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?

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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…