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Showing posts from July 18, 2004
Bollettino Our fave learned journal, Common Knowledge, has published it’s summer issue. There is a special section devoted to “Neo-Stoic Alternatives, c.1200-2004: Essays on Folly and Detachment.” The dates are a little optimistic. For scholars of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, it has gradually become apparent that understanding the intellectual patterns in these centuries in terms of the opposition between the Aristotelianism of the schoolmen and Galileo’s science is grossly insufficient. Some of the most interesting work of modern scholarship has centered  around the rediscovery of, or perhaps it would be better to say the appropriation of, stoicism, such as one sees it in Montaigne’s essays.   We especially like one of the articles, Unmasking The World: Bruegel's Ethnography, by Art Historian Joseph Leo Koerner. Koerner’s goal is to run a couple of themes through Bruegel’s work. One of the themes is this: “The ethics of this neo-Stoicism urged pleasure in the exp
Bollettino LI recommends Richard Cohen’s column in the WP this morning . Most of the re-assessments of the supporters of the Iraq war have cast their positions, both then and now, in the light of their smooth and consistent use of reason. Meritocrats all, they added up reasons pro and con and do their little checklists, they read the journals, they know all about the history. Except of course they know nothing about the history, the checklists consisted of bogus items, and they wrote for the journals they read – groupthink in monad-land. There are, remember, no windows in monads. Cohen is not having any of this, and he chooses a clever image to make his point: that recent issue of the New Republic that featured a lot of hedging liberal hawks: “I mention anthrax for the simple reason that no one does anymore. It's a curious silence since, along with the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, it all but dominated the news. Some of us did not get mail deliveries and,
According to the Forth Worth Star Telegram, Ashcroft’s DOJ report on the Patriot Act claims that it "has charged 310 defendants with criminal offenses as a result of terrorism investigations" since 9-11, and that 179 have been convicted. The thirty five of that number who were charged in Iowa have turned out to be a fiercesome group of dedicated jihadists, according to a story in the Des Moines Register (via Atrios). The story, picked up by the Omaha paper, lists some of the villains : “Included among the 35 cases were: • Four American-born laborers who omitted mention of prior drug convictions or other crimes when they were assigned by a contractor to a runway construction project at the Des Moines airport or when they applied for manual-labor jobs there. • Five Mexican citizens who stole cans of baby formula from store shelves throughout Iowa and sold them to a man of Arab descent for later resale. • Two Pakistani men who entered into or solicited sham marriages so that t
Bollettino   This enclosed, segmented space, observed at every point, in which the individuals are inserted in a fixed place, in which the slightest movements are supervised, in which all events are recorded, in which an uninterrupted work of writing links the centre and periphery, in which power is exercised without division, according to a continuous hierarchical figure, in which each individual is constantly located, examined and distributed among the living beings, the sick and the dead - all this constitutes a compact model of the disciplinary mechanism. – Michel Foucault,  Discipline and Punish       There is an aspect of the Bush administration’s conservatism that has not often enough been scrutinized: its attachment to the engineering achievements of the late nineteenth century. Hence its love affair with the internal combustion engine, the coal burning power plant, and the test.   Bush naïve fondness for testing is like a man who judges the success of his dentis