Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blogging will gradually pick up ...

... as I gradually climb out from under a load of wowrk.

1 comment:

  1. Joe(new york)1:44 PM

    Opening of a speech by Charles Chaput: "Religion and the Common Good" The entire speech can be read at http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/

    Sooner or later, every teacher hears the same old joke about the philosophy student and his dad.

    The dad asks, “Son, what are you going to do with that goofy degree?” And the son says, “I’m going to open a philosophy shop and make big money selling ideas.” I smile every time I hear it, because nobody yet has figured out how to get rich off the Sartre or Kierkegaard or Friedrich Nietzsche franchise. Or that’s what I thought until a couple of weeks ago, when a friend of mine came back from a local bookstore with a bag full of Nietzsche’s Will to Power Bars.

    You’ll remember that Nietzsche first claimed that God was dead. Then he went insane. Then he argued that he was God himself. Now he has his own candy bar. In fact, the wrapper not only claims to be filled with “chocolaty goodness” but also to be “the official nutritional supplement of the superman.” Unfortunately, the wrapper also urges us to “think beyond good and evil,” so I’m not sure it’s telling the truth.

    The company that makes these candy bars is the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. It was started by a couple of academics who couldn’t get a job. The guild also makes a Franz Kafka finger puppet and a “Here’s Looking at Euclid” T-shirt. It also makes the Karl Marx Little Thinker beanie doll and Impeachmints, the anti–George Bush breath sweetener. In the words of the company’s founders: “It turned out that making smart, funny things proved to be almost as satisfying as probing eternal questions. . . . Although we still contemplate truth and justice, it is our enduring goal to fulfill the materialistic desires of the funny and sophisticated everywhere.”

    I don’t know if Nietzsche himself would endorse these bars. Given his mental state at the end of his life, I’m not sure he’d care. But he did have a ruthless sense of humor. Nietzsche might enjoy the fact that he’s the kind of thinker young college men quote to impress young college women. He has some of the same rebel appeal that Milton gave to Lucifer and Goethe gave to Mephistopheles. He’s bold. He’s radical. And the fact that he also went mad adds just the right touch of drama. In other words, he makes a great cultural icon for Americans to eat as a candy bar, because most Americans will never read a word of what he actually said.

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