Archive for January, 2008

The Click of Cue Balls is the Sound of Distant Guns / And Times May Change If Snooker Overruns

January 31st, 2008

So farewell then, Miles Kington.

Go over the fold for what I think is my favourite Kington column (though I only ever read a fraction of the oeuvre), published, appropriately enough for the inventor of franglais on the occasion of the bicentenaire [Independent, 14 July 1989].


On the Differences between Philosophers

January 30th, 2008

You probably all know this one already, but it bears repetition:

According to Bernard Williams:

“[Charles] Taylor and [Alasdair] MacIntyre are Catholic, and I am not; Taylor and I are liberals, and MacIntyre is not; MacIntyre and I are pessimists, and Taylor is not (not really)”

[World, Mind and Ethics, Altham & Harrson eds., p.222n19].

Charles Taylor, 3/3

January 30th, 2008

He has a fine turn of phrase:

Neo-Stoicism is the zig to which Deism will be the zag.

Charles Taylor, 2/3

January 30th, 2008

I bought Charles Taylor’s new book A Secular Age the other day. It’s a good book, but its publishers have given it a stupid dustjacket that is guaranteed to annoy (it isn’t big enough; see also here). And this reminded me that last year I bought John Rawls’s Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy, another book with a stupid dustjacket, similarly annoying, though differently stupid (crinkly clear plastic). Both are published by Harvard University Press. So what’s going on? Why is Harvard experimenting with stupid dustjackets on new books by distinguished political philosophers? Are there other books by DPP’s that they are mangling in this way? And when will they stop?

Charles Taylor, 1/3

January 30th, 2008

Who knew there was quite so much money to be made out of an academic career in the study of political ideas? These are extraordinary sums of money.

* Charles Taylor won the 2007 Templeton Prize (£800,000!)
* Ronald Dworkin won the 2007 Holberg Prize ($750,000!)
* Quentin Skinner won the 2006 Balzan Prize (1m Swiss francs!)
* Jürgen Habermas won the 2005 Holberg Prize (NOK 4. 5 million!)

Why Do Cats Purr?

January 30th, 2008

Over here [via].

Dead Socialist Watch, #308

January 29th, 2008

Helena Molony, Irish feminist and nationalist actress. She joined Inghinidhe na hEireann after hearing Maud Gonne speak and became editor of Bean na hEireann, a militant feminist journal in 1908. An actress at the Abbey Theatre, 1909-1913, she was arrested in 1911 for protesting against George V’s visit to Dublin. She worked closely with James Connolly before 1916, helped to found the Irish Citizen Army and fought in the Easter Rising. After internment in England, she returned to Ireland in December 1916, joined Cumann na mBan, and opposed the Treaty in 1921. She devoted herself to labour movement activity after the civil war, and was President of the Congress of Trade Unions, 1936-1945. Born in Dublin, 15 January 1883; she died in Dublin, 29 January 1967.

DSW, #197

January 29th, 2008

Franz Mehring, biographer of Karl Marx and Spartacist, born in Schlawe, 27 February 1846, died in Berlin, 29 January 1919.

DSW, #257

January 28th, 2008

Ruth Cavendish-Bentinck, suffragist and socialist of illegitimate aristocratic origins; she moved in Fabian circles; opposed vaccination; and became active in the Women’s Social and Political Union; she later established the Cavendish-Bentinck library for sufragists (now a part of the Women’s Library); and in later years became keen on Stalin’s Soviet Union. Born in Tangier, 21 October 1867, she died in London, 28 January 1953.

DSW, #68

January 27th, 2008

Ben Tillett, trade unionist and one of the leaders of the 1889 dockworkers’ strike; born in Bristol, 11 September 1860, died in London, 27 January 1943.

Oh Frabjous Day!

January 27th, 2008

Perhaps they’ve been there for years, but I’ve only just noticed. Anyway, the papers from PECUS: Man and Animal in Antiquity, a conference held at the Istituto Svedese (i.e., Swedish Institute) in Rome in September 2002 are all online over here. I showed up with the rest of the gang from the British School at Rome in order to provide moral support for Michael MacKinnon, who was presenting some of his zooarchaeological work (i.e., ancient animal bones), and it then turned out to be easily the most enjoyable academic conference I’ve ever been to. Though I’m sorry to see the poster presentation (with music!) on bestialities ancient and modern in the rural mezzogiorno didn’t seem to make it through to the publication stage.

Go West

January 19th, 2008

My friend Sasha Abramsky has been hanging around in Nevada brothels.