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

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].

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

On the Differences between Philosophers

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, 2/3

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

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!)

Dead Socialist Watch, #308

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.

Oh Frabjous Day!

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.

Dead Socialist Watch, #307

Arthur Penty, socialist architect and furniture designer, who, after falling out with the Fabians over, inter alia, the proposed new LSE building, went on to become a significant influence on the Guild Socialists, later drifting into Christian Socialism, thence to, um, support for Mosley, Mussolini and the nationalists in Spain. Born at York, 17 March 1875, died at Isleworth, Middlesex, 19 January 1937.

A Blast from the Past

Tristram Hunt:

Now, I have no problem with a ministry of all the talents, but when the big tent ushers in the former Tory party chairman Kenneth Baker, the progressive consensus has truly lost the plot.

Young people today probably have little idea who Kenneth Baker is. (Curiously, this Wikipedia article doesn’t mention his major contribution to British Government, which was his prominent role in the early stages of the poll tax fiasco.) Perhaps we need a Museum of Britishness that could, among other things, explain his career to current and future generations? A gallery given over to the twists and turns of the Death to the Dogs crisis of May 1991 would be an excellent idea, for example, and children could be given free copies of the 1986 Green Paper, Paying for Local Government.

Oxford Amnesty Lectures

The sixteenth series of Oxford Amnesty Lectures in support of the work of Amnesty International will kick off fairly soon. This year’s topic is “religion and rights”, the lecturers will take place between 25 January and 21 February, and the lecturers are Charles Curran, Simon Schama, Asma Jahangir, Tariq Ramadan, Ronald Dworkin, Chantal Mouffe and Stanley Hauerwas, ending with a debate involving A C Grayling, John Pritchard and others. Website here, schedule here, ticket info here.