When moral or political decisions are at stake, we often make use of catch-phrases drawn from a repertoire of available drama and literature. For we understand that both our actions and how they are perceived depend on how we frame them. Comedy, of all genres, appears to be the one we covertly use all the time without, meanwhile, fully appreciating its ability to portray and explore the intensity and integrity of our interactions with others. When Caesar began the civil war in Rome, he proclaimed: “The die has been cast.” According to Suetonius, he said it in his native Latin ( alea iacta est). But Plutarch reports that he used Greek (anerrhiphtō kybos), thus quoting a now lost comedy by Menander, the originator of the so-called New Comedy. In a letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul also turns to Menander, quoting the comedy Thaïs: “Bad communications corrupt good characters.” ...
Also on Public Seminar
On the Commons
October 14th, 2014
4 responses (anythingtrue?, Zachary Sunderman, others)
Along with most, if not all, the contributors to Public Seminar on the war in Gaza, I am critical of the actions of Netanyahu’s policies and the actions of the IDF, and I am concerned about where the center of gravity is in Israel. I see fundamental problems with the very notion of a Jewish and democratic state, and recognize the suffering of the Palestinians, understanding and supporting their resistance to the injustice of occupation. Yet, I am also very uncomfortable with the passion of some anti-Zionists, especially those from the European killing fields. I think that the confusion of violent ...
Post Public Seminar
Public Seminar Review Volume 1, Issue 2
Second Semester/Summer 2014
The second semester of the Public Seminar is over, and the papers are now in, presented in this our second issue. Here you find short and long essays, supplemented by visual presentations around five major themes: Capitalism and its Alternatives, Democracy and its Enemies, Identities, the Arts and Literature, and Media, Memory and Miscellaneous. Note, though, that the pieces in fact address each other between and among these categories, as they consider “fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing problems of the day, using the broad resources of social research,” staying true to the mission statement of Public Seminar, and to the scholarly and public project of our academic home, The New School for Social Research. -Jeffrey Goldfarb