Friday, July 14, 2023

Power Brokers

Remember how Dr. Ruth Westheimer rolled
 her r’s when she said “erection?” Remember Erector Sets when you were a kid? And what about Ayn Rand’s Ubermensch architect Roark from The Fountainhead or another Solness who sought to build “castles in the sky” in Ibsen’s Master Builder? Or Goethe’s “die ewige weiblich” “the eternal feminine lures to perfection." Of course the dark side of such striving is embodied in Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will.” Thurber’s Walter Mitty satirizes such grandiosity. But what is the difference between selfishness and striving? Were figures like Gandhi, Mandela and Mother Teresa selfless? Gandhi notoriously tested his appetites by sleeping next to young girls. Then there’s the case of Robert Moses and his singular vision which placed modernity over indigenous street life. He had a formidable opponent in Jane Jacobs, the urban planner who sought to countermand the imminence of his "eminent domain." She too was a striver—albeit of another kind.

read Joan Baum's review of The Kafka Studies Department by Francis Levy

and watch the animation of Erotomania

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