All entries by this author

The Interahamwe Didn’t Listen to Joan Baez *

Nov 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Nor did the Taliban, nor did Franco or Hitler. Blanket pacifism doesn’t always answer.… Read the rest

Socialisation is Not the Job of Teachers *

Nov 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Schools have other things to teach.… Read the rest

More Than One

Nov 9th, 2003 9:59 pm | By

I posted this report on an address by Amartya Sen a few days ago, because I admire Sen (I well remember the moment I heard over the radio that he’d won the Nobel Prize, and how surprised and delighted I was) and also because he said something I’ve been thinking and muttering about for a long time, including here.

The Emeritus Professor at Harvard tore to shreds, the theory of ‘clash of civilisations’ (championed particularly by Samuel Huntington) and which has gained much currency, describing the classification as “very crude.” According to him, “what is most immediately divisive in this kind of theorising is not the silly idea of the inevitability of a clash, but the equally shallow prior insistense

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Süddeutsche Zeitung on the Third Culture *

Nov 9th, 2003 | Filed by

The sciences and humanities ought to work together.… Read the rest

Richard Wollheim *

Nov 9th, 2003 | Filed by

The New York Times obituary.… Read the rest

We Happy Few

Nov 8th, 2003 8:17 pm | By

There is an interesting remark in this review of Terry Eagleton’s After Theory in the Telegraph. Actually there is more than one. Noel Malcolm points out that ‘Cultural Studies’ is a discipline that has some difficulties and ironies considered from a left-wing point of view:

If you open these books and try reading a page or two, you will probably notice one more thing: most of them are unreadable…These are clever people who have spent years mastering bodies of theory and styles of argument, to the point where they can produce new quantities of the same. But the overwhelming impression they give is that they are writing to impress one another, not to enlighten you or me. You do not

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Dalrymple on Furedi *

Nov 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Agrees on the whole, though he points out that therapy can be useful.… Read the rest

Right Here, That’s Where! *

Nov 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Where is the Left when you need them to criticise Postmodernism? All around, actually.… Read the rest

How Much Homework is Too Much? *

Nov 8th, 2003 | Filed by

US children aren’t doing more, their parents only think they are.… Read the rest

Strings in 11 Dimensions *

Nov 8th, 2003 | Filed by

‘Perhaps…the theory’s very unproveability means it should actually be seen as philosophy.’… Read the rest

Other Projects

Nov 7th, 2003 7:44 pm | By

I posted two links in News the other day about the irksomeness of compulsory child-bearing. Is it any wonder that a teasing name gays like to give straights is ‘breeders’?! Anyone would think we were all living in Augustan Rome, where the dear Emperor passed laws that penalized naughty people who refused to get married, much to the disgust of women and men who preferred not to. Is child-bearing likely to die out soon? Is all this social pressure necessary for some dire reason that has escaped my attention? Yes I know Italy has a very low birth rate and that there are worries about pensions and so on, but still, if you look at the planet as a whole, … Read the rest

Interview with a Physicist *

Nov 7th, 2003 | Filed by

How strings do the job, and ‘Great science belongs to everybody.’… Read the rest

Yes But Ask Me to Name All Six ‘Friends’! *

Nov 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Most Americans can’t name even one Cabinet department.… Read the rest

Is Chinese Medicine Scientific or ‘Alternative’? *

Nov 7th, 2003 | Filed by

And if it is scientific, does it belong to China, or can anyone anywhere test it?… Read the rest

Still Bad

Nov 6th, 2003 5:29 pm | By

The ‘bad writing’ discussion continues. A reader wonders in the Guestbook if ‘bad’ is the best word to use.

OB, very ascerbic, very plain and right on, on the Bad Writing theme. But I think the very the phrase itself needs a housecleaning (or maybe a whole renovation), since “bad” can mean a splay of things: bad-ass, bad-as-evil, bad quality, bad as in WRONG, bad as in naughty … I think YOU mean “bad” as in convoluted, arrogant, obfuscatory, and Wizard-of-Oz academic, no?

Yes. Good point, FK. But I still like the word ‘bad’ for the purpose, and I think the possible other meanings are eliminated by the context. Even the headline on the In Focus makes explicit what kind … Read the rest

Honour Killing Foiled *

Nov 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Man tries to hire hitman to kill his son-in-law.… Read the rest

Just a Question *

Nov 6th, 2003 | Filed by

But why isn’t it called ‘Husband Swap’? … Read the rest

David Aaronovitch on the Two Erics *

Nov 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Orwell knew and Hobsbawm knows how to face facts.… Read the rest

Boys in School *

Nov 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Noise and bravado unhelpful, so have them study in professional football clubs. Eh?… Read the rest

Hobsbawm on History for a Broad Public *

Nov 6th, 2003 | Filed by

It can be good and readable without talking down to the readers.… Read the rest