Myshkin the Point

Tyler Cowen is fascinated by cutting-edge communications technology, and by literary criticism. But this is no Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: the two great things don’t go great together.

Tyler Cowen, who is often a great source of insights on new literature, last night had a post about Dostoyevsky. It largely consists of an account of his own utility function (which, come to think of it, is largely what Facebook consists of: precisely why advertisers love it, though I don’t see why anyone else should). And then this:

If you enter “Dostoyevsky” into the search function of Twitter, you don’t come up with much interesting these days.

Heavens. We’d better just write him out of the canon then. Cowen’s commenter “vanderleun” nails it:

That [sentence] just says so much about so many things not even distantly related to Dostoyevsky that it can be put up as a “Koan for Our Era.”

Precisely. If you meet the Tweeter on the road, kill him.

Author: Andrew Sabl

I'm a political theorist and Visiting Professor (through 2017) in the Program on Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale. My interests include the history of political thought, toleration, democratic theory, political ethics, problems of coordination and convention, the realist movement in political theory, and the thought of David Hume. My first book, Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics (Princeton, 2002) covered many of these topics, with a special focus on the varieties of democratic politics and the disparate qualities of mind and character appropriate to those who practice each of them. My second book Hume's Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England was published in 2012; I am currently finishing a book on toleration, with the working title The Virtues of Hypocrisy, under contract with Harvard University Press. A Los Angeles native, I got my B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. Before coming to Yale I taught at Vanderbilt and at UCLA, where I was an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor; and held visiting positions at Williams, Harvard, and Princeton. I am married to Miriam Laugesen, who teaches health policy and the politics of health care at the Mailman School of public health at Columbia, and we have a twelve-year-old son.

7 thoughts on “Myshkin the Point”

  1. “If you enter ‘Dostoyevsky’ into the search function of Twitter, you don’t come up with much interesting these days.”

    That’s true these days, but back 30-40 years ago you’d find lots of interesting Dostoevsky tidbits on Twitter.

    1. I wonder what one would get for “Dickens”, but not enough to try it… At least the characters’ names are shorter.

      1. There’s a whole ‘nother batch of tweets for Dostoevsky, an alternate spelling (10 letters instead of 11).

  2. Is there another RBC that treats that glorified Koch lobbyist with the scorn he deserves? I want to read that.

Comments are closed.