Tuesday, December 20, 2022

At some point I began to assume humanprovince was a woman but recently he's referred to a wife. No guarantees but I'll switch. It's not the point anyway. This was a good one 

I have always really appreciated that France gets heavy hitters to do their x for dummies books. 

"Bourdieu argued that racism was the core structure of the colonial polity, and that colonial regimes transformed even nonracist Frenchmen into racists. The colonial system "creates the ‘contemptible’ person at the same time as it creates his  contemptuous attitude” (1958, 1962)"

I day later Steinmetz is rt'd by Jäger, the earnest European intellectual anti-colonialist, with exceptions.

Jäger then rips John Ganz a new asshole for his criticism of Jäger's article about Putnam.                           

"Simply doing a copypasta from an undergrad reading list is not a refutation of an argument."

The article itself is stupid, and Jäger is blind. He's in another league in sophistication and academic decadence, above Ganz, but they're both self-important soi-disant leftist intellectuals, debating the leftist response to Trumpism while (1) having nothing to say about Zionism ["Because it is something colonial" (Herzl to Cecil Rhodes) ], and (2) petty bourgeois reformers are the ones doing all the work and winning. Maybe the intellectuals should just shut up. 

Fetterman and Warnock don't pretend to be leftists and are pathetic on Israel, but most Palestinians are petty bourgeois realists, and I follow their lead.

I opened my copy of Goffman's Presentation of Self... again, to a random page and read a few paragraphs.  The same response every time: Don't we know this already, living around other human beings? The first time I read him I thought of Godard. 
"There's no point in having sharp images if you've got fuzzy ideas. Leacock's lack of subjectivity leads him ultimately to a lack of objectivity. He doesn't even know he's a metteur-en-scene, that pure reportage doesn't exist."
It could've been Wiseman, who consistently underplays the politics that Godard overplayed, for a while. It could have been Panofsky, or Auerbach. 

And years later I read Jay Rosen on journalism. This country is so backwards. 

I had a conversation with a historian of science specializing in 19th c. Germany, and Goffman came up. "Isn't what every old Rabbi is supposed to know?" He agreed, or at least didn't argue.

By pure coincidence, today. Wolf Liebeschuetz, East and West in Late Antiquity. 
From the author's introduction, also an elegy. 
I have been interested in history as long as I can remember, inspired by my mother. She was a doctor and research physiologist,1 but she had to leave her research institute at the Hamburg University Hospital at Eppendorf on get- ting married, and was stopped from exercising her venia legendi at Hamburg University by the National Socialist government. She therefore had plenty of time to devote to her three children, and particularly to myself, the eldest. She told fairy tales, and drew pictures to illustrate them. One of her favourites was Heinrich Hoffmann’s König Nussknacker und der arme Reinhold (Nutcracker king and poor Reinhold). She had an extraordinary visual memory, which enabled her to reproduce that book, text and illustration, from memory for her eldest granddaughter nearly thirty years later. Mother regularly told us stories from the Bible: the creation, Joseph and his brothers, Moses and the exodus from Egypt, Saul and David and Jonathan, selected incidents from the Books of Kings, and the heroic story of the Maccabees. In an account of our life under the Nazis that mother wrote she records that she had learnt from her parents that a fighting spirit is the only antidote against the low self-esteem experienced by outsiders, such as the Jews, and that this is what she was nursing in her chil- dren. She also related the stories of the Trojan War as well as much more recent history, notably of the “victorious war” of 1870−71 and “the lost war” of 1914−18, in accordance with our patriotic perspective of those days. I seem to remem- ber that Hindenburg, then president of Germany and in some ways the man who let Hitler in, figured quite prominently. Mother also read from a series of books by Elisabeth Averdiek about a Hamburg family in the first half of the nineteenth century. I particularly remember an account of the great fire that destroyed much of the old city in 1842. I also heard quite a lot about Napoleon and his campaigns from the memoirs of Louis de Ségur, Napoleon’s aide-de- camp. Later, mother read us a lot of plays, mainly historical ones: Goethe’s Götz von Berlichingen (as well as the autobiography of that knight with an iron hand); Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell, his Wallenstein plays, and Jungfrau von Orleans; and then Shakespeare, first in German translation and later in English, starting with Julius Caesar and Coriolanus and going on to Henry IV Part I and Macbeth. So history played a prominent role in my early life.

I have not yet mentioned my father, Hans Liebeschütz, who was a historian. He had received the classical education then provided by German gymnasia at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums in Hamburg. When he left school he wanted to become a rabbi and had spent 1913 as a student in Berlin at the Lehranstalt der Wissenschaft des Judentums, a seminar for training Liberal rabbis. He was at the same time registered as a student at Berlin University, where he heard, among others, Ulrich von Wilamowitz and Eduard Meyer. The impression lasted for the rest of his life. When he resumed his studies after war service in France he specialised in Medieval History. But he kept a particular interest in the language and literature, and especially the history, of the Greeks and Romans. Homer and Plato (especially The Republic) were his favorite Greek authors. Of Roman authors, he preferred Lucretius to Virgil. In the late 1920s and up to 1933 he taught a combination of German, Latin, History, and Religion (Kulturkunde) at the Lichtwarkschule, an experimental progressive school run by the city authorities. At the same time he obtained the venia legendi to teach Medieval Latin and Medieval Literature at Hamburg University. Of course he lost both jobs when Hitler came to power. After a short interval he began to teach at the Lehranstalt der Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin, where he had attended courses before the war. So in term time he was away from home during the week. But he had many books, which I was free to look at and read. It might be worth mentioning that thirty or so years later my children did not read my books. Fathers are not what they used to be! Their power (potestas) may be much the same, but their influence (auctoritas) has been much reduced. My father’s books included Carl Oppel’s Das alte Wunderland der Pyramiden (4th ed., 1881) (Wonderland of the Pyramids), a book that he had read as a boy, and that I found fascinating as soon as I was able to read it. Another book I read quite early was James Breasted’s Geschichte Egyptens (History of Egypt), a German translation of a book originally written in English, and published in 1936. The library also included Georg Dehio’s Geschichte der Deutschen Kunst (History of German Art). I was fascinated by the architectural illustrations. The volumes are at Nottingham now, and they still show evidence of serious childish misuse As long as I can remember I have been interested in looking at historical buildings, and was sorry even then that Hamburg had so few of them, and that apart from the destruction caused by the great fire of 1842, the citizens of Hamburg had been quite ruthless with their architectural heritage. Since then, of course, the war has destroyed almost all that was left, except for two beautifully restored Gothic churches.

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