The documentary (by Geoff Bowie) about Peter Watkins’s La Commune available online for free:
The bullshitter, as the one who is, not a liar, but indifferent to whether their utterances are true or false, is in some way the inverse of the poet (who “Nothing affirmeth and therefore never lieth”), because this indifference is not a sublimation in the service of something higher (and to which one must metaphorically extend the category truth), but a willful repression for the sake of something lower (reputation, career, getting the sex object into bed).
One of the greatest struggles I have, philosophically speaking, is wedding the seriousness of philosophy with the humility incumbent upon finitude. This constantly risks a kind of bullshit, as Albritton sees; one devotes a love to work one cannot ultimately believe in. (It is here that I’d locate the close kinship between philosophy and scientific method, which must also remain corrigible.
Or as Faulker so aptly put it, “”The measure of a writer isn’t success, but how hard he tried to do what he knew he couldn’t do.”
I’m going to go with probably not. In a post entitled “Slavoj Zizek wants to See a Bloodbath,” Justin E.H. Smith suggests:
Žižek’s shtick works for a number of reasons among readers who are not ordinarily receptive to calls to the barricades. One is that he is a clown, that he cuts his Leninism with enough sweet stuff about Jennifer Lopez and whatever other trash passes across his hotel TV screens that readers can easily assume to be a put-on every bit that they are not inclined to accept. Another reason, obviously, is the way he plays on his foreignness. He’s been through it, Western readers will tell themselves, and has surely earned the right to hold forth on these matters. But anyone who would joke that the only position he would accept in the Slovenian government is that of chief of secret police evidently has not been through it quite enough. Slovenia was the freest republic of the freest federal state in the socialist bloc: the Switzerland of Yugoslavia, as Slobodan Milošević once scoffed. This does not mean it was always easy to be a Lacanian intellectual in Ljubljana during the Tito era, but the sort of inconvenience Žižek faced is categorically different than, say, the Stalinist show trials in the Soviet Union of the 1930s (made possible, of course, by the secret police).
Žižek, I mean, is not speaking from any particular position of experience when he suggests that there is something to be salvaged from the legacy of the Bolshevik revolution. When he suggests that what is to be salvaged is the very most brutal part of that legacy, moreover, he is just being flippant, and Western readers should not let him get away with it simply on the grounds that he has funny accent marks in his last name.
…Things I don’t care about.
Just got this, which didn’t make it through the comment filter (note that he’s making a MAJOR appearance, not just a mere appearance AND the stupid invocation to “hide your tulips.” Ack):
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HIDE YOUR TULIPS, ŽIŽEK IS COMING!
Slavoj Žižek reveals the signs of the coming apocalypse… Continue reading
Great article by Gaye Tuchman in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, “The Future of Wannabe U,” in which she continues her analysis of the accountability regime that drives the academic life:
Annually, other job and tenure candidates list how many articles and books they have published, how many talks they have delivered (including how many to which they were invited, and by whom), how many students they have advised and taught. Now and again, senior professors, writing letters to evaluate a candidate’s suitability to get or keep a job, provide their own lists. Sometimes they, too, are so intent on constructing them that they forget to discuss a candidate’s intellectual contributions. Last year, when presenting a distinguished-research award, a top Wannabe administrator noted that the recipient had published well more than 100 articles. He never said why those articles mattered. Continue reading
So says Harvey Molotch in the introduction to a forthcoming volume of essays, Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with the editors:
Q: What do public toilets tell us about ourselves?
A; The public restroom, where private acts have to be taken care of in semi-public space, is the border zone where universes collide and reveal themselves. On display are anxieties about oneself and the ‘other’. Fundamental is the need to keep the sexes apart and reinforce the idea that people come in one category or the other. Those who are disabled, gender queer, from a different social class or from suspect parts of the world can be anxiety provoking whereever encountered, but the public restroom heightens all such tensions. They are laid bare as users carefully manage interactions with one another and the artifacts with which they make contact.
We can see how we do and do not accommodate to appliances and physical configurations, including the way germaphobes discriminate among those elements (social and physical) with which they can or cannot make contact. Some individuals are forced to confront the choice between carrying ‘dirt’ around inside them until they’ve reached a safer bathroom rather than opening up in public. All of the boundaries—between gender-straights and gender-queers, between straights and gays, between abled and disabled, between rich and poor, between dirty and clean—mash up in the restroom. What is often posited as a scientistic or public-health problem between dirty and clean turns out to be a problem of navigating the boundary between self and other.
An extraordinary photo of high school students protesting the pension reforms in Paris from The Boston Globe’s series of arresting images chronicling the protests across France (here).