Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Monday, February 7, 2011

THE OLD DOPE PEDDLER

Some of you are undoubtedly old enough to remember Tom Lehrer, the satirical songwriter and singer who got his start, in the late 1940's, as a Teaching Fellow in Mathematics at Harvard [see Volume One of my Memoirs for a story about Lehrer in those days.] One of my favorites among his many tunes is The Old Dope Peddler, who, in Lehrer's felicitous phrase, was "doing well while doing good." The line came to mind as I was reading The NEW YORK TIMES at one a.m. this morning [old guys like me never sleep through the night.] My eye fell on a report that Arianna Huffington, of The Huffington Post, has sold her wildly successful left-wing blog to AOL for 315 million dollars [300 million of it in cash.]

According to the story, The Huffington Post is visited 25 million times each month, so the sale price works out to a tad more than $12 a visit a month. Hmm, I thought. Since The Philosopher's Stone is currently recording 16,000 visits a month, more or less, by that reckoning, it ought to be worth roughly $200,000. I could almost pay off my mortgage. Arianna will become the head of "content" at AOL, so maybe I could find a buyer willing to let me stay on as content provider.

What earthly use would The Philosopher's Stone be to a canny investor? Well, what earthly use will The Huffington Post be to AOL? As always, the answer is advertising. Apparently AOL is bewitched by the thought of those twenty-five million monthly visitors. Would this site be a good place to advertise? I don't see why not. Surely, anyone attracted by a 50,000 word tutorial on the thought of Karl Marx or a 240,000 word Memoir of an obscure philosopher would be on the lookout for Canadian prescription medications or online dating opportunities.

I am open to any reasonable offer. The Web is a wondrous thing, withal.

6 comments:

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

Off topic, but you really need to see this video of Bill O'Reilly proving the existence of God.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

Oops, forgot to include the link. Here:

http://yfrog.com/5lsy8z

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I saw Jon Stewart's send up of it. I especially loved the part about how Mars has no moons. Do these people really exist?

Chris said...

Stewart covered it? I can't seem to find that anywhere :/

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Gee, I thought it was Stewart. Could it have been Colbert? That's the trouble with watching everything on my computer.

john c. halasz said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/04/stephen-colbert-thanks-oreilly_n_818809.html

It's one of his sharpest, funniest riffs.