Foucault On ‘Blackmail Serving To Limit The Exercise Of Criticism’

In ‘Questions of Method: An Interview with Michel Foucault‘ (from After Philosophy: End or Transformation?, eds. Kenneth Baynes, James Bohman, and Thomas McCarthy, MIT Press, 1987, pp. 114), Foucault responds to the question of whether his writings in Discipline and Punish had an ‘anaesthetizing effect’ on ‘social workers in prisons’: Paralysis isn’t the same thing asContinue reading “Foucault On ‘Blackmail Serving To Limit The Exercise Of Criticism’”

On Not Participating In A Collective Mourning

It’s an odd business to not be participating in a collective mourning. By ‘collective,’ of course, I mean ‘seemingly widespread and ubiquitous within my social space.’ In this case, I’m referring to the mourning following the death of Prince last week. There are: musical tributes, personal testimonials, remembrances, markers in public spaces–all the manifestations of aContinue reading “On Not Participating In A Collective Mourning”

A Memorable Brawl, A Template For Fantasies Of Resistance

Despite a personal history that showcases an active interest–participatory, not just spectatorial–in the pugilistic arts of boxing, I’ve not been able to bring myself to become a fan of ‘mixed martial arts’ or ‘UFC’ or what have you. But that does not mean I cannot appreciate the skills of the martial arts. I did, afterContinue reading “A Memorable Brawl, A Template For Fantasies Of Resistance”

William H. Gass On The Dialectical Nature Of Love

In Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translations (Perseus Books, New York, 1999, pp. 13) William H. Gass writes: During childhood, contradiction paves every avenue of feeling, and we grow up in bewilderment like a bird in a ballroom, with all that space and none meant for flying, a wide shining floor and nowhere to light.Continue reading “William H. Gass On The Dialectical Nature Of Love”

A Memento Of Fellow Travelers, Long Since Moved On

I have in my possession, one photograph of the only graduation (‘commencement’) ceremony I have ever attended–that for my first graduate degree, in ‘computer and information science.’ (I did not want to attend the ceremony, expecting it to be tedious in the extreme–it was–but I did want to send a keepsake back to my motherContinue reading “A Memento Of Fellow Travelers, Long Since Moved On”

The Virtuous, Ubiquitous Skipping Of Lines And Pages

In Immortality (HarperCollins, New York, 1990), Milan Kundera writes, If a reader skips a single sentence of my novel he won’t be able to understand it, and yet where in the world will you find a reader who never skips a line? Am I not myself the greatest skipper of lines and pages? As a childContinue reading “The Virtuous, Ubiquitous Skipping Of Lines And Pages”

Prisons And Boarding Schools: The Informer Phenomenon

I’ve made note here, on this blog, on some interesting similarities between prisons and boarding schools: the discipline, the regulation of time, the uniforms, the social dynamics. Yet another similarity may be found in the ubiquity of informers: moles, spies, double-agents, leakers, snitches–call them what you will–conduits for the passage for information to administrative andContinue reading “Prisons And Boarding Schools: The Informer Phenomenon”

Democratic Party No Longer Against Citizens United

I concede the stage today to Glenn Greenwald, who lays out the charge compactly: FOR YEARS, THE Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United was depicted by Democrats as the root of all political evil. But now, the core argument embraced by the Court’s conservatives to justify their ruling has taken center stage in the Democratic primary betweenContinue reading “Democratic Party No Longer Against Citizens United”

Self-Policing In Response To Pervasive Surveillance

On Thursday night, in the course of conversation with some of my Brooklyn College colleagues, I confessed to having internalized a peculiar sort of ‘chilling effect’ induced by a heightened sensitivity to our modern surveillance state. To wit, I said something along the lines of “I would love to travel to Iran and Pakistan, butContinue reading “Self-Policing In Response To Pervasive Surveillance”

Simone Beauvoir On Psychotherapeutic Healing As Mutilation

In Simone de Beauvoir‘s The Mandarins (WW Norton, New York, 1954; 1999, pp. 64), Anne Dubreuilh, a practicing psychoanalyst wonders: Why does healing so often mean mutilating? What value does personal adjustment have in an unjust society?….My objective isn’t to give my patients a false feeling of inner peace; if I seek to deliver them from their personalContinue reading “Simone Beauvoir On Psychotherapeutic Healing As Mutilation”