All entries by this author

Mistake to Hop on Islamist Bandwagon *

Dec 15th, 2005 | Filed by

Trendy government is prepared to pursue communalist policy redolent of colonies. … Read the rest

Alternative? Alternative?

Dec 14th, 2005 6:13 pm | By

A little more on the Chronicle’s newsflash that Theory is hardly at all very much influential or mandatory or orthodox any more.

Meanwhile, at the University of California at Berkeley, Ian Duncan, a professor of English and the department’s chairman, reports via e-mail that “postcolonial, national/transnational, race and comparative ethnicities studies are flourishing” while New Historicism “does not exert the hegemony it did 20 years ago, although I think it’s fair to say it’s been digested by many of us and maintains a strong presence.”

And yet a lot of wacko people go on saying that Theorists seem to be interested in everything but literature – it’s staggering, isn’t it? Why would anyone think that? When postcolonial, national/transnational, race and … Read the rest

Can’t Contextualize Any More *

Dec 14th, 2005 | Filed by

For Holocaust denial by a head of state, the usual apologetics won’t work.… Read the rest

Pamuk to go on Trial for ‘Insulting Turkishness’ *

Dec 14th, 2005 | Filed by

High-profile prosecution has caused a stir in Brussels.… Read the rest

Political Islam a Challenge to French Secularism *

Dec 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Theocracy rears its head again.… Read the rest

Chris Mooney Reviews Tom Bethell *

Dec 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Bethell takes the political right’s ‘war on science’ to a whole new level. … Read the rest

Ahmadinejad Calls Holocaust a ‘Myth’ *

Dec 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Calls for Jews to move to Alaska.… Read the rest

Munira Mirza on Race Awareness Training *

Dec 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Diversity training may reinforce the sense of difference between people.… Read the rest

Hitchens Remembers Gene McCarthy *

Dec 14th, 2005 | Filed by

McCarthy’s 1968 campaign is one of the best correctives to the stupid cult of the Kennedy family. … Read the rest

‘Theory’ Such Old News, Says CHE, Yawning *

Dec 14th, 2005 | Filed by

Then gives pile of quotations showing opposite. Very ironic, very theoretical.… Read the rest

Theory? What Theory? Where?

Dec 14th, 2005 2:42 am | By

This article in the Chronicle of Higher Education is hilarious. Oh, Theory is so over, what empire, it’s all fragmented, what a silly fuss everyone is making, it says. Then it offers a comment backing up the claim.

First, theory has become so much part of the literary profession that one needs to have some familiarity with the “isms,” no matter which (if any) one embraces most closely. Being labeled a theorist does not advance a career the way it might have 10 or 15 years ago, but theoretical naïveté is a luxury that few aspiring professors can afford. James F. English, chairman and professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, writes in an e-mail message that while “it’s

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Never Offend

Dec 13th, 2005 8:02 pm | By

Annals of Thought-crime. Orhan Pamuk goes on trial on Friday.

My crime is to have “publicly denigrated Turkish identity.”…Last February, in an interview published in a Swiss newspaper, I said that “a million Armenians and thirty thousand Kurds had been killed in Turkey”; I went on to complain that it was taboo to discuss these matters in my country…If the state is prepared to go to such lengths to keep the Turkish people from knowing what happened to the Ottoman Armenians, that qualifies as a taboo. And my words caused a furor worthy of a taboo: various newspapers launched hate campaigns against me, with some right-wing (but not necessarily Islamist) columnists going as far as to say that I

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German Officers Knew About Holocaust *

Dec 13th, 2005 | Filed by

According to newly revealed transcripts of conversations between captured generals.… Read the rest

Where Are the Big Questions? *

Dec 13th, 2005 | Filed by

In the philosophy and history departments, for two.… Read the rest

‘Publicly Denigrating Turkish Identity’ is a Crime *

Dec 13th, 2005 | Filed by

Angry nationalism sees freedom of thought as a Western invention.… Read the rest

When Did Lit Crit and Aesthetics Break Up? *

Dec 13th, 2005 | Filed by

Interpretation is the revenge of moralism upon art.… Read the rest

Pointless Execution Goes Forward *

Dec 13th, 2005 | Filed by

Reformed man doing useful work killed anyway.… Read the rest


Dec 12th, 2005 8:19 pm | By

And another thing about the Akyol piece and all the similar strains of thought. It’s such an impoverished, pinched, narrow, trivial view of what matters, of what morality should be, of what people should fret about.

…soulless, skirt-and-money-chasing men drinking whiskey…selfish, lonely creatures in a soulless society where little is worshipped beyond money and sex…The America that people see is one represented by Hollywood and MTV…extremely hedonistic and degenerate elements that turn life into meaningless profligacy…a lifestyle based on hedonism…the masses live, earn, spend, and have relationships according to this supposition. A popular MTV hit summarizes this presumption bluntly: “You and me baby ain’t nuthin’ but mammals; so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.

Humping … Read the rest

Naughty Materialism

Dec 12th, 2005 6:05 pm | By

It’s touching when obscurantists band together and discover how much they have in common. Mustafa Akyol gives us an example.

Little does he realize that if there is any view on the origin of life that might seriously offend other faiths – including mine, Islam – it is the materialist dogma: the assumptions that God, by definition, is a superstition, and that rationality is inherently atheistic. That offense is no minor issue. In fact, in the last two centuries, it has been the major source of the Muslim contempt for the West. And it deserves careful consideration.

That offense is no minor issue. So it’s an ‘offense’ to try to give the best natural explanation of the world that … Read the rest

But, But, But

Dec 12th, 2005 5:26 pm | By

I still don’t get it. I don’t see how ID fans and Anthony Flew get past the first, obvious objection.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

But how can that be a good explanation? How can it be an explanation at all? How can it be anything other than just an ‘I don’t know’ translated into something that sounds more impressive? Other than hand-waving? I don’t get it. Because if the origin of … Read the rest