Wednesday, October 26, 2016

vote trump

updated below

"In the south we let niggers live next door as long as they don't get uppity. In the north you let them get uppity as long as they don't move it next door"

added a new tag for Race. It could almost a catch-all, but I'll keep it for the greatest hits.
Zizek makes a good comic sidekick to Blyth. No, I'm not voting for Trump.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Gian Lorenzo and Pietro Bernini, Bust of the Savior ca. 1615-1616
A new discovery, by reattribution, and Butterfield again.

Monday, October 24, 2016

"Enlightenment anti-Humanism" Still nothing.
A great deal of our math, science, philosophy, and everyday behavior presupposes that stability and equilibria are the “default” states, and everything else involves some “perturbation.” This is a mental model, a conceptual frame, a tacit belief, a presupposition—whatever you want to call it. We live on a restless planet in a violent universe. Most of what we think of as distinctively human has occurred in the last 10,000 years in the Holocene—a period in which the Earth was abnormally quiet. If we’re interested in the continuation of the human experiment we need to focus on resilience and coping with change (whether natural or anthropogenic) rather than living as if God or nature has given us a nice, orderly, calm, Babbit-like existence.‘

‘The problem is that the Enlightenment dream may make too many demands on poor African apes like us. We may just not be up to it. In the last few centuries we’ve managed to reduce how much we kill each other, we’ve learned some basic lessons about public health, and life is relatively good for more people than ever before. But since we’re not very good at something as basic as controlling our reproduction, life is also really bad for more people than ever before.’

‘One of the real dangers of our time is people’s indifference to history. Let’s just be blunt: People with long memories and a vivid sense of the past have an immediate understanding of politicians like Trump. They are not surprised by the behavior of Google, a corporation that notionally (until recently anyway) espoused the slogan “don’t be evil” and then runs over individual people and even entire nations in the pursuit of profit. Even our own discipline has become dehistoricised.‘
history repeats

Michael Lind of New America has a Theory about why politics is so screwed up. It’s worth quoting in extenso:
Science fiction traditionally has had the task of providing us with alternative visions of the future. For the most part, it has done a terrible job. The main reason for its failure is that it assumes global uniformity. … 
In optimistic visions of the future, there is a liberal and democratic world government, or perhaps an interplanetary federation. In dystopias, there is a single global tyranny. … The assumption of uniform conditions in the world of tomorrow saves science-fiction authors and screenwriters the trouble of explaining the Sino-Indian dispute of 2345 AD, allowing them to concentrate on the plot and the main characters. But it is completely unrealistic.
Well, in fairness, it isn’t nearly as creepy as blaming it all on international bankers or the Rothschilds
so confused
At one of the links, 2005 -earlier than I'd thought- he quotes Marc Sageman.
"Al Qaeda’s members are not the Palestinian fourteen-year- olds we see on the news, but join the jihad at the average age of 26. Three-quarters were professionals or semi- professionals. They are engineers, architects, and civil engineers, mostly scientists. Very few humanities are represented, and quite surprisingly very few had any background in religion. The natural sciences predominate. Bin Laden himself is a civil engineer, Zawahiri is a physician, Mohammed Atta was, of course, an architect; and a few members are military, such as Mohammed Ibrahim Makawi, who is supposedly the head of the military committee."
"Science Fiction was created by men trying to get away from the alien environment populated by their wives."

Friday, October 21, 2016

two old ones

The Process of Weeding Out (The Idea of North), 1992, oil on canvas, 84"x84"

Untitled, 1990, oil on plywood, 96"x48"

Friday, October 14, 2016

Who Voted for Brexit? A Comprehensive District-Level Analysis [PDF]
On 23 June 2016, the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. We analyze vote and turnout shares across 380 local authority areas in the United Kingdom. We find that fundamental characteristics of the voting population were key drivers of the Vote Leave share, in particular their age and education profiles as well as the historical importance of manufacturing employment, low income and high unemployment. Migration was relevant only from Eastern European countries, not from older EU states or non-EU countries. We also find an important role for fiscal cuts being associated with Vote Leave. Our results indicate that modest reductions in fiscal cuts could have swayed the referendum outcome. In contrast, even drastic changes in immigration patterns would probably not have made a difference. We confirm the above findings at the much finer level of wards within cities. Our results cast doubt on the notion that short-term cam- paigning events had a meaningful influence on the vote.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Capitalism, in an irony Marx would have enjoyed, returns us to the ancient past, the Bronze Age: the age of stories. The Golden Age is the age of kings, or at the very least aristocrats; capitalism at its grandest is gilded. Architects now are stage designers. The museum of capitalism is the shopping mall, our greatest art made from the conversations of observers of the scene, sitting and talking under the palm trees at Starbucks. 
The performance ranges. The harmonica playing is mostly bad. He changes the lyrics for the worse.
And he's a performer not a writer. I'm not going to quibble over whether he deserves the award.

