I was reminded today of two different movie dialogues, both of which were spoken by seasoned comedians. One was indeed a comedy but the other was a tragedy. The lives of each comic have followed the courses laid out in those films more or less.
Bill Murray in the comedy Stripes has a line where he’s winning over an audience and courting their vanity. “It’s the stories you tell” he exclaims. Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society asks his students “What will your verse be?”
It’s June of 2016. It’s an election year. Stanford Professor Francis Fukuyama’s thesis “The End of History and The Last Man” has recently been ‘annotated’ it appears by Joseph Crawford of The University of Exeter in the UK. Another Professor of German Literature who spent 30 years at UC Santa Barbara before heading to Switzerland, Lawrence Rickles states in his book The Vampire Lectures “What is a historical fact? It’s AFTER THE FACT.” Academics will note the curious change in my linked citations. It seems that once again, Wikipedia editors could not provide a link to Professor Rickles profile at the State Academy in Switzerland or an English translation of the schools website.
Across the pond and in the Tennessee foothills of Appalachia, far from either Ivory Tower mentioned above, I have found a moment of peace, along with new books to burden myself and others with moving. I can’t say I have acquired “new” academic idols just yet, but give me time to digest a few things. It’s a mere year and six months of a moment that I pray will take me to international waters where jurisdiction is as legally ambiguous as Art is.
Depending on how the story of the Enlightenment is told, different outcomes emerge. Historiography is another word for ‘style’ depending on who is teaching, and WHAT they’re teaching. If there is lingering doubt about the origins of what it takes to create modern “conspiracy”, I do recommend the books authored by the Professors above.
Perhaps when the defacto political prisoner that both the Federal Government and my home State of Alabama cannot claim was created in isolation as a literary “decentered subject,” or an “axiological exercise” (might we ALL pause to recall, across Both Sides of EACH POND) then perhaps the POINT of Professor Fukuyama’s witty title will do more than “trickle down” the Appalachian Trail but also “Ride the Freedom Train” North.