Thursday, June 12, 2008

5 Thoughts on a Thursday

1) I am finished with my Master's Thesis! All 44 pages of "Authority, Justification, and Intelligibility in Fear and Trembling," have been written and turned in! I also wrote an 18-page paper for Jean-Luc Marion's Negative Certitudes class entitled "The Self Under the Knife: A Phenomenological Interpretation of Surgery," that I think is pretty good and that I might consider expanding on in the future. I also wrote a 16-page paper for Robert Pippin called, "On Logic and Language in Nietzsche's The Gay Science and On the Genealogy of Morality," and even though I think that that paper was decent, it wasn't nearly as good as the topic demanded. But we'll see. So if anybody out there is interested in a little Summer reading, let me know and I will be happy to hook you up.

2) Of course, just because I'm done with my thesis paper does not mean that I have gotten my degree yet. I have to take one more class for credit this Summer, and I have chosen three weeks of Intensive German from June 23 - July 11. And personally, I can't think of a better way to spend my Summer than being in a classroom in 100-hundred degree weather for four hours a day four days a week reciting over and over again different verb tenses and noun cases while mein Herr Professor glares over my shoulder with his switch in hand. It'll be just like Summer camp! [Insert inappropriate Holocaust joke here.]

3) I saw a girl on campus wearing one of those "Blonds Have More Fun" t-shirts today. The thing was, she wasn't a blond. Not even close - she was most definitely a dark, dark brunette. Was she being ironic? Was she in a sad, tragic state of extreme self-deception? Or was she merely stating the fact that Blonds do have more fun, and that that proposition is an objectively factual statement regardless of who makes it?

4) R.A. and I were in Oregon this past weekend for Younger Sister's high school graduation. (I would say "Little Sister," but she is in fact much, much taller than me.) While we were in Portland, we stopped by The Looking Glass Bookstore to buy some, um, books. They had a nice selection, complete with respectable philosophy section. Most of their philosophy books were actual philosophy, not those Pop-Zen, Self-Help, "The Secret" kind of books that you find way too often in the philosophy sections of your Border's and your Barnes and Noble's, but they were also mostly your canonical mainstays: Hume, Kant, Plato, Nietzsche, etc. One exception was the little book "Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar," by Michael Forster, who also just happened to be the faculty advisor for my Master's Thesis. I took this as a sign, and purchased the book.

When we reached the checkout counter, the saleswoman was ecstatic. "Oh, wow!" she said with big, wide eyes, "You two really know your philosophy! Wait right here, I have just the thing for you!" She nearly skipped into the back store room and came back with a little poster that had a crazy cartoon drawing of Walter Benjamin on it, and was apparently some kind of advertisement for his essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanic Reproduction." (Which I have not yet read.) "I've been holding on to this for a while," she said, "But I think that you two should have it." So she put it in a paper bag with our purchases and let us leave with it.

There was something so practically kind about that exchange that it made me miss living in Oregon. Even Portland, with over half a million people, still has that feeling of being a town where everyone knows everyone else. Of course that can be a great reason for leaving Oregon. But maybe some day, when the job market recovers, and the mortgage crisis ends, and the cost of living in New York and Chicago gets so high that only a select group of the super-rich who spend their free time rocket-chariot racing each other and developing a class of robot slaves to destroy the proletariat once and for all can afford to live there, we'll move to Oregon and find a home there.

5) And to Younger Sister: Congratulations! I am so proud of you! I hope that you have a good Summer and are excited about starting college next year. I had a good time at your graduation ceremony, even though we couldn't actually see the stage and the little boy in the seat in front of me kept turning around and looking at me like I was a Martian. My only real complaint is that the ceremony couldn't quite get from start to finish without someone reciting Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" No offense to Dr. Seuss - he's a genius - but I hate that book. There are so many other motivational songs, stories, books, myths, adages, aphorisms, and quotes that one could cite at a graduation, that express more or less the same sentiment, but no. They only go with the Seuss.

1 comment:

Robyn B. said...

And yet, you show your appreciation for the splendor of Oregon by leaving our iconic Benjamin poster behind, no doubt to be ravaged by Bob...