Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Gleanings from the blogosphere, Aug. 22

Amba at Ambivablog pays tribute to sociologist and cultural critic Phillip Rieff, who died July 1. I was really struck by some of his ideas. I'll give you just a quick peek, but do go check out her post.
Forever anxious and insecure, psychological man eschews political and religious commitments, and even economic calculation, for an obsession with self that is unprecedented in human history. He is "anti-heroic, shrewd, carefully counting his satisfactions and dissatisfactions, studying unprofitable commitments as the sins most to be avoided." Driven by the "ideal of insight" and "self-contemplative manipulation," his interest resides only in himself.
And one more:
[Rieff] believes that in America transgression has now replaced creation as a cultural ideal; that creativity in our time has more to do with the urge to destroy. [ ... ] Art gave way over the course of the twentieth century to transgression for transgression's sake.

Edward Willett at Hassenpfeffer is waxing enthusiastic about ethanol produced from cow manure. Unlike traditional ethanol, it doesn't consume large amounts of fossil fuels in its production.

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