links for 2009-06-29

  • "For Wright, the next evolutionary step is for practitioners of Abrahamic faiths to give up their claim to distinctiveness, and then renounce the specialness of monotheism altogether. In fact, when it comes to expanding the circle of moral consideration, he argues, religions like Buddhism have sometimes “outperformed the Abrahamics.” But this sounds like the death of God, not his evolution. And it clashes with Wright’s own proposal, drawn from work in evolutionary psychology, that we invented religion to satisfy certain intellectual and emotional needs, like the tendency to search for moral causes of natural events and the desire to conform with the people who surround us. These needs haven’t gone away, and the sort of depersonalized and disinterested God that Wright anticipates would satisfy none of them. He is betting that historical forces will trump our basic psychological makeup. I’m not so sure."
  • "Philosophers of the Enlightenment saw beauty as a way in which lasting moral and spiritual values acquire sensuous form. And no Romantic painter, musician, or writer would have denied that beauty was the final purpose of his art.

    At some time during the aftermath of modernism, beauty ceased to receive those tributes. Art increasingly aimed to disturb, subvert, or transgress moral certainties, and it was not beauty but originality—however achieved and at whatever moral cost—that won the prizes. Indeed, there arose a widespread suspicion of beauty as next in line to kitsch—something too sweet and inoffensive for the serious modern artist to pursue."

  • "A spectre is haunting the world, just as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto of 1848. This time, however, it is not the spectre of communism but that of neoliberalism.(1) Just as Marx and Engels reported of ‘a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre,’ there is once again an alliance, whether holy or unholy, that has formed to chase the ghost of neoliberalism from the world stage.

    In any case, it is a curious alliance that has committed to fighting neoliberalism: Religious leaders and artists, environmental activists and globalisation critics, politicians of the left and the right as well as trade unionists, commentators and academics. They all share a passion to unmask neoliberalism as an inhuman, anti-social, and potentially misanthropic ideology or as a cynical exercise by strangely anonymous forces that wish to exploit the world to their own advantage."

  • "The Language of Love, Lust, Sex and All the Many-Splendored Things in Between in Teenspeak – Jockspeak – Menglish – Slanglish – Spanglish Gaylese – Americanese – Britspeak – Ozslang – Funetic Populo-Vulgar Speech – T-Shirt & Net Shorthand Pompo-Verbosity & other Figurative Lingos"