The unbearable superciliousness of Eco


Many years ago, I read Umberto Eco's the Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum.

Foucault's Pendulum is based on a delightful conceit, that all conspiracy theories are ultimately true because they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Indeed if you start looking into the history of various intelligence operations, you quickly come upon real life examples of the kind of nutty characters you thought existed only in an Umberto Eco book. And not just intelligence operations, also at Bell Labs and the Jet Propulsion Institute:

The Name of the Rose I found engaging but ultimately too polemical concerning the backwardness of the European Middle Ages. At the time time, I was working as a cataloguer in a medieval microfiche library, which had a very large and broad collection. I assure you medieval man was more concerned about the color of his piss and what it meant about his health than he was about the coming Apocalypse.

Any recommendations on Eco books, or something similar in spirit (erudite and witty even if lefty)?


Dunno, I only ever read Name of the Rose . Found it enjoyable as a time-passer but it didn't sell me on anything else of his.


I think you'd enjoy Darconville's Cat by Alexander Theroux


Check out “The Tunnel” by William Gass.


I will never take the fag seriously his essay on Fascism is so fucking horrid

Replying to:

Yeah, I forgot about that. Speaking of horrid, today I came across H.G. Wells's the Open Conspiracy:

“Non-resistance, the restriction of activities to moral suasion is no part of the programme of the Open Conspiracy…. By its own organizations or through the police and military strength of governments amenable to its ideas, the movement is bound to find itself fighting… The Open Conspiracy rests upon a disrespect for nationality, and there is no reason why it should tolerate noxious or obstructive governments because they hold their own in this or that patch of human territory…. It is fantastic pedantry to wait for all the world to accede before all the world is pacified and policed”