Blog Archives

stoic saints at the cotillion

A scowling look is altogether unnatural; when it is often assumed, the result is that all comeliness dies away, and at last is so completely extinguished that it cannot be again lighted up at all. Try to conclude from this

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Posted in general observations, literature, philosophy

Under compulsion George Saunders

Under the mild compulsion of a freshly sold book (of a paperback edition no less) foisted on him by a fan, George Saunders made a fairly game effort at fulfilling a verbose inscription request. Requested text: I endorse without reservation

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Posted in literature, meta

It was a dark and stormy night. Hugo Chavez and Konstantin Levin stopped to debate crop yields

This was the comandante’s strategy in a nutshell : Whatever the problem, tell a story. Turn a problem into a narrative, make the country an audience, and hold its attention. Cuba , he said, had lent cloud -seeding equipment that

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Posted in literature

19th century continental philosophy solves a number of present day domestic and foreign issues in one fell swoop (LitPolEcon 1/3)

On the other hand, what was it that delayed the fall of Rome? It was bread and circuses.  What is being done in our day? Is consideration being given to any means of amusement? On the contrary, our doom is

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Posted in literature, philosophy

The transcendent petty vs. the tantalizing escapism of the grim truth tellers

Philosophical romanciers and romantic philosophers: my mode of consumption is the same for for both. Stern analyses of the functioning of inner selves and outer realities should somehow prepare one to briskly engage with the world, but there’s nothing like

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Posted in literature

saints, cakes, aphorisms

I’ve been considering a canon of saints I can believe in, saints of hypocrisy, self-contradiction, misplaced self-knowledge, and other forms of effortfully baroque recursion. Such a deprecated approach to life, but hypocrisy is the best way of having your cake and

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Posted in literature, philosophy

More James

Henry James has plenty of explicit classical references, but his ties to the classical world go beyond that for me. It’s an autobiographical fact that, although a heavy consumer off early and mid period James, the later novels were hard

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Posted in literature