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Showing posts from June 19, 2022

I don't love my country

 Love is the wrong feeling one should have for a political vehicle. Love, rather, the culture, the dissent, the revolt, the force that goes out and takes on established power.  But the U.S.A. as a political entitty? From slavery to the new (reaffirmation) of the second class citizenship of women, the U.S. has done all the bad things.  What makes me sad is the idea that there's no organized entity that will push back. The Dem party is as useless as a sewing club against a drone missile. We are on our own. But this is where the love goes - cause American culture, the people, are endlessly inventive. I want to live long enough to see them rise up and wipe out this elite. 

The best and the brightest and Google Home

 We were given a Google Home for Christmas. Adam has adopted it as his sister, his chorus, his friend, his advisor, and his conversation partner. Google Home is ill adapted for complex conversations: it can sing a few songs when you ask the right question, and it has a few programmed jokes – but what it never does (under the heavy obligation of never scaring off a customer) is give its judgments about the best and the worst: “what is the best horror movie?” “what is the best episode of The Office?” “what is the worst album ever made?” and so on. Adam, like me when I was a boy, is an ardent ranker. Although he is only nine years old, he can give you the IMBD ratings for dozens of movies right off the top of his head. I’ve discovered a good way to tease him: by giving some movie he doesn’t like a high, made up IMDB number – or vice versa. I am tempted to call ranking, and canon-making in general, instinctive. I can see the NYT Bestseller list title in my mind: The Canon-Instinct. But

In praise of Gregoire Chayamou: macronism predicted!

  Philosophy almost always follows the event. The French revolution and Napoleon come first: then Hegel. In a rare inversion of this order, Gregoire Chamayou’s The Ungovernable Society: a genealogy of authoritarian liberalism came first, in 2014, and then Macron. Chamayou is one of the rare philosophers to follow Foucault’s work and actually do research. In Chamayou’s case, the research is on one of the turning points of the seventies – the emergence, within enterprises, consulting firms and conservative think tanks, of a grand strategy to fight back against civil rights movement, unions, and the formation of counter or at least a-capitalistic organizations. Although Chamayou does not talk about nudgery – the special addition to the mix identified with the Obama era – his diagnosis of, say, dialogue as a strategy by established power to make itself seem open and to label its opponents as extremists is uncannily predictive of the Macron strategy that has come so undone this year in

conversion stories

 All we know is that there are feelings, dead ideas, and cold beliefs, and there are hot and live ones; and when one grows hot and alive within us, everything has to recrystalize about it.” If an angel took off the roofs of our American minimansions and suburban 3br 2 ba houses, she would find a museum of relicts left by once hot ideas and now dead interests: the wok in the kitchen, the dusty musical instruments in the kids’ rooms, the old magazines in boxes in the garage, a stray paddle from the white water rafting phase, etc. Where, exactly, is the enduring center, around which life crystalizes? This is the problem posed by William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience. Conversion is the name of the central chapter in that book, for good reason. It was a problem handed down by the puritans. It was a basic American narrative. It is at the existential heart of liberalism, even if liberals don’t know it.   One of the great words among the chattering and political class is “adu