Friday, September 12, 2014

Satanists Oppressed

What else is new...

Satanists are holding a public black mass in Oklahoma later in September, and the event is sold out.  However:
In order to comply with local laws, the group had to make a few changes to the ritual. Instead of using urine, participants plan to use vinegar. Instead having a naked woman on an altar, she'll be wearing lingerie. And instead of spitting on a consecrated host, they will spit on an unconsecrated one. 
 On the issue of the consecrated host, apparently "The group was reportedly in possession of a stolen consecrated host, causing the local archdiocese to sue."  But don't the assholes who insist that children who are in no way related to them call them "father" give those crackers away anyway?  Can something that is given away be stolen?  Maybe the Satanists simply acquired the consecrated host in the wrong way?

Someone local to this event: Please show up at church this Sunday, sit through the hilarious nonsense, and get those Satanists a consecrated host to spit on.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cancelling Criticism

I've received several notes about this, and I know that some will receive this query as yet another knock against their favorite philosopher or style of philosophizing, or whatever.  But it's a somewhat serious question, and not peculiar to the particular example used here.

Here goes: Some philosophers seem to enjoy a kind of cult-like inoculation from critique; their fans proceed as if it were true that to study (or be sympathetic to) the philosopher in question is to never directly raise a criticism or him or her.  Of course, there are philosophical cults, where the true believers speak only amongst themselves, and never dream of criticizing their philosophical lord. But a slightly different-- perhaps even more disturbing--  trend seems increasingly common.  Here, the insiders often do raise criticisms, but then very quickly cancel them, as if to indicate that no criticism is ever properly targeted.  One might say they only mention criticisms, and never use them.

Here's a recent example, from an NDPR review of some new book by Derrida that I have no intention of reading:
It must be said, however, that the seminar on the death penalty will, to a large degree, be found somewhat unrewarding. . . . In many of the sessions, Derrida spent considerable time reading lengthy passages from works by [other] authors . . . often offering his listeners, and now his readers, little in the way of a detailed exegesis or explication, and rarely proceeding to flesh out possible relations with his own conceptual constellations, or with those of other thinkers. Accordingly, the reader is left with the feeling that considerable work remains to be done.  This, of course, should not be seen in an overly negative light. 
This is truly puzzling.  I take it that no criticism should be taken in in "overly negative light," if by "overly negative" one means excessively negative.  Each criticism should be seen in a light that is negative to the appropriate degree.  What else is new?  But the claim that the book consists largely of Derrida reading from the books of others, and then not offering commentary on those passages, strikes me as  a considerable defect. What was the point of mentioning this at all, unless one wants to raise it as a problem? Why mention it and then cancel it, as if it were no big deal?  Couldn't the reviewer just come out and say: "The lectures are flawed in that Derrida spends a lot of time quoting lengthy passages from other thinkers, without offering reason for doing so"? What the hell?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Herzog's Guide for the Perplexed

Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed  is not  the latest title in that Continuum series of introductory philosophy books, but rather a collection of interviews with Werner Herzog, spanning most of his career.   A short review is here. 

A lot of the "no bullshit" advice he offers to aspiring filmmakers can pretty easily be transposed into advice for tose pursuing a career in philosophy. 

I recommend that you buy a few copies and strategically leave them around your department lounge

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Aesthetics of Punk Rock

Several people have sent this to me, newly published at Philosophy Compass, "The Aesthetics of Punk Rock," by Jesse Prinz. I like the opening line:

"Philosophers should listen to punk rock."


I might post a more detailed reaction, should I have one, once I've had time to read the essay.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Joan Rivers Posse

Joan Rivers has a posse.  (Here.)

Betty White is alive.

Both are funnier than Robin Williams.

Why isn't Billy Joel dead yet?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jimi Jamison Posse

Jimi Jamison has a posse.  Who?

He was the singer for Survivor, but apparently not the singer on "Eye of the Tiger."  That guy's name is David Bickler, and he apparently left the group shortly after they had their hit, due to "voice issues."

The singer for Survivor is dead.  The jokes write themselves.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Annual Query

As you're getting ready to go back to teaching, you really must ask yourself: Was this your celebrated summer?

Some aids to reflection hereHere too.  Good luck, and be careful out there.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Even More Doom

As if the country weren't fucked enough already, there's this.

The pic alone should suffice to ruin your weekend.

But there is a bright side.

All documented, all true.....

Saturday, August 16, 2014

News of the World

A few items:

1. As you know, Robin Williams has a posse.  Here.

Would someone please tell every news outlet in America that the fact that people are sad that he died is not news?  (By the way, let's face it:  he was a second-rate comedian and more annoying than clever.)

2. As you also (probably) know, Lauren Bacall has a posse.  Here.

3. And Seven Seagal is punishing Pro-Russia forces in Ukraine.  Here.  "Music unites people."

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Philosophy In Review is Back

Good news: Philosophy In Review is back onlineThe Journal has a new publishing model and editorial team. 

Not Harsh Enough

Come to think of it, this review is not nearly as harsh as it should be.  The volume is a sorry mess. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Satanists to the Rescue

Once again... Satanists are on the side of good sense in church/state matters. They want to appeal to the Hobby Lobby ruling to get an exemption from state-mandated counseling session prior to having an abortion. 

“While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact”


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DOOM: Billy Joel

I just heard on NPR that Billy Joel is being awarded the "Gershwin Award for Popular Song" from the Library of Congress.  End the world now.

Fuck you, Billy Joel.

Spiros: 0
Hack Songwriter: 1

Monday, July 21, 2014

DOOM # 3410.0002

Bertrand Russell says somewhere that most people would rather die than think.  Here's a report on an experiment that suggests that many would rather shock themselves than think.

Happy Monday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

IKEA or Death?

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