On people and things

by | Aug 30, 2020 | Uncategorized | 10 comments

Illustrations by Nancy Gorrell for Bryan Kravitz’s Hints for a Happy Typewriter


  1. Bill M

    We all get to choose for ourselves. If I don't like something for what ever reason I steer clear of it. Generally with books I like to at least read through reviews and maybe even a bit of the book. Then I make a choice. As long as I can remember people compare humans to things. I never saw it as a wrong. I am not the internet that reaches across the earth to people with different views.

  2. The Philosophy Teacher

    Teaching the Groundwork to a bunch of typewriter collectors no easier than to sullen undergrads fulfilling their distribution requirements. I heartily approve of your approach. The second version of the categorical imperative is what the world needs now.

  3. Richard P

    I was hoping you’d weigh in. Fortunately, one doesn’t need to be a Kant expert to understand the moral point — as Kant himself would say.

  4. John Cooper

    Temperamentally, I've always been an animist—assigning things human qualities. So for me, doing the reverse doesn't imply dehumanization.

    Nabokov is a perpetual puzzle, and that's part of what makes him great. There's no doubt he could be a cold S.O.B., but he was also capable of great empathy—a trait more admirable than mere tenderness. If some find his work disturbing because it seems to prioritize aesthetics over morality, let's not forget that society had the same reaction to Oscar Wilde, whom (nowadays) few would consider cold or even amoral. I appreciate the provocateurs, and wonder whether "Transparent Things" would change my mind.

  5. WiltedLotus

    I feel that perhaps some historical context is needed here. The Typerotica author seems tone deaf after Me Too. I shouldn't say that without reading the book, I know.

  6. Richard P

    In his introduction, he reports on a similar response that a friend of his had to his manuscript. He says he was "disheartened," and "given my friend's reaction to it, I suppose readers should be forewarned about the raunchiness of the boy's sexual sensibilities and his somewhat pretentious desire to emulate in literature and in life his literary hero, Henry Miller." He doesn't discuss the long history of abuse connected to "raunchiness." But I expect he would argue that there is no such connection in his own story. He seems to be most interested in situations initiated by a woman, where both partners are more than willing. Does that get him off the moral hook? Maybe not, and surely if he'd delved into the moral and political questions, he would have written a deeper (and very different) book.

  7. Gerard

    My dear professor, I love reading whatever you wrote. Please keep writing!

  8. WiltedLotus

    Okay, this seems clearer now!

  9. Mark

    It's a shame we have to put so much effort into justifying a piece of art anymore… that being said this was a good short essay. Very well stated.

  10. DonN

    What a sad era we live in that anyone could get choked over this!


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Dept. of Philosophy
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