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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Thursday, September 1, 2011

FAME COMES TO THE OLD PHILOSOPHER, LATE IN LIFE

High Arka, who hides behind an impenetrable webname while hurling thunderbolts from his elevated position of permanent high dudgeon, refers to me on his own website as "Death Lord Wolff." Ignorant as I am of the world of computer games, I mistakenly thought that I was being compared to Darth Vader, whose voice of course was that of the great actor James Earl Jones. Momentarily I was quite thrilled by the comparison. But Wikipedia informs me that DeathLord is simply a character in a computer game, which seems rather a comedown. Oh well.

In the extended rant to which he links, High Arka sneers disdainfully at my efforts to provide university educations to some young South Africans. It must be wonderfully relaxing to see every act in the world as just another contemptible example of, as he/she says,
African Orientalism. One need therefore never actually do anything at all, inasmuch as anything one might try to do is fatally infected with objective and subjective bad motives and consequences. So one can, with considerable self-congratulation, remain completely, comfortably inert.

It is difficult to have a genuine conversation with someone who is unwilling to reveal him/herself, so instead I offer a bargain to High Arka: I will stay off your blog, if you stay off mine.

5 comments:

Marinus said...

If it makes you feel better, Deathlord was a technical tour de force, implementing some original and important solutions to difficult problems about getting a lot of use out of a small amount of data storage. So if you don't like the content, you might at least appreciate the skill that went into making it. Think of it as being compared to an aspect of a Leni Riefenstahl film.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Cold comfort indeed, but one must take one's compliments where one finds them. Thank you for the clarification.

Marinus said...

I don't know what High Arka was thinking off when he called you Death Lord Wolff, but I suspect it wasn't computer memory optimisation. Still, I thought that if you were willing to take comfort out of a link to James Earl Jones, maybe a nice piece of computer science might do the same.

I've known quite a few people to get touchy about what they see as the expectation that Africans should make use of Western solutions. Normally a university education isn't given as a troublesome example of this - in my experience, and I suspect yours, there are a great many South Africans gagging at the opportunity for higher education. But this 'African orientalism' worry is a response most often to economic policies (especially ones suggested/enforced by the IMF/World Bank), or criticism of certain African leaders. I have to agree with you that on this occasion we're probably looking at an example of someone shooting their mouth off on the internet, where there are no consequences and no significance to what is said. And a great deal of appeals to more local solutions is frequently misguided (Lord knows the West isn't homogeneous) or a cover for more sinister motives (Mugabe uses this as a shield, as has many less than democratic leaders throughout history - China's official policy that human rights are a Western luxury they can't afford is another example). But I do worry that occasionally the claim that we might be too quick to recommend one-size-fits-all solutions is not without merit.

Chris said...

I believe he began calling you death lord when you showed support for Obama. The death lord part comes from the observation that dozens or more die a day on Obamas watch.

High Arka said...

You may ban this one if you wish. Absent such, I shall continue enjoying reading here and occasionally commenting. If it helps, this one's blog has approximately one reader. Two, if we count you. :)

Additionally, in hopes that it may not ever be true, I've removed the appellation from said unread blog.

It was, of course, not a reference to the employment of RAM. Rather, it was a sad metaphor pertaining to the vantage point of the powerful passing a judgment of acceptance on drones, torture, phosphorous, et al.

It's as inappropriate for this one to channel the hungering spirits of little brown children as it is for you to channel different ones.