Jokes and Conversations

One or two or more unrelated items of interest. One from Normblog, a moment of dialogue with a very sophisticated theorist of some sort –

All Googling, and that includes self-Googling, is culturally specific and also gendered. There’s an excellent paper on it by Lesley DeTrobe. He-or-she – that’s Lesley I’m talking about, who has renounced maleness and femaleness since June 1999 – there deconstructs the notion of a universalizing universalism, showing this to be a grwelphdoop. The concept of grwelphdoopism is one of DeTrobe’s most illuminating accomplishments. Think Foucault, think Derrida, think Dr Susie Nupledor Jr and her black dog Melvy. Of course, ‘dog’ is itself one of the very grwelphdoops sent packing by DeTrobe, but in the language game ‘humans and animals’ Melvy is a dog.

In the language game animals and humans, on the other hand, no doubt Melvy is a human and Nupledor is a dog – or perhaps Nupledor is just That One and the beloved Nylabone is a human. What would Wittgenstein do? Anyway. There was also a great deal of innocent fun to be had in reading this article about Colin Wilson. I also heard him interviewed on Front Row the other day. What a dork he does sound! I’ve never been the smallest bit tempted to read him, I must say, especially not after reading Kingsley Amis’ and Dwight Macdonald’s lovingly savage essays on The Outsider, both of which make him sound like the biggest pseud of all time. This article merely reinforces that impression – which makes it a very amusing read.

Where it drags is when he gets on to his ideas. His philosophy is basically existentialism with non-rational excrescences and characterised by bizarre nomenclature – Faculty X, Upside Downness, Peak Experiences, Right Men, The Dominant Five Per Cent, King Rats. It seems to constitute an attempt to classify human feelings and behaviour as written by a Martian who has never met an Earthling…As a child he was so introverted, so uninterested in other people, he might have been diagnosed today with Asperger’s syndrome…In a way, sex was his salvation – he wanted to sleep with girls so was forced to talk to them.

You know – I’m not sure that’s all that Asperger’sish. As a matter of fact I have an idea it’s quite common. But maybe the men are just odd here in Antarctica.

And then there was this Thinking Allowed with Deborah Cameron. I commented on another Thinking Allowed with Deborah Cameron a longish time ago, perhaps a year or so ago, and this one is very good too. About the globalization of nicey-nice talk and why that’s not an entirely brilliant idea. Then there was this one more recently about shyness, which deals with some of the same issues. Sometimes not talking is simply a choice rather than a social handicap or a disease, but that possibility seems to get overlooked. Interesting stuff.

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