Happy 25th birthday to The Onion today. As Editor-In-Chief Will Tracy told NPR, “You’re just replacing one word. You’re giving people a headline that they have seen…and you’re just making that one-word switch….There’s always a slight looming terror of running out of jokes…But…there’s still awful people doing awful things every day, so that’ll give us more material.” The Onion keeps faith, so to speak, with Aristotle’s definition of comedy, in which people act worse than they would in real life.
And a belated (two days late–past the owl of Minerva‘s hour of philosophical dusk, as it were) birthdate remembrance to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the source of this blog’s motto and heading. In his preface to Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Hegel wrote, “reason is not content…with that cold despair which confesses that, in this temporal world, things are bad or at best indifferent, but that nothing better can be expected here, so that for this reason alone we should live at peace with actuality. The peace which cognition establishes with the actual world has more warmth in it than this.” That spirit was visible, I believe, in the remarks of John Lewis (and former Presidents Carter and Clinton) yesterday. They exemplified what Hegel called “reason as the rose in the cross of the present.”