>Why do I love this video below? I love how it is so odd (from an American perspective): A famous French philosopher gives a lecture into which a young “revolutionary” storms, creates a scene (and a mess), makes some kind of protest statement, and then the philosopher responds. All along the audience watches and occasionally applauds. It’s like a piece of performance art staged for the chic intellectual cohort.
The philosopher is Jacques Lacan. The year is 1972 (not really surprising).
Only in France is all I have to say. And yet, sometimes I wish I lived in a country that would take philosophy, and its philosophers, as seriously. On the other hand, for all his unintended humor, the young radical in this clip may be the more honest of the two.
>If there is a rock star in the world of contemporary philosophy it might be Slavoj Žižek. But I don’t even know what that means, except that, unlike most philosophers, he seems to engender a kind of rapture amongst his followers. Reviews of his books on Amazon are rarely uniform. They always included raves and pans. There is little neutrality. I think this should be the case with every philosopher.
Here is the documentary Žižek! (2005). Watch it an you will agree with me, there is no one like Žižek.
Okay, I am new to Žižek. I’ve seen his name for a while, but I don’t know his work as much as would like. From what little I do know about him I think he and I are in very different camps ideologically. The video above, though, is one of the more fascinating things I’ve seen lately. What a fascinating character he is.
I have no interest in addressing anything within the video per se, but I am fascinated that a philosopher shows up at a speaking engagement and even the standing room is overflowing. This is an extremely rare kind of happening in the U.S. – maybe with someone like Noam Chomsky, but even then not for his talks on linguistics as much as those on U.S. foreign policy. I also love that he has a sense of humor and love movies.
>If you have spent any time in post-baccalaureate English/cultural/media-studies environs then you know of the brilliant Terry Eagleton – that noted literary critic and author of the beloved grad-school crutch, Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983). Recently Mr. Eagleton gave four lectures at Yale University. For most Americans these lectures will both fascinating and seemingly impenetrable. We are not so used to the higher levels of British academia. But they are worth taking the time, and ultimately thoroughly enjoyable – not least of which because Eagleton has a wry sense of humor.
These lectures are probably most famous for the term “Ditchkins.”
“…someone like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, a couplet I will henceforth reduce to the solitary signifier Ditchkins…”
Of course there is much more than that in the lectures. Below are video versions, but they are also available through iTunes.
>Peter Rollins is one of the most interesting leaders in Christianity today. But his Christianity is not the typical Sunday School version I was taught (which is a good thing). At times he can be exasperating, at other times brilliant, and he’s always provoking. Trained as a philosopher, at every turn he seems to turn Christianity on its head. Of course, discussing religion and faith with Rollins would be better over a few pints than on the set of a rather staid religious interview show as is here, but this is still good (and the questions are great too).
Explaining Emergent Churches – Inner Compass
from Calvin College on Vimeo.
>I have been reading Stanley Hauerwas’ book The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics and I love it. I must say that this book, along with some others, are encouraging my views to change (views that were trained into me by the chistianity in which I grew up) regarding politics, faith, and action. In other words, I am slowly shedding my Baptist/Evangelical acceptance (dare I say love) of “righteous violence” and “just war” for a more pacifist perspective.
Because I know little of Hauerwas I went looking for him on the Interwebs. I came across this lecture of Hauerwas speaking on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s perspective on truth. It is excellent.