Creative Commons image by Paul Boxley
John Cleese, you say, a spokesman for the American Philosophical Association? Why would such a serious organization, whose stated mission is to foster the “broader presence of philosophy in public life,” choose a British comedian famous for such characters as the overbearing Basil Fawlty and ridiculous M
Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes… to my freshman ears, the names of these French theorists sounded like passwords to an occult world of strange and forbidding ideas. I started college in the mid-90s, when English departments gleefully claimed poststructuralism as their birthright.[...]
After a frustrating day spent dealing with a tenacious ghost in my two-year-old laptop, I’d much rather visit the dreary bemusement park, Dismaland, than that soulless, slick-surfaced “genius” bar. It just feels more real, somehow.[...]
“One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin,” wrote Roger Ebert, “is that his films continue to hold up, to attract and delight audiences.” Richard Brody described Chaplin as not just “alone among his peers of silent-comedy genius,” but also as a maker of “great talking pictures.[...]
Conventional wisdom has it that one’s college years are the best of one’s life, a maxim Sylvia Plath: Girl Detective, above, seems to embrace.
The real Plath experienced deep depression and attempted suicide while a student at Smith College.
Back in 2002, Stanford University mathematics professor Robert Osserman chatted with comedian and banjo player extraordinaire Steve Martin in San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. The event was called “Funny Numbers” and it was intended to deliver an off-kilter discussion on math. Boy did it deliver.[...]
A good man is hard to find… a good man who can hold an audience rapt by reading aloud for over an hour is harder still.
Soon-to-be Late Show host Stephen Colbert acquits himself quite nicely with Flannery O’Connor’s 1958 short story “The Enduring Chill,” above.
The character we know as “Woody Allen,” the persona we see in his films, the stammering neurotic weighed down by existential angst and a desperate horniness laced with intellectuality, was created not in his movies, but in his stand-up, recordings of which have been in and out of circulation since 1964. (They’re now available here.[...]
Little known fact, during his high school days, Stephen Colbert was the front man of a Rolling Stones cover band. And, appearing on Howard Stern on Tuesday, just weeks before taking over The Late Show, Colbert proved it, singing and doing a jig to “Brown Sugar.” He moves like Jagger, and it’s fun to watch.[...]