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Goldsmith sings Wittgenstein
December 27, 2006 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Goldsmith sings Wittgenstein. Part two. (mp3) Kenneth Goldsmith (previously), the "most boring writer that has ever lived," has become a sort of rockstar in conceptual art circles. When he's not singing linguistic theory, you can find him transcribing his own speech, spinning records, and reading the other Kenny G's fanmail. More theory set to music.
posted by roll truck roll (23 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Longtime listener, first-time caller. Hi.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:00 PM on December 27, 2006


what ... the ... fuck????

(awaits with interest the upcoming collaboration between noam chomsky and the shaggs)
posted by pyramid termite at 9:13 PM on December 27, 2006


Well, sacre my printemps ! genius.
posted by hortense at 9:23 PM on December 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


I have to say that I've never actually read Wittgenstein, but his friend Bertrand Russel was one of the most awesome authors who has ever lived. If you can read, you should read Russel's the problems of philosophy.

I heard that wittgenstein was actually an intresting cat.
posted by delmoi at 9:55 PM on December 27, 2006


Singing Wittgenstein: This is exactly the thing philosophy students hated when Wittgenstein became famous, in the 70's I think.
I'm referring to an article by W.F. Hermans for those knowledgeable about Dutch literature. Probably not a lot of people here I guess...

It's probably his hermit philosopher persona (being rich, giving it all away, living frugally in norway and germany, seemingly never having a partner) together with the paucity of his statements that make him the modern favourite source of deep thoughts.

Personally I think that it's a weakness that he never managed to express his thinking in a coherent text with a beginning, a middle and an end after the Tractatus. It's all just snippets and jottings.

I love the trivium that when he made photographs he kept snipping of borders to get the composition right until only a part the size of a post stamp remained.
posted by jouke at 12:36 AM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


great links, thanks. wfmu look extremely interesting.
posted by facetious at 12:56 AM on December 28, 2006


If I don't say this, someone else will, but still. Maybe Wittgenstein didn't express his thinking in a coherent text after the Tractatus because he was dead.
posted by srs at 3:14 AM on December 28, 2006


well srs, he wrote Philosopical Investigations after tractatus. I think jourke is saying that PI wasn't very readable. I agree with him on that, but after spending some of the most wonderful moments of my undergraduate career struggling through the text with people who would become my best friends, PI was the Only thing that kept me from abandoning my work as a philosophy major.
posted by localhuman at 5:45 AM on December 28, 2006


and this link is awesome. it has been forwarded to the requisite non-mefite friends and professors. thanks so much!
posted by localhuman at 5:46 AM on December 28, 2006


THe big question: is this boring boring or unboring boring?

I reckon the later... I'm pretty sure it's from PI, the bit about the trip to the shop for five red apples is definately PI, but the very first part sounds more like TLP.

Now if it were all from the TLP then it would be boring boring, in my opinion.
posted by verisimilitude at 6:04 AM on December 28, 2006


From Kenny G's fan mail:
"I planned for months to pull off the most perfect wedding. The whole theme was centered around the Victorian era, from the gown and the cake, to the flowers and decorations. It was a classy and elegant affair, with victorian tea cakes and finger sandwiches and champagne punch. Anyway, you get the picture."

I can easily imagine John Ashbery having written this.
posted by escabeche at 6:30 AM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


srs: he published TLP in '21 and distanced himself from that line of thought afterwards (the famous 'ladder to be thrown away' metaphor). He lived until '51. So that's 30 years of philosophy.

Yes, I was referring to the Philosophische Untersuchungen that is very fragmented, but also to the Blue and Brown book.

I started studying the TLP when I was a student. When I found out that philosophical academics could not agree on the meaning of Konnektion (a fundamental notion if I recall correctly) after decades of study I abandoned the effort as pointless.

The Philosophische Untersuchungen can be intrigueing; the notion of communication as a language game f.i.
posted by jouke at 8:11 AM on December 28, 2006


Interesting/odd that this thread, about Goldsmith, should raise the question of Wittgenstein's relevance.

If Wittgenstein doesn't do it for you, how about The Weather?
posted by treepour at 8:41 AM on December 28, 2006


point taken treepour. Carry on.
posted by jouke at 8:57 AM on December 28, 2006


There is also the Blue and Green Books which are a little more than random snippets.
posted by localhuman at 9:19 AM on December 28, 2006


The Wittgenstein bit was far too meaningful to me, and therefore not as 'good,' because the irony was a little interesting. I'm two thirds of the way through the "winter" installment of weather now. If I continue listening, there are two possibilities: I may go insane, or I may reach a higher plateau of awareness. I'm leaning toward insane at the moment.
posted by koeselitz at 10:25 AM on December 28, 2006


Wittgenstein is easily one of the greatest thinkers ever, but he sure inspired a lot of bullshit.
posted by Nahum Tate at 10:35 AM on December 28, 2006


treepour: love the weather. I'm having houseguests tonight; I think I'll put that on the stereo when they come in and see how long it takes them to catch on.
posted by phooky at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2006


When I found out that philosophical academics could not agree on the meaning of Konnektion

have academics ever agreed on the meaning of any word? the futility of trying to do so is what wittgenstein pointed out.
posted by localhuman at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2006


I apologize. I have also read Wittgenstein and can see several of his books on my shelf right now, including the Prototractatus. However, I was under the impression that Tractatus was the only book he published himself and that Investigations and his lectures were published post-humously.
posted by srs at 6:11 PM on December 28, 2006


posthumously. sorry. some internet sources like sparknotes say that he felt the first part of investigations was suitable for publication, but only after his death. anscombe's editor's note in front of me right now partly supports that. "If Wittgenstein had published his work himself, he would have suppressed a good deal of what is in the last thirty pages or so of Part I and worked what is in Part II, with further material, into its place."

i can't find my copy of the blue and brown books, but the internet says that he only circulated it amongst close friends.
posted by srs at 6:27 PM on December 28, 2006


I know it's a derail. Sorry. Still, a small answer.

srs: PI is the part of his work that is most studied and that constitutes the main part of his philosophical worth today, not TLP. He did not manage to create that as a coherent text and I don't think he would have if he had more time. To me that is a sign of weakness. Even if he didn't publish it himself.

I came to the conclusion that his work tends to be sterile. It's as if he thinks in the wrong way about the act of walking and starts to walk funny and stumble, and never comes to the intended dancing that it was all about.

I haven't thrown away his books though. They lend your bookcase such cachet, don't you think?

posted by jouke at 7:08 PM on December 28, 2006


Jouke, thank you for responding even though it's a derail. I agree with everything you wrote. I will never be able to throw out the Wittgenstein books though, because his was the first philosophy to speak to me when I was a kid. I refer to them sometimes to bring back memories when I feel confused and lonely. I imagine that I am not alone in this.
posted by srs at 9:44 AM on December 29, 2006


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