Voyou Désœuvré

A wholly splendid article by Raymond Geuss on Richard Rorty, including a defense of internationalism which culminates in:

The reason [for the fact that the Pope always turned out to be Italian] most commonly cited by these nuns was that, as Bishop of Rome, the Pope had to live in the “Eternal City,” but only an Italian could stand to live in Rome: it was hot, noisy, and overcrowded, and the people there ate spaghetti for dinner everyday rather than proper food, i.e., potatoes, so it would be too great a sacrifice to expect someone who had not grown up in Italy to tolerate life there. I clearly remember being unconvinced by this argument, thinking it set inappropriately low standards of self-sacrifice for the higher clergy; a genuinely saintly character should be able to put up even with pasta for lunch and dinner every day. I have since myself adopted this diet for long periods of time without thinking it gave me any claim on the Papacy (via).

I have very fond memories of Geuss’s lectures at Cambridge, particularly (and I think I’ve told this story to more-or-less everyone I’ve ever met), a lecture he once gave on structuralist Marxism. Throughout, he adduced various positions to Lacan, and I became gradually more confused because what little I knew about Lacan didn’t really seem to match up with what Geuss was saying. As the time for the end of the lecture drew near, Geuss summed up by saying “and so, these are the main outlines of structuralist Marxism as put forward by Lacan. [pause] Wait, did I say Lacan? Of course I meant Althusser, but…” followed by an additional ten minutes in which he explained why he had always seen Althusser’s killing his wife as an exemplary case of Lacanian psychoanalytic categories.

Comments

  1. http://palmer1984.livejournal.com/, 5:00 am, May 15, 2008

    Guess is a fantastic writer. I read him on Nietzsche and Foucault.

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