Mark Greif

All articles by this author

A Trained Pigeon

A Trained Pigeon

Are these dark times, or are they unconscionably stupid times?

And most bizarre, I think—the moment I will not be able to forget, so utterly sincere and consistent and emotional did it seem, the emotional peak of his long, rambling statement—was when Kavanaugh told us the single thing he loves doing most in the world. Not the law (though this is the job he’s interviewing for). Not parenting (though he is a sentimentalist of kids and parents, or perhaps of himself-as-a-kid-and-parent). It was coaching youth athletics. “I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life.” Then a pause, and the explosion. “But thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.”

No President

No President

To what extremes of disobedience and resistant behavior do peaceful Americans know how to go?

It is far better to “overreact” at this moment than not to react—probably better to be wrong, before probable wrongs are done, than to wait and see. It is more important to seize hold of the abnormal, than turn violation into the normal.

Notes From an Occupation

Notes From an Occupation

It was kind of nice to be at a protest and, instead of marching and shouting, to be talking about ideas. It felt like the script had changed, and that was a revelation.

It was kind of nice to be at a protest and, instead of marching and shouting, to be talking about ideas. It felt like the script had changed, and that was a revelation. As 7 PM approached, my friends and I left thinking the cops would clear everyone out in no time. When they made it through the night I began to give them more credit, so I dropped off a bunch of blankets and provisions later that evening.

Cavell as Educator

July 5, 2011

Nearly every great philosopher in the era of the university has said somewhere that there is no such thing as education in schools. Nearly every one of these, too, taught or lectured (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, James, Arendt), or was entangled as far as to have learned from a university, in its lecture halls and library, what philosophy would be.

Octomom, One Year Later

The octuplets were supposed to be a distraction: an oasis in the midst of the day’s gloomy news of AIG perfidy, mortgage defaults, bank closures, toxic assets, and spiking unemployment. Instead, the camera teams that camped on the lawn of the nice one-story house in Whittier, California, in the glitter of LA winter, got a living metaphor for the crisis.

On Food

On Food

One of the main features of our moment in history, in anything that affects the state of the body (though, importantly, not the life of the mind), is that we prefer optimization to simplicity. We are afraid of dying, and reluctant to miss any physical improvement. I don’t want to die. But I am caught between that negative desire and the wish for freedom from control. I think we barely notice how much these tricks of care take up of our thinking, and what domination they exert.