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Bernard-Henri Lévy’s new book continues [his] combat against Hegel and Marx as founding fathers of totalitarianism. But with it, [BHL] takes another step– pushing the fight deeper into philosophical history by attacking Kant. He draws on the scholarship of Jean-Baptiste Botul, whose lectures in Paraguay after World War II demonstrated that Kant, for all his talk of reason, was quite mad. Thanks to the courage of BHL in thinking through the implications of this analysis, we shall now be able to face reality with greater lucidity. Or we might– if Jean-Baptiste Botul actually existed. In fact, Botul is the pen name used for several books composed by a satirist named Frédéric Pagès. One might have guessed as much, given that the very title of the work BHL draws upon, La vie sexuelle d’Emmanuel Kant, sounds like a joke. (The philosopher made Steve Carrell’s character in The Forty Year-Old Virgin look like a libertine.) –“Critique of Impure Reason,” Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed
It usually takes an author decades to win fawning reviews, march up the best-seller list and become a finalist for a major book prize. Helene Hegemann, just 17, did it with her first book, all in the space of a few weeks, and despite a savaging from critics over plagiarism… Ms. Hegemann finds herself in the middle of a collision— if not road kill exactly— between the staid, literary establishment in a country that venerates writers from Goethe to Mann to Grass, and the Berlin youth culture of D.J.’s and artists that sample freely and thereby breathe creativity into old forms. Or as one character, Edmond, puts it in the book, “Berlin is here to mix everything with everything.” A powerful statement, but the line originally was written [by another author,] Airen, on his blog… Although Ms. Hegemann has apologized for not being more open about her sources, she has also defended herself as the representative of a different generation, one that freely mixes and matches from the whirring flood of information across new and old media, to create something new. “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity,” said Ms. Hegemann. –Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,” Not Plagiarism,” Nicholas Kulish, New York Times
Let’s get my judgment of Thomas Sowell’s new book out of the way first. There is not a single interesting idea in its more than three-hundred pages. Purporting to deal with the role that intellectuals play in society, it offers no discussion of literature, music, and the arts. While containing copious references to Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, its index lacks references to Lionel Trilling, Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, Daniel Bell, Jürgen Habermas, Raymond Aron, Mary McCarthy, Michael Walzer, Amartya Sen, and countless others known to have put an interesting idea or two into circulation. It recycles ancient clichés about the academic world and never questions its author’s conviction that those who share his right-wing views are always right. Jonah Goldberg calls it “an instant classic.” Case closed. –“The Joyless Mind,” Alan Wolfe, The New Republic
Mapping the global sense of computer inter-connectivity only suggests how far apart we truly are;
but the Internet has yet to destroy our prurient interest in each other’s lives, thank God;
however, these steamy videos of Angela Lansbury might do the trick
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. “There was a ‘woof’ sound,” said a witness, “like falling on your face into your pillow.”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”