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Sex-Pos Fem

This is like the problem I'm having is Paglia. I'm reading Sexual Personnae. Sometimes when I read I visualize the author reciting the material. So when I read Sexual State of the Union, at poignant parts, I would imagine Susie Bright reading the excerpt in question at a bookstore to about 50 seated adults, professing it to College lecture hall of about 120 students, or reading in a studio over a mic for Audible listeners. With Sexual Personnae, I envisioned Paglia conversing in a very imitate, small circle that included Harold Bloom and 4 others at the most, at some wine and cheese reception that was $689 a head (the number of pages). That doesn't bode well to me as far as feminist repertoire goes. Who is this for I wondered? I understood her points, but I felt like I was eavesdropping. I think the essence of feminism is embracing distinct, individual frames of reference and, with it's two "i's", self-reflection. How could that not be approachable? Of course I'm still going to read all her book before jumping to conclusions, out of respect for the fact another theorist. But I like that all the other sex-positive texts I've come across are in first person semi-biographical format. They are speaking from personal experience and not projecting. I have post-modern leanings so I like hybrid texts that fuse high and low art forms. I also prefer horizontal arrangements for feminist rhetoric, as in Bi Any Other Name, rather than pyramidal. Like you said I don't think accesible automatically means hacky. And if it does, so what? Like Dodson said "fuck the New York Times". Reclaim hacky and everyone wins.

Greta

Wow. You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. I could never get myself motivated to read much Paglia. I've read a couple of her articles and interviews, and she always makes my blood pressure go up, for the reasons you cite among many others. I think if I tried to make it through "Sexual Personae" I'd have a seizure. I just take this stuff way too personally...

So what do you mean by "horizontal arrangements"? I haven't heard that phrase before.

Sex-Pos Fem

By horizontal arrangements I mean that lay people contribute or feel some egalitarian connection to the leadership and this makes each investment more personal.

Ralph Wilson

This sort of gibberish is why most British and American philosophy depts. got so frustrated with all the nonsense they felt was in fashion in modern continental philosophy, that they essentially abandoned most of the original turf of philosophy to conduct a good spring cleaning. They decided before we could make much progress on the Big Questions, we'd better clean up how we spoke. They call it analytic philosophy and the short version is this: instead of asking "What is the good?" They ask "When we say something is good, what do we mean by this?"

Interstingly enough the whole field is divided between two rival schools of thought, both started by the same guy, Ludwig Wittgenstein. And when he was at oxford he would often be spotted stalking across the campus in a blue funk muttering over and over to himself "Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein, you are talking nonsense!"

One more bit of philoisophy gossip that may help explain why you lose the thread of old JPS after the first chapter or so: Sartre was a lifelong amphetamine user and always used it in abundance and non-stop when he was writing Philosophy. Not so with his plays and fiction which I find benefit from the omission.If you have any first hand aquaintance with stimulant abusers, you may have noticed: their conviction that they are getting smarter and smarter outlasts any shred of evidence to support that view. Why johnny can't blink.

To me,Nietzche and Camus could write. With a beat you could dance to even. The rest of the existential/phenomenolgy crowd verge on self-satire a lot of the time.

Greta

Oh, my God. Sartre was a speed freak? That explains EVERYTHING. Nobody but a speed freak could babble quite so incoherently (and at such length) about total bullshit while being absolutely convinced that what they're saying is both uniquely brilliant and urgently important. God knows I spent enough of my youth being drug-addled... but at least I knew in the cold light of day that "Tom Peterson has stuff written on the back of his head" didn't have the same total-perspective-rearranging impact it seemed to the night before...

I guess I should give Nietzsche and Camus a try. My memory of Nietzsche is that he seemed like a macho jerk, but it's been many years since I've read him. I've stayed away from Camus, mostly because he seemed totally depressing (something I never understood about the Exis, why the whole "your life is totally your own with no external meaning or guiding hand" thing was supposed to suck so badly). But maybe I'm not being fair. I have a friend who insists that Thomas Hardy is a laff riot... maybe Camus is the same.

Marcia M Eaton

Hi:I read and enjoyed your comments about Sartre. I am not a good person to comment on its general fairness, since philosophers like me who are trained in the analytic tradition (most of us in phil depts in the US, United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Australi, New Zealand, Canada) don't know much about "continental" philosophy---Sartre, Heidigger, Kirkegaard, etc. Since you give phil of science a "good" rating, I think you'd prefer writings in the analytic tradition in general. Like you I find the continental group maddeningly dense, self-satisfied, etc. Their object seems to be to mystify rather than to clarify. The best excuse I've heard for this is that they try to get at knowledge via a poetic rather than a logical path. "Modern philosophy" can go both ways. I can recommend some great analytic articles for those interested----Including, of course, some of my own.

Clytia

Just a thought: isn't the English Sartre we have to read in translation? Could it not simply be the translator's fault that it sounds and reads like bullshit?

I've found this with a few German philosophers that I studied (I was a philosophy major) and being German, and understanding the language, the original was a hell of a lot more accessible.

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