Pop stars as artists, artists as pop stars. "Popularity" is a drug. Drugs are problematic.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Trump's collapse, liberal triumphalism, etc.
repeats, from a month ago.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The genealogy of philosophy

I should close out my interest in Leiter. I let this slide once. I shouldn't have. Referring to the wife of a philosophy professor -a philosopher- as a "civilian observer" should be some sort of final nail in the coffin. If he were interested in following his own understanding of Nietzsche he'd be attacking philosophy with piss and vinegar. If philosophy is to be taken as seriously as he claims, then theology is the equivalent of creation science, and deserves the same contempt. But he can't admit that without undermining his own notion of "doing philosophy". So he's left to celebrate arguments about angels and pinheads, focusing on the logic and ignoring the angels as long as he can. I linked to this the last time. Following Leiter's sense of professional etiquette, it would be rude to examine the genealogy of the moral realism of a Zionist philosopher. It would be disrespectful to see it as a reaction formationin defense of the moral relativism foundational to Zionism. Examining its origin would undermine the autonomy of philosophy. What a fucking asshole.
He's done.

Another run by Leiter

A nice statement from Jason Stanley (Yale) about the right-wing media brouhaha

Here (in response to events we referenced here). (I don't find the anti-Semitism bit at the end very helpful, but that's minor.)

UPDATE: At the link, above, Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers), a very prominent Christian philosopher who has made major contributions to metaphysics, writes:
I know firsthand, having been his colleague for quite a few years, that Jason is highly sensitive to the fact that Christians are something of a minority within philosophy. There were several Christian graduate students at Rutgers while Jason was here, and with whom he interacted frequently, and I am confident that none of them ever felt disrespected by Jason because of their faith. To the contrary, in my experience Jason seems to optimistically and automatically think well of his Christian colleagues and students — as though he could count on serious Christians to exemplify the virtues we profess. I’m grateful that he doesn’t lump us all in with political conservatives who are hijacking religious language, some of whom will apparently use any means to inflict psychic damage upon those they perceive as their “enemies”. Thank you, Jason.
"a very prominent Christian philosopher who has made major contributions to metaphysics"

Wisconsin's Elliott Sober interviewed... 3AM.
The interview begins with a quote.
"Evolutionary theory, properly understood, does not conflict with the idea that God occasionally intervenes in nature..."
I stopped there.

I'd made a comment on Stanley's post; he'd put a link on twitter. My comment was kept in moderation while others went up and I assumed it wasn't going to make it, but I'd taken a screenshot, so I posted it in a reply to his tweet. A couple of days later it appeared on the site.
At the end of a semester of freshman comp, sometime in the 70s, a student walked up to my father and pounded his fist on the desk. “Fuck the nuns.”
He’d been lied to all his life.
My father loved telling that story. it made him proud.
It’s amazing how far things have fallen.

And again [again] I’m taken aback by Jason Stanley’s odd relation to his Jewishness. He refers to it again and again as a faith, as if religion were the only thing keeping him from being German. Look at your face Jason, at your Jewish face. It’s a Semitic face, a Palestinian face. Zionists were secularists. Religion was peasant belief. The Jews are a people. But I have as much patience for Zionism as I have for god.
Tom Wolfe is an appalling ignoramus 
This is an amusing, and very well-informed, critique of Wolfe's attempted "condescension from below" towards Darwin and Chomsky.
"condescension from below"

Philosopher Sally Haslanger (MIT) on her sense of "ideology" 
This interview gives a useful précis of Prof. Haslanger's distinctive sense of "ideology" that figures in her work about the social construction of race and gender (it also includes some interesting autobiographical details). (I should say I found the interviewer a bit annoying at times: he interjected too much I thought.) From a Marxian point of view, it's an unusual conception (as I've noted before), in three respects in particular: first, it doesn't necessarily involve beliefs which can be false, but seems to be centrally concerned with what Haslanger calls "practical consciousness" and "know-how"; second, its genesis does not matter (though it shares, loosely, with the Marxian sense the idea that an ideology has the functional property of supporting certain kinds of [oppressive] social relations); and third, there is no special explanatory role for economic relations in understanding ideology. ...
"it doesn't necessarily involve beliefs which can be false"
"genesis does not matter"
"no explanatory role for economic relations"

All of which apply to Leiter's ideological commitment to the philosophical academy.

"concerned with... 'practical consciousness' and 'know-how'"

She's describing the importance of lived experience (I'd forgotten already that I'd made a tag)

The genealogy of Jason Stanley's thought.
Stanley in 2006
Judith Butler is not by any stretch of the imagination a public intellectual.
Academic philosophy, academic free thinking, is not serious. How many times I think of Marfrks
For academics, ideas are games, as Kerr illustrates when he speaks so proudly about how he follows reason wherever it takes him. He seems to find that admirable, whereas I–having now sat through many faculty meetings where the propriety of rules about faculty parking are argued from Platonic first principles–find it both tiresome and puerile.
Religion is for grandmothers and peasants. Philosophers descend from theologians and are still connected at the hip. The issue now with Islam is that the grandmothers aren't grandmothers yet. Some are young and chic. Peasants are moving to cities on a massive scale again as they did a hundred years ago, including cities in Europe and America. Time for them is moving quickly. They're still more interesting than their grandchildren will be.
"On the sidelines of police 'hostage liberation exercises'" (Isfahan)
"Iran's domestic culture clash has become almost a cliche. But sometimes it just leaves you speechless."

Photo: MEHR News-Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization (IIDO), Tehran

Monday, October 10, 2016

Working, for a living maybe. The drawing is a few years old but the photograph is new.