriously, this is not funny anymore.

6. Wildly gesticulating while trying to finish this post before going back to BBC documentary: Fail, fail, fail.

7. Becoming increasingly upset with SPEP and APA for their apparently oppressive institutional hegemony: Becoming Bryant.

8. BBC documentary is back, another Sapporo gently eases its frosty metallic corpus into my hand: Sitting back, plotting the history of my philosophical school while fighting the bureaucratic enemies at Middlesex by keeping this post at the top of my blog – that should really show them!

PS. Kevin is back.

19 thoughts on “Levels of Depravity

  1. Seriously, Bryant’s been manic lately with his idiotic observations about the state of philosophy. At least Harman has books to back up his “glory” – Bryant’s published his dissertation (his “first book” – really?), and now there’s some moron writing a dissertation on his dissertation? I know it’s hateful and all, but it’s people like Bryant who make the profession look bad.

    • Maybe some of that was ‘hateful’ as Mikhail was talking about certain ‘in-house’ matters, but Bryant’s current championing of Harman’s ‘special sensitivity’ to the oil spill is repellent (as is Harman’s original.) From Egypt, we here that the public is not concerned enough. In both writers, you have a thoroughly aloof pose that doesn’t admit that it is: The public is extremely outraged, these people should stop writing Joyce-Kilmer-level things about serious matters. And Harman is so worried that ‘we won’t learn from this’. Christ, what a thing to read. Btw, I wrote Bryant two anonymous comments, I knew he would delete them and he did, but he read them, and they weren’t even rabid. He just doesn’t want to hear even slight criticism, it seems. But the OIL SPILL is not an academic matter–to say that Harman ‘hit the nail on the head’ is fucking insufferable.

      Anyway, Mikhail, thanks so much for the clip of the Webern, will listen to later today. Even if it weren’t ‘great’, I know I will love to hear this.

  2. Hubristic utter self-confidence in your beliefs goes well with the dismissal of epistemological questions. It’s deep down a monological as opposed to a dialogical approach, despite the professed enthusiasm for debate. I assert that the moon is made of (withdrawn) green cheese, and anyone who isn’t convinced and might want to disagree with me or ask me for the grounds of my assertion that the moon is made of (withdrawn) green cheese is relying on a philosophy of access.

    • Utisz, everyone knows that the moon is made up of fingers and once the hysterical laughter dies down (you don’t think it’s funny? you’re not one of the cool kids then!) we can all proceed to reinvent the wheel yet once more. I suppose my feathers were especially ruffled by assertions that, for example, only in the age of blogging have we acquired a great chance to contact people (via email or otherwise) and discuss philosophy with them. Plus this necessity to always put down something/someone to make one’s point is becoming rather strange (SPEP, APA, Kant, institutional hegemony etc etc).

      Justin, it is kind of hateful – a) not everyone gets a chance to publish their dissertation, and I thought it was a pretty good book (thick and detailed like a dissertation, but a book nonetheless), b) we poke fun, even if meanly, we don’t suggest they’re “morons” and c) there’s no way we can destroy the profession even more, no matter how hard we try, it’s doomed in its own inexplicable way, so a blame game is not appropriate here.

      • and c) there’s no way we can destroy the profession even more, no matter how hard we try, it’s doomed in its own inexplicable way, so a blame game is not appropriate here.

        The Middlesex incident shows that philosophy, as a profession, can’t defend itself in its own terms against the least sophist willing to close their schools. Either it applies grassroot protests with lots of solidarity notes from everywhere as if we lived in the Paris of Jean Paul Sartre or it frames their opponents within super-abstract, all inclusive, anti-capitalist frameworks no one finds remarkable or scary.

  3. “fighting the bureaucratic enemies at Middlesex by keeping this post at the top of my blog”

    You underestimate the power of a blog post at the top of Larval Subjects – last time around it singlehandedly created an American wing of Speculative Realism movement. I am sure this time it will not only put Middlesex managers to shame but will also restore the power and the prestige of philosophy everywhere. You of little faith!

  4. Mikhail, you have some promise as a devious performance ARTISTE. My especial gifts for the few good bleugers are that I only read and get contentious with the ones that have a sense of humour and are usually obnoxious–and yet I am also helpful to their egoes, because I have been unable to engage in the writings of Bryant and/or Harman at all, even if they have the obligatory low opinion of me (my gain, of course.) This was not to be spiteful, I just couldn’t concentrate on this ‘explosion’ that is supposed to be mind-altering if not nerve-shattering. Asher tried to explain why I was bored with it, but I couldn’t follow that either. There are many bleugers who have great bleug fame that I cannot concentrate on, and these are all considered to be great movers and shakers, such as the above duo and also k-punk, whom I never cease to forget to read.

    We were happy to hear about your beer choice in the performance, and hope that you can get hold of Tahitian Hinano since you are in the awesome West of the USA, and also that you occasionally take Stella d’Artois, which I have once a week.

    Thank you.

  5. Thank you, Mikhail, you got to me just in time! I had decided that it was Harman the Wolf and Levi the Prince, I swear I don’t know shit about the OOO. Although I am not a big fan of what little I have read of Latour, it’s easier to think of him as a prince than Harman, although ‘wolf’ doesn’t really ring an automatic bell either.

    Off-topic, but so I won’t forget it, in case you didn’t see it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/arts/music/30crossovers.html?pagewanted=1&ref=arts

    We had big discussion of this at ballet board, and I don’t tend to think opera singers really should go further than some B’way, like Sondheim, Bernstein, Rodgers, Lowe, some Gershwin. Because, as you will read here, even if they come to ‘get the sound’, it’s still always cultivated, not natural as with Annie Lennox or Kate Bush or the Dixie Chicks. This happened with TeKanawa, but she didn’t try to ‘get funky’, opera singers never can really do that. Okay, sorry for the digression, I thought this was an interesting article, maybe Ms. Fleming, with her rich dusky voice, wanted to reach a level of depravity.

    Thank you.

    • When a soprano does some dancing (ex. Danielle de Niese as Cleoparta in Handel’s Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne – man, that’s a long string of references) is it a “crossover” too? Well, not real dancing, but something that’s not just standing and singing (which is what old Monserat Caballe used to do)…

      • Mme. Caballe rather couldn’t move too much, you know. I heard her once only, in concert. All very ‘chelino’, or whatever the word for ‘precious’ and ‘darling’ is in Spanish, it’s pronounced that way.

  6. They do love nicknames, don’t they? Reminds me of highschool nerds who having been given nasty nicknames by bullies (“four-eyed” or “chunky” or “fatso”) and decided that it’s better to distribute the nicknames themselves: a kind of George Costanza’s aspiration to be nicknamed T-Bone.

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