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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, July 28, 2014

PARISIAN EPHEMERA

1.  It is a terrible thing to outlive your time.  I went to the market on Saturday to shop for several dinners and discovered that my favorite vendors were not there -- the fish man, the man from whom I buy cuisses de canard and cailles and coquelets and a demi-lapin [sans tete].  The poissonerie in the square was also closed, and so was my reliable fruit and veggie shop.  Alas, the August vacances started this year on July 26th.  I may be reduced to taking us out to dinner.  Fortunately the tourist trade has grown so large that many restaurants stay open in August, although several of my favorites do not.

2.  Back in the '50s and '60s, when the world and I were young, we all watched the network evening news to find out what was happening.  Walter Cronkite and Huntley/Brinkley [Chet Huntley and David Brinkley] were as close to official state oracles as a secular age offered.  If it wasn't on the evening news, it hadn't happened.  If Cronkite or Huntley or Brinkley said it, it was true.  Time passed, even oracles age, and cable television shouldered its way into our collective consciousness, but it was all right, because CNN was there to pick up the slack.  CNN was authoritative, reliable, and besides belonged to a man who was, or had been, married to Hanoi Jane Fonda.

Well, so much for all that.  Yesterday shortly after lunch, Susie and I went to our café to hang out.  As we sipped our kir, we watched the live television coverage of the final stage of the Tour de France, which ends in Paris with a celebratory ride up the Champs Elysees, around L'Etoile, and back down the Champs Elysees to Place de la Concorde.  When we returned to our apartment, I turned on CNN  International [channel 109, if you are ever in Paris.]  A sprightly weather lady was reporting clear skies for the last stage of the Tour, which she chirpily reported would soon be entering Paris.  She said, in that confident authoritative voice that TV news personalities affect, that it was pretty clear whom the winner would be.  I guess so, since he had already won.

I think from now on I will get my news from Jon Stewart and The Onion.

3.   One of the old reliable Hollywood formulae is the ensemble movie of young aspiring actors, who are thrown into a movie together to see which of them catches on with the audience.  My favorite is The Breakfast Club, with Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy.  It seems that the wheel of time has come full circle, and ensemble movies are being made with collections of long-in-the-tooth former action stars, dragged out of the Old People's Home for one more special effects romp.  One of the very best is RED, with Bruce Willis, John  Malkovich, Helen Mirren and then forty-five year old Mary-Louise Parker doing a delightful turn as the "young" love interest for Willis.  [RED, incidentally, is an acronym.  It stands for "Retired -- Extremely Dangerous" which perfectly captures the way we old folks like to think of ourselves.]

All over Paris are posters announcing the local opening of Expendables 3, a tongue-in-cheek "action" flic starring, among many others, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, and Dolph Lundgren.   I assume that each day of shooting began with a series of testosterone shots for the stars.

Now that I am eighty, I find it very comforting that Hollywood has decided to cater to my demographic.  I fully expect a series of deathbed comedies as I approach ninety.

2 comments:

T Gent said...

A propos The Onion, this hilarious article made me think of you (and Piketty!)

http://www.theonion.com/articles/scientists-rich-people-poor-people-may-have-shared,36547/

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I saw that. It was wonderful. The Onion is a real gift to those of us who despair.