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Chris Rock (3) vs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

At first I thought yesterday‘s bout would be hard to score. But, after reading all the comments, it was easy. Beauvoir, and it’s not even close.

My reasoning isn’t based on any single comment, but rather that there was a lot more passion in the comments about Beauvoir, pro and con. I think it’s fair to label Raymond Carver as a creature of the 1970s and Simone de Beauvoir as a resident of the 1950s—but Beauvoir’s issues just seem more alive, at least to the commenters of this blog. So the feminist advances past the alcoholic.

But what really interests me is today’s contest. Pookie vs. Emile.

Now we’re talking. “Bullet control” vs. the social contract. These are two heavy hitters. Rock would be more fun, that’s for sure, but Rousseau’s a living legend. Well, ok, he’s dead, but if he were alive he’d be a living legend, that’s for sure.

Give it your best shot.

P.S. As always, here’s the background, and here are the rules.


  1. Shecky R says:

    Enough with the philosophers already (especially dead ones!). I’d prefer Jerry Seinfeld or Louis CK, but Chris Rock will have to do (until we get to George Carlin in the other bracket).

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ll second that “enough with the philosophers”. There’s a limit to how much amusement one can get from a profession that seemingly fetishizes and prioritizes being wrong above all else. And even by Philosopher’s high standards, Rousseau was wrong about a lot. If he hadn’t abandoned his kids and actually spent any time around those little devil ninjas he would have known there is no such thing as a “noble savage” (no matter how those words are interpreted).

    Even if you’re only interested in philosophy and judged both Rock and Rousseau accordingly, Rock still wins in a landslide.

    • Andrew says:


      Sure, but “enough with the philosophers” is the point of this exercise! Remember this all came in response to the ridiculously hyped visit of Bruno Latour, hence the inclusion of the Modern French Intellectuals category.

  3. Xi'an says:

    Judith Rousseau would be a much better seminar speaker than Jean-Jacques!! Who would most likely spend the whole hour whinning on how everyone was unfair with him. And even justifying abandonning all of his five children to an orphanage soon after their birth…

  4. Joe says:

    1 vote for Chris Roque — comedic insight and French intellectualism in one package.

    • Martha says:

      Good idea, but may I respectfully suggest that you meant Chris Rocque? “Roque” is an American word, referring to an American variant of croquet using a shortened mallet (take off the end letters of “croquet” to get “roque” — get it?)

  5. Jonathan (another one) says:

    Rock is my stand-in for Hobbes — I have no doubt that he’d agree that in the state of nature, life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Since Hobbes is obviously right about this, and since Rock obviously agrees, Rousseau must obviously remain in his current state of nature — dead.

  6. jrc says:

    Chris Rock, giving a lecture entitled “When You Reach My Level, It’s Not Called Plagiarizing, It’s Called Endorsing.”

  7. Johannes says:

    Everybody could go to see to CR – but not everyone does. No one can go to see JJR but how many would if they could?

    (Obviously this applies to all alive vs. dead matches in this game. But honestly, it very much applies to this one in particular!)

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