Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Schopenhauer and compassion

I listened to the In Our Time podcast on Schopenhauer on my cycle to Goldsmiths today. I enjoyed it. I did not know much about him before. They talked about human endeavour fluctuating between boredom and desire. They mentioned the pain associated with both of these. They said he thought compassion was a way out of this. This resonates with things I’ve been thinking about lately. They said he picked up “compassion” as a philosophical strand from Buddhism. About recognising the “will” of another. The Anthony Doerr story in McSweeney’s 32 is about being subject to the literal thoughts of another. This compassion changes the behaviour of both the subjected character and the original character in interesting ways.

Filed under: mcsweeneys

Reading McSweeney’s 32, Part I

Some notes/comments/quotes/etc.

Each story in this is set in 2024. The editorial says that this is designed to give a more realistic focus to what can be seen at times as science fiction. To connect it closer to us. Fifteen years in the future. This sounds both sensible and patronising.

With cover illustration from the incredibly awesome Robyn O’Neil.

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Filed under: mcsweeneys

McSweeney’s in the UK

So Penguin aren’t going to publish the McSweeney’s quarterly in the UK anymore.

This makes sense for a number of reasons, not least because, as Joe Pickering (Penguin publicist) says on Twitter, no-one was buying them.

Here are some more comments from Joe, and thoughts and other stuff that have occurred to me.

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Filed under: mcsweeneys

Rolling Henry Louis Gates Jr. Style.

Reposted from my Tumblr, because I went to the effort of typing this up and it keeps blowing my mind with how well-argued and everything it is.

Henry Louis Gates Jr: Hello?

The Enlightenment: Yes?

HLG Jr: Is that the Enlightenment?

TE: Yes, yes it is. What can I do for you?

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Filed under: teaching

What Some People Are Reading

What are you reading right now?

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Filed under: reading

About Me:

My name is Kevin O'Neill and I am in the fifth year of a part-time PhD in the English Department of Goldsmiths, London, UK. I used to teach undergrad classes there (now: not, because there are other PhD students who need teaching experience). I work (most of the time) in the Oxfam shop in Dalston because few people get paid to do humanities PhDs.

My research centres around the literary journal McSweeney's. My interest is developing into what McSweeney's tells us about two separate (but I guess related) fields: 1) literary institutions 2) American cultural production, more broadly. This blog was initially about my PhD but is now a more general thinking space.

See right for my flickr/twitter/delicious feeds, then below for other versions of me.

Email is looceefir on gmail.


October 2009
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my flickr


born this way



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