As I got older I convinced myself that Making Mr. Right examined deep questions about human relationships with artificial life. Yet it turns out that the only exploration of any relationship in Making Mr. Right is a romantic imperative that leads to sexual gratification. In a way I tricked myself into thinking that Making Mr. Right was a more profound experience than it actually was. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it’s unlikely it will be the last.
Stephen Lee Naish explores the transient nature of filmic narratology in Making Mr. Right.
His evocations of white working class London life in the back end of the twentieth century. The very texture of that life, of male friendship, which is so hard to define and yet he nailed effortlessly in book after book. Love and sex and death, peace and war, hard times and good. The willingness to go to places, like the football casual culture of orbital London boroughs, where other writers fear to tread. The warmth and humanity of it all.
Max Dunbar reviews John King‘s The Liberal Politics of Adolf Hitler.
Looking at ruins and seeing beauty, seeing something aesthetic and “awesome” and desirable, represents a refusal to engage with the systems of policy, finance, and crisis which give rise to space and dismantle it. All these coffee table books and blogs do little more than comfort and accustom us to urban and architectural ruination – they do not shock us, or prompt us to ask questions.
Owen Vince on the banalization of ruins and the architecture of crisis.
The inelegant paradox of life as I see it is how reading is a solitary activity, but doing so yields an understanding of the world and the many people populating it. Or is E.M. Cioran correct when he says, “We must read not to understand others but to understand ourselves”?
Greg Gerke on the worlds books open to us and the worlds they may leave out of reach.
I argue that even if an agent’s commitments are in general morally permissible, they can lead her to act wrongly by silencing what are in fact morally relevant considerations, such that it never even occurs to her that she ought to act other than she does. Think of a person who is so rigidly guided by her plans and policies that she fails to notice that she morally ought to deviate from them in a given case. My claim is that if the moral violation is explained by the kind of deliberative silencing I described, then it is a direct expression of her agency and something she is culpable for.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sarah Paul.
Malis follows the course of the stream that once ran along Flask Walk, casting a troubled glance at the Wells and Campden Baths and Wash-Houses to her left, before continuing past Burgh House, to move through a street plan defined by the imprint of vanished spas. Tall, with heavy dreads hanging down over a dress sewn with fragments of broken mirror, she crosses the road at the intersection of Christchurch Hill and Well Walk, to enter the pub she still thinks of as the Green Man.
Paul Holman‘s hybrid poetic/psychogeographic drift from Hampstead to Camden, Fleet.
There were offers for me to do comedy writing and presenting spoof documentary stuff but it was terrible stuff they wanted me to do. There was one production company that wanted me to do one on the Ten Best Things That Slavery Had Given Us! I couldn’t get my head round where they were coming from with that one. Slavery? Really? It was an abhorrent idea as a pitch and I was trying to work out how it would work. I mean, I asked them: “what kind of thing are you thinking about?” and they were giving me shit like; “Well, the chains could have turned to wearing gold chains…” Jeez. Well. Fuck that!
Richard Marshall interviews legendary Scotlan Yardie author Bobby Joseph.
I keep distrusting the impulse to compare — America and Greece, my life and the book, the Greece of the book and the Greece of my experience, the Greece of the book and the America of my experience — believing distinctions like what it means to be an unemployed college graduate in America versus an unemployed fifty-two-year-old fisherman in a small Greek village are important and necessary to maintain.
Anna Zalokostas on the Greek government debt crisis and Christos Ikonomou‘s Something Will Happen, You’ll See.
Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s The Dirty Dust is not exactly well-known to Anglophone readers, though the novel is surely of a piece with the great literary works that emerged from Ireland in the 20th Century. It has Joyce’s linguistic ingenuity, O’Brien’s surrealism, and Beckett’s comic philosophy. But it is written in Irish Gaelic, and it had to wait until last year to be published in English, by Yale University Press.
Patrick O’Connor reviews The Dirty Dust by Máirtín Ó Cadhain.
John McDowell’s Mind, Value and Reality, a great collection of essays. From an earlier period of analytic philosophy, Bernard Williams’s Moral Luck, Thomas Nagel’s Mortal Questions, Nelson Goodman’s Ways of Worldmaking. We are having a reading group at Sussex on G.E.M. Anscombe’s Intention, if you fancy some hard work, this very slim volume is recommended.
Book recommendations from philosophers interviewed as part of the End Times series.