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Archive for the ‘Weblogs’ Category


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Not completely sure, but I’m getting the sense that we have a friend in Sploid… Nicely done, right on message…

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July 9, 2005 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Weblogs

Fuckin Brilliant

with 2 comments

Thank you, AVW
I’ve decided: hers is my favorite blog. By a mile or so.

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July 9, 2005 at 8:52 pm

Posted in Weblogs

Long Sunday

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Make your way over to the new group blog – Long Sunday. Proud to be a member of what promises to be an exciting new forum… It’s got all your favorites on board: Charlotte Street, pas au dela, Alphonse van Worden, Commonplace Book, I Cite, CProbes, Fort Kant, Infinite Thought, Observing the Observer, and even the reincarnated Young Heglian…

And it has nothing at all to do with this.

OK. Maybe it does a little bit. At least that got the emails a flying…

I’ll be posting something there soonish. But do add it to whatever does your reading for you…

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May 23, 2005 at 12:20 am

Posted in Weblogs

Un Coup du Tonnerre

with one comment

Very nice new blog up at

To my mind, this new page distinguishes itself b

For instance, take Brad Delong’s recent post about Marx and the labor theory of value. (Comes complete with dorky pictures), which settles down eventually to this:

The labor-theory-of-value model is simply not a good or useful model.
Marx’s measures of "exploitation" and "rates of surplus value" don’t
tell you very much about what is really going on. It’s a swamp you
really don’t want to enter.

As pas au dela says, the post "demonstrates either his indifference to or ignorance of Marx, or some combination thereof." In short, this sort of thing pisses us off… But the problem is, I don’t know how to answer it… Out of my field… Sat staring at the comment entry form on the website… Just wasn’t going to happen.

And then along comes Reason Thunders and look at what we get:

Let me say first that I agree with Brad’s claim
that the labor theory of value is not a "useful analytic category" for
evaluating relative standards of economic injustice. His stick-figure
proof makes that clear enough: the quantity of surplus value extracted
doesn’t line up neatly with our everyday notion of exploitation.

There are good reasons, however, to resist jettisoning it completely:

The labor theory of value is indispensable as an index of the absolute
(i.e. not relative) exploitation of capitalist production. Profit
derives most generally from the discrepancy between what workers earn
and what they contribute. That is the essence of the concept of
the labor theory of value—that the source of profit is the difference
between the price workers are paid and the value of what they provide.

The labor theory of value participates in a now abandoned effort to
understand value. Economists have all but given up on the notion of
value, preferring instead the less freighted notion of price. The
difference between value and price is not economic. It is
philosophical, having to do with the ancient debate over the
localization of essence (now migrated to the sphere of capitalism). How
are the attributes of a thing related to its thingness? With the
attribute called value, the relation is profound: the value of a thing
inheres in its thingness. With price, the relation is incidental: the
price of a thing is only what someone is willing to pay for it. If we
abandon the notion of value for that of price, then we have no ground
from which to critique the priorities of economic life (how, for
example, can you argue for increased pay for teachers if their worth is
already perfectly established by their current salary?) The Labor
Theory of Value is an attempt, however flawed, to reorient economic
priorities to a more human measure of worth.

What’s fantastic (and relatively unprecedented in "our" line of blogs) is that RT is actually answering
Delong, in his own terms, but from the left. An actual response. Unlike Delong’s post – or the critical comments posted under it – I learned something from this post. And I even think Delong might too… Whether he’d admit it or not.

Anyway, go check out the new site.

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April 10, 2005 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Weblogs

The Valve / ALSC / Bradley Foundation

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Looks as though John Holbo of Crooked Timber and John and Belle fame has got himself a group lit blog set up. The more the merrier, I guess, though he’s starting to resemble the Nick Denton of the academic bsphere.

Anyway, what’s kind of interesting about this new site is that it seems to be sponsored by the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, which was devised as a kind of anti-MLA devoted to ridding lit departments of their classracegenderism and deconstructive tendencies. The mottos and manifestos on the website demonstrate the same Frank Luntz-ish spin that you’d find on the sites of, say, the such organizations as the Independent Women’s Forum

Here’s their Mission statement.

