If you belong to the academy, it is all you can do to “keep up” with your ever-narrower specialty. An obsession with method, mirroring the culture’s obsession with “information,” buries ideas. If you resist specialization, you are drawn toward the hall of mirrors called “theory” – it becomes a full-time occupation to find your way down the shimmering corridors. Odds are that you do not take pleasure from what you read, for social criticism today is professionalized, self-enclosed, and segregated, like the rest of our intellectual discourse. To write accessibly, on the other hand, is to take seriously the democratic faith.

Todd Gitlin, in his 1990 introduction to Philip Slater’s The Pursuit of Loneliness.

Listening to Lost Languages

The New York Times has a fascinating profile on “Lost Languages, Found in New York”:

These are not just some of the languages that make New York the most linguistically diverse city in the world. They are part of a remarkable trove of endangered tongues that have taken root in New York — languages born in every corner of the globe and now more commonly heard in various corners of New York than anywhere else.

Fake Names.

Joni Mitchell harshly criticized Bob Dylan in a recent interview with the L.A. Times: 

“Bob is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I.” (via.)

Just a thought: Is an alias really fake? Really a deception? Or isn’t actually more authentic – after all it is the name you chose yourself to fit your identity, not the name your parents chose before your identity as it is right now even existed.

Because I Can, Not Because I Care.

Today is the first election in my adult life that I might not take part in. I might choose to opt-out, not to vote. Because of the lack of difference I see between the imcumbent and his contestants. They’re all green-liberal-left-ish. All middle-ages white males. All use the same common sense slogans in their campaign rhetoric. I prefer no one. No outcome would feel like a disaster, no outcome would make me happy. I feel indifferent. About politics. For the first time in my voting life. 

On the other hand, being able to vote, to make a contribution to the political landscape and future of “my” community, however small the impact might be. I think the main problem isn’t the lack of difference between the candidates, it’s my indifference toward my community. I do not feel like a part of the ‘imagined communtiy.’ I don’t even oppose it enough to actively vote against it. The community that sourrounds me, the people and things I care about are not dependent on this town. Because they don’t live here. Because things happen here not because they happen here, they just happen here. I feel deeply connected to people, concepts and things. But not to places. 

If I vote today, I will vote because I can. Not because I care.

Top Ten Colleges.

Maureen Henderson over at the Bitch Magazine blog published a hilarious “Top Ten Collegiate Top Ten Lists That Reflect Qualities More Interesting Than A School’s Propensity for Partying” list to rival Playboy’s Top Ten Party Colleges list:

10. Top ten sedate, herbal tea drinking and 17th century philosophy
9. Top ten Modern Whig Party schools
8. Top ten schools at which if you say “Playboy,” someone will respond with “Cad”
“Rake” or “Lothario”
7. Top ten schools having the greatest percentage of the student body who know all
the lyrics to Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA
6. Top ten schools more concerned with Gini coefficient than Bikini Index
5. Top ten party until a reasonable hour, but still get a full night’s sleep and
wake up to eat a decent breakfast and make it to 8:30 AM Microeconomics

4. Top ten schools in which the members of the campus chapter of the Society for
Creative Anachronism get more action than the basketball and football teams
3. Top ten Party of Five rerun-watching schools
2. Top ten schools at which using the word “co-ed” as a noun would earn you a
withering look, if not an outright ass kicking
1. Top ten schools that define “party"as simply an incorrect conjugation of the French
verb partir

I would like to add "Top Ten schools that replace profanities with names of French philosophers.”

Foucault yeah, Beauvoir.