September 24, 2007


Caption: Seamus McGoogle is all about existentialism.

There are thinkers and philosophers hold up better than others over time. Some--say Sartre, Foucault or Derrida--might be worth a quick intellectual fling at a certain stage of life or a brief perusal. Others--my short list includes people like Aristotle, William James, and the French writer Albert Camus--seem to have more staying power.

I've been thinking about Camus again since re-reading his novel The Plague for the umpteenth time.

El Cabrero first stumbled on the Algerian/French writer and philosopher Camus (1913-1960) while prowling the stacks of my hometown public library about the time I finished high school. The work was "Reflections on the Guillotine," his classic essay against the death penalty.

My beloved state of West Virginia didn't have the death penalty then and still doesn't, but I'd never seriously thought about it before. His eloquent, passionate but rational approach made a permanent impression on me. I went on from there to read his novels, essays, plays (not his best work), and non-fiction works.

Here's a post on the subject from last year, written on the occasion of George Bush's encounter with his novel The Stranger.

Camus had credibility with me because he wasn't naive about the evils of the world--in fact he was fully engaged against them. He was active in the French Resistance and spoke in defense of human rights whether these were threatened from the right or left.

In this week's Goat Rope, I'm going to highlight some of his nuggets.

Here are a couple of sample quotes from The Rebel to start with:

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. is those who know how to rebel, at the appropriate moment, against history who really advance its interests.

More to come.

WHO OWNS ADAM SMITH? Here's an op-ed of yours truly that appeared in yesterday's Gazette Mail. To my surprise, it was accepted at Common Dreams as well.

DISTURBING READING. For those following the Megan Williams torture and kidnapping case, here is a transcript of an early interview with police shortly after she was freed from captivity. Warning: this is extremely graphic.

NEW NOTES. And here's the latest edition of Jim Lewis' Notes from under the Fig Tree.

FEDERAL MINE INSPECTIONS CUT. What the ...? In spite of all-too-recent mine disasters in Utah and West Virginia, MSHA is behind in its safety inspections. This is from Ken Ward's story in the Gazette yesterday.


1 comment:

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I first encountered Camus in the mid ‘60s while on a bus trip. The guy across the isle spent the entire trip reading The Stranger. When I returned to college, I borrowed it from the university library and Camus has been a part of my life since then.