Monday, June 11, 2007

Iceman Submenu is dead

Today's New York Times has a muted and respectful obituary for Richard Rorty. While including a couple of scathing remarks from Daniel Dennett and Simon Blackburn (both of whom have actually, in some places anyway, been much more receptive than many in philosophy were to Rorty's ideas), it seems unlikely to produce the howls of outrage that greeted their treatment of Derrida (that "abstruse theorist"), last year was it?

Right next to Rorty's obituary was another, that of Senegalese film director Ousmane Sembene, whose films include Xala (1975) and Faat Kiné (2000). The obituary quotes someone claiming Sembene to be the most important African director ever. That may be; but what I particularly like about him is the way spellcheckers mangle his name (i.e., in suggesting improvements to what you actually typed). You know, the way when you type "Heidegger" it suggests that maybe you meant "headgear."

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