Friday, November 14, 2008

On the Critical

Today remains Friday, 14 November 2008.

“Anonymous” commented on “[Your Catchy Title Here]": “There it is, folks - from HH's own lips, or rather, fingers. He is critical and analytical from Day One. In Obama's case, pre-Day One. Yes, HH's joy in life is to critique. Nothing makes him happy except a good bottle of something and a few tunes.”

But wait, my friends, there’s more: it gets better (or worse, depending on viewpoint). HH is a life-long card-carrying member of the School of Critical Theory (or would be --- for security reasons, cards aren’t issued).

Following is the first paragraph from the article “Critical Theory” in Wikipedia; it’s rather a good introduction to the concept.

“The first meaning of the term critical theory was that defined by Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School of social science in his 1937 essay Traditional and Critical Theory: Critical theory is a social theory oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole, in contrast to traditional theory oriented only to understanding or explaining it [HH’s bolding]. Horkheimer wanted to distinguish critical theory as a radical, emancipatory form of Marxian theory, critiquing both the model of science put forward by logical positivism and what he and his colleagues saw as the covert positivism and authoritarianism of orthodox Marxism and communism. Core concepts are: (1) That critical social theory should be directed at the totality of society in its historical specificity (i.e. how it came to be configured at a specific point in time), and (2) That Critical Theory should improve understanding of society by integrating all the major social sciences, including economics, sociology, history, political science, anthropology, and psychology. Although this conception of critical theory originated with the Frankfurt School, it also prevails among other recent social scientists, such as Pierre Bourdieu, Louis Althusser and arguably Michel Foucault and Bryan Reynolds, as well as certain feminist theorists and social scientists.”

Please keep in mind that any elected official, such as President-elect Obama, is an employee of the people (or, if you prefer, The People). All the people have an obligation to analyze and critique the actions of elected officials. Without people living up to this obligation, democracy cannot work, however fitfully. Unfortunately, most people don’t often live up to this obligation, so MoB does its humble best to pick up the slack.

If it’s a good bottle recommendation you seek, one can’t go wrong with the Mouton Cadet Bordeaux, to which HH was introduced while dining at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center in 1981.

As to tunes, I’m partial to, among others and in no particular order, Mozart, Neil Young, Bach, Talking Heads (“Once in a Lifetime”, “Burning Down the House”), Joni Mitchell (“River” always breaks my heart), Bartok, and Chet Baker.

Other things which make HH happy: family, friends, autumn and winter, art, literature, Casablanca, etc.

Thank you, "Anonymous", for your criticism.

So sit back, uncork that Bordeaux, groove on a tune, and critique.


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