by Chris Bertram on December 21, 2003

Remembering the Eisenhower parody below had me leafing through the “Macdonald anthology”: and looking at some of my other favourites (and then googling to see if they are on the web anywhere) Pride of place goes to Paul Jennings’s “Report on Resistentialism”: which begins thus:

bq. It is the peculiar genius of the French to express their philosophical thought in aphorisms, sayings hard and tight as diamonds, each one the crystal centre of a whole constellation of ideas. Thus, the entire scheme of seventeenth century intellectual rationalism may be said to branch out from that single, pregnant saying of Descartes, ‘Cogito ergo sum’ – ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Resistentialism, the philosophy which has swept present-day France, runs true to this aphoristic form. Go into any of the little cafés or horlogeries on Paris’s Left Bank (make sure the Seine is flowing away from you, otherwise you’ll be on the Right Bank, where no one is ever seen) and sooner or later you will hear someone say, ‘Les choses sont contre nous.’ ‘Things are against us.’ This is the nearest English translation I can find for the basic concept of Resistentialism, the grim but enthralling philosophy now identified with bespectacled, betrousered, two-eyed Pierre-Marie Ventre.

Read the whole thing.



Kieran Healy 12.21.03 at 11:28 am


Jeremy Osner 12.21.03 at 12:31 pm

Kieran — what a fine thing that is.


Ophelia Benson 12.21.03 at 2:58 pm

Oh, lordy, what a child I am. I’m laughing like a loon at things like betrousered, two-eyed Ventre, and the little Theatre Jambon, and Blanco Del Huevo, and the great discovery of the Graduated Hostility of Things.

Very odd, though – I was just talking about Dwight Macdonald a few minutes ago – and here he is again. How often does Dwight Macdonald get mentioned on CT? I ask you.


Mikhel 12.21.03 at 3:04 pm

708. If a lion could speak, it would not understand itself.

The Wittgenstein parody was hilarious (I’ve bookmarked it for future showcase) but I’m afraid I don’t ‘get’ the initial post.


Mikhel 12.21.03 at 3:24 pm

Well, I should say that I “get” the first parody, but I don’t know how to reference it in regards to the (mysterious) Eisenhower parody.

Did he write the parodies?


Chris Bertram 12.21.03 at 4:35 pm

The Eisenhower parody (of not by) is in the post on PowerPoint immediately below.


Mikhel 12.21.03 at 4:41 pm

I see. I skipped over the Powerpoint post, hence my ignorance.



SqueakyRat 12.22.03 at 1:06 am

Pierre-Marie Ventre clearly stands in the tradition of the great philosophe de Selby, of whom we learn so much in O’Brien’s The Third Policeman.

Comments on this entry are closed.