What is Stand Up Philosophy

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This blog charts my attempts, in whatever way I can, and whenever I can, and as honestly as possible, to stand up for thinking - real thinking, whether in philosophy or politics, or maths - Because thinking needs standing up for!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ranting for Modernity - A performance

A while ago I used to write many pieces like this one, which is on the recent death of Mrs. Thatcher. These pieces all had the same format. I started on the one hand, with a problem in philosophy, or perhaps a thinker, and on the other, with an event based on the week's news, and bought the two into sharp contrast and relief. The aim was to transform the ideas of philosophy into political commentary, while allowing the events of the week to infuse and explain abstract philosophical ideas. -  Well I wrote such pieces for a number of years (a series that included a history of justice, a number of which turned into my paperback book of essays 'Not What One Was; A Brief History of the Concept of Justice', and the Portraits of the Week series - you can see them all here: http://www.cartwheels-collective.co.uk/Dun_Rantin....html), but in the end felt the pieces to have run their course, and in its place developed my stand up show.
 The Stand Up Philosophy Show has up to this point tended to revolve around the history of philosophy, which is so rich and deep, it has provided (and will continue to provide), an endless source of material. And yet the events of recent times (well the death of Margret Thatcher), has put my mind back to thinking about my Rants, and how one might turn them into performance pieces. This is the first result of that process,  a brief essay, that is at once a study on Foucault, but also a genuine attempt to understand the difficulties which so-called Thatcherism poses to thought (and to politics). As it was performed on the day of her funeral, and to a mixed audience, I tried to be respectful throughout, and yet not to compromise on the point that really matters. Namely, that people live and die, and that is tragic (or happy). But what is really at issue in considering Thatcher's legacy, is something else - namely the apparent undead nature of Thatcherism itself. A nature that means in spite of the banking collapse, and global prolonged recession (which even if Thatcherism - aka deregulation -  did not directly cause, it was certainly caught up in), the 'Ism' is still very much around, still irreplaceable, and potentially as strong as ever...


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