Thursday, October 21, 2004

more on J.D.

From The Reading Experience. Although I happen to disagree with the recommendation for Christopher Norris who, as I remember, admits to having misunderstood Derrida in the notes at the end of his book...Perhaps Caputo would be a better choice? Or Timothy Clark? (The contrasting assessment of Pale Fire and House of Leaves is however spot-on, as the British like to say.) Is this letter of protest vaguely disingenuous? Perhaps, but it's also a good-thing-in-the-world, if one understands such gestures as the simple yet important -- and indeed necessary -- affirmation of solidarity and refusal they represent. That is, the signatories are neither claiming to have a monopoly (over reading/interpreting the signature of Derrida), nor to agree with each other without condition. Except that they are simply affirming, symbolically, an incalculable debt, and a refusal to stomach "official" obituaries written by people who clearly have not bothered to read. Such a gesture is as much an affirmation of the work, hard work, yet to be done, as it is anything else.

In other news (blogs should not be a news source), a fittingly brief and dismissive review of The Seduction of Unreason. Derrida's complex relationship to psychoanalysis will undoubtedly remain controversial for some time, but those claiming the two are "enemies" ought to consider re-reading, or reading. Stephen Mitchelmore has written a subtle and provocative post, Pornography: on insensitivity to Derrida." An excellent and accessible recent radio program on Derrida, featuring Michael Naas and Francoise Meltzer may be found here (many thanks to Anthony Smith.)

Elsewhere, a review of Agamben's The Open: Man and Animal.

Robert Fisk, whose early coverage of the Iraq war for The Independent I always admired, writes movingly on the recently kidnapped Margaret Hassan.

And how about supporting these folks:
The Project for the OLD American Century ( is a non-profit grass-roots organization that strives to protect and strengthen our democracy through disseminating truthful and unbiased independent news stories untainted by corporate ownership.

The Project was founded in 2002 in response to a rigged election, reduced civil liberties, a high-jacking of our domestic and foreign policies by the energy/defense industries, and a compliant corporate media that refused to make these problems prominent in our national consciousness. All while claiming the evils of a non-existent "liberal media". Our country had been taken over in a peaceful coup by the energy and defense industries and the American Media barely raised a peep.

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