New Form, Same Idea

Check out my nascent YouTube channel. Maybe this'll do the trick for me. I've only posted one video so far. Not sure if I'll do this often or seldom.



Jon Sealy said...

Interesting. Maybe you're destined to become the 21st century Emerson? Regarding that distinction you made between European philosophy looking elsewhere and American philosophy as centered on the self: (1) Do you think that contradicts what you said later about American willingness to look elsewhere? (2) Does the Tea Party movement actually have a distinctively American philosophical backbone? (3) Now that we're all creating cyber-selves and joining the hive mind that is Facebook, this era seems to be the beginning of the end for the individual. How do we save the individual, or is the individual even worth saving?

Casey said...

3. I can't say definitively whether the individual is worth saving. Even I--anti-sophist--can see that at some level, it's all argument. So I won't engage that.

So while I don't know if we can/should save individualism, I know that it feels to me like we can and should.

1. I think that what's exceptional about America is precisely it's willingness to occasionally look elsewhere. We do that better, I think, than Russia or France or China. But we do it, I think, because it returns us to our native selves. It's like listening to a really good story told by someone else... we forget ourselves in the listening, and return to ourselves (better? fresher?) in the catharsis or resolution.

2. The Tea Party? Actually, maybe. It's "unfortunate" that they look all white... but I don't think that it's appropriate to call them "racists." If they can dodge that kind of label, somehow, they might have a shot. But I don't really know about politics, honestly.

Casey said...

Boy, the video quality there got worse and worse as the video "processed." I might take that one down... let it go as a "practice run."

Casey said...

From the end of a prophetic 1972 article by conservative, Robert Nisbet, regarding the increasing American distrust of authority qua authority:

"One thing, however, is certain. We have not become, as a people, too educated, too sophisticated, to welcome and court power: absolute, direct, overwhelming, personal power. No people in history ever has or ever could. And when such power comes in America, if it comes, it will not seem like power at all to a great many people, including large numbers of intellectuals, and perhaps especially of the young. It will be tonic, exhilarating, crusade-like, communal, even redemptive. Such power always has in history when it first strikes."

Insignificant Wrangler said...

Ok, clearly, I am professionally invested in French people. But I also think you naively assume that we have gone down the French trail because it is merely fashionable. I would argue that this theory rose to ascension precisely because it responded to intellectual and institutional developments central to the development of the German-American research institution. This is not to say that there are not Americans who also contribute to this conversation.

And I would also say that you overestimate the spread of these theorists. How many people out there are reading Levinas? Certainly the number has grown over the past five years, but its a small club. And I would argue that many of the slew of papers/books written under the signature of Derrida are more interested in poststructuralism as a form of literary criticism rather than deconstruction as an interruption of the contemporary institution's epistemic bias.

I think the video format can work, but I would cut them down a bit (maybe five minutes?)

Casey said...

Wrangler: I didn't mean to imply that so hard... I actually think this might be a responsible and necessary move. I'm just wondering aloud here. But I'm glad you "get" my argument.

I think you're right about the length. And like I said, this one was sort of a pilot-piece. I need better lighting, a better outline, and a more courteous tone.

But anyway: do you agree that there is a difference in... "overall texture" (or something?)... between French and American theory? That's what I want to get pinned down.