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Miguel de Cervantes (2) vs. Albert Camus (1); Twain wins

Yesterday‘s winner is Mark Twain because, as Anonymous demonstrated in the comments, Twain on Eddy is more interesting than Eddy on Eddy.

Today’s third-round match pits an eternal classic vs. the coolest of the cool.

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


  1. Richard Giambrone says:

    I wish I were half as clever as these commentators. I can’t offer much in the way of comments, but I sure enjoy them.

  2. Xi'an says:

    « La seule règle qui soit originale aujourd’hui : apprendre à vivre et à mourir, et pour être homme, refuser d’être Dieu. » Camus, L’Homme révolté.

  3. brianG says:

    if i inappropriately boil this down to quixote vs sisyphus, i suspect the latter would inspire a much livelier debate. (while i’m sure andrew would love if the speaker just read off a power point for 4 hours, i’m assuming this seminar is interactive.)

  4. Jonathan (another one) says:

    Camus on ramdomness; how make a model when there is no signal — only noise.
    Cervantes on making the world fit the model through self-delusion.

    Two fascinating statistics lectures with the same underlying theme — modelmaking as a chimera: “a horrinble or unreal creature of the imagination.”

    I’m going to go with Camus simply because Gelman, Ioannides and Simonsohn tell me most of what we need to know about self-delusion. It’s through confronting the void that we will get insight.

  5. Z says:

    Cervantes would be chivalrous and prompt. Camus would need to take a cigarette break every 5 minutes, that or he’d set off the sprinkler system.

  6. Z says:

    Also, as critic Jay Sherman says on the Simpsons, “Camus can do, but Sartre is smarter”.

  7. Matt says:

    “The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays that part.” -Miguel De Cervantes

  8. Manuel says:

    A Camus seminar would be entirely (about the) absurd. My vote goes to Cervantes talking about the mighty giant corporations hidden behind wind energy. On top of that, there’s no doubt Cervantes likes better Bayesian Quixote than Frequentist Sancho!

  9. Jameson says:

    Cervantes. Both can can write the shit out of a book, but Cervantes has better abstracts. “Guy thinks he’s in a book, fights windmills; rich people put him in charge of an island because they’ve read the book” sounds fascinating; “City gets sick, people die, then the rest of them get better, and the lesson is that people are worth it” sounds like some “chicken soup for the soul” bullshit.

    • zbicyclist says:

      Both are oddly relevant at a time when Ebola threatens and when wind power is making a comeback.

      So what happens to the structure of an African village post-Ebola? What permanently changes, if anything? Camus would undoubtedly have interesting things to say.

  10. Alejandro says:

    If we invite Camus, those who prefer Cervantes miss out completely. But if we invite Cervantes, those who prefer Camus can just as well imagine that instead of Cervantes it is Pierre Menard talking – and Menard is close enough to Camus in time and origin to be a good substitute. Therefore Cervantes wins.

  11. seth says:

    The Judge who married my wife and I included a nice quote from Camus. It turns out the quote was a misattributed to Camus all over the internet, dunno why.

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