Politics and Conscience, Vaclav Havel

In February 1984, Václav Havel wrote this speech on the occassion of receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Toulouse. He was unable to deliver the speech on 14 May 1984 and was represented by English Playwright Tom Stoppard. The essay first appeared in Czech in The Natural World as Political Problem: Essays on Modern Man (Prague, 1984). Erazim Kohák and Roger Scruton translated … Continue reading Politics and Conscience, Vaclav Havel

Philosophy of Humor, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

First published Tue Nov 20, 2012; substantive revision Wed Sep 28, 2016 Although most people value humor, philosophers have said little about it, and what they have said is largely critical. Three traditional theories of laughter and humor are examined, along with the theory that humor evolved from mock-aggressive play in apes. Understanding humor as play helps counter the traditional objections to it and reveals … Continue reading Philosophy of Humor, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Roger Federer as Religious Experience, David Foster Wallace

First published in the NY Times Sports section on August 20 2006 Almost anyone who loves tennis and follows the men’s tour on television has, over the last few years, had what might be termed Federer Moments. These are times, as you watch the young Swiss play, when the jaw drops and eyes protrude and sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms … Continue reading Roger Federer as Religious Experience, David Foster Wallace

Golden Rules of Moviemaking from Jarmusch, Buscemi, Van Sant, Smith, Payne

Jim Jarmusch Rule #1: There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be. Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy—more of … Continue reading Golden Rules of Moviemaking from Jarmusch, Buscemi, Van Sant, Smith, Payne

The Lottery, Shirley Jackson (1948)

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had … Continue reading The Lottery, Shirley Jackson (1948)