Category Archives: Rhetoric

How Thinking Stops

In a review of The New Despotism, Gergana Dimova explains how politicians and their enablers seduce people, like academics, into accepting the status quo:

The book tells us that it is quite possible, and even probable, for well-educated, well-travelled and ‘well brought up’ people to give up their ability to think critically for the opportunity to frequent fancy airport lounges, hotels and shops. Instead of inspiring ideals, driving progress and defending the less fortunate, these middle classes embrace cynical morals and fickle pragmatism. In the best possible scenario, they will forsake morals for professional prestige.


For Those Concerned about the U.S. Constitution

screenshot from Wall Street Journal

Review of Hans Blumenberg Reader Now Available

The journal Critical Inquiry has been kind enough to publish my review of History, Metaphors, Fables: A Hans Blumenberg Reader.

photo of cover of Blumenberg Reader


Heard It’s Worth 1,000 Words

photo of protests

Capitalism Crashed in a Few Weeks

This crisis is not about the virus.

This crisis is about the massive failure of our “Booming economy” to survive even modest challenges. It is about the market dissonance of shortages in stores, even as farmers/producers destroy unused crops and products. This crisis is about huge corporations needing an emergency bailout within days of the longest Bull Market in our history ending and despite the ability to borrow with zero percent interest rates.

Paul Field

screenshot of capitalism crashed sign

Amateurish Prolepsis

screenshot of Times article about false prediction

From an article by the BBC:

It is a mystery why he felt the need to burnish his credentials as a coronavirus sage so much that he pointed to having explicitly warned about something that was only added to his blog after the event.

British Subtlety

An American naïf, needing to rustle up a preemptive volley to put the hearer on the defensive, resorts in the first instance to a dead grandmother. The circumstances of the death can be adjusted for the occasion. If a large dose of empathy is needed, the grandmother’s death is sudden, agonizing, perhaps vivified by a fictional sprawl on the bathroom floor during which she could not reach the phone. However, Brits, being far more subtle, apparently save the dead relative ploy for Step 5, and shift the emotional impact by pointing to a deceased uncle, keeping grandma’s corpse in reserve (Step 9?). Such are the advantages of an Oxbridge education.

screenshot of excuses from Dominic Cummings


Again, It’s not Just the Flu

screenshot from Sydney Morning Herald


Call for Papers – Evental Aesthetics

graphic of call for papers of Evental Aesthetics journal

Listen to your Doctor II

Thanks to Dr. Emily Landon for this:

“It’s really hard to feel like you’re saving the world when you’re watching Netflix from your couch. But if we do this right, nothing happens,” Landon said. “A successful shelter-in-place means you’re going to feel like it was all for nothing, and you’d be right: Because nothing means that nothing happened to your family. And that’s what we’re going for here.”

graphic cover of The Art of Boredom