Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Reminder

The same people who are downgrading Greek bond ratings are the same people who polished the turds that led to the global financial crisis...

A Great Thought

Who doesn't want to believe that they, for at least one moment, thought of someone no one else had? It seems to me that William Hazlitt had a great one - disinterest.

Basically, Hazlitt argued that we bear the same relationship to our future selves that we do to others. The implications of this for identity, as well as ideas like economic self-interest, are actually pretty profound, and it's perhaps surprising that we still live in a world that believes that most human agency revolves around people having their own long-term interests in mind when they act.

All of us should know that nothing could be further from the truth. At least Hazlitt give us a decent reason why, a moment to liberate ourselves from the guilt of our past and to hope that we can be as charitable to our future selves as we have been abusive of our pasts.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Turning Worm

For a nation that still mocks the fact that our southern neighbours have elected actors to high office, it is not without some irony that I note the popular movement to make William Shatner our Head of State.

Before anyone makes the usual pronouncements about the state of politics and qualifications, I'm not saying that the man who played T.J Hooker wouldn't make a good GG, I'm just saying that we appear to be really trying to beat the Americans at the game we always watched but have refused to play with them, except we've been playing all along.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Lacrosse Predictions

I read Declan's hockey prediction post today, and thought, for a spot of fun, I would do my own.

For anyone who reads this blog and doesn't know me, I do not really follow hockey. I grew up wacthing it, obsessed even, but as I grew up I lost interest in it. However, as should be expected, I have a lot of friends who take hockey very seriously, which has lead me to take it even less seriously.

As a result, one of these things I've developed over the years is the role of the hockey ignorant cultural snob. It's an easy role for me - most people who talk to me about my interests quickly assume this of me, and so displaying a mocking ignorance of Canada's national sport has become an entertaining way for me to include myself within my friend's interests without adopting the various cultural roles associated with liking sports.

There are also some valid reasons for this- I really hate sports criticism. It drives me nuts.

With that, I present The Transcontinental's First ever Hockey Playoff Predictions. Enjoy, or don't, but remember that it's all in fun!

Washington vs. Montreal

Surely this will go to Montreal if for no other reason, they have a goalie who can work the shit out of the puck. Although Washington will give it everything they’ve got, it will not beat Montreal’s 110%, so it’s going to Montreal in 5.

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia

Philadelphia in 7. Philadelphia’s defense will keep those Devils on the boards, but not enough to to stop them from nearly scoring more goals, leading to an exciting 7th game where Philadelphia wins 5-1 with the 1st 4 goals scored within the 1st 8 minutes of the 1st period.

Buffalo vs. Boston

Buffalo in 6. Although Boston has been around for a long time, I think it’s Buffalo’s turn to give 120%.

Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa

I think it’s unfair that two cities in Pennsylvania could make it past the 1st round, so Ottawa in 7.

San Jose vs. Colorado

Although San Jose has a better team, Colorado has a higher altitude, and their forwards can work the shit out of a puck on those boards while those Sharks gasp for air with their scrawny sea-level lungs. Colorado in 6.

Chicago vs. Nashville

(holy crap, Nashville has a team? How many teams are there now in the NHL?) Chicago in 5, because why the hell does Nashville have a hockey team?

Vancouver vs. Los Angeles

Canucks in 7. Why? Beats me. Oh, uh, how about Olympic Spirit! Own the Cup! The shiny metal one and not the one you wear! Not that I recommend renting that cup…

Phoenix vs. Detroit

Again, why the hell does desert-torn Phoenix have a hockey team? I say Detroit in 7 just because I think anyone who has to live in Detroit for half the year when they aren’t golfing or on the road playing hockey has to have a lot of heart, and we all know that guys who have a lot of heart know how to work the shit out of the puck on those boards and give 130%.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A Query

How is it that the greatest challenge facing many of us today is which cell phone to buy? It's an issue fraught with peril - does one get a "smart" phone and reach into the future of complete social connection coupled with physical alienation, or does one stick with the cell phone?

Am I the only one who finds this a task of surprising difficulty? Of course, here at The Transcontinental, the question is never really these ones, but why is it such a challenge? I'm at a loss. Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

On Getting Derrida (and Adorno) Right

A beautiful essay by Marco Roth from N+1 on Jacques Derrida, which includes a wonderful defense of Adorno through Derrida:

Derrida's seminar was on hospitality. It was his usual touch for the relevant without engaging in the actual politics of the moment. Every session he fended off questions from students anxious to know how reading Lévinas or the orientalist and anthropologist Louis Massignon linked to the issues of hospitality facing France. He told them that he'd signed the petition supporting the sans-papiers and had marched, but his intellectual method seemed designed to evoke a present social situation and frustrate his students' desire for arguments to use on the barricades. It's important to know what's happening, but that means we should read Hegel or Lévinas or even the Catholic pornographer Pierre Klossowski with more care and slowness than before. You could imagine frustrated radical students pelting Derrida with flowers and baring their breasts.

My bolded italics. It is so easy to caricature, and so very difficult to characterize. It also makes me wonder why it is so important in intellectual circles, and especially in philosophy, to have enemies...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Philosopher's Stone

I must admit, it's pretty rare these days for me to find enough self-interest to blog, much less recommend the another's blog. Although I have settled into a neat little rut when it comes to the blogosphere, but I must recommend, via Brian Leiter, Robert Paul Wolff's The Philosopher's Stone.

Delightful stories and thoughtful analysis, well worth your time. It doesn't hurt that I am highly amenable to his politics. However, I leave what that actually means as an exercise for the reader.