Links and Such

1. Adrian I. has a round-up here of recent blog posts on… blogging. (For background, see here, here, here, here, and here.) His warning? Don’t worry about critiques of it. I’ve discussed here before why I think this is a good forum, not least the different people I’ve met better through doing it. Of course, I do suppose far more people read this blog (I can’t believe the healthy numbers I have that daily are far better than most academic books sell) than journals, etc., and it’s also a good notepad for links and such I want to look back at later.

2. Shahar Ozeri announces here some web-based work behind the upcoming Edinburgh Press Badiou Dictionary.

3. A nice article in the Times on the changes in psychiatry during the previous twenty-to-thirty years. Nothing here that isn’t surprising, but a good snap-shot for use in classes, etc.:

Medicine is rapidly changing in the United States from a cottage industry to one dominated by large hospital groups and corporations, but the new efficiencies can be accompanied by a telling loss of intimacy between doctors and patients. And no specialty has suffered this loss more profoundly than psychiatry.

Trained as a traditional psychiatrist at Michael Reese Hospital, a sprawling Chicago medical center that has since closed, Dr. Levin, 68, first established a private practice in 1972, when talk therapy was in its heyday.

Then, like many psychiatrists, he treated 50 to 60 patients in once- or twice-weekly talk-therapy sessions of 45 minutes each. Now, like many of his peers, he treats 1,200 people in mostly 15-minute visits for prescription adjustments that are sometimes months apart. Then, he knew his patients’ inner lives better than he knew his wife’s; now, he often cannot remember their names. Then, his goal was to help his patients become happy and fulfilled; now, it is just to keep them functional.

There’s so much in that last sentence, isn’t there?

3. Tim Morton has this post up on income inequality in the US. The focus of my political philosophy course this semester is “equality,” with much time spent in the coming weeks on readings on the relation of economic inequality to democracy (ranging on this front from Rousseau to Marx to Rancière, with some Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and Pierson and Hacker’s Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer–and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class thrown in to discuss the particular inequality that is America. Mother Jones has a nice set of charts here that are well-worth noting for my class in this regard. I just want to step quickly past any students’ denial of a basic fact in order to get to the more substantive political questions about the relation between economic inequality and other forms of equality (political, social, etc.).

4. Brad Delong has more political scientists behaving badly (re: various dictatorial regimes).

5. Jeffrey Bell had a recent post up on Spinoza, Leibniz, as well as Matthew Stewart’s account of Leibniz and Spinoza, The Courtier and the Heretic (Yale UP, 2005). Here are some of Tim’s comments. Stuart Elden and I raised the Steward book a couple of months ago here.

6. Graham Harman discusses the key different between his own version of object-oriented-ontology and that of Levi Bryant.

7. Artforum has a quick article on the earl film-making career of Manuel De Landa (the punny title? “No Man’s Landa”).

Born in Mexico, De Landa established himself as a commercial graphic artist while still in his teens. He arrived in New York during the city’s near disastrous economic downturn, which, against the odds, proved inspirational to adversarial artists in many media. Taking his graphic talent to the streets, he produced graffiti as witty as it was eye-popping, distinguished by its merging of subversive visuals—cubistically altered billboard faces—with injunctions from French linguistic and psychoanalytic theory splattered onto subway walls and building facades with dripping paintbrushes. Call it latter-day Mexican-American Situationism. Ismism (1979), De Landa’s most straightforward film, is a silent Super 8 (later transferred to 16 mm) documentation of this graffiti. It also serves as a decoder for the sound films, which share the street art’s Pop visuals; theoretical underpinnings; and combinations of sophistication and vulgarity, humor and anger. …

After Raw Nerves, De Landa pretty much stopped making films, although as a coda to his career, he turned a micro lens on cockroaches dying hideously after being sprayed with insecticide….

During the past twenty-odd years, De Landa has published six books of philosophy, including the highly regarded War in the Age of Intelligent Machines (1991). He currently is a professor of philosophy in the architecture department of the University of Pennsylvania. Like his films, his lecture-performance style is like no other. I await his Saturday presentation with eagerness and trepidation.