About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Norman Doering tagged me with what is known as the Random Facts Meme. The meme rules are apparently as follows:

1. All right, here are the rules.
2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
4. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Hmmm, since almost none of my friends seem to keep blogs I'm going to ignore rule 5. completely. However, I think it'll be fun to find eight random and little-known facts about myself, so here goes:

Here are my 8 facts:

1. I had my appendix removed when I was 11. I still have the scar and I'm prepared to show it to you if you buy me a few drinks.

2. I have a fetish for redheads (though I've never actually slept with one, of course ... not so much as a wink). Also for blondes (yum!). And brunettes, of course - brunettes are great. On the other hand, I never flirt when confronted by a pretty woman (and I have this bridge to sell you ...).

3. My first published short story was in the literary magazine Westerly, way back in 1982.

4. When hanging out in Second Life, I use the name "Metamagician Apogee".

5. When asked my favourite book, I am always unsure whether to say The Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoyevsky, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, or the Collected Poems of W.B Yeats.

6. The only sport that I follow seriously is tennis. I have a soft spot for Marat Safin, Amelie Mauresmo, Daniela Hantuchova, and various other guys and gals on the tour.

7. My favourite Shakespeare plays are Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest. I never really managed to "get" Hamlet.

8. My favourite classical philosopher is Epicurus. In more modern times, it's definitely David Hume.


drjon said...

...since almost none of my friends seem to keep blogs I'm going to ignore rule 5.

I suspect you're going to get protests, now...

Russell Blackford said...

Hmmm, now there's an interesting thought. I can't think of eight appropriate people, but perhaps there are lots of blogs that I don't know about, especially among sf fans. I'll wait for more folks to protest.

Blake Stacey said...

I already got tagged, but I ended up writing about a device for locking shopping carts instead.

Anonymous said...

My favourite Shakespeare play is the Tempest. I never managed to "get" why it is taught in high school... no one understands it and therefore everyone resents it.

Russell Blackford said...

I can sympathise with that one, as I had to study The Tempest in my final year of high school, and, though I didn't actually resent it, it's certainly true that I didn't understand it. Then again, I loved it even without much understanding, so perhaps it wasn't such a bad thing.

Macbeth blew me away when I first encountered it at the age of 14. That seems to me to be a good place to start with Shakespeare, at least for boys - with something bloodthirsty.

Twelfth Night is just hilariously funny, though the humour is rather cruel. What they do to poor Malvolio always cracks me up.

Blake Stacey said...

I love Macbeth and think it's a wonderful play to start with, but bits and pieces of it don't agree with me, preventing me from calling it my favourite. Banquo's role seems too crudely grafted on to please the Stuarts (he being the legendary ancestor of King James). Macduff, who doesn't have the benefit of seeing the Three Witches, still becomes suspicious of Macbeth — suspicious enough to act on his beliefs. Banquo seems a bit of a dunce by comparison, just muttering that Macbeth may have "played most foully for it." (Certainly, he doesn't give any indications of why Macbeth has so high an opinion of his abilities.)

And when Banquo gets cut down, he cries to Fleance to run away, that "thou mayst revenge!" (Why doesn't Fleance flee back to the court, where his family has — he must believe — the friendship of the King?) Does Fleance appear in Act V, marching to Dunsinane with the invading army? No, he takes no revenge at all.

This is one of the things I really liked about Kurosawa's Throne of Blood: the Banquo counterpart, General Miki, fit with the story, and his son Yoshiaki does fight with the revenging army.