Frank Ramsey (Article)

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The Pandemic, and the Question of Value in Nature

Is valuing always a human activity (is it something relative to our purposes), or is value something — say some quality or class of qualities — to which we can become more sensitive? Do we project it, or do we discover it?

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Brief Coronavirus Thought

This was originally a comment I made on a friend’s wall. Reposted here. Continue reading

Martin Hägglund, This Life

Martin Hägglund is a professor of comparative literature and humanities at Yale. He has written a very interesting book titled This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom (buy from that link, and I get #commissions!). This Life caught my attention a while back, but I was not able to get to it because of numerous obligations. I have serious disagreements with the book, but found it helpful in a number of regards. There is a good review of This Life by Nathan Brown here, and another by Samuel Moyn here. I’ve just found another review/exchange, as I post this here, between Hägglund and Robert Pippin — so far (I’ve only dipped into it), it’s great. There are other reviews out there, and some are bad; the ones I linked to above, as I recall, are the better ones that I found.

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Final Reflections on Star Wars — Entertainment.

I wrote one post about Star Wars, and then another. This is the last one. This is not my typical content. This is certainly catharsis.

In the previous post I glanced at the mythic elements that Star Wars aspired to at the outset (even if schlocky) before its slide into comic book-ism. I here basically concede that the mythic elements that were married, in the original Star Wars, to the Flash Gordon serialized storytelling format grew weak, and that the entertainment features are what are really central and enduring. Character drama may be the real heart of Star Wars. Unfortunately, the setting for these character dramas seems not to be an endless fountain of creativity, but an endless cage of self-reference and visual repetition. The Mandalorian shows that the franchise can hope to achieve escape velocity from this problem, but I am not holding my breath.

As I mentioned in the first post, were I to be responsible, I’d buy and read the recent biography of George Lucas before writing this (more likely, I’d listen to it on Audible). I’d look at the concept art books or the Ralph McQuarrie art boxed set or the storyboards for the original trilogy. I’d read the books that dealt with how the movies were made — volumes on A New Hope, or The Empire Strikes Back, or Return of the Jedi. I’d find and finally read my copy of How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, or any number of other texts that would give me access to the history of George Lucas, Lucasfilm, and the production dramas and decisions that resulted in so many of these films. (Buy those books! It will cost you the ordinary Amazon price, and I’ll get a few pennies to spend on the coffee needed to keep writing blog posts.)

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