Saturday, August 18, 2018

The university belongs, like the church and the military, to the social institutions that are situated at a considerable distance from democracy and adhere to premodern power structures.
Academic freedom predates free speech. Although Prussia gave constitutional protection to Lehrfreiheit in 1850 (“science and its teaching shall be free”), academic freedom generally does not enjoy legal protection outside of contractual guarantees; rather, it rests on the authority and ability of a community of competent scholars to police their own discourse and on the willingness of universities to affirm this authority and ability.
[I'd forgotten the first reply to Rauchway was Aaron Swartz. ]

Bernd Hüppauf explains why I have more sympathy for dilettantes than pedants. I'm sure he's a good German, a right-thinking Zionist. But Ronell is pathetic.

repeats: Nussbaum and Butler,
The self-described liberal philosopher and Zionist Martha Nussbaum famously launched an attack on the self-described radical philosopher Judith Butler; Butler now is in the position of defending the liberalism that Nussbaum claims to represent. There's nothing radical to her argument; it's a basic defense of civil and legal rights. 

Gessen links to Leiter. She'd referred to "a conservative philosophy blog" but removed the word after he complained. He'd added an introduction to the post replying to her, linking to his posts tagged "The Hermeneutics of Suspicion", but removed it later. As always the one thing beyond suspicion is himself. As I said in comments elsewhere to people who should know or know better: he's opposed to freedom of speech except when he's not; the only reason to have women on the Supreme Court is "fairness" since there's no epistemological advantage; theology is a Wissenschaft, but Derrida's a fraud.  "Calling yourself a leftist because you've read Marx is like calling yourself a feminist because you're read The Second Sex." A good line.

it's just turning into a series of notes

and again: The Masha Gessen piece in the New Yorker. wow.
It even has Kris Kraus to remind me again how much the art world high seriousness of the 80's was all really just Woody Allen. I realized that, or saw it for the first time in 1990, watching a film by Yvonne Rainer. I expected something much different, something tough, maybe like what I saw later with Chantal Akerman -when I finally saw the Jeanne Dielman-  and Claire Denis. But in this country now we get I Love Dick on Amazon.

The Euros never succeed in lying to themselves so much. [Or maybe they're just better at it. It never seems like denial.] I really don't mind European indulgence; there's an honesty to it.  American sincerity, the Puritan streak, makes for anger, and a kind of inarticulate, non-verbal, physical power: Trio A and post minimalism. [or rock and roll] But when intellectualism takes over it becomes pedantry. It all fits.

None of this is about US culture as a whole, only about the stuff that proudly wears an air of high seriousness. Puritanism affects everything. American artists read literary theory. American novelists don't.

updated, a mishmash

Leiter on Ronell again (see previous)

There are more important things going on, but it's still...
Prof. Ronell has issued a statement denying all of the plaintiff's allegations. I am not sure this statement helps her case. First, the statement acknowledges that at the very same time that the plaintiff was sending affectionate-sounding e-mails to Prof. Ronell he was describing her to others as a "monster." That would seem to support the plaintiff's account that he felt pressured into behaving as Ronell wanted him to behave. 
a "monster"
  • Mon Avital, beloved and special one... [link] I don’t know how I would have survived without you. You are the best, my joy, my miracle. Sending you infinite love, kisses and devotion, your – n.” (6/29/13);
  • “Thank you most darlingst. On this rainy day I too hold you and thank you for everything”. (12/6/2014);
  • “Sweet Beloved, I was so happy to see you tonight, and spend time together. It was so magical and important, crucial on [sic] so many ways. Our shared intimacy was a glorious cadence to our time in Berlin. Thank you for these moments of togetherness and utter and pure love!...Infinitely, - n” (1/17/2015);
  • My beloved Avital, Just sending you infinite kisses and love. Thank you for your being my most precious blessing. Loving, your – n. (3/16/2013);
  • “Beloved...Missing you and loving you ! – n” (2/4/2015);
  • “Baby. It was so wonderful seeing you today. You looked wonderful...I miss you
  • terribly and await seeing you already...”(2/13/2015);
  • “Honig most, dearest one...Sending love and misses. Je t’embrasse”.
  • (03/19/2015); and
  • “Dearest, I have not heard from you all through this oriental trip...Please drop me a line to let me know you are well, I have been worried about you...hugs, n”. (7/29/2015). [Written after Reitman received his doctoral decree].
As a matter of law, if women are easily swayed by dashing hucksters or sleazy sycophants, then so are men. If women are weak and fragile, so are men. Life is more complex. As usual, Leiter is incapable of separating the two.
I have no particular sympathy for Ronell. It's a soap opera. At worst they deserve each other.
And now Asia Argento.
But in the months that followed her revelations about Mr. Weinstein last October, Ms. Argento quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday. She was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.

That claim and the subsequent arrangement for payments are laid out in documents between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett, a former child actor who once played her son in a movie.

The documents, which were sent to The New York Times through encrypted email by an unidentified party, include a selfie dated May 9, 2013, of the two lying in bed. As part of the agreement, Mr. Bennett, who is now 22, gave the photograph and its copyright to Ms. Argento, now 42. Three people familiar with the case said the documents were authentic.
She fucked a 17 year old and he blackmailed her. If Weinstein merely had a thing for teenagers I wouldn't have said much, but he's much more than that.

Law is a blunt instrument.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, of whom I have only had positive feelings up to now, has produced an opinion for the Ethicist column for the New York Times that it is “a good thing” when citizens report violations of immigration law to the US authorities. He produces this opinion in the context of a question about “green-card marriage” entered into merely in order to gain an immigration advantage, so it is unclear how far he relies on the specific features of the case he describes to generate a more general moral conclusion, but I, for one, find his reasons highly problematic.

...Kwame Anthony Appiah has just blocked me on twitter. My only interaction with him ever was writing this post disagreeing with him. (I had a long term plan to get him to unveil some memorial in Bristol to his grandfather Stafford Cripps and to give a talk – I guess I can forget that). What a remarkable reaction.
I can mock Bertram—and again recently on the same subject—and still have more contempt for Appiah, who considers himself a cosmopolitan while having no idea what it means to be one.

Back to Jian Ghomeshi and Marie Henein. The post above fairly or not puts Reitman in the role of Ghomeshi. Women and other groups play at a handicap. The question is the relation of that handicap to law. If you follow the link above and link through to the first post on Ghomeshi and more importantly his lawyer, you'll see Leiter and Wissenschaft, again, as in the first post linked above on Ronell.

Repeating something I wrote elsewhere, responding to Jeremy Waldron:
Loyalty holds society together; we don't want everyone snitching on their neighbors; we need police to be our pedants. But police become loyal to each other: cops hate Serpico; on 9/11/01 I watched thoughtless people acting on reflex drive into Manhattan to dig in the rubble.