Saturday, January 09, 2010

Tony Judt

Very moving and impressive piece & video on Tony Judt on The Guardian site. For relevance to this blog see: "tony judt". Suggestion: Liberal Debacle. He's one of ours. Stephen Hawking has worse. Countless tens of thousands of Ethiopians don't have water; tens of thousands of Iraqis fear daily bombings. But it's still terrible to see one man suffer like this.


Blogger angrysoba said...

Is this a fair summary of Norman Geras' take on Tony Judt's position re: Decents?

"These people who are so certain they are absolutely right are, I am certain, absolutely wrong."

Is this a fair summary of Tony Judt's position?

1/10/2010 02:04:00 AM  
Blogger angrysoba said...

Ah, better!

NG's TJ: "These people who display a contemptible certainty that they are absolutely right are, I am commendably certain, absolutely wrong."

1/10/2010 02:06:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

i like the way norm says that judt offers no references for his claims-but norm gives no evidence for that claim! From memory, the judt piece was actually pretty precise about the shared beliefs of the group of people he was discussing. Interestingly, too, norm adds other names-how odd, given that according to him, nothing at all unites the people judt was discussing. By the by, the main reasons why judt is so hated by the decent blogosphere are 1 that he has stated that the only solution in the middle east is the one state one-not, iirc, that he's especially happy about it- and 2 that he's a cut above the decent sacred cows, intellectually, not least his colleague paul berman.

1/10/2010 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Judt's essay collection 'Re-Appraisals' a couple of months ago, and was very impressed. Despite been utterly au fait with Darkness at Noon and the horrors of actually existing communism, he's not used that as an excuse to drink the Scoopie kool-aid and take up a place in the line of the left wing of imperialism (cf Geras).

Perhaps this is because Judt's aware that he comes from a tradition of European Jewish intellectuals, who until 1942 at least were defined more by their rootless cosmopolitanism than by their nationalism. Sometimes, he reads like the last Bundist. Good on him: it's terrible to see him in such a state, but it's also inspiring to see him still being the thinking reed.

Se questo è un uomo.

Chris Williams

1/10/2010 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

There's something brilliant, too, about attacking someone for not giving evidence for their claims in a piece that also spits out the same old lazy stereotypes about liberals hoping we lose the Iraq war and siding with the insurgents.

I mean, I know we've all read this a million times before, but it's worth continuing to challenge this trope lest it becomes accepted; has anyone ever met one of these mythical terrorist-sympathising liberals? They seem to be part of a Borgesian experiment by the right to see if something can come true if they all believe in it enough - a sort of 'Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Terrorist'.

1/10/2010 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

Wow, look at that - "the Hizbolleft". I'd forgotten all about the kind of Hizbollocks that Professor Norm was coming out with during the assault on Lebanon.

1/10/2010 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Thanks very much for the heads up on the Judt article. Perceptive and beautifully written.

1/10/2010 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

I think by their definition if you think that Hezbollah have the right to resist Israeli occupation/invasion then you're a terrorist supporter. Its an intellectually lazy/stupid position they hold anyway, given that they are willing to justify any act of government terrorism so long as its done for the right motives (Geras is better than most, but he's by no means perfect). The difference between them and their (possibly mythical) liberals is that they disagree about politcal ends.

1/13/2010 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed this bit in the Guardian article:

"Today I'm regarded outside New York University as a looney tunes leftie self-hating Jewish communist; inside the university I'm regarded as a typical old-fashioned white male liberal elitist. I like that. I'm on the edge of both, it makes me feel comfortable."

Possibly this is related to the "liberal-left" label used by the Decents. Neither bit of the label is really correct though.

Also this bit: -

"His current intellectual preoccupation is with the role of the state in western societies – the subject matter of his NYU lecture. His thesis is that over the past 40 years, western democracies have forgotten the positive virtues of collective action." Exactly.


1/13/2010 04:57:00 PM  

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