Noosphere Blues

[ Wednesday, May 28, 2003 ]

 
Joe Lieberman has always struck me as a sanctimonious bore, and I'm not nearly ready to change my mind on that. But somehow some not entirely soporific, indeed vaguely interesting, and promising, futuristic ideas seem have snuck onto his web site, which otherwise, as David Weinberger writes, "has all the excitment of a Claritin ad." Weinberger, by the way, rates current politico-web sites in his excellent piece on "The Internet Constituency". (thanks to Donna Wentworth)
Phil [3:43 PM]

[ Tuesday, May 27, 2003 ]

 
For some weird reason I find this account of how Chris Hedges (author of the anti-war war reporter's memoir War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning) got hounded off the stage by right-wing blowhards at Rockford College perversely encouraging. I think it spells the beginning of the end of the (spurious) notion that conservatives are champions of free speech victimized by a supposedly dominant left-liberal political intellectual culture. That kind of whining opportunistic and cynical victimology awaits and well deserves the kind of satirical skewering once accorded "radical chic" way back in a day when there arguably was such a thing.
Phil [3:43 PM]

[ Friday, May 23, 2003 ]

 
If you want to try to help R.U. Sirius put the finishing touches on his forthcoming epic history of counter-cultures through the millenia(tentatively titled, I believe, From Abraham to Acid-House) head over to Jakeneck.
Phil [11:17 AM]

[ Wednesday, May 21, 2003 ]

 
Thanks to Mike Gerber, former SNL News update writer, all around fine humor writer and blogger, for rescuing this month or so old Susan Douglas appreciation of the bit of media fresh air that is The Daily Show. Even though the show's now finally getting respect from arbiters of intellectual fashionability like Frank Rich it really still can't be praised enough for its singular intelligence amidst the right-wing inanity of daily cable talk.
Phil [3:19 PM]

[ Monday, May 19, 2003 ]

 
He was a pretty prickly, kind of obnoxious character personally, at least in my very brief run-ins with him at poetry readings in downtown NY circa early 80s. But a character nonetheless. And an important free jazzy literary underground figure, author of some enjoyable bop surrealistic poetry, and coiner of the phrase/meme "Bird Lives'. So glad to see, just weeks after his death, there's a good tribute site dedicated to Ted Joans.
Phil [3:23 PM]

[ Friday, May 16, 2003 ]

 
Hail Michael Finley, All-American.
Phil [11:02 AM]

 
in the process of trashing a lame-ass, watered down white-bread collection (supposedly) devoted to the spirit of Waylon Jennings, Ronnie D. Lankford Jr. celebrates Jennings' music and the ethos of rebel redneck fundamentalism the right way.
Phil [10:30 AM]

 
By no means whatsoever a supporter of the Bush tax plan (or to the extent that it's a coherent philosophy at all, Bush0nomics), I'm feeling slightly more optimistic about economic recovery. If for no other reason than the appearance of apocalyptic predictions of total depression by neo-Marxists tend to be a key leading indicator the worst is over.

But even in ITT's wrong (as I think and hope) in its economic predictions, it's right-on in providing a regular forum for Kurt Vonnegut (or own era's Mark Twain), especially this piece on Twain himself.
Phil [10:00 AM]

[ Wednesday, May 14, 2003 ]

 
Enjoying (more for the documentary value than sound quality) a Doors bootleg tape from a concert at Danbury High School on either October 11 or 17, 1967 I bought at the WFMU annual fair a few months back, I came across a better than usual Morrison tribute site.
Phil [3:40 PM]

[ Monday, May 12, 2003 ]

 
Some all too rare (for U.S. journalism not for him) good sense from John Horgan, one of America's most readable,( he's both thoughtful and provocatively witty) science writers, and in his groovy book The Undiscovered Mind, debunkers of the current fad of neuro-determinism. This piece, which I'm happy to see Slate run is at the very least an antidote to War on Drugs hysteria. (thanks to Jakeneck)
Phil [3:43 PM]

[ Friday, May 09, 2003 ]

 
Thank goodness Raed is back, from Baghdad. Glad Saddam's out, and ambivalent as hell about his "liberators", but (unlike at least a few thousand innocent Iraqi civilians) alive.
Phil [5:52 AM]

[ Tuesday, May 06, 2003 ]

 
Thomas Pynchon doesn't write many literary essays.But this one on Orwell (ostensibly an intro to a re-issue of 1984) is not only very good, but well-timed and aimed, taking Orwell out of the clutches of the Sullivan-ites who'd define him as simply a contrarian critic of the authoritarian left. He was that, yes, but not, as Sullivan would have it, in the name of an embryonic neo-conservatism. Rather (as Pynchon tells us pretty well) Orwell's anti-Stalinism was neither bleakly dystopian nor a rationale for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush but looked forward (more in optimism than not) to a radically post-totalitarian future, beyond (statist) socialism and capitalism. (thanks to Altercation)
Phil [2:26 PM]

 
Thanks to Arnold Kling for linking to a new journal (new to me anyway) called The New Atlantis. If Transhumanists represent extreme techno-topianism, and Wired and Reason techno-libertarian optimism, New Atlantis posits a rationalist techno-skepticism. Quite a bit too conservative for my tastes it does seem nonetheless intellectually serious (more interested in examining ideas than hawking ideology) and well-informed about the philsophical questions and social policy issues opened up by 21 st century science and technology.
Phil [2:16 PM]

[ Monday, May 05, 2003 ]

 
Most, or at least many, right-wing-ish libertarians who were all over the idiocies of political correctness on the academic left and the dangers it posed to free speech, have been quite silent about the far more pernicious shit going down in the name of patriotic correctness. Luckily John Leo isn't one of them.
Phil [2:09 PM]

[ Thursday, May 01, 2003 ]

 
Arnold Kling scolds (unfairly, I think) the evangelists of social software for (so far) advancing a solution without a clear view of what the problem it's solving really is, rather than a clear analysis-based response to a problem. I'm not so sure that's true, but his criticism might apply more readily to The Patriot Act and its sequel. Autocratic solutions to a real, but ever more vaguely defined problem, anti-American terrorism, which cannot be analyzed because a true inquiry into its causes is apparently taboo.
Phil [2:36 PM]

 
Arnold Kling scolds (unfairly, I think) the evangelists of social software for (so far) being a solution advanced without a clear view of what the problem it's solving really is, rather than a clear analysis-based response to a problem. I'm not so sure that's true, but his criticism might apply more readily to The Patriot Act and its sequel. Autocratic solutions to a real, but ever more vaguely defined problem, anti-American terrorism, which cannot be analyzed because a true inquiry into its causes is apparently taboo.
Phil [2:36 PM]