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Archive for the ‘Newspaper articles’ Category

The False Difference Between the Right and the Left, Haaretz, Ofer Sitbon Apr 28, 2017

Jean-Claude Michéa has recently garnered unusual exposure: His book “Notre ennemi, le capital” (2017), made the front page of Le Monde on January 1. The philosopher, who was born in 1950, teaches philosophy in a high school in Montpellier, France. Despite not having had an academic career, he has become an intriguing and controversial public figure, and some have described the great enthusiasm for him among young people as the Michéa generation.

The basic thesis that is the leitmotif in his books (the first of which was published in 1995) and in interviews with him (never for television) concerns the two faces of liberalism: economic liberalism, which seeks to expand the applicability of the market to all human activity throughout the planet, and cultural liberalism, which seeks to expand the rights of the individual and lift all restrictions on human behavior.

According to Michéa — and this is his innovation — the two kinds of liberalism that put the individual at the center are inextricably knotted together, because in order to impose its vision on a society of total consumption, a rightist economy (in which “everything is tradable”) needs at its side and as its ally a leftist society (in which “everything is permissible”) that opens to the economy more and more pathways to commercializing human life: unlimited growth in a world without borders. The deep liberal logic whereby belonging that does not happen by choice (family, religion, nationality) means oppression sees an unrestricted market as the only site of socialization that accords with the individual’s liberty to act without any limitations at all.

In a provocative formulation, Michéa argued that the Cannes Film Festival, which emphasizes the artistic character of the cinema, is not the opposite of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Rather, both events glorify the individual with no limits. According to one epigram, Friedrich Hayek, the Austrian economist whose thinking has shaped today’s liberalism, and Michel Foucault, the postmodern prophet who saw moral obligations as a manifestation of “the dictatorship of the Other,” are two sides of the same coin: Both are guided by the same historical and intellectual logic.

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Sam Leith, In our Google era, indexers are the unsung heroes of the publishing world, The Guardian, Thursday 30 March 2017

[…]
Today, the Society of Indexers – the industry body for those professionals (for which, full disclosure, I have the honour to be honorary president) – turns 60 years old. It celebrates its “anniversary, diamond”. “What?” you ask. “Who?” you wonder. No surprise. Indexers are like badgers: they are seldom sighted in the wild, they do their work in the darkness, and when you see one it’s usually because they’ve been run over by an 18-wheeler.

[…]

Also, which is well worth remembering, a good index is often very funny. Those of us who take an interest in such things – and I think there should be more of us – end up hoarding favourites. Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality (volume two) contains the cherishable “Elephants, as example of conjugal virtue, 17”. A 1995 book on the computer contains a deliberately circular reference (normally an absolute no-no): “Loop, endless: see ‘endless loop’”; “Endless loop: see ‘loop, endless’.” JG Ballard wrote a short story called “The Index”, which was the index to an imaginary book; the late David Miller used it as the index to his anthology That Glimpse of Truth: The 100 Finest Short Stories Ever Written. And as my colleague in the society, Paula Clarke Bain, who blogs about comedy indexes, recognises, the indexes to Alan Partridge’s memoirs are at least as funny as the body text.

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Quand la CIA s’intéressait de près à Foucault, Derrida et Althusser. Le Monde, 23.03.2017

En 1985, les espions américains se félicitaient de la décomposition de la gauche intellectuelle française. Et passaient complètement à côté de la popularité croissante de ces mêmes philosophes dans leur pays.

Les espions lisent de la philosophie. Ce n’est d’ailleurs pas un secret, pendant la guerre froide, la CIA a mené une « guerre culturelle » en surveillant la vie intellectuelle et en finançant des projets culturels. Un rapport de recherche, déclassifié en 2011, vient apporter un éclairage étonnant sur ces pratiques.

Ce document, livré en 1985 par les agents américains basés à Paris, montre un certain intérêt pour les grandes figures du structuralisme, qu’on appellerait bientôt, outre-Atlantique, la « French theory ». Comme le résume Gabriel Rockhill, philosophe franco-américain qui a étudié le rapport pour la Los Angeles Review of Books, « la CIA a consacré des moyens importants à l’étude, par un groupe d’agents secrets, du corpus théorique considéré par certains comme le plus abscons et le plus alambiqué jamais produit ».

