Archive for July, 2013

Today in UPG History

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

On July 25, 1799, Guild member Jebediah Shaw was convicted of sedition under the Alien and Sedition Acts for selling perfume and tea flavored “Federalist Mints”.

Advertised as “Flavour’d with perfume and tea, resembling the stench of the British Monarchy lately favor’d by that d—ed British Patriot and Monarchist, President John Adams,” Shaw’s act was seen as “malicious writing against the government of the United States” and he was fined $200 and sentenced to four months in jail.

This sentence was so traumatic for the Guild that it wasn’t until 1850 that we again made a mint critical of a U.S. President (“Fillmore’s Foul Agreemints,” in response to the Compromise of 1850).

John Adams: not a fan of political novelty products.

John Adams: not a fan of political novelty products.

Incidentally, this wasn’t the last time the Guild faced censorship over political products.

Happy Birthday, Derrida!

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Today is the birthday of the great French philosopher, thinker, and author Jacques Derrida.

The dashing Jacques Derrida in his prime. French Philosophers are stylish.

The dashing Derrida in his prime.

Here are some facts you may or may not know about him:

Derrida was often a contender for the Nobel Prize in literature.

Derrida was a French Jew born in Algeria.

Derrida wasn’t awarded a doctorate until 1980.

Derrida was uncomfortable with the term “deconstructionism” and tried to distance himself from it.

Derrida had two documentaries made about him, but he also was involved in the making of the feature film “Ghost Dance,” in which he played himself and contributed to the script.

Derrida was often accused of nihilism, but this was far from true. He was preoccupied with ethical issues and constant questioned the type of binary oppositions which nihilism is based on.

Analytic philosophers were highly critical of Derrida. Philosopher and logician Willard Van Orman Quine went as far as to lead a petition to stop Cambridge University from granting Derrida an honorary degree. Quine accused Derrida of practicing pseudophilosophy. Derrida responded that the criticisms of him were “no doubt because deconstructions query or put into question a good many divisions and distinctions, for example the distinction between the pretended neutrality of philosophical discourse, on the one hand, and existential passions and drives on the other, between what is public and what is private, and so on.” He received the degree.

Derrida’s launch to fame began by deliberately misspelling a word.

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Smartass Response to a Philosopher #17

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

“Indeed in general I hold that there is nothing truer than happiness, and nothing happier and sweeter than truth.” -Leibniz

Written by a man who clearly never had a really good piece of cake.

Happy Canada Day!

Monday, July 1st, 2013