Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Long Time No Blog

I've been preparing for Christmas, and working such hours and at such a pace that I am sure a nervous breakdown would be in the offing, were I not about to take two months' off to finish my book.

All the things I would have commented, and to which I would have linked, are by now passé. Those about which I am still thinking are nowhere near digested, and so I pass on commenting them for now.

I would say one thing, however, about Stanley Cavell's new book, Philosophy the Day After Tomorrow. The book may be as important asThe Claim of Reason. The essay on Astaire’s assertion of (the right to) praise merits and will continue to merit the close attention and critical energies of professors in every human discipline, perhaps most especially those who work in registers not often associated with the humanities, these days.

I will, one day soon, produce the list of highest praise: the elenchus of books I would see on a list of required freshman university at every institution of higher learning in the United States.
A good deal of Cavell’s work would find itself on such a list. This new book is making a bid, but there is a resistance (whether in the text, or in myself, or both, I cannot tell as yet, the Cavell himself would only approve of my acknowledging the presence of the tension without essaying further to establish its source or direction, I think) I have not encountered since first reading Cavell, and then I never so much overcame it as I did overcome my fear of it, to the extent that I have.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Figured Out Titling

Only took a month. Has anyone read Ed Oakes and Alyssa Pitstick on Balthasar over at FT?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I am not terribly interested in beginning with a major, substantive post. I have spent the past hour or so catching up on my blog reading. I was and am intrigued by some of the remarks R.R. Reno made regarding the lack of spiritual seriousness in First Things. My initial reaction is to say that the "crisis of confidence" diagnosis is not a very good one. It may be that the substance of his diagnosis is good, and I am distracted by the unfortunate terminology. Otherwise, I might be missing the interpretation and expansion of our understanding of a crisis of confidence. Sloth has always struck me as a main reason for spiritual frivol: especially systematic spiritual frivol.
Is This How A Title Gets Made?

Just wondering...
How's this?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Still not much time…

Still not much time for blogging. For now, just a question: what is the difference between U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s comments of this weekend to the effect that Iraq was better with Saddam Hussein in power, on the one hand, and some Italians’ insistence that quando c’era il duce queste cose non succedevano (These things didn’t happen where there was the duce –Mussolini- which means, idiomatically, things were better with a dictator.)? Do the Shi’ite Muslims and the ethnic Kurds agree?
The Mega-Post:

THe mega-post on Islam and civil law, etc., did not materialize, as you will have noted by now. It is already become a much bigger project than I at first anticipated, and much too big to pursue for the moment. In the meantime, I suggest The Middle East by Bernard Lewis, especially the cross-section on religion and law. It is brief, accurate, and introductory without being either overly simplistic. As always, caveat lector verba romana, that is, the reader is reminded to maintain the proper critical awareness of the use of Western nomenclature and terminology to explain Islamic institutions.

Thoughts on first week of Advent forthcoming