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Teaching Exercise 01: Kant's Groundwork in Three Charts [May. 25th, 2015|05:54 pm]
[Tags|, ]
[mood |relaxedrelaxed]
[music |Lim Kim, "Awoo"]

I'm returning to this long-unused space to write up a series of teaching exercises. Each of these exercises will be a way of posting up notes on some or another issue related to teaching philosophy--it's a way to have a writeup ready to send a friend or colleague, a way of organizing my thoughts, and--should anyone ever happen to stumble upon these posts--maybe even a way to stir up conversation with others.

This first exercise is a series of charts I've developed for teaching Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. I tend to think visually, and so a) drawing these diagrams helps me explain Kant; and b) these charts end up proving helpful for at least some students (I hope).

A Kantian PicturebookCollapse )
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The Mad Profit of the Airwaves [Aug. 19th, 2012|10:00 pm]
[mood |restlessrestless]
[music |Purity Ring, "Obedear"]

Alex Epstein seems to sum up the verdict of many when he writes:

I'm having trouble with The Newsroom. Dear friends of mine love the show. And yet I find it to be a pompous show about people whose jobs are not really that important.
For those unfamiliar with the show, The Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin's latest "behind the scenes" drama, this one involving a cast of characters behind the scenes at a fictitious news program on a fictitious 24-hour news station. Politically, the show is very much like a dramatic adaptation of the Hutchins Report; The Newsroom loudly and consistently espouses the ideal of the media as The Fourth Estate. In order to answer one of Epstein's main charges, then--that the show is about people "whose jobs are not really that important"--we'd have to ask whether (and why) the fourth estate is important.

The Newsroom and The Fourth EstateCollapse )
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Pop Will Eat Itself [Apr. 18th, 2011|11:52 pm]
[mood |nerdynerdy]
[music |Dum Dum Girls, "He Gets Me High"]


It is by now standard to say that Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a "deconstruction of the magical girl genre." TV Tropes describes the series as such, linking within the article to the "deconstruction" trope. And fans, commenters, and critics alike have picked up on the refrain as well--all within the first few episodes of the series, which will finally end its 12-episode run later this week.

I do love a good pop culture deconstruction. But in this case I have to wonder: What would it mean to say that Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a deconstruction of the magical girl (mahou shoujo) genre? And does this claim, in fact, make sense?

Heart’s willing still to suffer that illusion?Collapse )

Sorry, it's a fairly long, ranting affair, isn't it? Turns out I have a lot to say about Magical Girls--and, in the process, I'm revealing my dark, secret interest in them...Anyway, this may at some point get cleaned up and turned into something more substantial. In the meantime, at least it's now out of my head! If you make it through the whole thing, please do feel free to chip in your $0.02, as I'd love to hear from some other fans of the genre.
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Achievement Unlocked [Jan. 9th, 2011|08:49 pm]
[mood |blahblah]
[music |Wire, "Outdoor Miner"]

This evening I've finished the (rough) first draft of my dissertation. The beast currently clocks in at about 49,000 words. In a few weeks, as Spring Semester begins, I'll be dropping copies into the laps of my three readers and then awaiting their critical feedback in order to rework things from there. For the moment, however, I can stop writing.

(This post comes dangerously close to the "dear diary, here's what I did today" territorry that I have sworn to avoid--but, devoid of philosophical content though it is, this announcement still seemed sufficiently relevant to post here.)
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Prelude to Punk Politics, Part 2 [Apr. 3rd, 2010|05:50 pm]
[mood |hungryhungry]
[music |Editors, "In This Light and On This Evening"]

Overnight, punk had become as stupid as everything else. This wonderful vital force that was articulated by the music was really about corrupting every form—it was about advocating kids to not wait to be told what to do, but make life up for themselves, it was about trying to ge people to use their imaginations again, it was about not being perfect, it was about saying that it was okay to be amateurish and funny, that real creativity came out of making a mess, it was about working with what you got in front of you and turning everything embarrassing, awful, and stupid in your life to your advantage.

But after the Sex Pistols tour, I had no interest in doing Punk magazine. It just felt like this phony media thing. Punk wasn't ours anymore. It had become everything we hated. It seemed like it had become everything we had started the magazine to rage against.
--Legs McNeil, in Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (p. 334)
The Culture Industry, Reconsidered (Again)Collapse )
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Prelude to Punk Politics, Part 1 [Mar. 2nd, 2010|04:51 pm]
[mood |busybusy]
[music |Gang of Four, "Sweet Jane"]

I've been thinking a lot lately about political theory and punk music. Over the next few months, when I get the chance, I'm going to be putting together some sort of lengthy essay on the subject. In the meantime, I'll be doing some of the thinking-through here, in little bits and pieces at a time. First, however, there are a couple of preliminary issues to sort out--thus, the preludes. Though I have said this for the journal as a whole, everything you're seeing here is being thought out pretty much as I write it, so please do feel free (as always!) to jump in and comment; I'll be rethinking a lot of this as I work up toward the essay itself.

What does a song mean?

Issues in InterpretationCollapse )
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Real Life Philosophy Top Ten [Jan. 2nd, 2010|03:19 am]
[mood |refreshedrefreshed]
[music |The Doors, "When the Music's Over"]

Rock critic and all-around pop culture intellectual Greil Marcus has, for a number of years and across a number of different publications, written a list he calls "Real Life Rock Top Ten." It's a chance to look back across the year and take stock--mostly citing the good, occasionally citing the bad, and in general marking the important and/or worthy of note. It seems like a nice idea, and so I thought I'd mark the beginning of 2010 with a look back at the year that was. Here it is, then: my real life philosophy top ten for 2009.

The ListCollapse )
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The Fate of an Archer! [Dec. 9th, 2009|07:49 pm]
[mood |draineddrained]
[music |Thomas Dolby, "Leipzig Is Calling"]

This is a republication of a column I wrote for SequArt.com, back when they were still hosting scholarly content. It is reprinted here almost exactly as it was there--I am not updating any of the ideas, links, etc., but have silently corrected a few spelling and grammatical errors.

Originally published at Sequart.com on August 12, 2007

Green Arrow and the Eternal Return of the RepressedCollapse )
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Let Freedom Reign [Dec. 5th, 2009|01:20 am]
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |Desperate Bicycles, "The Medium Was Tedium"]

This is a republication of a column I wrote for SequArt.com, back when they were still hosting scholarly content. It is reprinted here almost exactly as it was there--I am not updating any of the ideas, links, etc., but have silently corrected a few spelling and grammatical errors.

Originally published at Sequart.com on May 24, 2007

On Spider-Man and FascismCollapse )
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Ahh...The net is vast... [Dec. 4th, 2009|12:56 am]
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |Scritti Politti, "Skank Bloc Bologna"]

In very brief:

The oddest phenomenon today, and a first for me: I inadvertently came across this post on a blog called "The Classroom," written by someone called "The Professor" (a Professor Quinn, the domain name would suggest...), who writes:
Yeah, I know that it's all about comic books, but Lampert's piece is an interesting work of literary criticism nonetheless. And in case you've been living under a rock (or on another continent, which is essentially the same thing), Captain America died.
What follows is a repost--in its entirety--of a column I wrote for a (now largely defunct*) website called SequArt.

I've officially been...reblogged.

* This is actually how I came across said blog: SequArt has apparently devolved into a promo site for its founder, who has since gotten into the movie business. All of the scholarly content is gone, and so I'm planning on re-posting my series of comic essays here. This process would be made far simpler if I could find a Google cache or the like of the original columns somewhere on the 'net--So far, however, The Professor's blog is the closest I've come...Stay tuned.
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