Tuesday, November 29, 2005

That Wasn't So Hard, Was It?

I realize I've already gotten a round of congratulations already, but I would be remiss if I didn't announce here, officially & all, that today I printed out my thesis & shipped three copies of it to Scotland. All that awaits now is my examination in late-January.

You know, I started this blog in the early days of my research, one cold morning while in Brussels. Most of you have seen me through many an intellectual turn, and you've accepted it all with wonderful dignity, class, and patience. Much obliged.

I guess I'm now fresh out of excuses for not blogging regularly enough, huh?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Emo-ification of Kelly Clarkson

Today the Belgian & I were driving to grab some lunch somewhere, and we we heard the newest Kelly Clarkson song, 'Because of You'. I enjoy it when her songs come on the radio. This isn't because I like the music -- I hardly even pay attention to it, let alone like or dislike it -- but because I can tell that K. is trying for all she's worth NOT to like the music. The funny thing is, no matter her resistance and claims to hating Kelly Clarkson, she cannot help but sing along.

Anyway, as to the song, since when did Clarkson, who by the way I think is kind of hot, go emo? It's really starting to hurt her hotness, quite frankly.

Speaking of 'emo', I really love this picture.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Follow the Light

The light, it would seem, is at the end of the tunnel for all this thesis-business. By the end of this week, all major proofs should be complete, bibliography finalized, and a copy emailed to my advisor for one final read-through. Fingers crossed, people.

Torture & Martyrdom

It's a short post, but Matthew Yglesias is right on in his discussion of 'The Pragmatics of Torture -- specifically, torture as a means for a regime to hear what it wants to hear.

And that's precisely the sort of thing torture is really good for. If you already know what the truth is -- perhaps because it can be deduced from regime-type rather than boring intelligence gathering -- but just need some more evidence in order to convince others, then torture is a really, really, really good way of getting that kind of evidence. That's always been the main historical use of torture -- you have your prisoner, you want a confession, so you torture him until he confesses. It's not, after all, as if the administration was genuinely wondering about Iraq/al-Qaeda ties. They knew what they wanted to prove and they needed to make the case. Torture was an excellent way to get the job done.

Yglesias' point, I think, extends beyond torture to my own thinking about religion / theology -- to the point, even, that I may even agree with a friend who has recently stated that torture is the theological problem of modern times. (This is the case, for me, insofar that we are all being tortured, in a way, by our socio-political & religious regimes -- tortured to the point of our capitulation, i.e. quiet resignation to reality, or perhaps even to our deaths. For some, the solution comes only in a certain kind of death that opens up the possibility of something new -- something along the lines of a martyr's death, which rallies the forces of change. Perhaps. But certainly not one death, that of a history redeemed, such as that of a Cross or otherwise. Rather, only inasmuch as that martyrdom is representative of the only death that truly is, that which always comes from within at every moment, whereby life is but a certain kind of death, and thus that which betrays the transcendent / true / perhaps even eternal sovereignty of those regimes as necessarily false, as a projection of our own capitulated confessions.)