Simon Critchley delivered a lecture last September at the New School entitled “Barack Obama and the American Void.” It’s pretty decent. He examines Obama’s subjectivity, the existential detachment that seems to haunt him, and its relation to democracy as well as Obama’s “politics which is driven by an anti-political fantasy.”
My favorite question during the Q&A was when someone tells Critchley that he’s a cross between David Brooks, Maureen Dowd and Dr. Phil and accuses him of being psychoanalytically superficial. Critchley seems haunted by being called Dr. Phil. I don’t know, maybe that’s not so bad, isn’t Dr. Phil kind of like an Aristotle (of the Nichomachean Ethics) of our time???
We’ll see what Obambi can get done over the next four years…
The Professorial-Americans finally can claim one of their own as the President of the United States. They were called “nerds” in school, ridiculed for spending years in graduate schools, mocked for their lack of seriousness and their otherworldly elitism, accused of arrogance and parasitism, confronted for their indifference concerning the problems of the “real world,” and pointed out for their love of knowledge and goofy looks. But all of that is behind them now! A former constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago nerded his way in the highest office in the nation by a cunning use of polished thoughtful phrases, obscure references to historical figures, deep knowledge of the subject-matters, and good looks. Now Professorial-Americans look to the future with hope again – if you could only see them yesterday some waving energetically from the balconies of their ivory towers, some excitedly drafting a paper on the significance of the commas in Presidential speeches, some plotting attempts at funny blogging the day after. Indeed, a great day for “the prof” – as they like to be called – a great day for the country that finally comes to terms with its dark anti-professorial past and is eager to move on…
Ok, I have to admit that as elitist and arrogant as I am, there’s a small democratic sentiment that is hard to suppress as I see pictures of huge lines of citizens trying to cast their votes – the only question I have though is this: Why is it that one can get a Big Mac on almost every corner of this country without any lines, yet in order to vote, one needs to wait for hours? Can they just put a polling station at every McDonalds? “Would you like fries with that?” democracy – now that is something I can get behind!
More musings on the economic state of things–this time from the perspective of Virilio. In a sort of (maybe) interesting article –with the inexplicable title “City of Transformation: Virilio in Obama’s America”– Arthur and Marilouise Kroker ask if “we are beyond Speed and Politics:”
Economists are quoted as saying the financial crisis effects “everyone on earth.” Is this Virilio’s “global accident?” Quite certainly it is panic finance: that moment when the credit mechanisms necessary for capitalist liquidity slam shut, a time made to measure for Virilio’s brilliant theory of bunker archeology, with each bank its own toxic bunker of junk assets, each banker a born again socialist. For example, always vigilant automatic circuit breakers working in the darkness of night recently prevented a global plunge of the futures market. Allan Greenspan throws up his hands, exclaiming “I’m in shocked disbelief.” Continue reading →
While the presidential campaign is coming to an end, Eric Foner, one of the most prominent American historians, analyses the changes of American democracy and explains why this election could mark a shift in the history of American politics. Barack Obama’s campaign could be an important step toward a society where race would no longer be a powerful dividing line.
Now, it may be that this presidential campaign does reflect a shift : people are looking more to action by government. We will see, that does seem to be a greater engagement, we will see what the voter turnout is, everyone is expecting a higher number of people voting this time. Obama has certainly tried to mobilize large numbers of younger voters and others who don’t vote, generally speaking. It would be nice to have a President to people could feel respect for, we haven’t have had that for a long time.
My favorite story of the morning – I sat down to share some deep thoughts with the readers concerning my sophisticated reading of Kant’s a priori principle of reflective judgment, but then decided to actually post this video instead – enjoy:
The word “irony” is so poor and lacking when it comes to this story that I have first seen on the Russian news sites and, I will admit it, did not trust – Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reported:
UNITED NATIONS, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s permanent mission to the UN has received a letter from U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain asking for financial support of his election campaign, the mission said in a statement on Monday.
“We have received a letter from Senator John McCain with a request for a financial donation to his presidential election campaign. In this respect we have to reiterate that neither Russia’s permanent mission to the UN nor the Russian government or its officials finance political activities in foreign countries,” the statement said.
According to Ruslan Bakhtin, press secretary of the Russian mission, the letter dated September 29 and signed by McCain, was addressed to Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s envoy to the UN, and arrived on October 16.
Strange? You ask. Why would McCain, the same guy who supported Georgia in the recent confrontation against Russia without any reservations concerning who was responsible for what, ask the hated KGB-run evil empire for money?
Long piece from today’s NYT states the obvious with style – McCain is old and sickly:
Mr. McCain has released more details about his health than the other three nominees, though he has done so in a phased way and has apparently not agreed to any extensive interviews about his health. A handful of reporters were allowed to view his records during his bid for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. Another group of reporters were permitted to see newer records last May. By not allowing reporters to interview him or his doctors extensively about his entire medical history, he has made it impossible to get a complete picture of his diagnoses and treatment.