Stray Thoughts

  • Camille Paglia has a lovely theory that Jimi Hendrix makes Jacques Derrida obsolete. I believe I subscribe to it.
  • I don’t like the tendency of some on the radical left to jokingly romanticize guillotines and other images of the French Revolution. I think Jacobin is a downright scary name for a magazine, and I don’t think there’s a very good way to be ironic about mass murder.
  • The American anthropologist Clifford Geertz, famous for his notion of “thick description” (whatever that means), was one of the most long-winded bores I have ever witnessed on video.
  • Even in the digital era, it is a relatively straightforward matter to eke out a low-paying writing career by denouncing popular films as racist.
  • Another thing Camille Paglia said that I believe: there are no tenured radicals. There is a myth of the university as being full of Marxist revolutionaries. In fact, it’s full of pencil-pushers. There’s a reason many of them call themselves “Marxians” instead of “Marxists.”
  • I wonder what Malala is actually like. I have no idea. Do you think it has all gone to her head? What does it feel like to be Malala?
  • I think I was born in the wrong era. I would like to have been born in 2232. Or later. At least after a cure for death has been found.
  • I’ve finally concluded that Woody Allen makes mostly terrible films and civilization wouldn’t be worse off for losing them all. Even Annie Hall, in which he’s completely unbearable. Also, looking back on the Cosby Show, Bill Cosby’s character was always more of a mean curmudgeon than a loving dad. I would have been scared of him. Let’s just jettison and forget these rapists’ entire outputs to teach a lesson to future sex criminals.
  • The struggle against totalitarian versions of Islam has been co-opted by the right wing. The 30 young socialists who were killed today by ISIS were far more significant opponents of Islamic extremism than George W. Bush ever was or will be. The American right inflames extremism through war and racism, while gentle Kurdish socialists end up bearing the cost.