On Typical Symptoms of Academic Ressentiment

Another stranger reads something by Levi Bryant, discovers it’s mostly hypocritical shit:

The first thing I should point out is that there is a less than constructive, and ultimately sort of false, humility in Levi’s post. He begins as follows:

I ordinarily don’t like to give advice on writing as I don’t believe I’ve attained the status as a philosopher, academic, or writer to speak with authority on these sorts of issues. I often think of myself as a sort of rogue, scoundrel, or hobo that wanders about at the margins of the academy without having really established myself in any way. In other words, I have a pretty low opinion of my work.

That this humble “hobo” is constructing this position out of his ressentiment can be seen in his response to my criticism, where he (quite rightly, I should add), points out that his work (and therefore his reflections on how he produced it) is worthy of some respect:

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with my own scholarly work. As someone who has done fairly well recognized scholarship– I’d direct you to my book on Deleuze –I’m not exactly speaking out of the blue, nor am I some young, idealistic upstart as you patronizingly suggest.

Moreover, on the Q&A on his faculty page, where we also learn that he is a perfectly respectable professor of philosophy, he tells us that, “I have wanted to be a professor since I was roughly 15 years old, so I haven’t really considered other possibilities.” It is not at all surprising that such a person would describe himself as a “rogue, scoundrel, or hobo”, but it is, I would argue, also a pretty typical symptom of academic ressentiment.

It’s strange that for all of his whining about his mortal enemies, Bryant manages to attract “negative energy” like no one in the business, including approving clearly critical comments that he then bravely engages only to reveal his ultimate double-edged idiocy: I’m an academic hobo, but I’ve done some great widely-admired scholarly work, I’m a rebel without a pause, but I’m also a typical professor of philosophy… Does he ever get tired?

This Is What A Decent Analysis of “Tea Party” Looks Like

Agree or disagree, but this is how you make your points, I think:

Whatever the outcome of the Nov. 2 elections, you can be certain that commentators around the country will be fixated on the impact of the Tea Party movement. If Republican candidates do well on Election Day –- and particularly if Tea Party-backed candidates like Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sharron Angle of Nevada win their races -– the Tea Party will be credited with having revived a moribund Republican Party. But if the Republicans fail to live up to expectations — and expectations are exceedingly high –- the Tea Party will be blamed for curbing the Republicans’ ability to capitalize on historic levels of voter dissatisfaction.

Are You an Object-Oriented Ontologist Yet?

With so many people converting to object-oriented ontology (Tim Morton “came out” as an object-oriented ontologist and our very own Jon Cogburn is summoned as the very first, but surely not last, “analytical object-oriented ontologist”), the important question now is: Have you accepted object-oriented ontology as your Lord and Savior? If you haven’t, here’s a useful list of points you can make while trying to persuade yourself and then your friends: Continue reading

Trouble In Paradise?

UPDATE II: We should seriously consider going into “objectology gossip blog” business full time (see image). Also, I would like to add that, if it’s not clear to some readers, we are solely and firmly on Paul’s side of this battle, regardless of the real reasons for Harman-Ennis break up.

UPDATE: I hear some awesome rumors but I’d rather keep this as a guessing game, it’s so much more fun this way. Please, place your guesses in the comments and we’ll announce the winner later. I’m pretty sure it’s actually something banal like Harman didn’t like something about Ennis’ attitude or something, but let your imagination run wild.

A cryptic note from Paul Ennis: no more object-oriented-ness! What? Does anyone have juicy details? Someone’s been not object-oriented enough? I like Paul’s blog, by the way, (not that it matters when it comes to being trollish, I don’t discriminate) but it seems that he has crossed someone’s way – I wonder whose? Figure it out for yourself, kids: Continue reading

Speculative Philosophy

If you’re looking for a good book to read while enduring the holidays, give this one a try – Donald Phillip Verene, Speculative Philosophy. It is short and crisp. It’s about true speculative philosophy, Hegelian speculative sentence [Satz], but also so much more. Having been rather disappointed by objectological disavowal of speculation (mostly, I think, due to fear of the accusation that it lacks scienticity and seriousness) and the subsequent denial that “speculative realism” describes any real philosophical substance (Bryant’s rather strange proposition that “speculative” in “speculative realism” has as much “speculativeness” as Apple computers have “appleness” – I haven’t checked, but I really hope he erased that post, because it’s just plain wrong to draw this analogy), I turned to Hegel and true speculative philosophy – I’m telling you, dear objectologists, there’s plenty of really exciting philosophical potential in the idea of speculation and “speculative realism” sounds much more philosophically interesting than “object-oriented ontology” – although there is already a conference planned (“inaugural” conference, as Objectologist the Father called it – let the self-aggrandizing begin!) for this “object-oriented ontology” stuff, I think there should be some efforts to revive “speculative realism” now freed from obsessively controlling (and humorless) presence of Father/Son twosome…

Verene’s preface is rather eloquent and makes you want to read the whole thing in one sitting (and you should give it a try) – I’m too lazy to type, so here’s just an image of a couple of paragraphs (click to enlarge): Continue reading

Гамлет и Дон Кихот.

