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Showing posts from December, 2010

Veblen, Lasch, Debord: The 20th Century's Three Most Cogent Social Critics

[Contribution towards a proposed festschrift for Nina Fishman (1946-2009)]
Today is the first anniversary of the death of Nina Fishman, political historian, activist and a very dear friend of mine. Nina's personality and energy was a bonding force for a whole group of friends: through various campaigns, through numerous dinners at her home, Wigmore concerts and operas, and through the political Supper Club she inaugurated which continued successfully for over a decade. 

Nina loved politics, music, art, food and most of all people, which is to say that she was a humanist in the oldest and most generic sense of that term. That means, in short, she believed that despite the vast diversity of character and opinion, we have sufficient in common to be able to claim solidarity with all humans. Nina was not especially interested in that narrow and rather desiccated humanism that exists solely to combat religion and promote secularism (she was fairly relaxed about religion), nor was she much…