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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Sunday, May 31, 2015

ECHOES OF THE GREAT WAR

Susie and I set out this morning for a walk to the Jardin du Luxembourg, a large park that lies in the  6th arrondissement on the border of the 5th.  In the middle of the park is a large more or less circular pond in which children sail little boats their parents have rented at a kiosk.  This morning, the pond was taken over by adult enthusiasts who showed up with rather fancy boats, some of them powered by engines and moved hither and yon, guided wirelessly by rather elaborate control boxes.  The boat enthusiasts -- all men, by the way -- seemed to know one another and greeted one another with elaborate handshakes before engaging in lengthy discussions about the technical details of their boats. 

In addition to sailboats of various sizes, there was a busy little harbor fireship complete with a man holding a hose from which, at the press of the controller's button, a stream of water shot out.  The fireship was followed about by a model torpedo boat which, despite making menacing moves, was carefully controlled so that it did not actually bump into any of the other boats.

Everything was tranquil and utterly benign until my eye caught this:


Yes, that really is a model submarine, lurking under the water with only its conning tower showing!  The scene took on an entirely new tonality.  The submarine cruised the pond relentlessly like a shark.  It had no markings that I could see, but I was sure that it was a Nazi U-Boat.

The Jardin will never be quite the same for me again.

3 comments:

JC Boue said...

Professor: I am not sure that this will assuage your distaste but that is not a Nazi U-Boot. It is a ballistic missile carrying submarine, in many ways an even more problematic proposition. The picture is really rather small but, from here, I would say that the likeliest culprit would be a submarine of the Ohio class

Robert Paul Wolff said...

you may well be right. When the owner pulled it out of the water to put it in its carefully crafted box, he took the top off of it, and inside was a mess of wires and such that was clearly post-WW II. But why would the US have sneaked one of its nuclear subs into the lake of the Jardin to prey on French sailboats? Are there rifts in the Franco-American Alliance of which I am unaware?

Oh dear. What ever happened to the little steam shovel I cranked by hand when I was four?

NotHobbes said...

Kind of reminds me of a moment that has caused me much embarrassment and a fair amount of self loathing for some time.
As a young boy, I used to play 'war games' with a pal from further up the street. We would each harangue our parents to buy box after box of brightly painted Napoleonic era toy soldiers; complete with cavalry brigades and artillery. We would line our armies up and battle would commence, under strict rules we had previously agreed to-an artillery barrage kills ten, a cavalry charge kills 8 and so on.
Cutting a long story short, this war of attrition always ended in defeat for me; my pal's parents were wealthier than mine, and he had more of the hardware needed to win the war(artillery and cavalry etc)
That was, until I secretly bought(from my exiguous allowance, or pocket money) a model of 'Enola Gay'
We'd never made rules for aircraft(this being a Napoleonic war) and my insistence that 'Enola Gay' kills 5000 ended our games forever.
Jealousy consuming me had brought an end to our friendship.
How sad