04w50:2 Erasing de Kooning

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 50 number 2 (erasing de Kooning)


Antonio Negri: The Nostalgic Revolutionary | Adrian Hamilton
“I try to think of a polite way to remind him of the fact that every communist revolution of the 20th century lead to tyranny and mass murder. And a nice way to say that communism was a betrayal of the democratic values of the left. […] Negri recently described the Soviet Union as ‘a society criss-crossed with extremely strong instances of creativity and freedom’, which is more than he has ever said for any democracy. He even says that the Soviet Union fell because it was too successful. I point this out, and he replies: ‘Now you are talking about memory. Who controls memory? Faced with the weight of memory, one must be unreasonable! Reason amounts to eternal Cartesianism. The most beautiful thing is to think ‘against’, to think ‘new’. Memory prevents revolt, rejection, invention, revolution.’ He leans back as though he has brilliantly rebutted any critique of communism. So, is he seriously saying that we should never look at history, that the left should carry on as though communism was a great success, that we should not reconsider our values at all? […] None of the world’s real problems – from poverty to tyranny to climate change – are discussed in Negri’s work, except to claim that the poor are ‘more alive’, and the citizens of liberal democracies are living under the ‘real tyranny’, and… oh, I give up. It’s not just that this preacher of Empire has no clothes; he is living in an intellectual nudist colony. There are some important anti-globalisation writers, such as Monbiot and Joseph Stiglitz. But Negri is trying to keep alive a patient – Marxism – whose heart stopped beating long ago. So, this is where revolutionary Marxism comes to die. It has been reduced to an obscure parlour game for ageing bourgeois nostalgics, played out a few feet from Buckingham Palace by an old terrorist who needs us to forget.”

The philosopher as dangerous liar | Patrick West
“In his 1977 pamphlet Forget Foucault, the eminent French social historian Jean Baudrillard argued that Foucault’s writings are themselves discourses in power that impose their own narrative, projecting their own will to truth. Those who lionise this ‘author’ today, devoted as they are to this source of power-knowledge, continue to contradict themselves. Perhaps it is time to take heed of Baudrillard’s exhortation. Perhaps it is time to forget Foucault.”

Feeling sorry for Rosalind Krauss | Roger Kimball
“It is easy to be exasperated with Rosalind Krauss. She is pretentious, obscurantist, and mean-spirited. Enjoying a position of great academic respect, she has, through her writings, teaching, and editorship of October, exercised a large and baneful influence on contemporary writing and thinking about culture. In the end, however, one’s exasperation is likely to be mixed with pity. Here is a woman who has devoted her professional life to art and ideas but who clearly has no feeling for art and for whom ideas are ghostly playthings utterly cut off from reality.” Article date May 1993

The Derrida Industry | Brian Leiter
“Of course, even Wittgenstein and Heidegger are controversial choices, though in terms of sheer impact, they are plainly in a wholly different league from Derrida, so much so that anyone knowledgeable about 20th-century European and Anglophone philosophy and intellectual culture must laugh out loud at Professor Taylor’s dishonest hyperbole. (Why do those in literary studies think the intellectual world revolves around their once proud discipline, now enfeebled by three decades of bad philosophy, bad history, and bad social science?) […]If he had become a football player as he had apparently hoped, or taken up honest work of some other kind, then we might simply remember him as a ‘good man.’ But he devoted his professional life to obfuscation and increasing the amount of ignorance in the world: by ‘teaching’ legions of earnest individuals how to read badly and think carelessly. He may have been a morally decent man, but he led a bad life, and his legacy is one of shame for the humanities.” NOTE: a blog posting taking Mark Taylor’s opinion piece (orignally in the New York Times and readable here) to task for his ‘dishonest hyperbole’ with a breakdown and argument with his points.

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emailed by Timothy on Friday 10 December 2004 @ 6:30 PM

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