(from Junius): Jean Baudrillard’s new book: The Spirit of Terrorism. A quote:“In dealing all the cards to itself, the system forced the Other to change the rules of the game. And the new rules are ferocious, because the game is ferocious.”
And from the publisher’s blurb: Continuing an analysis developed over many years, Baudrillard sees the power of the terrorists as lying in the symbolism of this slaughter. Not merely the reality of death, but a sacrificial death that challenges the whole system. Where the past revolutionary sought to conduct a struggle of real forces in the context of ideology and politics, the new terrorist mounts a powerful symbolic challenge, which, when combined with high-tech resources, constitutes an unprecedented assault on an over-sophisticated, vulnerable West.
I just ordered it…


The pomo idiot below has an English buddy…and Lileks rips him a new one.
This reminds me…
When I was a mere sprout, given to organizing demonstrations aginst the Invasion of Cambodia and suchlike, I was invited to join fellow upper-middle-class radical sprouts in ‘organizing’ poor black kids at a youth center in Will Rodgers Park in South-Central L.A.
I spent some time down there, realized that I was a pathetic loser at hoops and futball, but managed to talk to a fair number of the kids and their folks as I helped them with homework. And quickly realized that the only ones pushing for the big R were the middle-class white kids from UCLA. The folks we were talking to … the poor folks … wanted a job at the GM plant in Van Nuys, a house with a fence in a safe neighborhood, and good enough schools that their kids could go to college and become arrogant clowns like we were.
Just a thought.


Ranting Screeds lays even more groundwork for the ‘War on Bad Philosophy’ and he & I are now calling it.
I’m trying to get a proposal out the door (don’t forget that I’m looking for work, and will have to drastically cut back on blogging if I have to get a job as an airport screener…), but promise that I will get the last terrorism piece up today, and will follow up with some amplification on Ranting’s suggestions.


Aparently John Gray, Professor of European Thought at the LSE, has written a book explaining the errors of human exceptionalism (the assumption that we are somehow above nature), and suggests in the book that ‘Homo rapines is only one of very many species, and not obviously worth preserving. Later or sooner, it will become extinct. When it is gone the Earth will recover.
Some of us are trying to prevent that…
(from spiked-culture,via Instapundit.)


TANSTAAFL suggests a quick test for critics of the West:

Take a few minutes today to ask yourself a few questions about where you live, and how you live. Here are a few samples to start you off:
Do I like where I live?
Is there another place substantially different where I would prefer to live?
Do I have reasonably good access to the peaceful means of changing the laws and practices of my society?
How secular is my society? How does it treat gender differences? Sexuality? Race?
How free am I? Can I criticise the Government? The Police? Are my thoughts suppressed by government policy?
Do I have access to alternative sources of information? Can I disseminate my thoughts?
Are the processes of my Government transparent? Am I in danger of random arrest? Torture? Summary execution? Secret imprisonment?
What we’re looking for here is a kind of Aggregate Society Satisfaction Rating. There is no perfect society for all. It’s possible Mrs Kublai Khan and all the younger Kahns complained that Xanadu was too far out in the sticks. But realistic debate cannot proceed without an examination of the values that the Western Society stands for in large part, and a comparison to the alternatives of offer. Take a look at where you live, and how you live. If you wouldn’t live anywhere else, make that you starting point for any and all thought about your country, and keep it in mind before you open your mouth.

As a liberal, I’m constantly frustrated because this is where there is hope for the poor, the marginal, women, minorities. I’ve lived in Europe, and I’ll tell you there are few things I’ve encountered more racist and sexist than a Parisian dinner table in the 16th arrondissement, and relative to most of the world, France is good.
(link via Meryl)


Ask a simple question, and look what happens: Ranting Screeds takes off with an opening salvo of what we do to win the War on Bad Philosophy (my new name for the War on Terror). Take a look, you’ll be impressed.
I need some time to come up with responses that make me look smart.


Meryl is once again all over the aftermath of the SFSU incident I’ve discussed here.
Well, the administrative hearings against the three accused – two General Union of Palestinian Students students and one Jewish grandmother – are wrapping up, and it appears that Grandma isn’t settling.
Now, a cautionary note: I wasn’t there. Pretty much everything you read is from someone with an axe to grind. But there are a few basic facts we can pin down. A bunch of pro-Israeli students booked space for a lunchtime demonstration. There were a bunch of pro-Palestinian counterdemonstrators who were pretty aggressive physically and verbally. A few of the pro-Israeli demonstrators got verbally aggressive back.
Now from my point of view, the culpable party here is the University. I have a friend who is a police officer at a major university (not SFSU…), and it’s pretty clear that end-of-semester parties sometimes get out of hand. So it should not have taken a rocket scientist to realize that the potential for a clash was there. And it should not have taken someone with too many advanced degrees to figure out that there might be trouble, and that enforcing civility and distance would be a good thing to do.
The University did neither.
Then, embarrassed by the (Blog led, thanks to Meryl) bad publicity, they engaged in an orgy of ass-covering, resulting in a task force report that my five year old could have written, based on his experience in AYSO and T-ball.
Now the pro-Palestinian students have settled their cases, privately, and the Jewish student is refusing to settle.
She’s accused of using defamatory language, in calling one counter-demonstrator a “bitch” in Arabic, and suggesting to another that he go have carnal relations with his camel. There is a third statement that she disputes (she admits to these two).
I thought then that busting a token pro-Israeli student was the worst kind of pandering; I think that using bad language (which would get your ass thrown out of one of my son’s T-ball games, but is certainly the kind of thing I’ve been called in parking disputes) is fundamentally a different kind of activity than disrupting someone’s free political speech and uttering the kind of threats that both the pro-Israeli and mainstream media attributed to the Palestinian students.
The SFSU administration is totally off base on this. Meryl published the email of President Corrigan of SFSU. After some thought, I’ll refrain from publishing it because I don’t think burying him in emails will help, but you make the call.
Instead, I’d suggest that you send a message to SkyBox Davis, or write a letter to the editor to the S.F. Chronicle.