(un)common ground

a commonplace book

What a Book Says and What It Means

Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means. Umberto … Continue reading

March 30, 2016 · Leave a comment

Demystifying Our “Natural” Reality

[I]n a word, I resented seeing Nature and History repeatedly confused in the description of our reality, and I wanted to expose in the decorative display of what-goes-without-saying the ideological … Continue reading

March 30, 2016 · Leave a comment

What Is Semiology?

Semiology therefore aims to take in any system of signs, whatever their substance and limits; images, gestures, musical sounds, objects, and the complex associations of all these, which form the … Continue reading

March 30, 2016 · Leave a comment

Internet Populism as Node of Fascism

For Ur-Fascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human … Continue reading

March 25, 2016 · Leave a comment

How “To Kill a Mockingbird” Perpetuated a Myth about Racism

To Kill a Mockingbird seemed to usher in a new trend in Southern literature. It proved that a book could acknowledge and even condemn the South’s racist past and still be … Continue reading

March 25, 2016 · Leave a comment

A Definition of “Violence”

The potentially aggressive removal of an actor’s choice in a situation. Mike Rugnetta, “Is Undertale the Most Violent Game This Year?” (2016) Notes: I find this definition, in part (seemingly) … Continue reading

March 6, 2016 · 1 Comment

Same End, Different Means

[S]imilar ethical maxims may be correlated with very different dogmatic foundations. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) Notes: It’s a point often lost within moral debate, … Continue reading

March 6, 2016 · Leave a comment

Enlightened Violence: The West’s Contradictory Legacy

When we marshal big arguments about the West’s superior economic performance, and build these arguments upon an account of the West’s allegedly superior institutions like private-property rights, lean government, and … Continue reading

February 24, 2016 · Leave a comment

Tonight, on Identity Theater…

Social media surely change identity performance. For one, it makes the process more explicit. The fate of having to live “onstage,” aware of being an object in others’ eyes rather … Continue reading

February 21, 2016 · Leave a comment

Generational Labels Don’t Reflect Reality

The generational concept would make a wonderfully precise instrument if only its precision didn’t make it impossible to apply to the unclassifiable disorder of reality. Pierre Nora, quoted by Rebecca … Continue reading

February 20, 2016 · Leave a comment