Monday, September 04, 2006

The joys of intellectual debate

A while back, I'd blogged about a review of Harvey C. Mansfield's Manliness by Garry Wills in the New York Review of Books. The new issue of the NYRB has Mansfield's reply to Wills criticisms of his book, in which he demonstrates precisly the kind of lucid argumentation, the kind of enthusiastic engagement of opposed points of view, that one expects from a public intellectual, or, for that matter, from a manly man. In what he doubtless imagines is a scathing counterpoint, Mansfield says:

I will tell him without explanation that his review was full of clumsy errors. Your intelligent readers will find them easily.
The sheer idiocy of this is staggering, as is its petulance. And to think this is a man who teaches Philosophy at Harvard. Shudder!

Wills has the perfect response:

Chest-beating as argument. How manly.
P.S. See also Martha C. Nussbaum's review of the book (hat-tip: Uma)

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9 comments:

Swathi said...

the next thing I would hear is that this Professor has written a book on 'How to go back to the cavemen days...'
Awful!!

30in2005 said...

This is a comment about your previous post on being photographed. I must say you sound a bit like a grumpy old man! Being photographed is not all that bad (and this coming from the worlds most unphotogenic person)...

Sometimes short fat and bald pictures are the ones that make us laugh or motivate us intop doing something about it other than complain. Please be more cheerful Falstaff..

Falstaff said...

swathi: I think he already did, actually.

30in2005: Ah, but I like sounding like a grumpy old man. Mostly because, mentally at least, I am one. Seriously. It's the cheerful, happy side of me which is an act put on for the blog.

30in2005 said...

Ah falstaff, blogging is a bit like a house of mirrors. Everything is not what it seems.

BTW, I don't like Kurosawa and Shoefiend has answered my comment on her blog with a response directed to you. Sorry, I'm just not cultured enough. You have no need to be disappointed because 1) I'm just some blogger who reads your blog and not a blogger whose blog you read and 2)if everyone was as intellectual & culturally inclined as you the blogworld would be too riveting and I'd have to quit my job to sit at home and read blogs all day! (I only read blogs for half of everyday now)

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