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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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




Total Pageviews

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DUMPSTER DIVING


It is just barely possible that readers of this blog have formed the opinion that I am a high-minded type who occupies himself with eternal questions and the deeper meanings of otherwise incomprehensible books.  The purpose of this brief blog post is to disabuse anyone who has been thus misled.

I was idly surfing the web, reading some of my favorite blogs to see what was going on in the world, when I came upon a story about Kim Kardashian.  I am of course familiar with the name, and might even be able to pick her out of a police line-up, but I reflected that I knew absolutely nothing about her except that she is famous.  This led me to Wikipedia's entry on Kim Kardashian, who, it seems, is the daughter of now deceased lawyer Robert Kardashian.  I actually recall Robert Kardashian as one of O. J. Simpson's lawyers in the trial of the century.  Kim Kardashian, who is now thirty-three, has married Kanye West, with whom she has a daughter named [I am not making any of this up!] North West.  I assume that if the daughter makes it to puberty and conceives a child, the child will, if it is a girl, be named North by North West, and will in turn grow up to star in a remake of the classic Hitchcock film of that name.

The phrase "famous for being famous," Wikipedia tells me [yes, there is a Wikipedia entry on "famous for being famous."  Take that, Encyclopedia Britannica!] was apparently coined by Daniel Boorstin, a fact that pleases me for some obscure reason.

The concept, if not the term, "famous for being famous" has given rise to semi-synonyms, one of which is "celebutante."  This, Wikipedia explains without further attribution, is a portmanteau word.  It was of course Lewis Carroll who invented the term "portmanteau word" to explain such classic neologisms from The Hunting of the Snark as "frumious," which is "furious" and "fuming" scrunched together by someone who cannot decide which term should precede the other.  Lewis Carroll, by the way, under his real name Charles Dodgson, was a maths don in Christ Church, Oxford, who did some lovely work expanding on Condorcet's "paradox of majority rule" [see my In Defense of Anarchism for a brief exposition of the paradox.]   He was also the author of some spectacularly funny [and quite valid] ratiocinatio polysyllogistica.

I think this is enough to put to rest rumors of my intellectual sophistication.

7 comments:

David Auerbach said...

Dover, of course, has republished many of Carroll's puzzle books and they are worth buying.
I always thought that
Definition of celebrity: someone well-known for being famous
was pretty old, though not Bierce.
For him, see
http://tinyurl.com/bl8h83

Aldo Antonelli said...

And of course 'portmanteau' is autological.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Is it really? I would have thought "panteau" would be, but not portmanteau, which, after all, simply means "coat carrier," hence luggage.

mesnenor said...

"Celebutante" is merely a euphemism for "celebutard".

Ave Maria Mana Flocker said...

Kim Kardashian that happened to me too how I know a dude without knowing him is strange, "portmanteau word" "Hunting of the Snark" Yes S-nark this is cute.
You interest me see, I must say it would appear the things I have been studying so have you been studying to some synchronicity, and you know you made me laugh at the moment of my angst, I think it's the way you write, and I think you ethical character, I wilt like.

Ave Maria Mana Flocker said...

I say anarchism needs to end, When a person is well adjusted who wish to bring a better world to society most of them who did some real thinking, always consider Anarchism is ideal, which proves one knows they don't know enough, and don't think any one does, and well the insult that I reject anarchism is not that I think myself smart, nope, I don't but, I can be clever, where I know issues bring harm to society and so spend my time focusing on human sufferings causes to take what is most human in nature to be to the greatest merit humanity and relate them to generalized as forces to see that one human set of values in driving order conflict with the other driving orders, and so anarchism is not wrong, but suffers the illusion one currency for all human nature is good, which is a lie, but each currency type must represent a part of what it is to be human and each currency most exist contrary to each other, where more than one type exists as human's have contrary natures that do not mix do to the nature of what thought the soul but actual just how we are designed,so what I mean to ORDERISM is to the nature all human values can be monetized and not just some at the expense of others,I am good at reading people, I will read your article anarchy, but I do not have to read it to already think it extremely likely I will simply agree with you, but you see what you mean by anarchism is not going to be anything like the youth and young adult think anarchism, I am not saying the notion of anarchism as a nature more free, but I mean anarchism where we cast down what we cast down before, and we cast down before what we cast down before, we rebel against our own nature as we can't be free if the nature of the economy using one economic unit as a tool to define worth is only one type of measuring stick to merit, when we all know in part we give respect to elders to hear them, as a man who has lived simply longer and knows more, but you see the anarchism I am talking about is this rebellion when we destroy and recreate the same thing, and every generation forsake the very wisdom of elders, I would not forsake it.

Ave Maria Mana Flocker said...

I forsake anarchism, not being any greater than my forefathers, so it make no sense to refuse to see them as myself, I will not suffer illusion the youth do, but I say, all human sentiment must be monetized and can't be one type of currency as we have different types of human nature and each vital and so we most give all people their due, so you have my respect due, you teach on a blog and so you are plainly not retired completely I am saying we must have a free market able to offer all human sentiments and not just things, but Intellectual merit which I think you are, and also compassion and kindness as no one wishes to be trapped having a care giver that is there for the money only that we do not have another type of money that gave us the ability to give a token, a type of currency contrary to standard money , but a currency that is respect and merit, that said thank you for caring for me and not just caring for me because you got paid, I give you this new type of currency that cannot be earned, but given in grace freely to show respect and thankfulness and then those get them can trade them in for luxury items, and the government gives those who are vulnerable respect tokens not as a thing that buys the vulnerable things, but gives them the power to create tradition of the future that is giving respect to those who went the extra mile and did not just do their job but loved you, I hope if I live so long to mature well enough to have seen the case where we have many currencies each working as a part of what makes us human and free to each of our natures human! You see I promote human nature over the individual, only that the type of human nature is universal to all individuals where some in conflict of interest having one type of interest might over value on nature from another, I think of the notion of balance where it moves slowly and has some self adjusting ability the free market that is, but even he or she would think yes, I understand, there are no monsters just humans in humanity. See you around sir.