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As a philosopher who believes that everything has its own purpose, I feel offended by Voltaire’s Candide after reading this novel at my local Salon, since what Voltaire attacked, cause and effect, had been proved in our real life hundreds of years ago by scientific revolution, from which the idea of cause and effect emerged: events take place for specific reasons and they follow their unique laws, not operated by supernatural force or just happened to be there....

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Forrest's sweet, simple mind is what really captures the hearts of viewers....

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In an essay on Lincoln published a month earlier, Wiener identifies as the central failing of the film its dedication “to the proposition that Lincoln freed the slaves” and concludes, after considerable meandering and nit-picking ambivalence that brings the term pettifoggery to mind, “slavery died as a result of the actions of former slaves.” This either/or construct is both historically false and wrong-headed, and it is especially surprising that a professional historian like Wiener embraces it. The claim that slaves’ actions were responsible for the death of slavery is not only inaccurate; it is a pointless and counterproductive misrepresentation. What purpose is served by denying the significance of the four years of war and actions of the national government of the United States in ending slavery? Besides, it was indeed the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery.

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Never mind that, for what it’s worth, Kerry Washington’s character, as she actually appears in the film, is mainly a cipher, a simpering damsel in distress more reminiscent of Fay Wray in the original King Kong than heroines of the blaxploitation era’s eponymous vehicles Coffy or Foxy Brown. More problematically, Wiener’s juxtapositions reproduce the elevation of private, voluntarist action as a politics—somehow more truly true or authentic, or at least more appealing emotionally—over the machinations of government and institutional actors. That is a default presumption of the identitarian/culturalist left and is also a cornerstone of neoliberalism’s practical ontology.

Instead, it is an essay about the marketability of a movie in which all else is secondary.

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Pangloss belief that "all is for the best in this world" (24) somewhat stays with Candide throughout his travels and is more of a burden to him than anything else....

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You never know what you’re gonna get,” is a famous quote from Forrest Gump.

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But what if neoliberalism really can’t be made more just? (And, to be clear, when I say neoliberalism, I mean capitalism with the gloves off and back on the offensive.) What if the historical truth of capitalist class power is that, without direct, explicit and relentless, zero-sum challenge to its foundations in a social order built on its priority and dominance in the social division of labor, we will never be able to win more than a shifting around of the material burdens of inequality, reallocating them and recalibrating their incidence among different populations? And what if creation of such populations as given, natural-seeming entities—first as differentially valued pools of labor, in the ideological equivalent of an evolving game of musical chairs, then eventually also as ostensibly discrete market niches within the mass consumption regime—is a crucial element in capitalism’s logic of social reproduction? To the extent that is the case, multiculturalist egalitarianism and the political programs that follow from it reinforce a key mystification that legitimizes the systemic foundation of the inequalities to which those programs object.

Our life is full of uncertainty and we will never know what will happen in the future.

Essays on the essay : redefining the genre

Libertarianism is a shuck, more an aesthetics than a politics. Libertarians don’t want the state to do anything other than what they want the state to do. And, as its founding icons understood, it is fundamentally about property rights über alles. Mises and Hayek made clear in theory, and Thatcher and Friedman as Pinochet’s muse in Chile did in practice, that a libertarian society requires an anti-popular, authoritarian government to make sure that property rights are kept sacrosanct. That’s why it’s so common that a few bad days, some sweet nothings, and a couple of snazzy epaulets will turn a libertarian into an open fascist.

Whatever its precise role, video makes art more dynamic, more absorbing, more exciting.

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Wadman.” —Then he will never, quoth my father, be able to lie diagonally in his bed again as long as he lives.” (Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy) The eighteenth century, what a magnificent time—a contemporary critic is likely to exclaim, and indeed it was....