Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Limping Onwards

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  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    We don't, because we don't believe in their value. And we are wrong.

    snap

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Can anyone name a local philosopher who carries similar weight?

    "Similar weight" is a subjective call, but I think you'll find that Mr Dentith of Auckland University's Philosophy department is the kind of public intellectual you're looking for. He's both a stimulating teacher and a useful expert voice for the popular media. All while completing his PhD thesis.

    That said, I was asked to review a book on New Zealand public intellectuals a while ago, and I did find that the most compelling parts were by or about people like Easton. I had less use for offerings that endlessly cited Foucault and Gramsci, because they seemed to be principally about the author's own dance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    New Zealand public intellectuals

    ahaha

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    Parliamentary Question Time today:

    7. Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE to the Minister of Finance: Is it correct that Treasury was in the Prime Minister’s office “week after week, month after month” telling him South Canterbury Finance was going bankrupt?

    Question for David Cunliffe: You needed Treasury to tell you that?

    Come back Michael Cullen, all is forgiven.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    New Zealand public intellectuals

    ahaha

    Why the laughter? We do have some tradition there.

    Keith Sinclair, Bill Pearson, Michael King, Fairburn, Sutch. for a start.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    We don't, because we don't believe in their value. And we are wrong.

    But that's such a huge fallacy the base of my monitor is groaning under the weight. Can I not say that the field of DanylMclauchlanism is of vital importance, and that it MUST be publicly funded, and that the lack of public engagement on this subject is a terrible oversight on the part of our society?

    Modern philosophers (generally speaking) aren't valued because what they say is incomprehensible. Noam Chomsky wrote about this: if he's interested in a subject in contemporary physics or mathematics he can read about it, or find an expert in the field to explain it to him; but advances in post-modern philosophy are simply opaque to him as a non-expert, and no one in the field can explain them in meaningful terms. All they CAN say, seemingly, is that their work is very, very important, and requires public funding.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I had less use for offerings that endlessly cited Foucault and Gramsci,

    Shit, if I was allowed to only ever cite two people, those would be my two. Have you been through my drawers again?

    Speaking of Easton, for whom I have a great deal of respect, I remember being less than impressed by him once when he poo-pooed in passing in one of his columns the fact that somebody had been funded to study the history of the orgasm. What struck me is that he passed judgment on it without feeling that he had a need to elaborate, as if it was self-evidently ridiculous (think hip hop tour). But it seems equally uncontroversial to me that the orgasm would of course have a history, and of course it would be interesting, and of course such a study could have many valuable offshoots and implications.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I quite laek that thar William Faulkner feller, etc - just questioned the wisdom of paying for people to dabble in them.

    So you think that science should drop "General Studies" altogether? Or should science students pay extra for that because it's that selfish, publicly worthless thing called a general education that you shouldn't be paying for? I'm led to believe that other faculties also have similar requirements, that students be "well rounded".

    I think the most obvious reason that what you're saying is total bunk, Danyl, is from the end result perspective. None of the "practical" studies even need ongoing funding. Lawyers and Doctors and Scientists and Architects and Engineers etc, all get jobs fast, typically with very high incomes. Why the hell should I be paying for those people to enrich themselves? But some societally vital forms of thought and study are extremely difficult for individuals to justify even to themselves when the question of paying for it comes up. Your solution is simply to kill the Arts, or make it the sole domain of the very wealthy. You're advocating a highly classist access to the intellectual life of the country, which will couple with the highly classist access that already exists to the technical life that you think is so much more important.

    I'm surprised at you carrying on with this line, to be honest and I originally thought you were just winding everyone up. I'm not convinced that you're engaging in this argument in good faith at all, considering that you have highly socialist tendencies in other matters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Re post-modermism, the version that has had a strangle-hold on so many humanities depts has been the I-get-power-over-students-and-other-academics-from-writing-incomprehensible-sentences version. Going back to the original sources is something quite different. Although I still think Foucault was mad.

    It's still the case that many in the humanities think Lacan has something relevant to say about psychology while having a real dislike of anything with a whiff of MRI about it. That's not exactly critical thinking.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    But that's such a huge fallacy the base of my monitor is groaning under the weight. Can I not say that the field of DanylMclauchlanism is of vital importance, and that it MUST be publicly funded, and that the lack of public engagement on this subject is a terrible oversight on the part of our society?

    Do you have many more non sequiturs I need to know about? I am telling you why I think we're wrong, not just stating it. You're more than welcome to argue why the field of DanylMclauchlanism is of vital importance.

    but advances in post-modern philosophy are simply opaque to him

    We're not doing another round on postmodernism, are we? Philosophy is not synonimous with postmodernism. In fact postmodernism is well and truly dead and buried. The likes of Chomsky like to revive the cadaver of their straw man version of it from time to time, but surely the rest of us can just move on (much as reading the Chomsky-Foucault debate is still of great historical interest).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    valuable offshoots

    My degree in political ideology tells me this is valuable chortle material.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to recordari,

    My degree in political ideology tells me this is valuable chortle material.

