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Showing posts from June, 2015

Highlighted passages in Wallace's Pale King

Fragments of fragments: 

To me, the really interesting question is why dullness proves to be such a powerful impediment to attention. Why we recoil from the dull. Maybe it’s because dullness is intrinsically painful; maybe that’s where phrases like ‘deadly dull’ and ‘excruciatingly dull’ come from. But there might be more to it. Maybe dullness is associated with psychic pain because something that’s dull fails to provide enough stimulation to distract people from some other, deeper type of pain that is always there, if only in an ambient low-level way… I can’t think anyone really believes that today’s so-called ‘information society’ is just about information. Everyone knows it’s about something else, way down.
The reason for this public ignorance is not secrecy. The real reason why US citizens were/are not aware of these conflicts, changes and stakes is that the whole subject of tax policy and administration is dull. Massively, spectacularly dull. It is impossible to overstate the…

Some modern or maybe postmodern pieties

'Yo Mama Pieta' (1996) by Renée Cox


...one knows a piety from a principle because even those who oppose a piety
have to pretend to honour its core point.
*
Adam Gopnik

...one way you know that something is an institution is that you don’t have to give reasons for it. Getting a college degree, like getting married, is what people do.
John Emerson


What does everyone have to like? (I'll qualify that: in the West, if you're educated, what do you have to like?) I suppose this is close to asking what the spirit of the age is. For example and by definition, most people don't like the things hipsters like. What things do even hipsters fail to react against?

For instance, two people saying they don't like things you're supposed to: Nassim Taleb refuses to read the news, for aesthetic and epistemic reasons; Pierre Bayard says that one can and should talk about books one hasn't read. Good intellectuals aren't supposed to talk like this.

The things listed b…