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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
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Miriam Burstein
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Rohan Maitzen
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Guest Authors

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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Reputation Economy Again

Posted by John Holbo on 04/25/05 at 11:26 AM

Does your literary weblog lack readers? Are your best posts alms for oblivion? Well, then, that is what the comment box is for. To make yourself known. Go ahead. Announce your existence. Tell us of your blog, or your best post.

Speaking of the blogroll, I just remembered to add: God of the Machine. He used to do more of the cultural blogging. Even Yvor Winters blogging. Now I gather he's starting a cult and mathematics is involved. I really couldn't say. Also, you should visit the nice behold the considerable, eccentric intelligence of John Emerson at Idiocentrism. Also, here's something odd Halfway Down the Danube. (For those who care to step in the same river twice, part II. I do want to encourage holbonicism. Does 'hooked on holbonics' have a ring to it?)

Tonight we broaden our invitational canvas to include those who mix philosophy and art - well or badly, but above all: boldly. Is this you? I take as my inspirational text, as I often do, Nietzsche's essay, "Schopenhauer as Educator". In §7 he declares: "It can be assumed that if nature were human it would never cease to be annoyed at itself and its ineptitude. Nature propels the philosopher into mankind like an arrow; it takes no aim but hopes the arrow will stick somewhere. But countless times it misses and is depressed at the fact." Why o why are not children raised up on such sentiments? (The childish mazes on fastfood placemats, for example, with which the young idle away the time it takes their nuggets to fry: why not 'help nature propel the philosopher into mankind?' Instead of these silly 'help the little bird get back to the nest' themes.)

Thankfully the blind watchmaker has hit on blogging and now has an inexhaustible quiver from which he is firing in all directions. So we're safe. Or so it would seem, but for a sad fact noted in Amareep's Samuel Johnson post. The reader - he is enough to drive any author mad; idle, amusement-addicted thing is he. Art as well as philosophy suffers. Nietzsche:

The artist and the philosopher are evidence against the purposiveness of nature as regards the means it employs, though they are also first-rate evidence as to the wisdom of its purpose. They strike home at only a few, while they ought to strike home at everybody - and even these few are not struck with the force with which philosopher and author launch their shot. It is sad to have to arrive at an assessment of art as cause so different from our assessment of art as effect! The artist creates his work according to the will of nature for the good of other men: that is indisputable; nonetheless he knows that none of these other men will ever love and understand his work as he loves and understands it. Thus this greater degree of love and understanding is, given the ineptitude of nature, required for the production of a smaller degree; the greater and nobler is employed as a means of producing the lesser and ignoble. Nature is a bad economist: its expenditure is much larger than the income it procures; all its wealth notwithstanding, it is bound sooner or later to ruin itself. It would have ordered its affairs more rationally if its house-rule were: small expenses and hundredfold profit; if, for example, there were only a few artists, and these of weaker powers, but on the other hand numerous recipients of art of a stronger and more mighty species than the species of the artist; so that the effect of the work of art in relation to its cause would be a hundredfold magnification.

Do you think Nietzsche's advice to nature is sound? (Should publishers start giving handsome advances to the best readers, to assure good work is properly appreciated?)


I began a weblog to record what I read this year, and what my feelings about those books have been. That’s right, feelings, thought that includes satisfaction as much as some thought about the quality offered.

Turns out I have become reader enough to dislike books for a reason, because I can see what they lack.

Should publishers start giving handsome advances to the best readers, to assure good work is properly appreciated?

The problem with this is that the best readers can put a book in context, which isn’t necessarily flattering for the book reviewed.

There’s a lot of crap for sale.

There are, for instance, a lot of books written for academical interpretation only.

By ijsbrand on 04/25/05 at 01:18 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Here is a blog on aesthetics.

By ben wolfson on 04/25/05 at 01:20 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Nice? That hurts.

By John Emerson on 04/25/05 at 01:43 PM | Permanent link to this comment

You’re right, John. That was faint praise. You are a considerable, eccentric intelligence and I shall update the post to reflect this fact.

By John Holbo on 04/25/05 at 09:34 PM | Permanent link to this comment

No offense. It’s just that I try to be evil and no one takes me seriously.

By John Emerson on 04/25/05 at 09:46 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Oh, none taken. I can tell you aren’t evil and I didn’t take you seriously.

By John Holbo on 04/25/05 at 09:47 PM | Permanent link to this comment


Not only are you “nice,” you are also “interesting.” Is that better?

By on 04/25/05 at 10:49 PM | Permanent link to this comment

I insist on being called evil.

By John Emerson on 04/25/05 at 10:58 PM | Permanent link to this comment

speaking of art and philosophy, what’s the deal, Holbo?  You bid adieu to all your other blog-like endeavors, or at least promise such, and yet, here, here, such paltry posts.  Where are the 15 page sentences of yesteryear? the weddings of the Hulk and kierkegaard?  the endless analyses of literary hokum? More is desired.

By on 04/26/05 at 02:01 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Have I lost my edge, grackel? Have I gotten too mellow? (Do I know you?) Oh, I’ll post some more theory-bashing sooner or later.

By John Holbo on 04/26/05 at 02:36 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Thanks for the links, John. Come for the oddity, stay for the Balkans! The threads get more holbonic each day.

By Carlos on 04/26/05 at 04:59 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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