Tuesday, June 29, 2010

*** Is Not Great

A reader writes in:

I know you saw the new Rush documentary and didn't like it. I watched it on VH-1 last weekend, and loved it. No need to argue. But I wanted to call attention to the fact that there's a scene in the movie where Alex and Geddy are flying on a plane, each reading a book. Alex is reading Hitchens' distinctively yellow God is Not Great. I've checked with people who saw the film in a theater, and they've confirmed that the title of the book is clearly visible in the shot. But when it aired on VH-1, they pixelated the book cover! What's the fuck up with that?
Wow. That's pretty remarkable. The book was indeed visible and not blurred in the theater version of the documentary. I wonder what the motivation is? Is it objectionable for networks even to acknowledge that sometimes atheists write books? Someone should write to VH-1 about this.

Monday, June 28, 2010

CFP: Can I Play with Madness?

Apparently this is not a joke. Thanks to David W. for calling this bit of DOOM to my attention...
3rd Global Conference
Heavy Fundametalisms: Can I Play with Madness?
Metal, Dissonance, Madness and Alienation

Monday 8th November – Wednesday 10th November 2010 Prague, Czech Republic

Call for Papers
From the outset of the forging Heavy Metal's music and culture, madness has been an ever present theme. From Black Sabbath's Paranoid through Iron Maiden's Can I Play with Madness? to the more recent Psychosocial chant from Slipknot, madness and mental illness are just of the few well known examples has featured in the Metal mainstream. It is a fascination with madness that further belches out on to the surface from the metal underground. Madness is not confined to the lyrical and musical expressions of the artists, but can be used to describe features of the entire metal scene in its exuberant expression of alienation, by individuals through to the chaotic theatre of the pit.

This third conference in the series Heavy Fundametalisms invites submissions on the theme of heavy Metal, madness, dissonance and alienation.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting Old?

I had the misfortune of being at a shopping mall yesterday. It of course was the usual mess of annoyances. However, I saw something unexpected. A mother was waking with two young daughters (I heard them call her "mommy"). She was wearing a tight t-shirt that said across the chest "Rub Them For Good Luck."

I must be getting old. Is there some hidden message behind the obvious one? Could someone explain this?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Editors Publishing in their Own Journals

I can't go into the details of why, but I've just been looking at a CV that has several publications in a journal I don't read and do not know much about. So I took a look at the recent volumes of this journal with a view towards getting a sense of its scope and quality. What should one make of the fact that the journal regularly publishes work written by its editor?

I'm not talking about the typical editorial note or "introduction" that one finds at the beginning of many journals. Editor-authored notes about the journal's business, or announcements, or brief descriptions of the journal's contents are common and unobjectionable. I'm talking about a journal which regularly publishes papers by the editor. For the journal in question, it seems that more than half of the issues in any given (and recent) year have articles by the editor. I was taken aback by this. I'd supposed that being the editor of a journal meant not publishing papers in that journal, except in special and rare circumstances. My view of the quality of the journal has also been negatively affected. Views?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stanley Fish: Not Dumb?

Holy crap! Did Stanley Fish just write something that's not infuriatingly dumb??

You be the judge.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Worse than Rorty

The cover to the original edition of Rorty's The Linguistic Turn is indeed horrific. But A. J. Ayer is the clear winner of this contest....

"Against Rank"

A puzzling piece titled "Against Rank" by one Jeffrey R. Di Leo has just been posted to Inside Higher Ed. The thesis, it seems, is that it is a sign of "good health" that the humanities disciplines have not "caught rank and brand fever like many of the other disciplines in the American academy." I'm not sure exactly what the case for that thesis is supposed to be, because the rest of the article simply notes that the specific specializations and sub-fields within humanities disciplines have their own journals; and this makes overall rankings across sub-fields difficult (or is the claim that it's impossible?). Di Leo then goes further to say that rankings within the sub-fields is "not very useful," because each person working in the sub-field will have "their own highly idiosyncratic" ranking of the journals in the sub-field. I'm not sure why this is a sign of health. By the end of the article, Di Leo has changed the thesis to the claim that journal rankings in the humanities are "not a worthwhile endeavor," and humanities professors should be "proud" that their disciplines have avoided "rank and brand fever."

I find this piece utterly confused. Anyone care to explain it to me?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

1968 Book Cover

I just came across my original 1968 edition of Rorty's edited collection, The Linguistic Turn. Dig the groovy cover:

Those were the days.... Hilarious.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pop Culture and Philosophy, more DOOM

Good news! If you're unable to get your work published in peer reviewed professional venues, and are looking to waste time on something completely impotent, but would nevertheless like to deceive yourself and others into thinking you're taking the intellectual high-road by bringing philosophy to the masses, there's still time to submit an abstract for the forthcoming volume on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy!

The editors claim to have special interest in several topics, including the topic of "Pessimism (Should we curb our enthusiasm?)." Enthusiasm and optimism are apparently synonyms. But it's no matter. The purpose of every book in the series is simply to make money off of people who collect merchandise related to their favorite TV show (or movie, or band, or low-carb diet....) by filling books with poorly written and shallow philosophy essays.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ridiculous Jesus Destroyed

No doubt many of you are aware of the existence of a 62-foot statue of Jesus in Monroe, Ohio. In case, not, here's a photo of the stupid thing:

Good news! It was struck by lightening last night. The lightening set it on fire, and the fire destroyed it. See some awesome video here. If anyone has pics, please share.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Channeling Summers

Don't ask me why, but I found myself a few nights ago at a screening of the Rush documentary that's been making the rounds. Yes, I intensely dislike the band. The documentary did not change my disposition towards the band and their juvenile Randian agenda. But I did hear something priceless on the way out. A young woman said to her apparent boyfriend the following:

"I'll tell you why girls hate Rush. They're math rock. And we hate math."


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rawls: Consequentialist

I hate to piggy-back on the celebrated Professor Leiter, but this piece by David Rose in the CSM really is the dumbest thing I've read in a long while. Yes, the consequentialist / nonconsequentialist distinction is botched; yes, Rose has no idea about legal theory, recent or otherwise; yes, Rose gets Rawls stupendously, horrifically wrong. But the best part has to be that Rose's own argument is a consequentialist one!

Would someone please write a note to the to the CSM giving Rose the beat-down he has earned. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Police: "Prove You're a Philosopher!"

A friend attended that crazy philosophy conference in Athens last week, and just received the following note from a colleague, who was also in attendance:

On the walk to my hotel after the last night of the conference, I was stopped and detained by the police. As I was walking past the parliament building a police officer stopped me and asked me for my passport. I didn't have my passport, so he called for backup. They questioned me for a while--what are you here for, what's in your bag, etc. Eventually, I told them I was a philosopher, and they asked me to "prove" it!! How they fuck am I supposed to prove I'm a philosopher? I wanted to give him an argument against god's existence but I didn't want to thrown in prison and miss my flight! Eventually they let me go.