The Louvre is a very large building standing on the right bank in Paris. It is essentially a long rectangle oriented east-west along the Seine. Walking along the left bank this morning, heading for the Assembleé Nationale, I approached the point at which the Louvre begins across the river, and wondered to myself just how long it actually is. As a philosopher, I should have been casting about for self-evident first premises from which I could deduce its length a priori. As a Marxist social critic I should have been concerning myself with the structure of exploitation underlying its mystified façade. But feeling rather chastened by Jamie’s correction of my uninformed speculations about contemporary academic Sociology, I decided to collect some facts. Accordingly, as I passed the eastern end of the museum, I began to count my paces [a pace is two steps – left right. I have short legs, so my paces are not much more than five feet each.]
I counted by tens, as is my wont, using my fingers to keep track of the hundreds so that I would not get distracted and lose my way. By the time I had reached the bridge that crosses the Seine from the end of rue de Bac to the edge of the museum, I had reached 420 paces, which means that the Louvre is not that much under half a mile from one end to the other. I think we can agree that that is a good deal of museum.
There is something curiously gratifying about personally collecting a fact, although as a philosopher and Marxist critic I would not hope to make a habit of it. Now, about the underlying ideological significance of the Louvre ….