kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Logorrheic or laconic?

Ms. Cokesbury--there's an entry about her below--has returned to my e-mail folder, after a brief absence. (I may have offended her; one never knows.) For those who didn't read the other entry, or who want to know, or who are here to read about llamas, Ms. Cokesbury is a former student of mine--smart, "interesting," paranoid, provocative, funny, combative, a bit weird, and feisty: all good things, to my way of thinking.

We have had an on-going e-mail correspondence for a year or so. Here's an exemplary exchange:

Me: Hi.
Ms. C.: Do you believe in God? Why or why not?
Me: Well, it's a complicated issue.
Ms. C.: You have to answer in 10 words or less. Do you think toothbrushes are more important than shoes?
Me: Well, it's a complicated issue.
Ms. C.: Why do you have to make things difficult? You philosophers always make things so complicated. If you had to choose to let one of your children be kidnapped, who would you choose, and why? Answer with a name, a reason, and no more than 12 words.

So it's difficult, you see. She has a unique perspective on things, which I like to hear about, but usually she raises points that are, well, complicated. The easiest thing would be to have lunch or a beer (or both: inclusive disjunction) and an actual conversation, but she prefers to remain disembodied and wholly a cybercipher. That's ok with me, but it is a bit off-putting then to be told that I have to answer questions within a medium that is wholly unsuited for answering such questions.

I have, of course, actually seen Ms. Cokesbury in person, since she was a student of mine and helped me run a course at UD called "The First Year Experience." (If you translate the name of the course into Latin, and then google it, the first hit is a dictionary entry for "bureaucratic waste of everyone's time except for bored administrators who should really have something better to do than torture the faculty." The second hit is worse.)

I have other friends, however, who I have never seen before; a couple of people who used to post at Ann.coulter.com, and a Norwegian philosopher named Lars--imagine that, a Norwegian named "Lars"!

He's a philosopher, and wrote a good book on the philosophy of boredom called "The Philosophy of Boredom." He is a good philosopher, shows up--I've heard--on Norwegian TV, was in a band called "Chromosome Damage," and knows a hell of a lot about Kant, Wittgenstein, and the philosophy of language (he's for it, I think). You should buy his book, if only because of the length of this link:


There are a few others, from random Kant and music list-servs, but the more general thing is that such relationships, I find, can be both very satisfying and yet a little odd. I'm not used to knowing someone well whom I've never seen or talked to in person (although I did seduce a woman once, thousands of years ago, almost entirely through the mail; that probably is a story better left untold). Yet one obviously enough can get to know another extremely well in such circumstances, even though a) the person may be a gargoyle or b) the person may be lying about any and all personal details. (Of course, the person also knows these caveats apply to me, as well.)

In any case, I enjoy the friendship with Ms. Cokesbury, as fundamentally bizarre as it is, and in spite of whatever bizarre things she likes to attribute to me or my belief set.


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