Woody Allen’s Guide to Civil Disobedience and Revolution

Today is Easter Sunday. Jesus was a Jew and a rebel. So, on this great day in Jewish history, and in honor of Jewish rebellion, here is Woody Allen on civil disobedience and revolutions. In perpetrating a revolution, there are two requirements: someone or something to revolt against and someone to actually show up andContinue reading “Woody Allen’s Guide to Civil Disobedience and Revolution”

The Twenties: A Rush to Judgment Would Be Premature

In ‘Semi-Charmed Life: The Twentysomethings Are Allright’, (The New Yorker, January 14 2013) Nathan Heller writes: Recently, many books have been written about the state of people in their twenties….Few decades of experience command such dazzled interest (the teen-age years are usually written up in a spirit of damage control; the literature of fiftysomethings isContinue reading “The Twenties: A Rush to Judgment Would Be Premature”

Returning to Writing (And How It Sucks)

On Wednesday, I resumed work on a philosophy book project that has been on the back-burner for a while. More precisely, I have not worked on it since July 2012. (The fall semester of 2012 saw me teaching three classes, all of them essentially new preparations, and then, like, a baby was born.) Back inContinue reading “Returning to Writing (And How It Sucks)”

Marriage: It Ain’t a Religious Thing

Last year, I wrote a post on same-sex marriage, or rather, on Barack Obama’s evolving views on it. In that post, I handed out some unsolicited advice to the President, suggesting he view marriage in its social and economic context, and noting that there were too many similarities between the explicitly institutionalized racism of theContinue reading “Marriage: It Ain’t a Religious Thing”

Academic Arguments, Sports, and Urban Policing as ‘War’

In the introduction to The Social Construction of What? Ian Hacking writes: Labels such as ‘‘the culture wars,’’ ‘‘the science wars,’’ or ‘‘the Freud wars’’ are now widely used to refer to some of the disagreements that plague contemporary intellectual life. I will continue to employ those labels, from time to time, in this book, for my themesContinue reading “Academic Arguments, Sports, and Urban Policing as ‘War’”

Writer and Reader, Bound Together

Tim Parks, in the New York Review of Books blog, writes on the always interesting, sometimes vexed relationship between writers and their readers, one made especially interesting by the blogger and his mostly anonymous readers and commentators: As with the editing process…there is the question of an understanding between writer and reader about what kindContinue reading “Writer and Reader, Bound Together”

Ten Years After: War Criminals Still Walk Free

You call someone a ‘mass-murdering war criminal’, you best not miss.  And so, when I use that term to describe the unholy troika of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld–as I have in the past–I should have very good reasons for doing so. Fortunately, that isn’t hard to do: a pretty systematic caseContinue reading “Ten Years After: War Criminals Still Walk Free”

The 1944 Mayor’s Committee on Marihuana Report

Today’s post continues a theme initiated yesterday: sensible views on drugs, expressed many, many years ago. Yesterday’s post referenced the New York Academy of Medicine’s 1955 report on opiate addiction. Today’s post goes back even further, to 1944. Then, as reefer madness swept the nation (WWII notwithstanding), New York City became the focus of aContinue reading “The 1944 Mayor’s Committee on Marihuana Report”

The New York Academy of Medicine on Opiate Addiction circa 1955

I’ve had a battered paperback titled Drugs and the Mind on my shelves for a while now, unread. As I’ve begun a minor purge of my shelves to get rid of books in bad condition, I’ve finally decided to give it a gander before giving it a toss. Written by one Robert S. DeRopp, itContinue reading “The New York Academy of Medicine on Opiate Addiction circa 1955”

Physical and Psychological Affordance

According to Wikipedia, ‘an affordance is a quality of an object, or an environment, which allows an individual to perform an action. For example, a knob affords twisting, and perhaps pushing, while a cord affords pulling.’ (A photograph of a tea set in the Wikipedia entry bears the caption, ‘The handles on this tea set provide anContinue reading “Physical and Psychological Affordance”