In this week’s LATBR, Douglas Hofstadter offers a fairly solid summation of Steven Pinker’s latest book, The Stuff of Thought. Because this engaging volume is indeed very airtight in its logic (it includes a pretty devastating takedown of Jerry Fodor’s “modularity of the mind” theory), I’m a bit curious about why Hofstadter “can’t completely accept its arguments.” Surely, Hofstadter could have put himself a bit more on the line here instead of simply imputing, without explanation, why he can’t buy into a “a language of thought.” These is cheap contrarian parlance. Thankfully, Hofstadter’s slight deficiencies are offset by Carolyn Kellogg’s delightful review of The Last Chicken in America. (Incidentally, more Pinker here.)
Let me offer a warm and hearty welcome to my newly minted, fellow podcasters at Book World. The WaPo has now entered the podcasting racket. I’m happy to report that, two shows in, the podcast is better than Tanenhaus’s version — in large part because the participants are actually having a bit of fun, as opposed to sounding like they are trapped in a soulless boardroom. (Did Ron Charles have a previous career as a college radio deejay? Because his FM radio intonations are certainly a lot more fun than Dwight Garner’s droll desperation.) But Marie Arana needs to lighten up a bit. To paraphrase Buck Owens, all you gotta do is act naturally. Plus, the WaPo site really needs direct streaming links instead of simply offering an RSS feed. But this is a promising start.
Yo, Junka, youze ain’t down wizzit! Globa warming be sumpin’ to stop! Younoze, like globazation and corprite gree! My rightchus brothaz and I put up zat sign and we gonna punk ya! Meetz me behind za Safeway at Church & Market. Throwdown and YouTube vidyo, mothafuckaz! Let za peoplez decides!
Why does Hollywood get the writer wrong? Probably because sitting on one’s ass in front of a computer might make for a protracted Andy Warhol film, but is rather dull to depict in narrative.