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Editor: What do Foucault and the Duchess of Cambridge have in common? The polo neck skivvy!

The affordable staple that has become the Duchess of Cambridge’s secret wardrobe weapon, The Telegraph, 23 February 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge is now, we can all agree, a pro in the royal dressing stakes. For her increasingly regular royal engagements, she strikes a careful balance between introducing new pieces, whether by designers she’s never worn before or old faithfuls like Alexander McQueen or L.K Bennett, and reviving favourite looks from past appearances. This means that she has become both famously ‘thrifty’ but also noted for her glamour and support of British design names. […]

But it’s the Duchess’s black polo neck jumper which she layered underneath the nipped-waist jacket that was today’s most noteworthy outfit addition. It marks the third time this year alone that Kate has worn this staple piece for a public engagement. […]

For such a useful and seemingly simple piece, the polo neck has a rather illustrious history. Its beginnings were humble, being used mostly as a practical cover-up. But during the 20th century it became a favourite of the intellectual elite. The French philosopher Michel Foucault was renowned for his love of a white jersey version.

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aids6n-8-web

Keri Blakinger, On Freddie Mercury’s birthday, 11 other HIV-related deaths, New York Daily News, September 5, 2015

Michel Foucault
An acclaimed French philosopher, Michel Foucault was best known for works like “Discipline and Punish” and “The History of Sexuality.”He died in 1984 of AIDS-related illness.

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La gauche face au djihadisme: les yeux grands fermés
LE MONDE | 03.03.2015 | Par Jean Birnbaum

The complete article can be found on the Comité Laicité République site. (Thanks to Mauricio for this link)

En 1978, le philosophe Michel Foucault arrive en Iran pour y effectuer un reportage sur la révolution islamique. Envoyé par le quotidien italien Corriere della sera, il va à la rencontre des insurgés et leur pose des questions. Bien sûr, cet intellectuel de gauche ne manque pas de s’intéresser aux causes économiques du soulèvement. Il commence par détailler les inégalités de classe et de statut qui rongent la société iranienne. Mais son ouverture d’esprit et sa disponibilité à l’événement le rendent sensible à un autre enjeu : « la religion, avec l’emprise formidable qu’elle a sur les gens ». Après avoir interviewé des étudiants et des ouvriers, il dresse le constat suivant : si les facteurs sociaux sont importants pour expliquer la contestation, seule l’espérance messianique a vraiment pu mettre le feu aux poudres. D’ailleurs, les militants se réclamant du communisme ou des droits de l’homme se trouvent peu à peu balayés par ceux qui en appellent à la charia.

Une vulgate marxisante

A l’évidence, « le problème de l’islam comme force politique est un problème essentiel pour notre époque et pour les années à venir », prévenait Foucault. Telle est la leçon de ce reportage signé par un philosophe qui a pu observer de près, et avec une certaine bienveillance, la puissance politique de l’espérance religieuse.

Cette leçon, délivrée par l’un des grands intellectuels de gauche, la gauche française l’a aujourd’hui oubliée. Les femmes et les hommes qui peuplent ses groupes militants, ses cercles de réflexion ou ses cabinets ministériels en sont revenus à une…

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Élisabeth Roudinesco: The Living Thought of Michel Foucault
, Verso Books site, 13 November 2014
Élisabeth Roudinesco, author of Lacan: In Spite of Everything, Jacques Lacan & Co. and Madness and Revolution, among many otherson the writing of Michel Foucault, written for Le Monde in May:

Thirty years after his death, Michel Foucault (1926–1984) is famed the world over. Author of a very rich body of teachings whose scope ranges from his critique of norms and institutions to the history of prisons, medicine, madness and sexuality, this philosopher-historian has enticed liberals, social-democrats, erudite scholars and rebels of all persuasions. Each of these different groups, respectively, sees him as an ardent defender of the invention of the self, an unstinting reformist, a sumptuous commentator on ancient Greek and Roman texts, and a brilliant militant for minorities’ causes. In sum, Foucault’s work is more than ever on the order of the day, as demonstrated by the publication of the lectures he gave at the Collège de France between January and April 1981 with regard to subjectivity and freedom.

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