All entries by this author

Bubble-Bath for the Soul *

Jan 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Seven Habits, Fifth Discipline, Timeless Mind, Chicken Soup – is there no end to the bilge?… Read the rest

Dude, Where’s My Site of Hegemonic Dominance?

Jan 26th, 2004 2:04 am | By

John Holbo has a very sly post on the tireless Bad Writing subject on his blog. He read the first three issues of the PMLA – Proceedings of the Modern Language Association – for 2003 cover to cover, twice. (Then he had a complete blood transfusion and is well on the way to recovery – now cut that out.) And he has some thoughts.

First he quotes Judith Butler explaining why bad writing is necessary and good:

The accused then responds that “if what he says could be said in terms of ordinary language he would probably have done so in the first place.” Understanding what the critical intellectual has to say, Marcuse goes on, “presupposes the collapse and invalidation

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Reading For Something

Jan 25th, 2004 5:06 pm | By

One thing (but not the only thing) that prompted this train of thought (or perhaps bus of rumination or minivan of woolgathering or rollerskate of idle daydreaming) was something I read a few days ago in another of Dwight Macdonald’s letters, this one from January 1946, when Macdonald was editing his own magazine Politics.

I suppose you’ve read by now Simone Weil’s article on The Iliad. The response to it has surprised me; I thought it was a great political article, dealing with the moral questions implicit in the terrible events one reads about in every day’s newspaper, which was why I played it up so prominently in the issue…Nothing I’ve printed yet seems to have made so

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Flawed Theory Leads to False Convictions *

Jan 25th, 2004 | Filed by

Ministers were warned about Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy in 1996.… Read the rest

Shakespeare Test Dropped *

Jan 25th, 2004 | Filed by

More than half the marks could be awarded without students having to read any Shakespeare.… Read the rest

Integrated, Redundant Approach *

Jan 24th, 2004 | Filed by

US National Academy of Sciences on best way to confine genetically engineered organisms.… Read the rest

Review of Philosophy of Science Today *

Jan 24th, 2004 | Filed by

Astronomers study stars, philosophers of science study astronomers.… Read the rest

What Was the Question Again?

Jan 23rd, 2004 9:19 pm | By

I’ve been thinking a good deal about focus lately. About relevance, subject matter, connections. The competing merits of breadth and intensity, range and depth. About how to think about such things, and how to decide between them – metaquestions again. I seem to think about metaquestions a lot – but then that’s not surprising, is it; B&W is essentially about metaquestions. At least I think it is. That’s one of the metaquestions I’ve been thinking about – what is B&W about.

Not that I don’t know, or don’t think I know, or think I don’t know. I do think I know. Or at least I know I have an opinion. But there could be other opinions – and in fact … Read the rest

Nature is Nice – Until it Eats You *

Jan 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

How thrilling to see a lion in the local park…… Read the rest

History is Difficult *

Jan 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

Who lied, which one vacillated, who shed crocodile tears over Vietnam?… Read the rest

History is Confusing *

Jan 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

Evidence conflicts, minds change, memory errs, wishes interfere.… Read the rest

Top Ten Books for Orwell-readers *

Jan 23rd, 2004 | Filed by

D.J. Taylor’s choices include Gissing’s New Grub StreetRead the rest

Wonderfully Unsettles the Mind *

Jan 22nd, 2004 | Filed by

Hesperus Press publishes minor works by major authors.… Read the rest

Fundamental Epistemology

Jan 22nd, 2004 | By Cassandra L. Pinnick

"A more fundamental project now confronts us. We must root out sexist distortions and perversions in epistemology, metaphysics, methodology and the philosophy of science-in the “hard core” of abstract reasoning thought most immune to infiltration by social values."
Discovering Reality, Sandra Harding and Merrill B. Hintikka (1983)

Until roughly the mid-twentieth century, liberal feminist politics had little apparent impact on American universities. But thereafter the transformation was swift. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, student demographics shifted, women’s studies flourished, and remarkable reforms to the liberal arts curriculum became entrenched. There was no surprise when feminist theory moved into the humanities or the “soft” sciences. And, these days, the radical edge is worn off the idea of … Read the rest

Investment Tips

Jan 22nd, 2004 1:43 am | By

I’ve been reading a volume of the letters of Dwight Macdonald lately. One bit I read this morning seemed particularly appropriate for B&W. It’s from a letter in December 1937, to Freda Kirchwey, the editor of the Nation, taking that magazine to task for a number of blind spots, such as being too ‘timid and stuffy-genteel’ in its editorial attitude to the New Deal’s recent swing to the right, and particularly for being hostile to the Commission that was investigating the Moscow Trials (he doesn’t mention John Dewey but I assume that’s the Commission usually known as the Dewey Commission).

While I was at Fortune, the Nation was always to me the great symbol of honest, truthful, intelligent journalism

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What Accounts for Cheating? *

Jan 21st, 2004 | Filed by

Rational choice? Emotions? Values? Winner-take-all economies?… Read the rest

‘Cowboy Cloners’ Should be Outlawed *

Jan 21st, 2004 | Filed by

Head of Royal Society and others appeal to media not to publicize claims.… Read the rest

Brief Constructed Response *

Jan 21st, 2004 | Filed by

Or paragraph, in the vernacular. Eduspeak jargon is Fun Happy Talk.… Read the rest

Before After Theory

Jan 20th, 2004 9:19 pm | By

This is an interesting review by Elaine Showalter of Terry Eagleton’s new book After Theory.

In the ’80s, theory ruled, and the subject formerly known as literature was banished or demoted in the interests of philosophy and aesthetic abstraction.

Hmm. But was it really philosophy? Or was it just little bits of philosophy here and there. That’s fine, it’s no crime to know only a little about something, that’s certainly my situation about almost everything – but one has to be clear about it. One has to be careful, it seems to me, not to confuse sampling philosophy with really studying it, and one has to be equally careful not to confuse Literary Theory with philosophy, because (this is … Read the rest

US v WHO on Sugar and Obesity *

Jan 20th, 2004 | Filed by

US accused of diluting dietary advice to please sugar lobby.… Read the rest