Follow-Up

What an incredible outpouring of support! Thank you all so much. I feel like George Bailey right now. My love to you all.


Please Help If You Can

I hate asking for financial assistance here – both because I know many others are struggling even more than usual, and because there are many friends whose previous generosity I still haven’t repaid (not for lack of intention!). But my situation is fairly desperate at this point so I don’t have much choice.

My mother’s final illness (2016-2017) was expensive (she didn’t have insurance); and even before that, our financial situation was tight; the blow to our finances two decades ago, from the two-year period between my losing tenure at Chapel Hill and my getting hired tenure-track at Auburn, when I was paying for both her housing back in Chapel Hill and my housing here as a temporary instructor, was one we never fully recovered from. And since her death, of course her Social Security isn’t coming in any more. Plus, although I have good insurance through my job, some of the co-pays for my own medical issues have still been unexpectedly high. (I don’t live extravagantly by any means; I live in a cramped apartment, surrounded by boxes I have no room to open, and my various trips are all conference travel, paid for either by my department or by the conference venue.)

So I had to take out high-interest loans to make ends meet; and although my (non-summer) salary is good, the majority of it now gets eaten up automatically every month with giant interest payments and tiny principal payments. Every time I start to get caught up financially, the summer comes with its reduced salary (more reduced than it used to be; and some of my other, former sources of summer funding have dried up) and I fall further behind than before.

I’m at a real nadir now, at the point where I can’t see how I’m going to pay basic expenses – rent, bills, groceries, etc. (plus I can’t afford to get my car fixed). So any help would be greatly appreciated!

Those able and willing can help via one of the means below. Let me know whether it’s a gift or a loan. Or if you can’t help financially, you can help by sharing this post. Thank you!

PayPal: http://www.paypal.me/RoderickTLong

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/BerserkRL

Snailmail:
Roderick T. Long
402 Martin Ave.
Auburn AL 36830
USA


Mysterious Galaxy!

First in a series on indie bookstores in the San Diego area (my hometown)! In this episode, I chat with Matthew Berger, new co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy (website; facebook page), a bookstore featuring titles in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, etc., as well as merchandise, podcasts, author events, etc.


Closely Watched Brains; or, Czech Your Premises: A Bohemian Rhapsody

[cross-posted at POT and RCL]

Czech out this exclusive! expanded! three-part version of my 2019 Prague lecture on “Austro-Libertarian Themes in Three Prague Authors: Čapek, Kafka, and Hašek.”

(See the descriptions on YouTube for links to various items mentioned in my three discussions.)

In Part 1, on Karel Čapek (1890-1938), I discuss: intelligent, morally ambiguous salamanders; rebellious, morally ambiguous robots; the effects on supply and demand of unleashing the Absolute; a critique of the labour theory of Labour Day; the geometrical logic of imperial expansion; why police detectives have no interest in mysteries; the merits and demerits of government theme parks devoted to the preservation of Czech folkways; the magic word by means of which the English protect their property; why God can only be a witness and never a judge; the role of clumsiness in advancing civilisation; the benefits and hazards of replacing feet with wheels; inspirational workplace posters suitable for shackled newts; how I ran into one of Čapek’s robots in the lounge of the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center; and the crucifixion of Christ as a sensible protectionist measure.

Note: contrary to what I say in the video, I believe that the R.U.R. cover designed by Čapek’s brother Josef is not the one I show there, but instead this (rather better) one:

Incidentally, Josef Čapek also designed this Kropotkin cover:

On the subject of corrections, I think it may actually have been Paul Cantor rather than Ralph Raico who was in the company of my old stage partner in the Mises conference anecdote I tell. I’m not sure. Jeez, my memory is crap these days. Um, what was I saying?

In Part 2, on Franz Kafka (1883-1924), I discuss: theological versus political readings of Kafka’s vision of elusive, perpetually deferred authority; bureaucracy as hopelessly incompetent and out-of-touch, versus bureaucracy as all-pervasive surveillance; the dependence of rulership on those who rule; Stoic versus anti-Stoic readings of Seneca’s Medea; discovering Kafka through Marvel Comics (or not); and remembering Kropotkin but forgetting Nietzsche’s umbrella.

On second thought I don’t think the April 1982 issue of Epic Illustrated can have been my introduction to Kafka after all, as Dartmouth was running an Orson Welles film festival which I attended while I was living in Hanover NH, 1977-1981, which certainly included The Trial.

Speaking of which, here are some clips from the Welles movie:

I also meant to include this passage from Kafka on his own bureaucratic career (oh well): “What a fine thing it is to be a clerk at a town hall! Little work, adequate salary, plenty of leisure, excessive respect everywhere in the town …. and if I only could, I should like to give this entire dignity to the office cat to eat ….” (Still, at least his office had a cat; that seems like some solace.)

In Part 3, on Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923), I discuss: the perversities of bureaucratic incentives; the state as a parasite on private crime; the importance of providing every voter with a pocket aquarium; the dangers of displaying, or not displaying, portraits of the Emperor; access to one lavatory as a bribe for permission to reopen another lavatory; electoral campaigns as anarchist street theatre; justice in canine nomenclature; what happens when criminals go on strike; the forgotten economic costs of farting; the ethical, logistical, and grammatical aspects of assassinating Archduke Ferdinand; my success and the Soviets’ failure in deciphering Czech signage; and the economic transaction that I conducted with a nun in the men’s room of the Vatican.

And finally, here’s a clip from the movie version of Hašek’s novel The Good Soldier Švejk:


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes