Žižek and Sprezzatura

I had a rather open weekend, mainly due to various waiting room scenarios, so not open by choice, I suppose, and I brought a book along, like you do, to kill some time. It just happened to be Žižek’s latest Living in the End Times which I have purchased but have not read, and to be honest, I didn’t really plan on reading it as one reads a book, i.e. from cover to cover. I was planning to skim through it one day to see what the kids are into these days and be cool if anyone asked if I read it. Continue reading

Levinas and Sartre

I was re-reading some interviews with Levinas today and I came across an odd encounter he had with Sartre.  In 1964 Levinas wrote a letter to Jean Paul Sartre congratulating him for refusing the Noble Prize for Literature.  In an interivew in Is it Righteious to Be? Levinas wrote that Sartre:

perhaps was the only man who had the right to speak, and maybe this was the moment where he had to speak: to go to Nasser in Egypt to propose peace with Israel. Crazy Idea! But I told him, “You’re the only man Nasser will listen to (43).

Upon receipt of the letter Sartre, allegedly, asked: “Who is this Levinas anyway?”  Levinas was somewhat offended.  For, over twenty years before this episode, Sartre had stumbled across an early publication by Levinas on Husserl and declared “All this I wanted to say myself, but Husserl has already said it.”  Regardless, the offense dissipated shortly thereafter when Sartre invited Levinas to contribute to an issue of Les temps modernes about the Palestinian question.  Levinas, I believe, wrote “Poltics After!”( in either New Talmudic Readings or Nine Talmudic Readings), which is about the meeting between Sadat and Begin and the ensuing hope for a peaceful resolution.

Americans Heart Europe (Despite The Evidence).

How do I know that? As always, based on the most non-consequential and accidental fact. You see, if I attempt to justify a statement like “Americans Love Europe” and provide some good solid evidence, then I would have to face an obvious dilemma: how much evidence is enough evidence? When do my examples of American love for Europe – traveling to Europe while in college, admiring Europe’s history and architecture, being proud of their European heritage (wait, this one only works for white Americans, see, I’m in trouble already) – become a sort of evidence that supports my point? If you disagree with the proposition, it’s very likely that no amount of evidence will help change your mind. If you agree with it, no evidence is necessary to begin with and we can simply high-five on it and go on to other important things. So how do I know that Americans Heart Europe? Continue reading