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Showing posts from February 12, 2017

appearance and reality, father and child

Once upon a time – or more precisely, from millenia deep B.C. up to around 1950 – philosophers all made their bones by worrying about appearance and reality. The dynamic duo seem to have lost their charisma for analytic, post-analytic, and post Heideggerian philosophers, at least if you look at the titles of their books. But the problem returns again and again in everyday life, which is the pool all philosophy must eventually return to. For instance, here’s a situtation. We are sitting, here, in a hotel restaurant in Scottsdale Arizona, Adam and me. I look at what he asked me to choose him from the buffet – the bowl of raisin bran without milk, the peach colored thing Yoplait calls Yogurt, some grapes, and apple juice in a clear plastic cup. I notice that he isn’t eating. This doesn’t surprise me. Adam is apparently going to be one of those puzzling people who do not like breakfast. He always has to be coaxed to eat in the morning. Also threatened, although Adam does not yield easil

Hurston and Pasolini - same struggle?

Michele Wallace, in an impassioned essay on Zora Neale Hurston published in the 80s, and republished in her collection, Invisibility Blues, has a good time mocking Harold Bloom for setting aside Hurston’s politics and discussing her in terms of a wholly white literary lineage, a sort of Wife of Bath figure. Yet when it comes to Hurston’s politics, nobody seems prepared to confront it head-on, except to proclaim that her opposition to Brown vs. Board of Education and her support for Joe McCarthy was unfortunate. Usually these things are attributed to some unfortunate experience the woman had – Wallace ends up blaming it on the bum rap hung on Hurston for seducing under age boys, which was ultimately thrown out of court, and others blame it on the aging process. It is true that the Hurston who can write in a letter about the unforgiveability of the atom bomb, or coint the brilliant phrase, in her anti Jim Crow essay, The American Museum of Unnatural History, for the way she and other

Black history month reading: Zora Neale Hurston

For Black History month, I decided it was time to read a lot of Zora Neale Hurston. Good choice! I'm reading her non-fiction - especially Tell My Horse and Mules and Men - before reading Their Eyes were Watching God. Although it may seem an odd comparison, or no, it is an odd comparison, Hurston keeps making me think of two apparently different writers: D.H. Lawrence and Pasolini. Both had a strong sense for the massive change overtaking "pre-modern" society - which was real ly the majority of society in all countries. One has to remember that the working population of the US, in 1900, was more than half agricultural. In Italy, of coure, it was even more. While Britain was a vanguard country, which had shrunk its agricultural sector in the nineteenth century - while never overcoming a nostalgia for its forms, or a class system still rooted in the prestige of landholding. Hurston was famously a political conservative, a supporter of Taft and Smathers, a sniffer out of comm