Accidents Will Happen: Elvis Costello as Philosopher


Accidents will happen; yes, they will.  I wrote this little essay more than 25 years ago.  I think it was my first–certainly it was one of my first–attempts to say much of anything about ordinary language philosophy or about Elvis Costello.  It fell out of my file cabinet today as I was hunting something else.  I had thought it gone for good.  Perhaps it would have been better if I had not found it; perhaps I should not post it.  Perhaps.  Anyway, here it is.  Apologies in advance.

Link to essay


50 Years–Happy Birthday to Me

Huh.  50.  How’d that happen?  Gah.

Knowing ourselves, our world, our task so great,
Our time so brief, ’tis clear if we refuse
The means so limited, the tools too rude
To execute our purpose, life will fleet
And we shall fade and leave our task undone.

Yep.  Fading and undone.

Now to be oneself, to remain oneself is a trickier matter than most people think.  There are always gaps in our personal experience and our personal thought, and there exists a permanent temptation to stop these up with ready-made developments borrowed from some body of pre-existing doctrine.

Full of stop-gap measures, I head into my fifth decade, still barely myself.  Or that’s how it seems.  Oh well, here’s to Browning and Marcel (quoted above) who keep me company on the journey!  And to all the others, friends, family, colleagues and students, who continue to put up with me!

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