josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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27 Sep '13 07:24:48 PM

In the line for coffee at the new job, an old student; old enough that I don't remember. Sort of. Maybe. I'm not sure. But she remembers me. She's going back to school, doing it again. The first time that happened to me, several years ago, it was with a recent student, ringing me up at the co-op. I like it. Not the being remembered, exactly—I know how people pass through one another's lives for a while and then forget, and I don't want my teaching to be about me (much). I just like the idea that school and life are knit together, that people could think that the teachers keep going on, the school keeps going on, that it's still a place to be, maybe go back to. That the school and the city belong together. I often think of my teacher, some fifty years into his career (in the same job!), and his story of being recognized, years later, by the former student who happened to be driving his shuttle to the airport. 'Best class I ever took', the guy said. He still thought about it.

26 Sep '13 07:32:48 AM

'To start over again is never to begin something again. Nor to pick up things where they had been left off. What one begins again is always something else. Is always unprecedented. Because it is not the past that drives us, but precisely what in it has not happened. And because it is also ourselves, then, that we start over with. To begin again means: to exit the suspension. To reestablish contact between our becomings. To start out from, once again, wherever we are, now.'

25 Sep '13 08:52:11 PM

A variety of philistinism: 'it's like a novel!'.

Var.: 'finally, _______ that's as good as a novel!'.

25 Sep '13 08:33:49 PM

A friend from an old job asked me to review another book, for their in-house publication. Last time, the book was something like the vanity project of a retired historian. This time, it seems to be part of the valedictory housekeeping of a late-career philosopher. Which might be why I found it annoying to read. The book didn't seem like it needed to be read, i.e., needed to be said; it seemed as if the author had come to the point where he was publishing everything, and he also had this around (for decades, he notes, as an accompaniment to his duties teaching Wittgenstein). Reviewing such a book for a non-philosophical publication felt freeing. But I was freed for something which it's a shame I even need to feel free to do. Essentially, I reviewed like a reader: I held the book accountable not for its arguments, its scholarship, or whatever, but for its readability; for my responses to it as a reader. Why should it feel so out of place to require that a book be something you want to read?

19 Sep '13 07:12:55 AM

'She's 36 and still sleeping on floors…'

17 Sep '13 05:41:46 AM

'Fall quarter was just a tall order.'

17 Sep '13 01:37:42 AM

Tom Ewing's Popular turns 10.

16 Sep '13 11:10:18 PM

'Could I become a different person here?'

11 Sep '13 08:21:50 PM

20 Years of Sonic Youth