All entries by this author

A Venomously Satirical Dictionary *

Nov 16th, 2005 | Filed by

Satirist is faced with disabling drawbacks; one is that so many targets are beyond parody.… Read the rest

From Stockholm

Nov 15th, 2005 6:38 pm | By

More (I know, but there are a lot of good items today, and I want to quote from them). From the always-rewarding Ishtiaq Ahmed – who teaches political science in Stockholm.

Are human beings united or estranged in their essence? Tragedies such as the October 8 earthquake in Pakistan bring out the best and the worst in human beings. We have heard how people volunteered to help, sometimes risking their own lives, when involved in rescue operations…Everyday we see foreigners engaged in providing medical aid, food, blankets and other help. They too represent the best qualities in human beings. We should never forget their sense of duty to fellow human beings.

That’s exactly what I meant the other day when … Read the rest

Fight the Power

Nov 15th, 2005 5:53 pm | By

Slavoj Zizek says something interesting in the Voice.

“I am a mastodon,” he says. “I still believe in the big theories popular back in the ’70s. This distrust in big universal theory is the most dangerous ideology today. Look at all totalitarians, the really bad guys, Hitler, Stalin. Sorry, but none of them believed in big theory. Hitler was a historicist-relativist and so was Stalin! Often a reference to some absolute truth is necessary to resist totalitarian political power, so you can not lose hope.”

Right on. Good mastodon. Pat pat pat.… Read the rest

Cheap Copies

Nov 15th, 2005 5:39 pm | By

This is good. Not least because it cites a philosopher of science who has written several articles for B&W. A ‘holy man’ shows up in a village in India and performs some conjuring tricks – then unmasks himself. Score one for rationalism.

“We are rationalists” declares the intruder, Sanal Edamaruku, secretary general of the Indian Rationalist Association. “We have come here to show you how sadhus and god-men are using simple tricks to cheat you.” The sadhu himself is divested of wig and beard and revealed as a completely ungodly rationalist volunteer. He’s no guru – just very skilled at conjuring…The miracle is that the spell has been broken. Once the crowd have absorbed the shock, and broken into

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Just Two Little Words: ‘Natural Explanations’ *

Nov 15th, 2005 | Filed by

Only reason to take out ‘natural explanations’ is to open the door to supernatural explanations.… Read the rest

Ishtiaq Ahmed: Trust and Solidarity Universal Too *

Nov 15th, 2005 | Filed by

Pose the question in a philosophical way: Are humans united or estranged in their essence?… Read the rest

Self-mockery as Ultimate Form of Seriousness *

Nov 15th, 2005 | Filed by

Zizek a ‘card-carrying Lacanian’ who speaks more excitedly about politics than Lacan.… Read the rest

More on Tête-à-Tête *

Nov 15th, 2005 | Filed by

These icons of intellectual honesty and individual responsibility lied a lot to the people close to them.… Read the rest

India Has a Long Rationalist Tradition *

Nov 15th, 2005 | Filed by

Despite a tenacious western orientalism which overvalues Indian religiosity.… Read the rest

Return of Philip Rieff *

Nov 15th, 2005 | Filed by

‘I think that the orthodox are in the miserable situation of being orthodox for therapeutic reasons.’… Read the rest

Sad Dupes Thesis Joins Enemy Within Idea *

Nov 15th, 2005 | Filed by

David Aaronovitch tries not to believe things for which there is no evidence.… Read the rest

Religion, Uncertainty and My Mother

Nov 15th, 2005 | By Paula Bourges-Waldegg

There are people who are very dear to you, a childhood friend for instance, that you’ll never see again in your life. You don’t know you are never going to see them again so that doesn’t hurt much, or doesn’t hurt at all. You think there’s always a chance of bumping into them someday even though that’s never going to happen. However, when you consciously know that you will never again see someone you love it’s different. That simple fact is like a great big wall. A wall that seems impossible to surmount.

My mother passed away a few weeks ago. Since then, some persons have tried to convince me that religion is the best way to jump that wall. … Read the rest

All the Appropriate Emotions

Nov 14th, 2005 10:36 pm | By

I read something this morning in Frank Cioffi’s essay* ‘Was Freud a Liar?’ that grabbed my attention. It reminded me of something. I knew what, too.

Freud did not fall into the seduction error through believing his patients’ stories; he did not fall into it through ignorance of the fact that persons sexually molested in infancy may, nevertheless, not succumb to neurosis; he did not fall into it through underestimating the frequency of seduction in the general population. Freud fell into the seduction error through the use of a procedure which to this day remains the basis of the psychoanalytic reconstruction of infantile life: the attribution to patients of certain infantile experiences because they appear to the analyst to be

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Tidying Up

Nov 14th, 2005 9:48 pm | By

I wanted to make more easily available the useful work Allen Esterson has done on the changes Hizb ut-Tahrir has made on its website, which he posted in comments on the previous N&C.

It is significant that some of the language the organization has had on its website has been removed, or toned down, presumably to make it more amenable for Western consumption. For instance, the statement that “There is no middle position or compromise solution in Islam” used to appear on the website, along with the statement: “The terminology of compromise did not appear amongst Muslims until the modern age. It is a foreign terminology and its source is the West and the Capitalist ideology. This is the ideology Read the rest

‘Analysis’ on Political Islam *

Nov 14th, 2005 | Filed by

What about Sudan?… Read the rest

Dowd Produces the Opposite of Synergy *

Nov 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Wisecracks are reductive and anti-ruminative; they don’t encourage deeper analysis, they stymie it. … Read the rest

Pollitt Reads Dowd, Who Doesn’t Read Pollitt *

Nov 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Dowd’s book is a Feminism Is Dead polemic, put through a Dowdian styleblender.… Read the rest

Gordon Wood Reviews Sean Wilentz *

Nov 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Avoids ‘bargain basement Nietzsche and Foucault’.… Read the rest

Voltaire’s Enemy was the Infâme *

Nov 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Which was not JC but some of the forces of clerical reaction and feudal injustice.… Read the rest

Pope Could Be Even More Reactionary *

Nov 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Lucky us then.… Read the rest