All entries by this author

The Tortoise and the Hare

Apr 4th, 2004 12:16 am | By

Not too bad, thanks. The agony is somewhat abated, as Macaulay said. (Was it Macaulay? I think so. At the age of two, or a week, or something, when a kind evangelical woman spilled some coffee on him.) I’m tottering around, pale and trembling, but recovering. A little weak, a tad mentally unstable, but on the mend. Kind of you to ask. The flowers are lovely. I don’t suppose you brought any chocolates – ? No no, of course not, silly question.

I wrote the Comment yesterday in such a way that it sounds as if I think I wrote the dictionary all by myself. I noticed that after I’d done it, but having done it, didn’t want to correct … Read the rest

A Mind as Speedy as an Eider Duck *

Apr 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

B.R. Myers says Jeffrey Masson’s amateurish style is persuasive, sort of.… Read the rest

Revisiting de Tocqueville *

Apr 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

‘Religious insanity is very common in the United States. We should not be surprised at this.’… Read the rest

The Guardian’s Rwanda Page *

Apr 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

Links to many aspects of Rwanda and the genocide.… Read the rest

Carl Zimmer on Misunderstanding Science *

Apr 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

It’s about uncertainty, not certainty.… Read the rest

My Baby Done Gone

Apr 3rd, 2004 3:42 am | By

Oh, man, I have the most terrible case of post-partum depression. Or perhaps that’s not the right word, perhaps I mean empty-nest syndrome. Or separation anxiety. One of those, anyway, or possibly all of them. The book is gone! It’s finished! It’s over! It’s history. It’s on its way out into the world, to sink or swim, to make it on its own or to crash in flames, to become something or to flop down on the nearest bench and vegetate for the rest of its pathetic aimless life.

I wasn’t ready. I had plans. I was going to teach it to make toffee, and drive a car, and read Braille. I was going to teach it principles, and wash … Read the rest

Rwanda *

Apr 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

As the tenth anniversary approaches, Frontline takes a look.… Read the rest

Menand on McCarthy and Related Matters *

Apr 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

The difference between journalists and academics; narrow elections and how little they mean.… Read the rest

Heaps of All-round Stupidity *

Apr 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

John Quiggin has a harsh word or two for postmodernist nonsense about advertising.… Read the rest

Michael Foot’s 1000 Volumes of Hazlitt *

Apr 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

Will go to the Wordsworth Trust when he conks out. Not soon, let’s hope.… Read the rest

Ektopos Has its First Birthday *

Apr 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Excellent philosophy site reaches a milestone.… Read the rest

Terry Eagleton on Edward Said *

Apr 1st, 2004 | Filed by

‘He is more interested in emancipating the dispossessed than in bending genders or floating signifiers.’… Read the rest

The Fun of Working for the Bush Administration *

Apr 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Leon Kass told Elizabeth Blackburn ethics panel would consider diverse views. But no.… Read the rest

A Few Treats

Apr 1st, 2004 5:49 am | By

As you may have surmised, I’ve been busy. Very busy. Working flat-out on this dictionary. It’s nearly done now, and then I’ll have more time to write long windy inconsequential N&Cs again.

But one good thing about this dictionary caper is that I find a lot of stark staring nonsense while googling for just that purpose. We’re going to have a Nonsense File in a few months, when my colleague has a spare moment to program one. For now I’ll just present you with some links here.

This one for example is a really good (good in a special sense) bit of Lacanian literary criticism. I don’t see how you can fail to enjoy it. I’ll just give you a … Read the rest

Astronomer on Importance of the Hubble *

Mar 31st, 2004 | Filed by

The telescope is needed for ultraviolet astronomy.… Read the rest

Honour Killings Averted *

Mar 31st, 2004 | Filed by

Pair from enemy tribes in Pakistan marry under police protection.… Read the rest

Martin Seligman on Eudaimonia *

Mar 30th, 2004 | Filed by

It’s now possible to measure fuzzy states like sadness and schizophrenia.… Read the rest

How Do You Apologize for Mass Murder? *

Mar 30th, 2004 | Filed by

In Rwanda people have to live next door to the people who murdered all their relatives.… Read the rest

Theory is Too So Still Relevant! *

Mar 29th, 2004 | Filed by

It has to figure out who will be famous twenty years from now, obviously.… Read the rest

Odds and Sods

Mar 28th, 2004 11:48 pm | By

I trust you saw this review of Alain de Botton’s latest scholarly work via News. If not, do have a look; it’s very funny. Very enraged, very impolite, and very funny. It starts well –

Alain de Botton is the kind of public intellectual our debased culture deserves. This prince of précis, this queen of quotation, pastes together entire books by citing and then restating in inferior prose the ideas of great writers from centuries gone by. Aping the forms of philosophical thought in tones of complacent condescension, he provides for his readers the comforting sensation of reading something profound at little cost of mental effort.

And it goes on well, too.

the second half of the book offers “Solutions”

Read the rest