CP Snow On ‘The Rich And The Poor’

In 1959, while delivering his soon-to-be-infamous Rede Lectures on ‘The Two Cultures‘ at Cambridge University, C. P. Snow–in the third section, titled ‘The Rich and the Poor’–said, [T]he people in the industrialised countries are getting richer, and those in the non-industrialised countries are at best standing still: so that the gap between the industrialised countriesContinue reading “CP Snow On ‘The Rich And The Poor’”

Steven Salaita And The Anger Of the Subjugated

In response to my post yesterday, which I crossposted over at the NewAPPS blog, a couple of readers there wondered about the analogy I had drawn between Professor F and Steven Salaita‘s cases. Reader Meir Alon suggested my comparison was ‘very wrong’, Darius Jedburgh said my comparison of Salaita was, indeed, ‘slanderous’, and yet anotherContinue reading “Steven Salaita And The Anger Of the Subjugated”

Being Reductive About Sport (And How Silly It Is)

Some folks dislike sport. I use the word ‘dislike’ advisedly; the members of this cohort are not offering critical, politically tinged analysis of sport’s entanglement with big business and its value schemas; they are not exposing sport’s use as an ideology promulgating system, it’s supposed facilitation of political disengagement; they are not critiquing sport forContinue reading “Being Reductive About Sport (And How Silly It Is)”

The US Information Service and the Power of Air Conditioning

Shortly before my teen years commenced, my parents arranged a library membership for me at the American Library in New Delhi. (The library was administered by the United States Information Service; its membership rules only allowed adults as members, but my parents spoke to the librarians, signed up for two library cards, and handed themContinue reading “The US Information Service and the Power of Air Conditioning”

History as Chronicle of the Inevitable

From Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America: [A]s Lindbergh’s election couldn’t have made clearer to me, the unfolding of the unforeseen was everything. Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as “History,” harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable.  The terrorContinue reading “History as Chronicle of the Inevitable”

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”

Displacements of, Not Solutions to, Philosophical Problems: A Quick Primer

A close, critical reader is worth his weight in gold. I am reminded of this whenever I share a bit of writing with someone who proceeds to clear up confusions deftly and rapidly, and sometimes, represents my position better than I had managed. In part of a rough piece of writing tucked away somewhere, IContinue reading “Displacements of, Not Solutions to, Philosophical Problems: A Quick Primer”

Bridging Partisan Divides with Patriotism? No Thanks.

Have you, dear reader, seen the latest cinematic masterpiece making the rounds of YouTube channels, ‘Americans, Fuck Yeah‘? (I lie ever so slightly; the actual title is just ‘Americans’.) Directed by James Stafford and starring musical maestro Kid Rock and actor and director Sean Penn, it aims to bring Americans together, to bridge partisan divides,Continue reading “Bridging Partisan Divides with Patriotism? No Thanks.”

Against Commencement Cermonies

I have never sat through a commencement address; I have never managed to finish watching a recommended one on YouTube; and I certainly have not ever read one to the end. (The other day, in a bookstore, I noticed a little book containing an apparently famous one delivered by David Foster Wallace; I couldn’t finishContinue reading “Against Commencement Cermonies”

Breaking News: The US Supreme Court is a Political Institution

Yesterday in Florence vs. Board of Freeholders, the US Supreme Court ruled that if you are arrested–for any reason whatsoever–the law-enforcement officials in charge of you can strip-search you. Over at ScotusBlog, Lyle Denniston sums it up a little better: Insisting that it has no expertise in how to run a jail or prison, theContinue reading “Breaking News: The US Supreme Court is a Political Institution”