When Mark Twain's Huck decides to help Jim, an illegal immigrant of his time, a runaway slave, Huck believes he'll go to hell for his goodness. Huck knows that by helping Jim escape he'll be breaking the law. He'll bring the wrath of local public opinion so forcefully down upon his head, this time it'll … Continue reading What Goodness Knows: Ed Simon’s “Furnace of this World; or, 36 Observations About Goodness”
Something new up at Berfrois. In which we argue for the power of the napkin poem! If yr sitting out with a cup, give it a read?
Derrida seems satisfied if not happy with his contradictions, with having learned finally to live with them unencumbered by any implicit criticism. His primary concern in his last days appears to have been what comes after the final act of writing. After all, “there are, to be sure, many very good readers (a few dozen … Continue reading Learning to Deconstruct Finally
In the first chapter of Walden; or, Life in the Woods, Thoreau distills life to economic necessities, rhetorically presenting four, “Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Fuel,” that “few, if any” men or women, further qualified, “in this climate,” for it gets cold in Concord, “ever attempt to do without” (10). Thoreau’s values, quickly made clear and … Continue reading An Economy of One’s Own
Hunger is a condition of life: no hunger, no life. The spider spins her web, hungry for the busy bee dancing by hungry for blues. The cactus patiently awaits the coming of a distant, dithering cloud. The salmon swims against the current, hungry to finish its ritual. A homeless man wanders into a soup kitchen, … Continue reading The Way We Don’t Age Now: Unhappiness and Hunger in the Land of Plenty
Chris Beha’s investigative report (Harpers, Oct. 2011) on the for-profit higher education experiment is an impressionistic view of the inequities of degree access and funding. Not quite Maigret goes to [night] school, but this is US culture, the land of opportunity, and of second opportunity. Is the for-profit model hopeless? Cut to England, where the … Continue reading Happiness and the Humanities
In their engagement of the studies referenced on the declining level of happiness of Americans, Becker-Posner begin to wrestle with the difficulty of quantifying for economics study human behavior as a market influence. Late last night, after class, happy with a bowl of homemade chocolate ice cream, I flipped on Breakfast at Tiffany’s, on the … Continue reading Breakfast at Beckett’s
Don’t miss the Chicago Two waxing on happiness in the latest posts at the Becker-Posner blog; the January 10 posts are impoverished economic analyses attempting to explain why Americans are unhappy. Neither the Nobel economist nor the federal judge seems happy with his conclusions. Even as they both begin to move away from the Chicago School’s famed … Continue reading Becker, Posner, and the Pursuit of Happiness