    That's what happens when I start mixing my metaphors too early in the day.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Perhaps it helps if you bear in mind the opportunity cost: ie each year paying someone to study Lacan, or contemplate Middlemarch

    I'd want my money back too, if my BA consisted entirely of Lacan and Middlemarch. Happily, it also included linguistics, two languages, a spot of physics, and some geography. As it happens, I've used next to none of the science in my professional work, and pretty much all of the humanities. Should I retroactively pay for those useless science classes, by your argument?

    ... is a sum of money that don’t go into health and welfare, or into training doctors, engineers, research scientists (cough) etc.

    I'll tell my friend the oncologist that you think he should have skipped the BA in English & Psych. He'll enjoy that. And I know an astrophysicist with most of a BA in philosophy who is currently chortling at your argument.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    or find an expert in the field to explain it to him; but advances in post-modern philosophy are simply opaque to him as a non-expert, and no one in the field can explain them in meaningful terms. All they CAN say, seemingly, is that their work is very, very important, and requires public funding.

    Yeah but not everyone in the Arts is postmodern, man. In fact, it's the main place the very worth of postmodernism is discussed, and for that matter, just about the only place where the term is even understood. That doesn't mean it's all shit. It could also mean it's more cutting edge than what the general population, and even the educated population, are used to. Personally I'm not much of a fan of it, but I think it's bloody important that it exists, if only to highlight exactly what the alternatives to it are, what the assumptions that underlie modernism are.

    Furthermore, fuck all people understand modern physics. Chomsky might think he can have it explained to him and get it quickly, but that could just show that the man has a great deal of scientific training, which is actually true, he is one of the worlds most famous scientists. He might also fail to get postmodernism (as I do to a large extent), because he just hasn't put the hours in. My memory of his words on this is that he hasn't put those hours in because he finds it boring (as do I). I also haven't put the hours into understanding quantum physics for similar reasons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Why the laughter? We do have some tradition there.

    But where are they now? Instead we're expected to make do with some smug frontperson asking (with acknowledgements etc etc):

    does my distrust of thoughtfulness look fat in this mortgage?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Why the laughter? We do have some tradition there.

    Keith Sinclair, Bill Pearson, Michael King, Fairburn, Sutch. for a start.

    ... Te Rangi Hîroa, Elsie Locke, Ranginui Walker, Marilyn Waring, Denis Dutton, Michael King, Jane Kelsey ...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think it's bloody important that it exists, if only to highlight exactly what the alternatives to it are, what the assumptions that underlie modernism are.

    +1

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Why the laughter? We do have some tradition there.

    Keith Sinclair, Bill Pearson, Michael King, Fairburn, Sutch. for a start.

    Can't help but notice that none of these people are still alive. Hence, perhaps, the laughter, which would have to be sardonic.

    ETA: yay for Jolisa who's come up with a couple of live ones!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jolisa,

    ... Te Rangi Hîroa, Elsie Locke, Ranginui Walker, Marilyn Waring, Denis Dutton, Michael King, Jane Kelsey ...

    It would be interresting to see how many New Zealanders have even heard of those people, let alone can tell you what field of knowledge they bring to the conversation.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Sacha,

    It would be interresting to see how many New Zealanders have even heard of those people, let alone can tell you what field of knowledge they bring to the conversation.

    It's also, from a media perspective, a pretty short list.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Delicious irony watch. MIT (that’s the one in Cambridge, Massachusetts not Manukau) requires all those utilitarianly useful hard scientists to take (and pass) what’s known as HASS-D Requirement. That’s short for ‘Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Distribution’ because,

    The Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Requirement is an indispensable part of every student’s undergraduate education that provides students with a broad understanding of human society, its traditions, and its institutions. The Requirement deepens students’ knowledge in a variety of cultural and disciplinary areas and encourages the development of sensibilities and skills vital to an effective and satisfying life as an individual, a professional, and a member of society.

    To fulfill the HASS Requirement, each student must complete eight HASS subjects designated as counting towards the Requirement. Students are expected to complete at least one HASS subject each semester until the eight required subjects are complete. There are three components to the HASS Requirement: distribution, concentration, and HASS electives.

    What the hell does a school that is hardly some soft option that hands out BA's for pot smoking and includes 79 Nobel laureates among its alumni and past and present faculty know about anything?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    a broad understanding of human society

    Why on earth would one want that?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Sacha,

    It would be interesting to see how many New Zealanders have even heard of those people, let alone can tell you what field of knowledge they bring to the conversation.

    It would, I grant you. But we could do exactly the same test with a list of Very Important Doctors, Engineers, and Research Scientists, and come up equally blank.

    What I mean is, we can benefit from any given intellectual conversation (science, arts, whatever) without knowing the names or carrying all the footnotes in our head all the time.

    ETA: yay for Jolisa who’s come up with a couple of live ones!

    ...Russell Brown, Giovanni Tiso...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Mr Litterick topically tackles media studies.

    You think Suckerpunch is just wank-fodder for teenage boys and their fathers. But you didn't do Media Studies, like our author, who has done a reading of this text and can see through the obvious (breasts, thighs) to the concealed reality.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jolisa,

    we can benefit from any given intellectual conversation (science, arts, whatever) without knowing the names

    I suppose it depends what you mean by the word 'public'

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

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