Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chuckle of the Day

Today, I received Alain Badiou's Being and Event in the mail. Reading through the author's preface, I must say that I was taken off-guard by AB's self-importance...but found it both entertaining & interesting. With regard to the aforementioned self-importance, take the author's opening statements:

"At that moment [of publishing the original text] I was quite aware of having written a 'great' book of philosophy. I felt that I had achieved what I had set out to do. Not without pride, I thought I had inscribed my name in the history of philosophy, and in particular, in the history of those philosophical systems which are the subject of interpretations and commentaries throughout the centuries." (xi)

Fantastic. That he knew, upon writing the book, that it was "great" speaks volumes about this fellow's self-perception. How can you not love someone so impressed with himself? Then there are the backhands he delivers to the English language, which are rather tasty. In regards to the translation of his text, Badiou writes:

"It is no easy matter to transport the amplitude that I give to French syntax into the ironic concision of [English] language." (xiv)

Oh, & his parting shot to "the refined amateurs of literary deconstruction" (xv) is sort of funny as well. Nonetheless, I sympathized with his take on late-80s culture, which could very well apply to the contemporary cultural landscape:

"Dominating public opinion, one had 'democracy'-- in its entirely corrupt representative and electoral form--and 'freedom' reduced to the freedom to trade and consume. These constituted the abstract universality of our epoch. That is, the alliance between the market and parlimentarism--what I call 'capitalo-parlimentarism'--functioned as if the only possible doctrine, and on a worldwide scale." (xii)


michael said...

Have you considered that the French sense of Humour and Irony is no the same as that of the American Philosophers? c.f. The Sage Huckabee for example.
remember 'He who humbles himself wishes to be exalted'-you are running riskily here.

Johnny Cakes said...

The only thing I know of the late-80s cultural landscape is James Spader.