Computer Illiterasy

The Inter-nets today contain a lot of Content that falls short of proper standards of courtesy and logic. There are these Bogs you can go to, some Liter and some Darker, and some just Dingier, where Postings are Uploaded and whatnot. On them Comments are Web-paged for all to Scroll, and many of these resemble Spam in their odor and taste (and I have no wish to defame that noble mystery meat). Onlining has become an addiction. People attempt to Inflame others by means of Cyber Texts of shoddy construction. Boggers Google others and try to Download people they don’t like.  There is so much Amo–ninity that enables such Googling to go Instantly Viral, which can cause headaches and stiffness in the joints. Then some Trolls lurk between the Nets and poke their Keyboards into other Surfers’ eyes. Mouses are exploited. Whoever made these Inter-nets should Filter any unwanted Noise and Moderate Sites where Webs are cast on innocent Hackers. We should Delete all this Junk from our Hard Drive, so that the toxic Cloud clears and people can once again Click in peace. We don’t want civilization to Crash.

In addition, Twittering is best left to birds, and only cuts the length off of thoughts.



I read Tina Fey’s book on the plane back from Mississippi. Perfect plane reading. As everyone says, it is extremely funny, with sudden injections of glorious vulgarity. That we would expect, given her screen credentials. But what struck me more were its respect for intelligence and its moral acuity. So I recommend it as a textbook for right thinking. It opens with a discussion of how people react to the scar on her face, delivered  when she was a child by a man who intentionally slashed her. It makes you shudder to think you might fall into one of her categories. And it brings a streak of tragedy into the humor that follows. Her feminism sounds all the right notes, to my mind. I could quote many lines from the book but here is one I particularly liked, from the chapter “The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter”: “O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers”. Amen to that, Tina. Also fascinating: how she created 30 Rock and got on SNL. Funny, yes, but also shrewd and honest–the scar behind the joke. It reminds me: I have never known a humorless original mind.


Thinking Well and Being Good

I just returned from giving the annual Dunbar lecture at Millsaps College in Jackson Mississippi. My title was “The Good Life as Thinking Well”, and my lecture was all about the importance of cognitive virtue. I also spoke to two classes of students, one on Kant’s moral philosophy and the other on my mysterian view of the mind-body problem. I am glad to say that it all went well and that the people I interacted with were intelligent and sympathetic, both faculty and students. Meanwhile other issues have arisen in the philosophy profession, about which sensible people will reserve judgement until the facts become clear (if they ever do). What I would urge is that different cases be treated differently and people should not all be tarred with the same brush.

One thing I would suggest to people who feel they have been wrongly accused and unjustly treated by those in power is to resign in protest, assuming this is feasible (which I realize for many people is not). This is often the only way to register one’s disapproval and it sends a clear message.