(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Chicago

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple”*…

For a century, the idea of truth has been deflated, becoming terrain from which philosophers fled. Crispin Sartwell argues that they must return – urgently…

It is often said, rather casually, that truth is dissolving, that we live in the ‘post-truth era’. But truth is one of our central concepts – perhaps our most central concept – and I don’t think we can do without it. To believe that masks prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to take it to be true that they do. To assert it is to claim that it is true. Truth is, plausibly, central to thought and communication in every case. And, of course, it’s often at stake in practical political debates and policy decisions, with regard to climate change or vaccines, for example, or who really won the election, or whom we should listen to about what.

One might have hoped to turn to philosophy for a clarification of the nature of truth, and maybe even a celebration of it. But philosophy of pragmatist, analytic and continental varieties lurched into the post-truth era a century ago. If truth is a problem now for everyone, if the idea seems empty or useless in ‘the era of social media’, ‘science denialism’, ‘conspiracy theories’ and suchlike, maybe that just means that ‘everyone’ has caught up to where philosophy was in 1922…

[Sartwell sketches the last 100 years of philosophy, and it’s undermining of the very idea of truth.]

I don’t think, despite all the attacks on the notion by all sorts of philosophers for a good century, that we’re going to be able to do without truth. In a way, I don’t think all those attacks touched truth at all, which (we’re finding) is necessary, still the only possible cure…

As a first step… we might broaden the focus from the philosophical question of what makes a sentence or proposition true or false to focus on some of the rich ways the concept of truth functions in our discourse. That love is true does not mean that it is a representation that matches up to reality. It does not mean that the love hangs together with all the rest of the lover or lovee’s belief system. It doesn’t mean that the hypothesis that my love is true helps us resolve our problems (it might introduce more problems). It means that the love is intense and authentic, or, as I’d like to put it, that it is actual, real. That my aim is true does not indicate that my aim accurately pictures the external world, but that it thumps the actual world right in the centre, as it were.

Perhaps what is true or false isn’t only, or even primarily, propositions, but loves and aims, and the world itself. That is, I would like to start out by thinking of ‘true’ as a semi-synonym of ‘real’. If I were formulating in parallel to Aristotle, I might say that ‘What is, is true.’ And perhaps there’s something to be said for Heidegger’s ‘comportment’ after all: to know and speak the real requires a certain sort of commitment: a commitment to face reality. Failures of truth are, often, failures to face up. Now, I’m not sure how much that will help with mathematics, but maths needs to understand that it is only one among the many forms of human knowledge. We, or at any rate I, might hope that an account that addresses the traditional questions about propositional truth might emerge from this broader structure of understanding. That is speculative, I admit.

Truth may not be the eternal unchanging Form that Plato thought it was, but that doesn’t mean it can be destroyed by a few malevolent politicians, tech moguls or linguistic philosophers, though the tech moguls and some of the philosophers (David Chalmers, for instance) might be trying to undermine or invent reality, as well. Until they manage it, the question of truth is as urgent, or more urgent, than ever, and I would say that despite the difficulties, philosophers need to take another crack. Perhaps not at aletheia as a joy forever, but at truth as we find it, and need it, now…

On why philosophy needs to return of the question of truth: “Truth Is Real,” from @CrispinSartwell in @aeonmag.

Source of the image above, also relevant: “The difference between ‘Truth’ and ‘truth’.”

* Oscar Wilde

###

As we wrestle with reality, we might recall that it was on this date in 1986 that Geraldo Rivera opened “Al Capone’s Vault”…

Notorious and “most wanted” gangster, Al Capone, began his life of crime in Chicago in 1919 and had his headquarters set up at the Lexington Hotel until his arrest in 1931. Years later, renovations were being made at the hotel when a team of workers discovered a shooting-range and series of connected tunnels that led to taverns and brothels making for an easy escape should there be a police raid. Rumors were spread that Capone had a secret vault hidden under the hotel as well. In 1985, news reporter Geraldo Rivera had been fired from ABC after he criticized the network for canceling his report made about an alleged relationship between John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. It seemed like a good time for Rivera to scoop a new story to repair his reputation. It was on this day in 1986 that his live, two-hour, syndicated TV special, The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault aired. After lots of backstory, the time finally came to reveal what was in that vault. It turned out to be empty. After the show, Rivera was quoted as saying “Seems like we struck out.”

source

source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 21, 2022 at 1:00 am

“An ordinary life isn’t ordinary when you put a frame around a moment”*…

 

meyerowitz

 

Joel Meyerowitz is a pioneer of street photography. He started in the early 1960s in New York City, using color film when most other photographers were shooting in black-and-white. He’s had exhibitions of his work all over the world, and has published more than 30 books. A retrospective of his work is scheduled to be shown in Berlin later this year, and he’s working on a new project of self-portraits. At age 82, he’s continuing to explore the medium of photography every day…

camelcoats 001

An interview with Meyerowitz, including his thoughts on street photography in the time of coronavirus (with memories of 9/11): “Ready for Surprise.”

