Annals of Great Excuses…

Great excuse from New Jersey’s attorney general, running for governor, Chris Christie. He’ll always remain in infamy for his now decidedly forgotten role for railroading a “terrorist” (it was the subject of a This American Life episode) into a life-long sentence in what was a textbook case of entrapment. But he just didn’t care. Now apparently, some stink is being made of a traffic accident from 2002, and normally I could care less. But his excuse for hitting a motorcyclist while he was going the wrong way on a one-way street? “The motorcyclist him me.” 

So just to be clear, that bad paper I gave? It fell into my hands. Your face really does have to stop hitting my fist. And for good sakes people, stop putting yourselves underneath my car.

More Harman blogging

Great to see Graham last night, not least since he showed me an area around the Canal that I had completely missed. He was in his usual hilarious form. Which lead to a mini-contest of trying to think of Gibbon’s best put-down in the Decline and Fall. Please write in with your favorites!

But–and here’s the reason I post this–I’ll put Graham on the spot publicly to prod him to produce, as he suggested he might, a Gibbon-esque rendition of the Decline and Fall of the US post-9/11. Which then returns us to the height of insults needed. Few writers, I think, are up to the task of doing this, and Graham I think is one of them: Bush suffered from the singular tyranny of a lack of sense, and was as ineffectious as he was vain…. or some such…

Quick comments post…

Posthumanist writes:

What I find truly illuminating – and even touching – about Agamben’s The Open is the way he poses the question of animality as an artificial discursive element which is produced inside that which will call itself the human. I think that’s very thought-provoking and even haunting, at the same time it explain many things. I believe this kind of anthropophorous animality is what allows one to say something like “we should stop treating animals like animals”, where the word animal is actually being used with different meanings each time (and the second instance works almost like an adjective). It’s almost amusing (and flattering) to think that someone would interpret my list as the canon of posthumanist thought, especially because I haven’t finished the list (it takes a long time to include images using html =\). Not only that, but I also decided that I would not include books I haven’t read so the list is bound to be very very selective. I wanted to title the list “Posthumanist readings I have read”, but that just sounded too long… But I’m really curious to hear your arguments against Agamben. I read The Open some time ago and I don’t remember exactly what my impressions were of the last chapters. It was the first ones that hooked me.

Great comment. Fair enough–not a canon. But on Agamben, his whole approach to animality is still always defined in its relation the human. I’ll expand on this at some point, but identifying animality with bare life (nuda vita) does not sound pregnant with possibilities for post-humanistic discourse. Also, please note, dear readers, as Critical Animal reminds me, it was Bambi’s mother who is killed, not Bambi. My apologies to the deer loving community.

The logic of Liberal Arts College Pricing

Catherine Rampbell writes about a new study on how to increase interest in your college:

Traditional economics would suggest that raising the price of an item (such as a college education) would reduce demand for it. But instead this study found that raising tuition — as well as instructional expenditures — actually improves the demand to attend liberal arts schools and schools in the bottom half of the top 50. For example, for liberal arts colleges ranked 26th to 50th, a $1,000 increase in tuition and fees was associated with a 12.9-point increase in SAT scores and a 3.5 percent increase in the proportion of top freshmen admitted.

This is because such costs “serve as markers of institutional quality and prestige,” the authors write.