Critchley on Obambi

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…

Click here to watch

The McCain Campaign’s Not So Straight Talk

Since Mikhail has been on a Sarah Palin fact finding mission over the holiday weekend, I thought I’d do some fact finding of my own and bring back the whole McCain campaign into the conversation. Plus, on an unrelated note it also appers that hack CT senator/panderer/lover of Hagee Joe Leiberman will be parading around at the RNC.  Overall, not a very good product the GOP has put out there it seems to me, and really, that’s forgetting about the packaging.  Anyway, here’s some McCain related idiocy from J Street:

John McCain’s campaign and the right-wing smear machine has set their sights on former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Obama adviser Daniel Kurtzer. His sin? Encouraging Syria to accelerate peace negotiations with Israel.   Apparently, to the McCain campaign, visiting Damascus and talking about peace with Syrians is just shy of treason.  Said McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb cynically: “If one of Senator Obama’s advisers has been to Damascus, we just wonder how many have been to Tehran.”  Continue reading

Charisma, Obama and Weber: A Discussion

Two things.  Here’s an interesting conversation between Paul Price and Craig Calhoun over at Societas:

In another conversation with Paul Price, Craig Calhoun continues his analysis of supposedly irrational factors at play in electoral politics. This time they focus on charisma: to what extent is Barack Obama’s unique mix of political passion and a cool demeanor the source of his political appeal? Referring to Max Weber’s model of charismatic leadership, Calhoun notes that Obama has the gift of making us see him as someone who stands outside the traditional structures of government-and therefore someone who can help Americans break the “iron cage” of bureaucracy, politics-as-usual and dominant social roles.

Click here to listen to the discussion.  Also, here’s a CFP for the Lighthearted Philosophers Society. Continue reading

Politics and Religion: A Silly Thing to Mix Part III


Well, they’re at it again (see this and this). [Now with “day after” NY Times editorial links below] The pathological need for the American people to listen to politicians prate upon their religious “beliefs” has culminated in Mitt Romney’s big JFK style speech. Well, Mitt you are no JFK (you don’t have a Boston accent for one). For your reading pleasure, here are some choice quotes from Presidential hopeful, uber-Mormon and possible robot (and certain asshole) Mitt Romney’s speech this morning:

Top honors:

“Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.” Continue reading