Justice and the Social Contract

by Harry on December 3, 2006

Via Legal Theory Bookworm I see that Samuel Freeman’s book Justice and the Social Contract is now out (the opportunity for immodesty is irresistible — my own book, On Education is, incredibly, on the same list as Freeman’s). A collection of his papers including at least 2 that are previously unpublished, this might qualify for Chris’s list of important books in political philosophy. (My only doubt is that, as a collection of papers, it might not meet his criteria, but I have a strong suspicion that reading them straight through will be a different experience from reading them one at a time). Looking forward, soon, to Freeman’s next book, Rawls which everyone will have to read.

Brighouse Website Unveiled

by Harry on December 3, 2006

After several months and an embarrrassing number of comments sometimes from strangers about the absence of a faculty page for me, I’ve finally entered the 21st century with a webpage of my own. It’s here. It contains a lot of the normal information, a page with links to some papers on the web (all but one of them by me), and a page with links to various of my journalistic pieces as well as my favourite CT pieces (again of my own). Each page has a not-completely-out-of-date photo of me (that was my wife’s idea, she being responsible for most of the layout and design). I can’t imagine I’ll update it for a while, but if anyone has useful suggestions (which have to be implementable by a Luddite with limited command of Dreamweaver) go ahead…

Walter Matthau as Cindy Lou Who?

by John Holbo on December 3, 2006

Shopping with a 5-year old on one arm, 2-year old on the other, saw a sale VCD of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, snagged it (don’t ask with what appendage). When we got home I was surprised to discover it was a minimal 1992 production, with Walter Matthau narrating. Walter Matthau as Cindy Lou Who is a hoot. Animation-wise, it’s just barely. Mostly just shots of the original Seuss illustrations with eyes that roll and horns that toot and a cut-out grinch who creeps along to a snow-crunching sound. (But done tastefully and appreciatively, as cut-out grinches go.) It comes packaged with a similarly minimal “If I Ran The Zoo” narrated by some kid who does sound as though he gets Gerald McGrew’s motivation. I sort of like this style. Camera-crawls over a kid’s book, with good voice-over. There’s a lot to love in the plain old Seuss drawings. Of course, it’s a bit hard to keep Karloff out of the back of your head. But I think my scaredy 5-year old and 2-year old might not be quite ready for the classic 1966 version – superior though it unquestionably is. Walter Matthau completists can get this strange version from Amazon. (I mean if you are that sort of person, you’ve already watched A New Leaf to death and are ready to turn over a new leaf. If they’d gotten Elaine May to be Cindy, that would have been funny.)

People interested in the Litvinenko affair should take a look at today’s Guardian/Observer. First off, there’s an extraordinary photograph of Litvinenko taken to celebrate his citizenship of the UK. He’s standing in front of the Union Jack, wearing a Scottish bonnet, and wielding Chechen swords and KGB gauntlets. The story is about Litvinenko’s alleged intent to use KGB/FSB documents about Yukos to blackmail unnamed individuals, working with a US-based ex-KGB and associate of Berezovsky. This information is courtesy of a Russian graduate student at the University of Westminster.

And the Italian angle is developing, via UKIP MEP, Gerard Batten, who says Litvinenko told him that ‘Sokolov’, a 1970s Russian agent, “was the key link between senior Italian politicians and the KGB.”

Either the plot is thickening or this story has been news-free just long enough for the disinformation to begin.