The purpose of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics is to foster appreciation of the literary imagination, promote the value
of literary study, and encourage the development of a shared literary
culture. The Association holds to broad conceptions of literature rather than to highly specialized ones or ones that see literature simply as a means to other ends. It serves as a forum for anyone with a serious scholarly or critical interest in literature, and it welcomes both classicists  and modernists, independent and academic literary critics, as well as
creative writers and publishers.

Keywords in this passage: "imagination," "shared literary culture," "highly specialized," "means to other ends," "serious," "classicists and modernists."

(I especially love the last one…)

There’s an even more interesting Short History of the ALSC on the site, which contains all the symptomatic crossing of frustration with diversity mandates in the "real world’ and resentment of a emergent approaches to literature that you might expect. Here’s an interesting one. (Norman Fruman writing here:)

I first began to think seriously about the need for alternative organizations
when the Bernard Baruch branch of the City University of New York was
threatened with loss of accreditationbecause its student body and faculty were judged insufficiently diverse by an accreditation committee.I had
been a part-time instructor at Baruch for three years while pursuing a Ph.D. at New York University, and I knew that both its student body and faculty had always been among the most diverse anywhere, and especially
     since "open enrollment" arrived in the early 1970’s.      

Steve Balch,the presidentof the National Association of Scholars, was saying publicly that the time had come for academics to form alternative accreditation committees to provide a countervailing power to those in
place, which were laws unto themselves and increasingly oppressive.Reform of existing institutions from within was a visionary hope and would in any case take years to achieve.      

Professor Ellis and I met for the first time about a year after I had  glowingly reviewed his Against Deconstruction (always the basis
of a warm friendship). We shared similar anxieties about the gloomy state
of literary studies, as well as the growing menace political correctness
posed to free speech and academic freedom. Clearly, a new literary society was needed, one whose primary focus would be on literature as literature  and not as something else (surely the basic principle of the New Criticism),
an organization that would provide those who had not lost faith in the unique value of literature with a sense of solidarity, mutual support,
and a forum to exchange ideas and research results.

Strange slippage from the diversity of the student body to the "gloomy state of literary studies," blurring the widening of the canon into the chromatic scale of the student body, and the demand to darken it. Nice to see this from a group ostensibly out to drain the politics out of English departments…

And, by the way, according to Fruman’s short history, the ALSC got it’s start up money from The Bradley Foundation, a right wing outfit that is, according to their website,

devoted to strengthening
American democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles and
values that sustain and nurture it. Its programs support limited,
competent government; a dynamic marketplace for economic, intellectual,
and cultural activity; and a vigorous defense at home and abroad of
American ideas and institutions. In addition, recognizing that
responsible self-government depends on enlightened citizens and
informed public opinion, the Foundation supports scholarly studies and
academic achievement.

Hope Holbo and the others are confortable with getting their start-up money from an organization that got its start-up money from a Foundation that gave it’s annual awards last year to Heather MacDonald, Ward Connerly, Robert George, and George Freakin Will. Lately, they’ve been mostly up to funding the school privatization, I mean choice, stuff that’s been going on in Wisconsin…

Just important, I think, to know what company you’re keeping, who’s paying the bills…

Anyone interested now in this?


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April 1, 2005 at 1:11 am

Posted in Weblogs

Crookeder Timber

with 11 comments

I’ve said it before, in other contexts, but what I think would be totally great would be the creation of a group blog, a la Crooked Timber, but composed of/by folks to the left and theoretically inclined side of CT’s line. I’m way too bashful to ask anybody in particular, though I know who’d be a good fit, and it’s so obvious that it would work…

The problem with this format is the fact that you need to generate multiple posts per day to make a ripple, and almost no one can do that on their own. And those that can do it on their own aren’t coming from the angle that I’m (we’re) most interested in…


In other words, a group blog that threw the Blanchot and Benjamin, Kafka and Adorno, Flusser and Lefebvre, Marx and Sartre up on the wall everyday… This is what I’d love to see / be a part of… God, it’d be great…

Anyone interested…

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March 25, 2005 at 3:46 am

Posted in Weblogs