All entries by this author

Ah, There it Is

Oct 19th, 2004 6:32 pm | By

Further travel news.… Read the rest

Joys and Sorrows of Independent Scholarship *

Oct 19th, 2004 | Filed by

Irregular income if any, inaccessible libraries; but it’s worth it.… Read the rest


Oct 19th, 2004 8:55 am | By

More travel news.… Read the rest

That Dream Again

Oct 18th, 2004 6:05 pm | By

I just wanted to call your attention to this post on Normblog. It’s his reaction to yet another of those helpful lectures on how impoverished and pathetic secularism is and how we have to give up and admit that we ‘need’ religion. Of course, as always, the writer makes the case by 1) pretending that religion is the only possible source of things like meaning and solidarity, and 2) by redefining religion. Okay. At that rate – if there’s enough taking away combined with enough redefinition – I could be brought to agree with that idea too. But what of it? Of what use is it to assume that secularism is something it isn’t and that religion isn’t what … Read the rest

The Scottish Enlightenment *

Oct 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Conservative and radical at the same time.… Read the rest

Hannah Arendt Was Not Entirely Wrong *

Oct 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Not even as wrong as this article claims.… Read the rest

Real Life

Oct 18th, 2004 8:38 am | By

Travel news.… Read the rest

Anti-Semitism at Frankfurt Book Fair? *

Oct 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Holocaust denial in Frankfurt? Uh oh.… Read the rest

More on Derrida *

Oct 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Reading familiar works against the grain.… Read the rest

The Modernity of Muslim Fundamentalism *

Oct 16th, 2004 | Filed by

The French are better at political anatomy.… Read the rest

Torn Between Contempt and Hilarity *

Oct 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Nicholas Lezard approves Francis Wheen’s attack on unreason.… Read the rest

Eagleton Defends Derrida Against Philistinism *

Oct 16th, 2004 | Filed by

He loosened up such paranoid antitheses as inside and outside.… Read the rest

Another Satirical Dictionary *

Oct 14th, 2004 | Filed by

A bit long-winded…… Read the rest

Review of Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale *

Oct 14th, 2004 | Filed by

Seeing the world in a fresh, exhilarating way.… Read the rest

Spiked on Derrida *

Oct 14th, 2004 | Filed by

Insistence on multiplicity of meanings more attractive to literary critics than philosophers.… Read the rest

More Derrida *

Oct 14th, 2004 | Filed by

The Guardian obituary.… Read the rest


Oct 13th, 2004 8:30 pm | By

I love this. There are those who think that people like me who insist, whether petulantly or earnestly or flintily, that Shakespeare (as it might be) is quite a good writer and better in many ways than quite a few other writers, are ‘elitist’ and snobbish and mindless enemies of all of popular culture. But ’tis not so. It’s just that I insist in the same kind of way there too – some of it is better than other of it, that’s all. I don’t love all of popular culture. But then I don’t love all of the putative ‘canon’ either – some of it I think is over-rated. Gatsby, for instance.

But one bit of popular culture I do … Read the rest

Pogo and the Art of Popular Culture *

Oct 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Verbal facility, emotional range, moral complexity, political satire. Go Pogo.… Read the rest

Why Does No One Read Analytic Philosophy? *

Oct 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Why yards and yards of Foucault next to zero Fodor on the shelves?… Read the rest

Key Thinkers and Canons

Oct 12th, 2004 7:38 pm | By

Now that’s funny. Made me do one of those loony blurts of laughter at the computer screen that solidify one’s feeling of creeping insanity. No but really, it is funny. The Guardian has a really exceptionally irritating smug knowing comment in a leader on our debt to Derrida. My point is not to quarrel with the late Derrida, whom I haven’t read; my point is to quarrel with this particular remark in this particular rather silly piece in the Guardian.

What was important was that deconstruction held that no text was above analysis or closed to alternative interpretation. It is no coincidence that it came into vogue in the 1960s and 1970s, when many cultural and social institutions were being

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