All entries by this author


Sep 20th, 2003 10:53 pm | By

There’s a lot of nonsense upon stilts around. Maybe our subtitle should be Fighting Fashionable Nonsense Upon Stilts. I heard something on the BBC World Service this morning that surprised me a good deal. It came at the end of a rather dreary discussion of sport that I wasn’t really listening to – about people who change their nationality in order to compete for a different country, and some of the drawbacks to this arrangement. And then we heard from someone from the European Commission on Human Rights, saying that if governments took a too ‘punitive’ approach (odd word) then they might be violating the human rights of the athletes. ‘People have a right to compete for their country,’ she … Read the rest

Unilateralism Meets Complacency *

Sep 20th, 2003 | Filed by

Le Monde editor suggests middle ground.… Read the rest

Eagleton After Theory *

Sep 20th, 2003 | Filed by

‘Postmodernists oppose universality, and well they might: nothing is more parochial than the kind of human being they admire.’… Read the rest

You Can’t Read This *

Sep 20th, 2003 | Filed by

Publishers of specialist scientific journals are shutting out the public.… Read the rest

Horowitz Answers, Walker Answers Him *

Sep 20th, 2003 | Filed by

What would the consequences of the Academic Bill of Rights really be?… Read the rest

Bit of a Mistake, Really *

Sep 20th, 2003 | Filed by

If the US and UK hadn’t removed Mossadegh in 1953, things might have gone better…… Read the rest

Interview with Donald Davidson *

Sep 20th, 2003 | Filed by

Long, searching discussion of both his life and his work.… Read the rest

Academic Bill of Rights

Sep 19th, 2003 | By

The move by the Republican governor and legislature of Colorado to make something called the Academic Bill of Rights a part of state law raises a lot of interesting questions. At first glance it would seem to harmonize well with the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Compare our stated goals in ‘About B and W’ with item one of the Academic Bill of Rights.


There are two motivations for setting up the web site. The first is the common one having to do with the thought that truth is important, and that to tell the truth about the world it is necessary to put aside whatever preconceptions (ideological, political, moral, etc.) one brings to the endeavour. The second has

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Is Some Black Music Homophobic? *

Sep 19th, 2003 | Filed by

Do the MOBOs celebrate artists with an anti-gay agenda?… Read the rest

Reason v. Academic Bill of Rights *

Sep 19th, 2003 | Filed by

‘Suddenly, “academic freedom” starts to sound like an encroachment on the freedoms of the faculty.’… Read the rest

Another Susan Greenfield Interview *

Sep 19th, 2003 | Filed by

Tolerance is good, but so is self-improvement.… Read the rest

Video-Game Archaeology *

Sep 19th, 2003 | Filed by

Stuffing artefacts in sacks, bayonetting, and other tricks of the trade.… Read the rest

Roger Scruton on Donald Davidson *

Sep 19th, 2003 | Filed by

And ‘the sound made by a research programme when it hits’ – Cambridge.… Read the rest

In Defense of the Essay

Sep 19th, 2003 | By Christopher Orlet

It is an article of the most unshakable faith that the personal, familiar, Montaignian–call it what you will–essay is minor stuff, a second-rate employment undertaken by bankrupt novelists and other failures. In literary rankings its place lay well below the novella and scarcely above the book review. “Essays, reviews, imitations, caricatures are all minor stuff,” wrote the New York Times critic in a recent review of a Max Beerbohm biography. In this conviction he has more support than a sports bra. Indeed, the personal essay’s most esteemed and acclaimed practitioners have to a man voiced misgivings about their trade. E.B. White called the essay a second-rate form. Cynthia Ozick, certainly one of the best contemporary essayists, may not specifically refer … Read the rest

Outmoded Authoritative Structures? *

Sep 18th, 2003 | Filed by

Did the makers of ‘The Matrix’ get Baudrillard wrong? Or were they making a subtle point about – oh never mind.… Read the rest

Richard Sennett on Patriotism *

Sep 18th, 2003 | Filed by

Dissonance cannot be resolved by a cathartic destructive act.… Read the rest

Donald Davidson *

Sep 18th, 2003 | Filed by

The Telegraph obituary.… Read the rest

The Colorado Question

Sep 17th, 2003 7:57 pm | By

There’s a heated debate going on in Colorado right now, over something called the ‘Academic Bill of Rights,’ planned legislation that would enforce or promote or encourage universities to adhere to or comply with said Bill of Rights, David Horowitz, the imbalance between registered Democrats and registered Republicans in the political science departments of Colorado universities, and whether and how something should be done about said imbalance. The Academic Bill of Rights itself sounds pretty unexceptionable, declaring for instance that scholars should be hired on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge, not their political beliefs. That provision, for instance, is simply another version of B&W’s mission statement. So far so good. But it is difficult to help being … Read the rest

Fluid Nations and Patriot Studies *

Sep 17th, 2003 | Filed by

Now Heavy Former Ballerinas; People Who Daydream Obsessively of Rescuing Someone Famous; and many more. … Read the rest

A Slightly Guilty Formalist *

Sep 17th, 2003 | Filed by

Denis Donoghue speaks of beauty in his latest book.… Read the rest