Reviews

Strong: Pessimism : Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit

reviewed by Tracy Strong on 1 July 2011

Pessimism claims an impressive following - from Rousseau, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, to Freud, Camus, and Foucault. Yet 'pessimist' remains a term of abuse - an accusation of a bad attitude - or the diagnosis of an unhappy psychological state. Pessimism is thought of as an exclusively negative stance that inevitably leads to resignation or despair. Even when pessimism looks like utter truth, we are told that it makes the worst of a bad situation. Bad for the individual, worse for the species - who would actually counsel pessimism? Joshua Foa Dienstag does. In "Pessimism", he challenges the received wisdom…Read

The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity

reviewed by Thorsten Botz-Bornstein on 1 February 2011

Example one: "A young black man strolls down the street in Oakland, California's African American community. He is wearing a Chicago Bulls athletic suit with expensive matching sneakers. The sneakers are untied and he walks with a light limp, leaning just a bit to one side. His arms take turns trailing behind him as he ambles on his way. He knows he is cool and looks good. He follows the popular rap groups and knows all the latest dance steps. Since he lost his job as a stock clerk…Read

Fathers and Sons

reviewed by Jason Ward on 1 February 2011

Don’t be put off by the fact that this book is a ‘Russian classic’, it is truly worth a read. Plus, it isn’t a thousand pages of depression like some others I could mention.

The book, not surprisingly given the title, is concerned with the generation gap. But it is also concerned with Russian society at that time, embracing the modern world, disillusionment, the power of emotion, family dynamics, and change both individual and…Read

Kant Get No Satisfaction

reviewed by Stuart Hanscomb on 1 February 2011

I find it surprising that it has taken so long for someone to dedicate a book to intellectual themes in rock music. That thought-provoking issues have often found expression in and formed the substratum of rock lyrics since the mid-sixties is certainly not news to most rock fans, and yet it has taken nearly thirty years for this to be formally acknowledged in an academic format. I can only assume that Harris’ very rock‘n’roll opening line: “Rock music has…Read

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