"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
The Guardian's How to Believe series summarizes some great philosophical works in the reversed-date format we all know and love. Giles Frasier evaluates the lasting value of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, Julian Baggini tells us what to believe about Hume's critique of religion, Mary Midgeley begrudgingly accepts the majestic contributions of Hobbes' Leviathan, and Simon Critchley throws himself into the hermeneutic circle of Heidegger's Being and Time. [more inside]
Philosophy (digested). Julian Baggini reads philosophy classics, so you don't have to. Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Ayer (“Sex is empirically verifiable, it’s only love that ain’t”). OK, its a rip-off of John Crace (prev) but at least these are books you should have read.
Notice: henceforth, the Minister of War shall address the people only through the Ministry of Truth. The story-behind-the-story of the Vice President's hunting mishap is the denigration of the MSMTM as the traditional proxy of the public interest, says NYU journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen. "It strikes me that the Corpus Christi Caller-Times is just as valid a news outlet as The New York Times is," Cheney told cherry-picked Fox "News" correspondent Brit Hume yesterday. GOP spokesperson Mary Matalin underlined the point by saying that Cheney considered holding a news conference, but that "would have meant a lot of grandstanding" by reporters; Donald Rumsfeld often goes even farther, claiming that terrorist organizations manipulate the American press directly through "media committees." Judging by the administration's contempt for the Fourth Estate, says Rosen, "The public visibility of the presidency itself is under revision. More of it lies in shadow all the time. Non-communication has become the standard procedure, not a breakdown in practice but the essence of it." Even arch-conservative pundits like George Will are starting to get nervous about the lack of check and balances under the current regime. There's no doubt that the White House press corps seems angrier these days -- but are they missing the bigger stories by focusing their wrath on Scott McClellan's birdshot spin?