Two childhood stories

“That which is hateful to you do not do to others. All the rest is commentary. Now go and learn.” Hillel The Casio Digital Watch Two months into first grade, our family moved from northeastern Pennsylvania to Montclair, N.J., which had just integrated the school system with busing and magnet schools. I had never met …

The weed-out course

What’s your story? We drove from Pittsburgh to Mazatlan for Spring Break. Four college sophomores in a Jeepster. 7,800 miles in 10 days. Adventure, danger, romance, comedy, la tequila, las drogas, una pistola. No arrests, no fatalities. You want a story? Oh, we’ve got a story. But not yet. What’s your major? I started Carnegie …

It all works out, in theory

Originally published by Seattle Review of Books, February 7, 2018 How do you enter the conversation among generations of Continental philosophers? Learn the lingo — and bring a bodyguard. In The Seventh Function of Language, Laurent Binet depicts the big names in 1980s literary theory — Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Bernard-Henri Lévy — as …

Thoughts on AI Art

Based on “Anonymity of a Murmur” how do you view/what are your thoughts on all the AI art out there? Apostasy X Fnord “Anonymity of a Murmur” was posted on Wednesday, but I’ve already moved on from Foucault and it’s too late to turn back now. But you’re in luck, sister, because we are now …

Journals

Morning pages vs. writer’s journal Susan Sontag, in Against Interpretation, on the function of a writer’s journal: “in them he builds up, piece by piece, the identity of a writer to himself.” In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends “morning pages,” three stream-of-consciousness handwritten pages. What’s the difference between morning pages, the release of thoughts …

Anonymity of a Murmur

“I think that, as our society changes, at the very moment when it is in the process of changing, the author-function will disappear, and in such a manner that fiction and its polysemic texts will once again function according to another mode, but still with a system of constraint—one which will no longer be the …

Introduction to Theory of Literature, Part 1

Lecture 2 Foucault, Barthes, and the death of the author. I am a writer (for hire) of commercial texts. An author of discourses subject to ownership. Am I alive? [Two weeks later.] Lecture 3 Complicated stuff, glad to have a guide. Envisioning a multimedia accompaniment to the ideas of hermeneutic circles and other hard-to-grasp philosophical …

One to Many

Peter Thiel famously asks in interviews: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” The question asks for a belief going against overwhelming popular consensus – for example, Galileo’s support for the Copernican heliocentric universe. How do you answer if you’re not Galileo? An unscientific response to the question would take the …

Elephants in the Room

Now that I’m blogging, I need to publish more often. This poses more than a few challenges. First, I have a certain writing style. I’m picky about my word choices – for example, I would never let “poses more than a few challenges” make it through the ordinary filter. “Ordinary filter,” that’s out too. Cliché, …