Friday, February 18, 2005

I worried a little that my humor in the last post was lost on many of my few readers, so I'll add a little to it- without taking any of it back.
Ross Douthat is bemoaning the fact that philosophy has become technical, and since I've heard it defended as such a thousand times I can't disagree, and neither can Brian Leiter. Tom Wolfe argued famously that art had become cocktail party banter defined only by context. Most conceptualists—if you remove the reference to gin and caviar—would agree, and this despite the fact that cocktail parties are the life blood of their careers. None of this makes Douthat a critic any more than his latest book makes Tom Wolfe much of a novelist. Knee-jerk reactions to simple observations are uninteresting.

And brings us—briefly, since I have a fever and plan to spend to spend most of the weekend in bed, hoping to god I'm in better shape on Monday—we get to the absurd notion of the existence of the value free. Liberals are having a hard time these days, since they're unable to understand that the pretensions of a value free science and a the ideal of a 'value free' media are linked, as the product of the same utopian stupidity. Many of them are also of course a bit on the fence about the value free market. Talk to DeLong about that. But the argument that one can ever be without bias is absurd. And from this, the notion that we should try...? Read carefully from the pundits who are unable to articulate just what it is that is important about Jon Stewart, even—especially—if they like the result. He makes them nervous. In the back of their minds they repeat to themselves, in confusion: "But it's not real news?" And is that fuck-head Alterman still in the habit of reminding us not to ignore Frank Rich, just because he's in the Arts and Leisure section?

And so Brad DeLong and all the boys [and girls?] at Crooked Timber read science fiction and J.R.R. Tolkien, and face awkwardly the return of performativity to intellectual life, where observation has a moral weight regardless of its subject and bias is seen not only as inevitable but as a thing to cultivate. When that happens we may even get a real a political culture in this country.
On a related note, I'm personally gonna bitchslap -with a two-by-four- the next academic I meet who claims that Plato taught him how to see his way through bullshit.
I'm spending my weekdays working on a $150,000 bathroom in a $1.5 million apartment renovation on Central Park. The GC is a fuck-up and we're there to pick up the pieces.

"Ma, I've got some good news, and some bad news"
"What's the good news, Son?"
"I'm a good carpenter."
"And the bad?..."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is enabled.