Friday, August 12, 2011


A.  Dear Reader,

You will note first of all the peculiar title of this entry.  What does it mean that this is the "Eighty-ninth and First" post?  But, to risk being tedious—a risk that all speech requires us to take—I will respond with another question.  What does it mean that this blog is a collection of "paraphasic manifestos"?  I suspect a few of you have not read closely enough and assumed the blog was "periphrastic" or some such.  It may be the case, but I normally hope to be brief and cover diverse random subjects of interest.  Paraphasic— what does it mean?  Paraphasia is a speech disorder which prevents a person from expressing thoughts in a coherent way.  It is paraphasia because the individual can still speak (unlike the true aphasic), but things tend to come out awry.  One might imagine the drunkard tripping delightfully over his tongue as he attempts, in defiance of his own state, to demonstrate unusual eloquence.  That, ω Ανδρες Αθηναιοι, is the grand idea.  And it's not really an idea in the first place.  The whole point of the title is to excuse the malformed contents of the blog for being semi-idiotic, poorly edited and generally worthless.

B.  Allow me to introduce myself, gentlemen.  I am a recent graduate of Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the non-subject of Humanities.  I have strange taste in music and, for my age, a pretty decent knowledge of modern philosophy.  Personal history: I had a love affair with Plato starting at age 15 (yes, fellows, I was one of his παιδων, though as with Alcibiades nothing sexual happened), then got hooked on Kant starting on my 17th birthday.  About a year later, Bertrand Russell taught me two things: first, that I hate him.  Second, that Kant's system has a faulty foundation.  Third (oops, make that three things), that enlightenment rationalism is itself unsound.  Then I studied under Dostoevsky for a few months, only to be delivered (appropriately) into the hands of the melancholy Dane (no, not Hamlet).  My faith in Kierkegaard was strengthened during college by further reading of Dostoevsky and — really let's move on, this is incredibly tedious.

C.  So, you had a question right at the beginning.  What was it now?  Yes, the Eighty-ninth and First.  Whatever could that mean?  Well we can interpret it in several ways.  First of all, this post functions in a way much more approrpiately than the actual first post, as an introduction to the blog as a whole.  To complete the introduction, let me list a few further facts:  (1)  As stated in the "Notes" section at the bottom of each page, the parenthetical numbers following movie titles or descriptions are ratings on a 1-5 scale.  (2)  I rather like movies, and I have a dearth of original thoughts (originality, after all, is not only overrated but in itself tends to be a kind of corruption), so some of the posts here will be movie reviews, a few of them will be independent observations on "the current state of things", but the brunt of the postings will be (and have been) worthy selections of books that I have read or am currently working on.

D.  In the wretched Philosopher X in 90 Minutes series written by Paul Strahern, I once read that Hegel habitually copied significant quotations and passages into his journals, creating a kind of easy reference manual of worthwhile material he had already encountered.  I haven't the patience to do such things, but this blog is the closest I'll get.  Just think, a meteor could smash through the ceiling and kill you in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

E.  I suppose not, though.  Readiness for death is something people often forget.  Just like I've forgotten the purpose of this post.  But here it is.  There are supposed to be paraphasic manifestos on this blog, and — while I have expressed my opinion here and there on trivial matters — a manifesto is decidedly lacking.  And so, this post is meant to be the first.

F.  But of course it isnt.  And that's why the title isn't actually "Eighty-ninth and First" but merely "Eighty-ninth".


  1. Thanks for the introduction. I came across this blog through your comments over at unequally yoked. I was wondering what this blog was about and of course who it was that was authoring it. . What sparked your interest in the philosophy of St. Thomas? Are you a Catholic? Sorry don't mean to be nosey.

  2. I'm going to be very mysterious about the answers to these questions. (Actually not. I'll be publishing a post shortly that should make the answers to both questions relatively clear.)

  3. What a wonderful little intro. Paraphasia is a halting exercise indeed.