Читая Кропоткина, наткнулся на историю его встречи с Тургеневым и захотелось перечитать что-нибудь, но нет ничего под рукой. Кропоткин упоминает статью Тургенева “Гамлет и Дон Кихот” – достаточно занимательное сравнение героев. Мне никогда особенно не нравился Гамлет, было что-то в нем противно-эгоистичное, но вот почитав Тургенева я понял, что он мне напоминает некоторых современных философов:

Что же представляет собою Гамлет?
Анализ прежде всего и эгоизм, а потому безверье. Он весь живет для самого себя, он эгоист; но верить в себя даже эгоист не может; верить можно только в то, что вне нас и над нами. Но это я, в которое он не верит, дорого Гамлету. Это исходная точка, к которой он возвращается беспрестанно, потому что не находит ничего в целом мире, к чему бы мог прилепиться душою; он скептик – и вечно возится и носится с самим собою; он постоянно занят не своей обязанностью, а своим положением. Сомневаясь во всем, Гамлет, разумеется, не щадит и самого себя; ум его слишком развит, чтобы удовлетвориться тем, что он в себе находит: он сознает свою слабость, но всякое самосознание есть сила; отсюда проистекает его ирония, противоположность энтузиазму Дон-Кихота. Гамлет с наслаждением, преувеличенно бранит себя, постоянно наблюдая за собою, вечно глядя внутрь себя, он знает до тонкости все свои недостатки, презирает их, презирает самого себя – и в то же время, можно сказать, живет, питается этим презрением. Он не верит в себя – и тщеславен; он не знает, чего хочет и зачем живет, – и привязан к жизни… “О боже, боже! (восклицает он во 2-й сцене первого акта), если б ты, судья земли и неба, не запретил греха самоубийства!.. Как пошла, пуста, плоска и ничтожна кажется мне жизнь!” Но он не пожертвует этой плоской и пустой жизнию; он мечтает о самоубийстве еще до появления тени отца, до того грозного поручения, которое окончательно разбивает его уже надломанную волю, – но он себя не убьет. Любовь к жизни высказывается в самых этих мечтах о прекращении ее; всем 18-летним юношам знакомы подобные чувства:

То кровь кипит, то сил избыток.

Но не будем слишком строги к Гамлету: он страдает – и его страдания и больнее и язвительнее страданий Дон-Кихота. Того бьют грубые пастухи, освобожденные им преступники; Гамлет сам наносит себе раны, сам себя терзает; в его руках тоже меч: обоюдоострый меч анализа.

Где же им этим современным любителям объектов и вещей понять, что в сущности они страшные и назойливые эгоисты? Да ну их всех…

Objectology™ In Action (Updated)

UPDATE I: Reid does not take this one lying down. My favorite part of his detailed and leveled response? “Are you fucking kidding me?”

UPDATE II: L. Bryant issues a lame apology. Fails to understand the issue. This is not only about the abusive tone itself, I think, it’s about the general practice of close-minded bullying by those who preach at everyone who will listen how bad “grey vampires” and “trolls” are. This is like a Republican moralist being caught cheating on his wife – apology is not going to change minds here, it’s a matter of utter hypocrisy and shamelessness. I mean if Reid was L. Bryant’s student and he complained to the dean about his professor’s behavior, I’m sure it would have solicited some form of a “talk”…

UPDATE III: Man, the fun just does not stop over at the future most important philosopher of the universe’s blog – see this and be thoroughly entertained!

UPDATE IV: I believe, kind Sirs, that we have ourselves a first group ban – from now on everyone who is associated with PE is forever blacklisted from Larval Subjects – did you hear that? Think twice before commenting here, your name will be entered into a filter that is apparently designed to keep away the crazies. Let the uninterrupted philosophical circle jerk commence. Say what you will, but this is simply deserving of serious mockage – “I’m turning off the comments, email me if you want to react to my posts” – [narcissistic crisis] – “I’m opening the comments, post your reactions here (after passing the filter), I want everyone to see both your reactions and my responses, it’s unfair to me if I write brilliant stuff that no one actually sees, what’s the use of that?” At least be brave enough to just say it, dude, including the small list of banned names so that people on the street can see them and point fingers at them: “Look, those are the idiots who got themselves banned from Larval Subjects! Let’s look at them disapprovingly and shake our heads in disbelief”…

UPDATE V (Some Time Later): All of the related posts and comments I linked to above have been deleted, including Reid’s posts/comments – I guess all parties involved had a conversion experience or something. Now this story will only exist in oral tradition – unless someone took notes…


pictureApparently unleashing unprovoked and irritated remarks on young people and/or students who dare to disagree with onticological object-oriented ontology of obtrusive opportunists (OOOOOOO) is becoming a fad. Sadness all around – I’m sure Levi was writing this post while cooking dinner, watching a documentary and tending his garden. I get the point of the disagreement, but why so many hateful personal insinuations?

I find blog discussions to be less and less interesting, primarily because they breed the kind of resentment and “negative energy” that both Objectologist the Father (G. Harman) and Objectologist the Son (L. Bryant) are so vehemently warning everyone against.  Poor kid writes a rather thought-provoking post on the issues, big bad bully Bryant picks it up (although confessing some initial hesitation) and mocks the hell out of it.  Well, I do it all the time, of course, so who am I to judge a fellow despicable human being?