Tuesday, February 09, 2010

French "Thinker" Bernard-Henri Lévy a laughing stock for quoting fictional philosopher

As a guy who studied Philosophy extensively in college (I am just a few units short of my degree, cuz I switched majors), I find this extremely humorous.

From the Times Online:

When France’s most dashing philosopher took aim at Immanuel Kant in his latest book, calling him “raving mad” and a “fake”, his observations were greeted with the usual adulation. To support his attack, Bernard-Henri Lévy — a showman-penseur known simply by his initials, BHL — cited the little-known 20th-century thinker Jean-Baptiste Botul.

There was one problem: Botul was invented by a journalist in 1999 as an elaborate joke, and BHL has become the laughing stock of the Left Bank.

There were clues. One supposed work by Botul — from which BHL quoted — was entitled The Sex Life of Immanuel Kant. The philosopher’s school is known as Botulism and subscribes to his theory of “La Metaphysique du Mou” — the Metaphysics of the Flabby. Botul even has a Wikipedia entry that explains that he is a “fictional French philosopher”.

But Mr Lévy, a leader among the nouveaux philosophes school of the 1970s, was unaware. In On War in Philosophy, he writes that Botul had proved once and for all “just after the Second World War, in his series of lectures to the neo-Kantians of Paraguay, that their hero was an abstract fake, a pure spirit of pure appearance”.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen Philosophy professors go off the rails. I had one Professor whose garbled thinkin on Wittgenstein and Chomsy I could never understand. I was advised by the other Professors he was a "genius". During my tenure as a student, he helped his mistress kill her husband by wiring his car's ignition to a bomb.

The other Philosophy Professors at my college mortgaged their homes to pay his bail. During the trial it was revealed he believed the CIA was listening to his thoughts through the fillings in his teeth.

That is genius, isn't it?

I love Philosophy, but I have never met a stranger group of people than Philosophers.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Wandering Jew in 'An Education':

The Anatomy of an Anti-Semitic Film

From Fight Hated:

The Wandering Jew in 'An Education': The Anatomy of an Anti-Semitic Film
Nazi caricature of "The Wandering Jew"

Jenny: “Oh, and by the way ... David’s a Jew, a wandering Jew. So watch yourself.”
We were only 15 minutes into the film and this was the second reference to the “Wandering Jew,” an age-old, European anti-Semitic stereotype. The British coming-of-age film, “An Education,” had gotten rave reviews, yet the more I watched, the more the character of David Goldman resembled the parasitical Jew of “Der Ewige Juden” (“The Eternal Jew”) — one of the infamous 1930s Nazi propaganda films I had studied in Peter Loewenberg’s class at UCLA.
From the moment David starts following the teenage Jenny in his fancy car, the pudgy, effete David Goldman (played by Peter Sarsgaard) proclaims his ethnicity. (Jenny: “I’m not a Jew.” David: “No, I am. I wasn’t ... accusing you.”) Like the predatory creature characterized in “Der Ewige Juden,” Goldman pretends to adopt the values of his host culture in order to turn its treasures into his profit. He offers Jenny “three five-pound notes” to drive her cello home safely out of the rain; “I’m a music lover,” he tells her. Then he proceeds to corrupt the innocent gentile girl (played by Carey Mulligan) with expensive flowers, gifts, concerts, art auctions and trips to Oxford and Paris.
David enriches himself by ruining good English neighborhoods, deflating property values and looting cultural treasures from displaced widows. He moves blacks into white neighborhoods: “Shvartzes,” he tells Jenny, “have to live somewhere; it’s not as if they can rent from their own kind.” The only identifiable Jew in the film, he constantly uses the collective “we” to justify his wickedness: “This is how we are, Jenny,” Goldman editorializes. “We’re not clever like you, so we have to be clever in other ways, because if we weren’t, there would be no fun.” He uses the word “stats” for old ladies he victimizes. They “are scared of colored people; so we move the coloreds in and the old ladies out and I buy their flats cheap.” Along with his partner, Danny, David barges into a house, military style, and speeds away with precious relics. “We have to be clever with maps,” he tells Jenny. An ancient map, he rationalizes, “shouldn’t spend its life on a wall…. We know how to look after it…. We liberated it.”

Read the whole thing.