Monday, March 10, 2014


I'm on spring break this week, so I should have time to blog a bit more than I have lately. Mostly this blogging should be about the possibility of a social science, but first something else.

It is unsettling and depressing not to see as good what others apparently see as good, and to see as good things that others do not regard as good. If the administration does something that seems boneheaded or unethical there is not only the apparent badness of the action itself to deal with but the mentally unhealthy feeling that the world is out of joint. Finding that you have colleagues who see things as you do is cheering in a way that combines pleasure with a feeling of improved mental health. This is part of what it means to be a social animal, I suppose. We want, and perhaps need, to be in sync with others. We don't need everyone to agree on everything, but finding at least one like-minded person can make a difference, and on some matters I think we would be disconcerted to find anyone who disagreed. It would be disturbing (not just interesting, or amusing for Wittgenstein scholars) to find someone who continued the series 'add 2' by going from 1000 to 1004, for instance. I'm not sure what the role of philosophy is in all this though. On the one hand philosophers challenge conventional thinking (perhaps as not really being thinking at all), but on the other hand the goal is not disruption. (I don't think that can be a rational goal despite the way management-speak types like to talk.) Is the goal to head off possible threats to group cohesion? Not consciously. The goal is to solve problems. Why we want to do that I don't know. I don't really do it to achieve some other goal, perhaps others do.

Anyway, all this started as a response to my recent experience of trying to find new music that I liked. It's weird to hear sounds that you feel you ought to like but don't. I expected to like Savages but they just sound deliberately unpleasant to me. I thought I'd like "6th best album of 2013" '...Like Clockwork' but it sounds like Metallica trying to be David Bowie, or some B-list grunge band pointlessly 'unplugged'.

Mercifully there is some good stuff out there, some of which j. pointed me towards. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats' "Mind Crawler" is great: Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction meets True Detective.

I also found my taste generally defined by this ("amazing songwriting lurking under rudimentary musicianship, razor-sharp lyrics sung in disinterested voices, and a sense of inescapable sadness lurking beneath the perpetually-upbeat music") and this ("obsessed with a girl who doesn’t know you exist, walking through the rain feeling melancholy but strangely uplifted, and writing excruciating love poetry well into your twenties"). Thankfully that isn't me exactly but it does capture the spirit of what I mostly listen to. Thanks to the first of those articles I discovered this fantastic album by The Pastels:


And I just saw The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who I can't believe are not huge stars. Oh well. At least they exist.

If you like things rockier, I recommend my other recent find, Giuda. They're an Italian glam rock band from the Oi! end of the spectrum:


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