Wednesday links

August 24, 2022

Sorry I've been quiet--just getting ready for classes.  They started yesterday for us, and I'm still getting ready for them.

But I do have the links for you.


Wow, this is a really wide-ranging discussion of tumult in progressive cause organizations—racial justice, environmental, abortion rights groups—and how they’re all facing internal disputes right now.  Much of this seems inter-generational.  But it also speaks to the power of social media, esp during the pandemic.  (Stuff like this is happening in the academy too, of course, as this piece reminded me today.  It needs to stop, imho.)  In general, this was illuminating to me—I recommend it to you as well.


Nice reminder of Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan, one of the great funny movies of my too-little-misspent youth.  I still think his follow-on movie, Barcelona, is even better.



A very detailed, in the weeds piece about the process of renovation of UVA's Alderman library, from the perspective of the construction companies that are doing the work. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product, in a little over a year.


This is a disturbing analysis of Canada’s euthanisation law, from the AP. This is a hugely fraught issue, with strong views on both sides that make for easy polemics. I’m not sure what to think about it. But it bears watching.


A pretty thoughtful interview with Dr. Jennifer Doudna, one of the scientists who developed the CRISPR technology to modify genes.


On the absurdity of “ethics training” in institutions.  In fact I’d say it’s worse than this guy suggests, because, as Aristotle knew long ago, your ethics are not some bit of information you can acquire, like taking a class in cookery or German.


This, by Willemien Otten, is good and thought-provoking, for many reasons. Here’s one:

“The Origenian tradition of allegorical exegesis remained dominant in the West through Ambrose, whose mastery of it swayed Augustine. But Augustine turned out to be quite a different Christian Platonist in that he chose to foreground the literal text of scripture over the allegorical one; at the same time he made the study of scripture the goal of all erudition, sacred and secular. This has led me to call Augustine the instigator of a biblical revolution whose paradigm would frame Western medieval thought through at least the twelfth century, perhaps even until Aquinas. Since Augustine shaped medieval Christian thought in ways that Origen never gained cultural traction, I tend to see Augustine as a Christian thinker, one whose profile is certainly Platonic but not to the extent that the merger of Christianity and Platonism shaped his agenda in ways that it did for Origen, Gregory of Nyssa or Dionysius the Areopagite.”


I was told about Percival Everett's work a while back by a colleague, and he continues to be a writer I am reading.  Worth your while, as is he--check out Erasure for starters.


Be well!