Dasein, Red Elephant.

Philosophy 101


I’ve received gotten the audiobook for Philosophy, A very short introduction. BC magazine writes:

Craig’s approach is to explain the project of philosophy and to examine a few of the problems that philosophy has addressed. His definition of philosophy is delivered in a kind of parable. Imagine when human beings became conscious that sensory data could be interpreted through concrete symbols and ideas. An animal track means an animal has passed, which might be pursued as prey, or avoided. Human beings perceived and visualized events by indirect evidence and ideas, and then considered how human beings could act to influence events. Human beings became aware of forces of nature and events beyond human control. Human beings investigated nature, but encountered mysteries, and developed a sense of the supernatural. The project of understanding and explaining nature is science, and the project of recovering from the shock of mystery is philosophy.

I’ve tried listening to it and it seems pretty interesting. It’ll be worth a listen to just find out how on earth Craig condenses over 2000 years of philosophical thought in a little over 3 hours.

Download the audiobook here


Mamet’s Wicked Son


The New York Times reviews David Mamet’s The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred and the Jews. I honestly haven’t seen his film Homicide and so I’m not too convinced about the reviewer’s comments. Still, an interesting book to check out.


But there was a slight problem with Mamet’s Jews: They were unrecognizable. Their anxieties seemed from an earlier era. They belonged to no real place, just one of Mamet’s Hopperish lonely cities. They spoke Mamet-speak, which is to say, a language so hyperreal that it sometimes sounded quite unreal. They were, in fact, contrivances, created to highlight Mamet’s hobgoblins and hobbyhorses. One encounters the same schism, and the same ambivalence, in “The Wicked Son,” Mamet’s examination of the modern Jewish psyche. Like everything he does, it is blunt and bracing, honest and provocative, original and gutsy. At the same time, it’s not exactly clear which Jews Mamet is talking about, what decade they live in, how fairly he treats them or even how many of them there are.

Remembering War: Frontline Verses

The New Trade

In the market-place they have made
A dolorous new trade.
Now you will see in the fierce naphtha-light,
Piled hideously to sight,
Dead limbs of men bronzed in the over-seas,
Bomb-wrenched from elbows and knees;
Torn feet, that would, unwearied by harsh loads,
Have tramped steep moorlands roads;
Torn hands that would have moulded exquisitely
Rare things for God to see.
And there are eyes there – blue like blue doves’ wings,
Black like the Libyan kings,
Grey as before-dawn rivers, willow-stirred,
Brown as a singing-bird;
But all stare from the dark into the dark,
Reproachful, tense, and stark,
Eyes heaped on trays and in broad baskets there,
Feet, hands, and ropes of hair.
In the market-places . . . and women buy . . .
. . . Naphtha glares . . . hawkers cry . . .
Fat men rub hands . . .
O God, O just God, send Plague, lightnings . . .
Make an end!
Louis Golding

Rivaling the best of Owen’s work, this powerful poem is taken from Voices of Silence: The Alternative Book of First World War Poetry, by Vivien Noakes, published by Sutton Publishing. Released for Remembrance Sunday, this collection of frontline verse showcases work by several poets, including Hampden Gordon and Jessie Pope. See more selections at Times Online.




I’ve written about Podslam above and I still think there their website is really cool. Bringing performance slam poetry onto the web has given much needed exposure for these wonderful artists. Their rhymes and songs spit out with so much fury and passion you’ll feel like writing yourself. The theme of writing and rewriting your history with words and oral tradition holds strong with these guys.

See more at Podslam.