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« Press Freedom and Confidentiality of Sources | Main | Francis Davis on the Blues »

December 03, 2004

More Elsewheres

Fenster Moop writes:

Dear Blowhards,

* Michael B. (Blowhard) recently linked to an interesting favorite films list. Here's another, a Brit version from the other Michael B. (Brooke).

* More on intellectual diversity here, here and here. Granted these articles are in rightish publications (Economist, WSJ and New Criterion), but there is a drumbeat out there. I wonder when people in the academy will notice? I work in one and find it a little odd that the subject has never come up.

Well, that's not quite true. When the other day counsel remarked that the new Provost's Diversity Fund for Faculty Hiring needed to be managed carefully so as not to be race-exclusive (or viewed as such), I remarked that perhaps it might be employed to bring in a Southern Baptist, an evangelical or a Republican for the sake of intellectual diversity. That was met with a mixture of cold stares and a few giggles. So it does appear people in higher education are vaguely aware of the discussion. It's just that they're not actually . . . discussing it. Yet.

* Is representation on the way back in? Can analysis be worthwhile? Is the theater really dead? (Thanks for tip: ALD).

* Tom Wolfe must have been interested in Stoicism a few years back since he chose to weave, or shove, its tenets into the plot of A Man in Full. His latest intellectual-interest-resulting-in-plot-contrivance is the science of the brain. If you are reading Charlotte Simmons (I've just started it) and missed Wolfe's article of a few years back on the subject, and his fascination with it, here it is ("Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died"). Worth reading.

* A scary tale about an easily-overlooked security vulnerability, from the most recent City Journal. By the way, CJ is one of those journals that lets it all hang out, publishing itself for free on the web in its entirety. Maybe this is a strategy. I've been feeling guilty and just sent in a check to subscribe.

* If you've evuh thought it would be satisfying to be royalty, drop by from time to time at the Prince of Wales's Diary, his daily schedule of events. That'll cure you right quick of any such lordly aspirations. It's downright stultifyin'. As Steve Miller of the Bohemian Grove once sang, Somebody give me a cheeseburger!

chs.jpg

Best,

Fenster

posted by Fenster at December 3, 2004




Comments

Curious, Fenster, why is that Wolfe's article is '04 dated? I just finished his book Hooking up, published in 2000 and read the essay there.
Aside, I was surprised to see him referring origins of Noosphere term to T.De Chardin, when every x-Soviet hi-schooler knows who's the author - Vladimir Vernadsky, and his theory is much more pleasing, IMO. A proof - they even called one of the major thoroughfares in Moscow his name, "Prospect Vernadsky", and have coordinated namesake subway station (second from the right, here)!
Aside-aside: Michael, Wolfe described T. de Chardin like a character for that "handsome priests' calendar" you linked to before, complete with coordinated platonic love stories. Good marketing technique?

Posted by: Tatyana on December 3, 2004 5:07 PM



City Journal is certainly a fee worthy site and I also had no problem sending them a check. I especially enjoy "Theodore Dalrymple" and would recommend his book "Life at the Bottom".
One of the disconcerting things about becoming attached to a site is that it could be discontinued at any time due to a lack of funds -a result even more disappointing than having my favorite TV show cancelled.

Posted by: big al on December 3, 2004 6:39 PM



Fascinating reference to Vernadsky. Thanks.

But I think the Wikipedia reference has it wrong: de Chardin would be happy to admit the emergence of the noosphere with the first humans. Moreover, de Chardin perceived the human altered landscape as the earlist and most direct manifestation of the noosphere. He was involved, peripherally but not coincidentally, through the Wenner Gren Foundation (of otherwise questionable history -- Wenner Gren himself was supposedly a Nazi sympathizer) with a seminal conference on Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth.

Posted by: David Sucher on December 3, 2004 6:56 PM



btw, "moreover" should really be "in fact" in the first sentence above.

Posted by: David Sucher on December 3, 2004 7:08 PM



Hey man, that ain't a cheeseburger. That's a double bacon cheeseburger. Don't diss a classic!

Posted by: ricpic on December 3, 2004 7:43 PM



Tom Wolfe has been interested in the Stoics for quite some time. I saw a lecture of his years ago where he talked about how the death of Christianity was going to lead to the reemergence of Greek and Roman schools of ethical thought.

I have also been worried for at least a few years by something that Wolfe said about Nietzsche and the 21st century:

*Nietzsche said that mankind would limp on through the twentieth century "on the mere pittance" of the old decaying God-based moral codes. But then, in the twenty-first, would come a period more dreadful than the great wars, a time of "the total eclipse of all values" (in The Will to Power ). *This would also be a frantic period of "revaluation," in which people would try to find new systems of values to replace the osteoporotic skeletons of the old. But you will fail, he warned, because you cannot believe in moral codes without simultaneously believing in a god who points at you with his fearsome forefinger and says "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not."

Go read the full article for the additional context it provides for Nietzsche's thinking. Wolfe has obviously thought about this and I think he believes that the old Greek and Roman moral philosophers need to be recovered for modern society to try to serve the place of the lost faith in Christianity.

I would also recommend this article about Wolfe from the UK Guardian 'The liberal elite hasn't got a clue'

Posted by: Randall Parker on December 3, 2004 8:03 PM






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