Country and Tristan

I’m terribly sorry: I meant conservative in the sense of a nostalgia for things just past, which does, I think, make Habermas and Derrida conservatives. Mark Liberman, on the other hand, is nostalgic for times long past, for the Enlightenment–buckled shoes, open drains, and, quite possibly, beating well-loved columnists with clubs–which makes him not so much a conservative as a target for the membership secretaries of historical recreationist societies.

I should say that I suspect that he is feigning surprise–in order better to mock Europe’s madness–at the news that Derrida is a better lecturer than a writer. Derrida’s Dissemination (1972), was, after all, a travelling zoo of a mumbojumbo on Plato’s warnings re the written as opposed to the spoken word. Or, as Terry Eagleton put it,

Der der, deary didi! Der? I? Da! Deary? da! Der I didida; da dada, dididearyda. Dadareder, didireader. Dare I die deary da? Da dare die didi. Die derider! Didiwriter. Dadadididididada. Aaaaaaaaa! Der i da.

Ah, phenomenology! So confusing, and, it must be said in retrospect, so unnecessary! How different, for example, would the course of European philosophy have been had our Jacques been told of the remarkable aesthetic advances achieved in that noble genre, the pub medley, during Richard Wagner’s unknown (save to Kaleboel Research) promotional tour of the United States in 1859, as he sought a première for Tristan und Isolde. Here (MIDI) is a brief encore from his programme, performed by Bernard the Monk on the harpsichord (every European possesses one).

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