Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Wittgenstein Still Alive?

Just found this article in this morning's Sufi Science Monitor (www.sufiscim.com):

Republican National Convention, New York.--Dervish delegates at yesterday evening's opening ceremonies reported repeated sightings of a delegate from New Mexico who bore an uncanny resemblance to the late Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), inventor of the philosophical ladder that automatically kicks itself out from under one's feet once one has reached the top rung, and, some say, himself a secret Sufi.

Other delegates scoffed at these reports, urging the dervishes making them to "stop spinning around for god's sakes, you're making me dizzy," and noting that Wittgenstein was "not merely deader than a doornail but red to boot, and the last person you would ever find at a Republican National Convention."

"Red" refers to rumors that Wittgenstein, mostly thought of as an arch-conservative in his lifetime, may actually have been the famed spymaster who recruited Kim Philby and other notorious KGB spies at Trinity College in the 1930s.

However, other commentators were quick to note that the Republicans were working particularly hard this year to make their delegates (in the words of Paulinus Pollsby of the Daily Gazette) "a little less white, a little less male, a little less rich, and a little less middle-aged," and could well have recruited a dead, possibly red, and certainly gay Austrian philosopher to attend the convention just for "good populist theater."

Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie was also quick to deny rumors that the "Ludwig Wittgenstein" being spotted at the Convention was actually Transition Studies Professor Bill Kaul in disguise. "We wouldn't let that f**king Kaul into the RNC in any disguise," Gillespie twinkled.

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