Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We Tagged Ourselves

A few days back while reading Historiann, I saw this post. I had seen a few others like it and thought it might be fun. On the surface, this seems like one of those silly chain emails that were big in the early 90's (I still receive them from my mother from time to time). Then Sean-Paul at the Agonist jumps in the game, untagged, and changes the rules. Well, we want to play too. Here are the original rules, slightly modified;

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences (in the comments below).
5. Tag five people (I'm tagging everyone here).

Since I had just collected four books on Richard Rorty from the library, I grabbed the one I started reading this morning. I'm looking for possible connections between Al Gore's theory of political metaphor and Rorty's neo-pragmatism. I know. My thesis outline and early annotated bibliography tells me I should be concentrating on historical gaps in my research but I'm still waiting on some books. So in the mean time, I distract myself with very non-pragmatic theoretical scavenger hunts and silly blogging literary games like this one. So here goes;

"Lives of Irony: Randolph Bourne, Richard Rorty, & a New Genealogy of Critical Pragmatism" by John Pettergrew in A Pragmatists Progress? ed. John Pettegrew (2000).

This somewhat unfair comparison nevertheless points to an intriguing implication of Bourne's late intellectual biography: initiation into world war- the one historical force most responsible for postmodernist degradation of both the self and historical consciousness- led him inot an early form of despair that would anticipate not only the alienation of the so called "Lost Generation" of the 1920s but also the epistemological fragmentation and impotency of the late-twentieth century.

We know from Bourne's correspondence that, even before the war, he worried constantly about the ineffectuality of the intellectual and the immateriality of the critical essay. Bourne chided himself for his weak socialist politics.

This is all I've actually read from this particular essay. It doesn't seem that I'll unlock anything significant in relation to my research. But I must admit, I'm fascinated by the thought of one chiding oneself for one's own weak socialist politics.

What is the nearest book to you right now? Pick it up and turn to page 23. Leave your 3 sentences bellow (with added commentary if you like).