Super Bowl, Baby?

Oh, the Super Bowl! Unique among sporting events in the States, this annual tour de force remains incomparable. Long after the final minutes, the critical question lingers on – Which will be remembered, the game or the commercials?

However, this year, even by Super Bowl standards, the prospects of these ‘epic’ ads are already drawing more than their fair share of publicity. Continue reading “Super Bowl, Baby?”

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Is Your Farm In My Network?

400px-Rooster_portrait2 Nostalgia often follows conquest, and our relationship with the natural world is no exception. As human control over nature (or, at least, its illusion of control) has increased, many have responded by racing back to the forests. However, the motivation behind this nostalgia remains unclear – do we return to keep vigil (bearing the knowledge of our mistakes) or simply to purview our spoils?

The American quintessence of this tension is, arguably, Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau took to the woods, hoping that the simplicity offered by nature might allow the distance necessary to understand (or ‘transcend’) industrial society. The irony, or perhaps the gift, of Thoreau is two-fold. For not only does his account of this experience (in Walden, or Life in the Woods) call into question the ‘intellectual’ conquest (as yet another kind of conquest) of nature but it, also, reveals the negligible risk usually taken in these ‘returns.’ Thoreau did build his cabin in the woods. But the area was so close to the edge of town that he could not help but hear the all-too-industrial trains bustling by. Continue reading “Is Your Farm In My Network?”

Getting Naked

Coppertone_sign_miami In ‘The Animal that Therefore I am,’ Jacques Derrida invites readers to reconsider the classical distinction between ‘animal’ and ‘human.’ His critique includes a playful account of nudity – a meditation on the experience of being naked in the presence of one’s pet. The investigation suggests that Mr. Fluffy’s ability to make me ‘feel naked’ (i.e., to ‘shame’ me) calls into question the ‘difference’ between us.

Recent headlines offer a unique twist to this dynamic. As the summer months warm, families across the States are struggling to decide how old is too old for their children to play in the nude. Justifications and concerns vary, but many mark the cut-off at the moment when childhood innocence dissolves into adult (or adult-like) awareness – when the child begins to ‘feel naked.’

And therein lies the difficulty. Some contend Continue reading “Getting Naked”

All’s Well That Ends Well

746px-Slippery_when_wet_iconBertrand Russell once suggested that Western philosophy began with Thales. His insight gains a humorous edge when juxtaposed with a popular biographical tidbit about the ancient Greek. For one day, as the story goes, Thales was so entirely absorbed with contemplating the heavens above that he fell head-long into a well directly in front of him. Continue reading “All’s Well That Ends Well”