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Showing posts from August 11, 2002
Dope LI heard from an old friend the other day, Tom S. Tom, it appears, is coming to Austin and wants to see his old drinking buddy. We immediately became soggy from nostalgia. It was, what, twelve years ago? Fifteen? Yes, LI was as thin as a malnourished radish, an outlier in the U.T. Philosophy department. We had already decided that the academic life wasn�t for us. Or the academic life had made that decision � kicked out or quit, life�s eternal question, no? Our friend Janet Flesch, who was also in the department, was teaching an advanced philo class, and Tom was one of her students, which is how we met. There�s that wonderful phrase of Goethe�s: elective affinities. Friendship is about alchemistry, the obscure movement of sensibilities, and the metallic symbols thereof. Right. The transmutations of base metals. Nietzsche and alcohol. There is a certain personality that receives Nietzsche like evolution received that comet 65 million years ago � he gets rid of everythi
Remora Time and Western Man, or Amis and his buddies When LI sees a fly, we never grab a flyswatter; we grab an Uzi... Or so it might seem to the always patient readers of this post. Our last post, you'll remember, started out as a scolding of Martin Amis' latest book, and then detoured, radically, through Russell's paradox of George IV and the author of Waverly. It occured to us, after we posted our mini-treatise, that the effect of the paradox might be blunted for the contemporary reader who does not know that Walter Scott published Waverly anonymously. The resulting publicity was much like that gained by Primary Colors, which was published anonymously, and generated enough controversy that the author of it became a public issue. So one can update Russell's paradox cleverly enough this way: Bill Clinton wished to know if Joe Klein is the author of Primary Colors. In any case, we've seen Russell's solution to his puzzle involves reforming the
Remora "All thinking has to start from acquaintance; but it succeeds in thinking about many things with which we have no acquaintance." -- Bertrand Russell. Limited Inc had determined to be fastidious. Limited Inc had determined not to write about Martin Amis' new book, Koba the Dread, which makes essentially this point: 1. Nazism and Communism are morally equivalent -- or better, immorally equivalent. 2. Followers, then, of Nazism and Communism are immorally equivalent. However, Hitchens reviewed the book in the Atlantic with such unaccustomed gentleness, like a waiter in a ritzy restaurant leading a drunk to his favorite table, that LI felt that a few obvious points needed to be made . However, to make these points we are going to take a detour through Bertrand Russell's essay, " On denoting." LI's readers no doubt fondly remember that essay from school days. It was in that essay that Russell attempted to squelch Meinong once and
Remora Three Blind Mice No. Many more blind mice than that. Herds of 'em. The WP has a funny article today about the loosening of support, among the Republicocracy, for diverting Social Security into private accounts to be run by all of us, individually, usin' our God given ingenuity. Apparently as 401(k)s come back filled with pocket lint, and retirement accounts are wiped out, the pilfering of Social Security is not the call to colors it was in the past : "In some cases, GOP lawmakers such as Reps. George W. Gekas (Pa.) and Charles W. "Chip" Pickering Jr. (Miss.) are opposing Bush's proposal after praising it in the past. At least three Republican congressional challengers -- Rick Clayburgh (N.D.), William J. Janklow (S.D.) and Jon Porter (Nev.) -- have disavowed the idea of private accounts. Many other Republicans are playing down previous endorsements of privatizing all or part of Social Security as a way to bolster the system before it goes br
Remora James Ridgeway, Village Voice's reliably left (if sometimes monotonous) political columnist, suggests something pretty cool in his column today. Ridgeway raps on the practical impunity surrounding the major looters of corporations. This means, rather predictably, wheeling out the very specimen and macrocosm of power used corruptly to avert justice: Ken Lay. Ridgeway hammers on this old theme. But then Ridgeway departs from merely adding his scolding to the unanimous condemnation of mankind and throws out an idea that should be embraced by some Dem, somewhere. This is the kind of idea that could really work: "Beyond the political will to hold people like Lay accountable, we need a mechanism for going after the companies themselves, paving the way for placing them in receivership so they could be managed under public supervision until their acts were cleaned up. There is nothing unusual in this notion. Crooked unions go through it all the time. Corporations shou