But I seem to have really crossed a line now: I suggested that Soundgarden was the best rock band of the 1990s.
I've gotten an astonishing number of angry e-mails about this, and now the crowd has mobilized against me:
We, the undersigned, are compelled to speak out against the marginalizinggrunge-centric remark posted on your blog on May 18th -- not least because Leiter Reports is the most widely read philosophy blog, with a readership including countless vulnerable early career scholars, many of whom sacrificed a life in rock n' roll in order to contribute to the profession. How are such scholars supposed to react to the blanket, unqualified announcement by "the most powerful person in academic philosophy" that Soundgarden was the greatest band of the 1990s? Consider that a typical applicant for a junior faculty position today might have only been born in 1990 and not have had the experience of being aware of the rock music of the 1990s as it was being made. Consider, as well, that many young scholars will be alert enough to recognize, from your weekend posts, your expertise in the history of rock music and yet too historically muddled to suspect that it does not extend so seamlessly into more recent decades. Should a fan of Bikini Kill, Boredoms, Free Kitten, Fugazi, Helmet, the Jesus Lizard, the Pixies, Rodan, Shellac, Sun O))), Thrones, or Unwound think twice now before betraying their "inferior" musical tastes? Or is it even riskier to try to play along? Imagine inviting friends to an APA afterparty listening session of Screaming Trees only to find out that those overseeing their tenure cases consider it "the wrong kind of grunge."
This is funny and apt. Bill Clinton was the first Democratic President of the Reagan era, who did more to destroy the Roosevelt vision of the Party than anyone else. Hilary Clinton was one of the most inept Presidential candidates since, well, Mike Dukakis. Their progeny needs to be deposited in the dustbin of history with them.
There is a serious point underlying these parodies: Trump is barely literate, he makes George W. Bush look like a world-class orator. Trump is a bad human being, who wants to do many bad things, but those observing him have to resist over-analyzing his oral expressions: we are dealing with an inept middle school student when it comes to the spoken word.
Shocking! (Context.) A shame he didn't understand the paper, though (alternatively, if he did understand it, a shame he couldn't make any relevant counter-arguments). Do read the first few comments on the post, they're very funny.
(Kudos, by the way, to Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke, who instead of demanding a juvenile pity-fest for their vulnerability, communicated to their critic that given that the paper was in the public domain, it was fair game for mocking criticism.)
(Thanks to several readers who brought this to my attention.)
When I first got the e-mail from Rob Tempio with that subject line (above), I thought, "Oh no he's been hacked by someone who is now sending out pornography links!" In fact, while it does turn out that Scrutopia is slightly obscene, it's not obscene that way.
In five days, a new President of the U.S. will be inaugurated. Although it would be unprecedented for someone other than the winner of the electoral college to be inaugurated on Friday, this has been a year of unprecedented happenings, so perhaps, given the wide reach of this blog, you, dear readers, can influence the nation's direction. Rank order these 30 individuals from most to least qualified to serve as President of the U.S. Let's see how the President-elect fares in a real competition!
A little over a year ago, I posted a sort of how-to for being married to a philosopher. It prompted Mark Bernstein to send along this incredibly funny letter to the editor from vol 62. of the APA Proceedings, written by his (then) wife Nancy Daley. He had this to say about the letter, " I'm biased, but I think it's the best letter ever published by the APA Proceedings."
You should read the full letter at JSTOR. But, here are a few choice excerpts:
I was in my late twenties, just finishing a Bachelor’s degree in English, when the prospect of marrying a philosopher first materialized. I recall with vivid clarity that autumn afternoon in my poetry professor’s dormered office when I announced I had finally decided to marry Mark. Without even lifting his gaze from his cluttered desk, Mr. Conner announced. "Well. You’ll never win an argument.”
This. Oh, for the love of all that's holy, this.
And lest you think philosophy is the only topic open to interminable discussion, I will mention only in passing a certain night I spent on a sofa in Princeton listening to Mark and his friend, Stewart [Stew Cohen], analyzing the apparently unforgivable syntax of a passage in the Toyota Owner’s Manual on the topic of downshifting.