Tagged Philosophy

Is This Any Fun?

Full text finally available on the Believer website: I wrote about my former professor, Richard Poirer, for The Believer.

“Is This Any Fun?”

I wrote about my wonderful teacher Richard Poirier for The Believer, or as they put it: EMERSONIAN PRAGMATIST AND PRESCIENT HIGH-LOW CULTURAL CRITIC RICHARD POIRIER BELIEVED THAT READING “DENSE” LITERATURE WAS LIKE MANUAL LABOR, OR HAVING SEX

Wayne Kostenbaum Crosses His Legs, Hangs His Head

In his book Humiliation Wayne Koestenbaum “aims to pile up humiliations,” his own and others’, public and private, sexual, racial, anti-Semitic, class-based, professional, scatological, emotional and physical. In less than 200 pages there is no aspect of humiliation left untouched, from the Biblical (“[Mary] was a Jewish mother”) to the oh-so-contemporary (Google, reality television, Craigslist, You Tube). In the interim Koestenbaum scrutinizes some of the most notorious penitents and punishers in history: the Marquis De Sade, Oscar Wilde, Michael Jackson, Jean Genet, Liza Minnelli, the Venus Hottentot, T.S. Eliot, and Eliot Spitzer, to give a Whitman’s Sampler of his subjects.…