The Differend

There's a philosopher named Jean-François Lyotard. He's French. People mostly pronounce his name like they pronounce French names -- in a marble-mouthed garble of swallowed vowels. Not me, though. I say it proud, with a hard "tard." And I take every opportunity to say "Lyotardian" when I'm talking about something that could be construed or misconstrued as relating to him in any way. Because you know why? It's about basic human dignity.

Something the Lyotard understood very well, influenced as he was by humanist philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, whose soccer buddies at the Ecole knew him affectionately but ribbingly as -- I'm not making this up -- Unitard.

But this phenomenon isn't limited to 20th century philosophy. Oh no. After coming to dominate thought so thoroughly in the 18th, his competitors and fans alike could call Kant only one thing: the Singlet. His mind had only one equal. Of course I mean his butt, which was terrific.

Can you tell I'm procrastinating?

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