Thursday, August 30, 2007
INSTAPUNDIT CARES ABOUT MEANING NOW. And here I thought he just cared about linking Lileks, Althouse, Kaus, Dr. Helen, and his favorite legal drones every day, plus every new science fiction novel released and every new digital gadget that gleams or clicks or has "nano" in its name. It turns out that he also cares about the meaning of life. Who knew?
IN THE MAIL: Tony Kronman's new book, Education's End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life.
It looks like a very interesting and important book.
I was so impressed I looked up the book at Amazon and discovered that the early reviews are indeed glowing:
"In a brilliant, sustained argument that is as forthright, bold, and passionately felt as it is ideologically unclassifiable and original, Anthony Kronman leaps in a bound into the center of America's cultural disputes, not to say cultural wars. Although Kronman's specific area of concern is higher education, his argument will reach far beyond campus walls.
-- Jonathan Schell, author of The Unconquerable World: Power Nonviolence and the Will of the People
"Just when we need them most, the humanities have relinquished their role at the heart of liberal education -- helping students reflect on what makes life worth living. In this bold and provocative book, Anthony Kronman explains why the humanities have lost their way. With eloquence and passion, he argues that departments of literature, classics, and philosophy can recover their authority and prestige only by reviving their traditional focus on fundamental questions about the meaning of life."
-- Michael J. Sandel, author of The Case against Perfection and Public Philosophy
Cool. And you know this one has to be really good because it's published by Yale University Press, which has always been my sole source for the latest info about what's "interesting and important."
Obviously I haven't read it yet because it's still "in the mail," but I do have certain reservations about how "original" it is if its primary claim to fame is a rediscovery that the humanities should be concerned with "the meaning of life" after a long period of treating this concept with murderous contempt.
I've only been concerned with this problem for 30 years or so. Specifically and in detail. Then, again, I never went to Yale. For those who are interested, though, here's a link to excerpts from a manuscript I wrote after The Boomer Bible was published, explaining how and why it was fundamentally related to "the meaning of life" and the apparent obsession of the intelligentsia to prevent us from pursuing it.
Apologies, Glenn. But I am older than you, I was a computer diarist before you, and I was a cultural critic while you were still in middle school. Not all worthwhile commentary originates at Yale or in the law school faculty lounge. (And, yeah, I'm ticked off that you couldn't even deign to acknowledge the passing of the wittiest conservative humor site on the web, Wuzzadem.)
Or words to that effect.