Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
The Ballerina and the Bull, Adbusters poster - Occupy Wall Street

Allowing the full Influx of the World Artistry mitigates disaster and keeps us alive. I mean both the artistry of the world and our individual artistry in responding to it. It’s a balancing act, a ballet on the back of a dancing bull. Artistry, incoming and outgoing, from the world and from us, gives us […]

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          These are preliminary notes on a tension between philosophy and friendship. They are prompted by two texts I encountered nearly in conjunction, within the passage of just a few days. The first is a remarkable passage from  Moby Dick where Ishmael, the narrator whose name echoes the Biblical figure cast […]

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  A comparison with a shaggy dog tale—with “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”—may help us appreciate and begin to think about an “elusive passage” in Plato’s Symposium. In Twain’s text, the narrator goes seeking news of the Reverend Leonidas W. Smiley and ends up hearing stories about an inveterate gambler named Jim Smiley. […]

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Five mysteries hold the keys to the unseen: the act of love, and the birth of a baby, and the contemplation of great art, and being in the presence of death or disaster, and hearing the human voice lifted in song.                                                                              […]

  Kierkegaard appears unexpectedly on the “Opinionator” page of last week’s New York Times. He’s discussed in “The Stone” by a canny and sensitive philosopher, Katalin Balog. She finds the Danish thinker just under the surface of the Hungarian movie about the Holocaust, “Son of Saul,” which was recently awarded “Best Foreign Language Film” at the […]

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I’m not sure what led me to open Moby Dick again. It’s become a book to browse rather than “get through.” And when a passage pops up, one can’t be in a rush. Going slowly I can unravel serpentine sentences that so often deliver gold. Why just now? Perhaps because I’ve moved to the seacoast […]

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Categories: Fritz Tucker, ZiR | Add a Comment

While reading Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, I came across a most thought-provoking passage on Bollywood, which applies to Hollywood as well. On pg. 348, Mehta writes (emphasis mine): Gangsters and whores all over the world have always been fascinated by the movies and vice versa; the movies are fundamentally transgressive. They are […]

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Categories: Ed Mooney, ZiLL | Add a Comment

    I have a friend who has published an award-winning book of poems titled “Having Listened.” He writes in the shadow of Boston, near the Arnold Arboretum, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted. We walked there recently, a patrician park overseen by Harvard University. It has no end of whispering trees and rolling paths. It’s […]

ZiLL

The Self is Disposable, Isn’t It? Not for most of us for most of the time. But its reality can be brought into question. There are exotic cases of apparent persons who seem to lack a self. Bureaucracies and the structures capitalism seem to deflate any rich sense of self. And the splendor of brain […]

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Categories: Ed Mooney | Add a Comment

  In “Madeline, Imperfection, Love, and Loss” (Zeteo, 11.25.2015), Joy Yeager reminds us of that priceless book for children and adults called, simply, Madeline. It’s the story, as she reminds us, “of a little girl, an orphan, who lives in an old house in Paris, with eleven other girls.” A nun, Miss Clavel, is in […]

Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 2 Comments

(1) One week this past October, The New Yorker’s television critic, Emily Nussbaum, wrote a piece which began by dissing—as making “little sense”; “élitism in the guise of hipness”—one of the great works of American cultural criticism, previous New Yorker writer George W.S. Trow’s “Within the Context of No Context.”[1] The week after Nussbaum’s piece […]

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Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 2 Comments
A Syrian man holds lifeless body of his son, killed by Syrian Army, Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2013, photo by Manu Brabo - AP

(1) One week this past October, The New Yorker’s television critic, Emily Nussbaum, wrote a piece which began by dissing—as making “little sense”; “élitism in the guise of hipness”—one of the great works of American cultural criticism, previous New Yorker writer George W.S. Trow’s “Within the Context of No Context.”[1] The week after Nussbaum’s piece […]

ZiR

February 8, 2017

How does the slogan “man is a wolf to man” fit in with your later, somewhat hopeful image of camaraderie in the class struggle? I mean, if your starting assessment of human nature is correct, then doesn’t the class struggle actually come down to one group of savage beasts fighting another, the exploited class merely comprising those wolves with less opportunity to express their lupine ferocity? And don’t the exploiters no less than the exploited regularly turn against one another, so that besides the strife of classes, there is also the strife of each wolf against every other wolf? Wha...

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(1) One week this past October, The New Yorker’s television critic, Emily Nussbaum, wrote a piece which began by dissing—as making “little sense”; “élitism in the guise of hipness”—one of the great works of American cultural criticism, previous New Yorker writer George W.S. Trow’s “Within the Context of No Context.”[1] The week after Nussbaum’s piece […]

Article

December 13, 2016

Any doubts I may have had have been thoroughly quashed.

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Categories: Review | 2 Comments

(1) One week this past October, The New Yorker’s television critic, Emily Nussbaum, wrote a piece which began by dissing—as making “little sense”; “élitism in the guise of hipness”—one of the great works of American cultural criticism, previous New Yorker writer George W.S. Trow’s “Within the Context of No Context.”[1] The week after Nussbaum’s piece […]

Review

November 29, 2016

What a nice review ! I've read Bakewell and admire her courage and skill in mixing biography and philosophy in such an attractive way -- and I admire your skill in presenting the figures and themes of existentialism in an equally attractive way ! Mazel tov !

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