Who (t.f.) is Kiki?
I have been surprised (though regarding my former country (because I’ll do everything in my power to avoid any contact with this country), Romania, I shouldn’t be surprised by anything – it’s the country of all possibilities) to see one of my former colleagues from two departments at CEU – Political Science (1999-200), and Philosophy (2000-2002), on youtube, appearing to have some kind of TV show on contemporary cultural issues in Romania—Cristian Vasilescu, now running under the “artist” name Kiki Vasilescu.
The little movies, as I discovered a few minutes later, constitute, in fact, his so-called video blog. I knew what to expect from the guy. He studied for two semesters at the Philosophy department at CEU, being unable to continue, i.e. to pass the comprehensive exam. He did the two semesters in two years, and was one of the dumbest the philosophy department had those years. I recall he had trouble passing the elementary logic course taught by Kati Farkas, and at one point, during a class hour, when Kati asked him (as she used to do with everyone in the class) to come to the whiteboard, to formalize some sentence in first-order logic, he left the room, after which we found him crying on the ground, at the inner yard where the student labs of the philosophy department are located. In general, all his interventions during classes were nonsense, so it was pretty clear that he wouldn’t make it to the second year. He previously got an MA from the Political Science department, which just shows the quality of that department, run those years by János Kis (who was Kiki’s supervisor, by the way…).
After the failure he returned to Romania (the land of wonders) and got a job at the “high quality” school called SNSPA, starting a doctorate too.
Coming back to the little movies they are quite primitive, unentertaining little attacks on whatever is fashionable in Romanian culture – for instance, writers like Pleşu and Liiceanu. I’m myself not a fan of these writers at all, but Romanians would deserve more qualified views on what they take right now as Romanian “philosophy”.
Be that as it may, I also find out in one of these stupid little movies that the guy has a book published. By who? Who else than Polirom? It’s a novel, much praised by some “literary critics” on Polirom’s page, which just shows the level of literary criticism in our beautiful country.
I dig further, get to his homepage, and I discover that he also has two “academic” books published, one by Bucharest University’s publishing house (of which we know what it means – photocopying 100 exemplars and placing them into the university bookstore, located in the building of the Faculty of History) and another one, on Nozick, published by BookSurge Publishing, North Charleston, USA. I have never heard of this publisher, so I google it, and what I find is that for 2000-3000 bucks they publish any crap you write, and make it available on amazon.com. Good – so it’s Bucharest University publisher again, but for (more) money, and with amazon.
Conclusion? We do have very talented people!