* Joel Meyerowitz

###

As we capture the moment, we might spare a thought for another extraordinary street photographer, Vivian Dorothy Maier; she died on this date in 2009.  A nanny, mostly in Chicago’s North Shore, she took more than 150,000 photographs during her lifetime, primarily of the people and architecture of Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles– photographs that weren’t recognized until after her death.

A Chicago collector, John Maloof, acquired some of Maier’s photos in 2007, while two other Chicago-based collectors, Ron Slattery and Randy Prow, also found some of Maier’s prints and negatives in her boxes and suitcases around the same time.  Maier’s photographs were first published by Slattery on the Internet in July 2008; but the work received little response.  In October 2009, Maloof linked his blog to a selection of Maier’s photographs on Flickr [now collected on this site], and the results went viral, with thousands of people expressing interest.  Maier’s work subsequently attracted critical acclaim, and since then, has been exhibited around the world. Her life and work have been the subject of books and documentary films, including the Academy Award-nominated Finding Vivian Maier.

VM19XXW04208-03-MC

Vivian_Maier

Self-portrait

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 21, 2020 at 1:01 am

“Chicago is not the most corrupt American city. It’s the most theatrically corrupt”*…

 

John Dillinger’s body on display in the Chicago City Morgue (No explanation is offered of the two women in bathing suits leaning up against the glass.)

 

Even a casual observer of American history will no doubt recognize several of the names in Gangsters and Grifters, a new book of early 20th century crime photographs from the Chicago Tribune archives. John Dillinger (and his corpse) monopolizes a handful of pages. A smirking Al Capone makes a few courtroom appearances. But this isn’t another text seeking to glorify the Second City’s criminal past.

Photo editors Erin Mystkowski, Marianne Mather, and Robin Daughtridge, who refer to themselves as “The Dames of the Chicago Tribune Photo Department,” made a conscious effort to offer a more holistic representation of the annals of Chicago’s notorious history. Through 125 thoughtfully curated photographs, juxtaposed next to the corresponding Tribune headlines, the somber realities of Chicago’s historical criminal activity become apparent…

Tillie Klimek sits on the right in this photo, next to her cousin Nellie Stermer-Koulik. The two women were accused of using arsenic to poison 20 relatives and friends. Tillie was eventually sentenced to life in prison, where she died in 1936, while Stermer-Koulik was found not guilty.

 

More images and their backstory at “Unrestricted Access to Images of Chicago’s Criminal History.”

* Studs Terkel

###

As we toddle around town, we might recall that it was on this date in 1827 that M. Chabert, wearing an asbestos suit, entered a large oven carrying a steak; twelve minutes later, he emerged carrying the fully-cooked steak.  Harry Houdini’s account (and broader appreciation of Chabert, “the most interesting character in the history of fire-eating, fire-resistance, and poison eating”) is in his book Miracle Mongers and Their Methods.

 source

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

January 15, 2015 at 1:01 am

“What I like about cities is that everything is king size, the beauty and the ugliness”*…

 

… an observation that gets truer with time.  Whether built from scratch…

Dubai, UAE, 1990-2013

or rebuilt…

Tokyo, Japan, after WWII in 1945 and 2013

in the developing world…

China’s high-tech hub, Shenzen, 1980-2011

or the developed…

Paris, France, 1900-2012

… cities just keep on changing, as global commerce spurs development worldwide and millions move from rural to urban lives.

More “then and now” photos of other cities at “Before and After.”

* Joesph Brodsky

###

As we admit that it’s tough to keep ’em down on the farm, we might send empathetic birthday greetings to Louis “Studs” Terkel; he was born on this date in 1912.  Trained as an attorney at the University of Chicago, but graduating into the Depression, he decided instead to be a hotel concierge– a post he soon deserted for the stage.  In one of his first gig as an actor, he had a cast-mate also named Louis, and was asked to pick a nickname; he chose the moniker of his favorite fictional character– Studs Lonigan, of James T. Farrell’s trilogy.  

In 1934, Terkel began to do radio production for the Federal Writer’s Project, which led to his own program, which daily aired on WFMT in Chicago for 45 years.  Over the years he interviewed  Martin Luther KingLeonard BernsteinBob Dylan, Dorothy ParkerTennessee Williams, and Jean Shepherd, among many, many others.

But Terkel is perhaps better known– certainly beyond the reach of Chicago radio– for his writing, largely oral histories of common Americans– e.g.,  Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great DepressionWorking, in which (as suggested by its subtitle) “People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do,” and The Good War”: An Oral History of World War Two, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

 source

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 16, 2014 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: