Archive for April, 2008

Applying Girard to Weber’s Ideal Types

April 21, 2008

I’ve scanned the Max Weber references in Girard’s works and the secondary literature but haven’t seen this tight connection between the ideal types and mimetic theory.

Weber’s “Ideal Types” of societies:

  • Charismatic
  • Traditional
  • Rational/Bureaucratic

Weber’s charismatic addresses the first stage of Girard’s Mimetic Theory.



Stroke of Insight

April 10, 2008

This moving talk is centered around the scientist’s own stroke. Her experience demonstrates left/right brain functions at their most extreme.

Right = observation of Space and Left = sense of Time

More on Olympic Boycotts

April 9, 2008

Crooked Timber comments on the discussion between Dan Drezner and Steve Clemons “over whether or not the US should boycott the Beijing Olympics (Steve says no, Dan says that it would be no harm if the West uses the threat of non-attendance to squeeze some concessions from the Chinese).”

CT’s Henry is surprised that International Relations scholars haven’t given much attention to Olympics and politics. (I did note over a dozen recent books on Amazon.) Although he misses the (largely Jewish) 1936 boycott efforts in the US, Henry summarizes the current debate like I did yesterday:

I think we are seeing how public opinion and organized cross-national opposition can create significant constraints on the ability of leaders to respond to what they see as the geostrategic necessity of keeping China happy. This is, as best as I am aware, a new phase in the development of the Olympics.

I Can’t Read About the Riots This Week

April 7, 2008

For some reason, I can’t manage to follow the 40th anniversary of the DC MLK assassination riots. I’ve spent considerable effort to gain intimacy with the riots over the years. One of my educational passions is to explain the past to today’s students. But not this week for me. I just can’t absorb it.

Post Notes

April 7, 2008
  • Henry Kissenger hopes candidates address the real national-security issues:

[H]ow to distill a new international order from three simultaneous revolutions occurring around the globe: (a) the transformation of the traditional state system of Europe; (b) the radical Islamist challenge to historic notions of sovereignty; and (c) the drift of the center of gravity of international affairs from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

  • Jackson Diehl notes US Mideast Peace efforts ignore the facts on the ground — Hamas’s major weapons build up and Israel’s war plans.
  • Walter Pincus gives us a helpful new acronym in his Fine Print column. Future military “operations that will span the DIMES model: Diplomacy, Information, Military, Economic and Socio-cultural development.” Or if you prefer, the 3 D’s of Defense, Diplomacy and Development.
  • Badr vs. Sadr. Front page story from Iraq explores the intra-Shia rivalry. Turns out Sadr represents to local Shia who experienced the Saddam Hussein regime while the Badr Brigade and the Dawa Party (formed in Iran) consist of exiles whom the US elevated to national leadership.

The Olympic Torch and Boycott

April 7, 2008

My instincts reject the politicization of Olympic Games.  Tibet and Darfur* activists that are in the news recently are two of the causes leveraging the visibility of the Games.  My apprehension springs from a desire for unifying global events amidst the routine clashes of interests.

If I were more focused, I’d research the 1980/84 Cold War-related boycotts and the 1936 Berlin Games.

On the surface, we can identify the rationale of a State in the 1980s and the civic/humanitarian efforts of 1936 and today.  To what extent did the Games legitimize the Nazi regime?  How did activists connect boycott with other sources of international pressure.

Other note: It is not surprising that British and French activists have garnered the courage to strike against the Olympic Flame.  To generalize, the post-nationalist European identity strives against distant suffering.

*The rationale is that China rejects international action in Sudan in the UN and invests in Sudanese oil

Campaign Attack Was Mild

April 2, 2008

Al Wynn lost his re-election bid for Maryland’s 4th District where he served since 1992. This campaign cartoon from the victorious challenger Donna Edwards looks more accurate as Wynn left Congress early and took a corporate lobby position. Thanks for the memories, Al, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Oh, but wait, Al is gonna hang around in Congress a few more months. This is unprecedented even among the most blatant of revolving door Congress members.  Donna, you couldn’t come soon enough.

Some New Links

April 2, 2008

Anya Kamenetz blogs about economic issues, especially the trends relevant to young adults.

Van Jones, a longtime Oakland activist, now leads in the creation of “green” jobs training and investment.

Creative Class by Richard Florida covers urban economies and “lifestyles.”  Rankings of best cities may be of interest.

Slate and Salon offer good short takes on currents and arts.

Andrew Sullivan is covering the primaries hard and was one of the first conservatives for Senator Obama.

The Daily Voice is edited by activist Keith Boykin.

The Root, connected with Henry Louis Gates, has good coverage of the MLK assassination anniversary.

No Left Turns, a lively group scholar blog, is a smart conservative take on current events.

Ali Eteraz shares ideas from a young, moderate Muslim perspective.

Courage and Renewal is Parker Palmer’s Quaker-influenced professional spiritual formation training.

Hillel on Campus: Not Just for Jews Anymore

April 2, 2008

In order to remain “relevant” Hillel’s are shifting their mission by “designing programs that appeal to Jews and non-Jews and hyping its contribution to university — not only Jewish – life.” The article continues:

Prior to 2006, the organization sought to increase the number of Jews “doing Jewish with other Jews.” Now it seeks to “enrich” Jewish student life, the Jewish people and the world. The challenge for us is how do you create expressions of Jewish life that students will deem to be authentic at the same time as they are not exclusive or tribal.”

Why the shift?

[This is] a response to the new landscape of the millennials, the generation born after 1980, and their unique set of cultural dispositions: globally minded, skeptical of institutional authority and unwilling to have their identities narrowly defined.