Random Summer Thoughts

1. It’s odd that no one paid attention to the adjective “wise” in Sotomayor’s comment, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.” If “wise” means anything, then all she said was a tautology.

2. It’s good that some companies are making a profit, but obscene that they’ll be handing out huge bonuses.

3. The Wall Street Journal increasingly looks like USA Today.

4. The steadiest ritual in my life, for more than 20 years, is morning with the New York Times and a cup of French roast coffee and this makes life very good indeed.  I don’t think it would be the same with an online version.

5. The social effects of Facebook have yet to be seen.

6. Twitter is the anti-Facebook.  Where Facebook is about creating a tight circle of friends, however big, Twitter is all about broadcast with a big disconnect between who one follows and who follows you.

7. It’s not as hot this summer as it was last summer, but then again I don’t live in Texas anymore.

8. Did California ever repeal Proposition 13?  Now would be a good time.

9. We want Sen. Franken to be funny, not boring.

10. And that’s the way it is, so far, in some measures, this summer of 2009.

11. Rest in peace, Walter Cronkite.

By Noelle McAfee

I am professor of philosophy at Emory University and editor of the Kettering Review. My latest book, Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis, explores what is behind the upsurge of virulent nationalism and intransigent politics across the world today. My other writings include Democracy and the Political Unconscious; Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship; Julia Kristeva; and numerous articles and book chapters. Edited volumes include Standing with the Public: the Humanities and Democratic Practice and a special issue of the philosophy journal Hypatia on feminist engagements in democratic theory. I am also the author of the entry on feminist political philosophy in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and well into my next book project on democratic public life.


  1. On 3, does that include the editorial page? Because unless they’ve changed recently (I haven’t really been keeping up), having the WSJ editorial page become more like that of USA Today would be an enormous improvement.

  2. 1. It’s a real shame that the ‘wise Latina’ comment didn’t turn into a discussion of wisdom. That would have been nice. Of course, it’s a real shame that Judge Sotomayor never got to say what we were all thinking, which was that ‘a wise Latina judge’ would not have decided Korematsu or Plessy the way that those white men did.

    3. As for WSJ, I think it’s been destroyed by Murdoch. I refuse to read it any longer, especially when Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the Economist are all available online.

    4. Would you consider reading the NYTimes on a Kindle DX?

  3. I was also surprised that the “I would hope” phrase kept being dropped. Actually, forget it: I wasn’t that much surprised at all.

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