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This and That

After a month on summer hiatus, Notablog returns.

I have no clue what shape the blog will take at this point. While I am truly inspired by those who have the time to blog daily, and to blog with substance on such a regular basis, I have found that due to my own very personal circumstances and to my own professional commitments and responsibilities, it is virtually impossible to keep up with regular blogging or to post daily on the significant developments in the world today. Suffice it to say, while Notablog returns, and while I will resume my "Song of the Day" feature this weekend (and don't be surprised if this becomes a "Song of the Week" feature in time), I am still working diligently on many projects that demand my attention.

I should note that the Summer of 2006, which is a little more than half over, has been a productive one thus far. Aside from enjoying the sun and the sea and the lighting of the Coney Island Parachute Jump (Brooklyn's Eiffel Tower), I've been hard at work. I've completed three entries for the International Encyclopedia of Political Science and another entry for the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (more information on these entries will follow in the coming months). In addition to continuing my editing of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, I've also completed a piece for the forthcoming Ed Younkins-edited anthology, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which will be published next year to mark the 50th anniversary of the novel's publication. My contribution is entitled: "Atlas Shrugged: Manifesto for a New Radicalism."

On the subject of Ayn Rand, I have written a brief essay for the September 2006 issue of Liberty magazine. It's part of a special feature entitled "Ten Great Books of Liberty." My entry focuses on Rand's novel, The Fountainhead.

While I've been on hiatus, it came to my attention that I was memed by Nick Manley. The meme has considerable overlap with a blog entry I wrote on those works that had a significant effect on my intellectual development.

Much of that development has been influenced by dialectics, the art of context-keeping. But dialectics has taken various forms tnroughout intellectual history, and the Marxian dialectic is, of course, one of them. A new film, entitled "Half Nelson," apparently delves into the subject. I may not see the movie until it reaches DVD status, but it looks like it might be entertaining.

Marxian dialectics has interested me for many years, going back to my dissertation and to the publication of my first book, Marx, Hayek, and Utopia. Author Kevin M. Brien has published a second edition of his fine work, Marx, Reason, and the Art of Freedom, which addresses criticisms I made of his first edition back in the Fall 1988 issue of Critical Review. I hope to discuss Brien's rejoinder in the coming weeks.

In the next few weeks, I will also publish an exclusive Notablog installment of my annual feature, "Remembering the World Trade Center." This year's installment is particularly important; it comes on the fifth anniversary of that awful tragedy and it marks the first time that I will take readers inside the WTC. My interview subject was on the 89th floor of the North Tower when the first plane struck. That he survived to tell this harrowing story is a blessing to those of us who will never forget September 11, 2001. This was the most difficult interview I have ever conducted, but I trust that readers will agree with me that it is among the most important contributions to my annual series.

So stay tuned to Notablog. The music starts up again this weekend, and will include a 12-day tribute to Tony Bennett (who turned 80 on August 3rd), the return of my annual tribute to TV themes, and a September spotlight on The Four Seasons (loved "Jersey Boys").

Comments are open. Welcome back.

Comments

Glad to see you back in the blogging business Chris. Your WTC piece this year sounds interesting and I look foward to your meme answers too.

Welcome back Chris! It's good to see that you survived your vacation. :-)

It's good to have you back. You seem to have a lot on your plate.

Chris, it's about time you got back! I'm looking foward to reading that 9-11 interview.

George

PS: Oh God, 12 days of Tony Bennett! If there are any diabetics that read this forum, you may want to stay away for those 12 days.

Hey, give Tony Bennett a break, George! Ok, he's not Sinatra, but unfortunately only one man had that blessing and burden. At least Tony Bennett *truly* sang a duet...with kd lang! Ya gotta give him his "props" for that, at least. ;-)

Welcome back, Chris. Sounds as if you had a "working" vacation. Your piece on the WTC sounds very moving and I'm sure it will be a gripping read.

Peri

The two splendid albums Tony Bennett did with Bill Evans are among my favorites. And besides, Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington (both excellent judges of talent ) were big Tony Bennett fans.

Welcome back Chris. I see that you will be writing a reply to Kevin Brien within the next few weeks. You also, at some point, might wish to check out Rosa Lichtenstein's website, http://anti-dialectics.org/. In the rather lengthy essays on that site, she makes the case that dialectics is scientifically and philosophically unfounded that its acceptance by Marxists has done Marxism enormous harm over the past century or so. In attacking dialectics, she attacks not only the official forms of diamat that had prevailed in places like the former Soviet Union but she also takes on what she calls, "High Church" dialectics as manifested in the writings of philosophers like your old teacher, Bertell Ollman.
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%20016-9.htm

http://www.revolutionaryleft.com/lofiversion/index.php/t52701.html

Rosa is very much attracted to Ludwig Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy and believes that Marxists would be much better off if they followed what she takes as his anti-metaphysical line.

Lol, in my eagerness to welcome you back Chris, I overlooked that your linking to the previous blog entry was your answer to the meme. Some good texts you've got listed. Rothbard's For a New Liberty's chapter on war and peace is a favorite of mine. Anyway, could anyone point me in the direction of some good Tony Bennett links? If Frank Sinatra was a fan then I'd probably like him.

Nick, check out Terry Gross' interview with Tony Bennett here. It's a very interesting interview with lots of good music samples.

First, thanks for the good wishes from Notablog readers!

George, I definitely know what you mean about the sugar content of certainly one phase of Bennett's career... pretty though the songs were ("Because of You")... :)

But I do think he gained a lot more jazz sensibility over time, and performed some wonderful sessions with everybody from Count Basie to Bill Evans (the Evans sessions Mick cites will be mentioned over the next "Twelve Days of Tony" at Notablog... so stay tuned!).

And Peri and Mick are right, of course, that Bennett has had many fans... from the one and only Sinatra to the one and only Duke ... who have appreciated his gifts.

So, Nick (and everyone), feel free to investigate the various links on my daily Bennett entries over the next 12 days, including all those great audio clips!

As for the other topics: The 9/11 tribute... we'll chat about in a couple of weeks.

And, Jim, I do hope to post the original review of Brien's book, and a few comments on Brien's second edition, including the sections of the work that deal with my critique.

I'll be sure to check out those links and comment on them too! Thanks!

A belated welcome home Chris!

I hope you enjoyed your vacation and I'm certainly looking forward to several of the forthcoming works you've mentioned above.

MH

Thanks, Matthew!