On Wednesday, I give my last lecture before Spring Break. On Thursday, Susie and I fly off to Paris for a brief twelve day stay, returning just in time for me to resume lecturing. I shall be carrying with me a set of short [ten page] papers submitted by the students, which I shall read and grade while sitting in my favorite cafe sipping a glass of wine or a "deca allonge." [I am unable to add accents when writing in Google.] It takes me back a good many years to the day when I sat in a cafe in Place de la Bastille composing my essay, "The Future of Socialism."
France is in turmoil politically, as a result of the weakness of the putatively socialist President, Francois Hollande, the really troubling rise of the slick, attractive right-wing fascist, Marine le Pen, and the recent murders committed by Islamic fanatics. In Paris, as in Chapel Hill, the surrounding political ugliness has little or no effect on the felt quality of my daily life, a fact that I find both disturbing and reassuring.
The two week hiatus in my course comes at an appropriate time. After lecturing for several weeks about the literary interpretation of Marx's language in CAPITAL, I shall when I return pick up the thread of my analytical and mathematical reconstruction of the argument. Since the course ranges widely across the intellectual and academic spectrum [Philosophy, Economics, History, Psychology, Sociology, Mathematics, and Literary Criticism, at a minimum], I anticipate that the papers will be extremely diverse. Reading them should be interesting.
As we land at RDU, March Madness will be just beginning, so Susie and I shall probably O.D. on basketball for a bit. Susie has a long-standing sentimental identification with the TarHeels and a secondary loyalty to the Blue Devils [UNC Chapel Hill and Duke, for those of you not clued up], and like any good husband I have adopted those teams as my own. I am still in private mourning for the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers to the West Coast, a betrayal that occurred in 1957 just as I was getting my doctorate. Despite half a lifetime in Massachusetts, I never really took the Red Sox to my heart.
The political equivalent of Spring Training has begun, so very soon I shall have to clear the cold ashes out of the pot-bellied stove and fire it up for the first meeting of the Hot Stove League. This year we may yet again see two Republicans running against each other for the Presidency. Indeed, if Jeb Bush succeeds in snagging the nomination, we will be treated to the edifying spectacle of a contest between a candidate considered a RINO by true Republicans and a candidate considered a DINO by true Democrats. I sometimes think that whoever invented democracy has a lot to answer for.