Quo Vadimus

Wednesday, April 09, 2003


The Genius List. #007: Walter Petry

This guy knows a helluva lot about the European Enlightenment and he introduced me to the rock and roll band Superchunk*.

Bonus points: Modernization in the West, Fall 1992, Fairfield, Ct. After a series of decidedly unenlightened comments on a Montaigne essay, Petry called a collection of undergrads "hapless clowns" (myself included, though I was wisely mum on the Montaigne) and frantically gathered his belongings and exited the classroom with a good half hour remaining in the session. After taking a few steps down the hallway, he returned:

"Damn you all. Damn you all to hell."

*Superchunk guitarist and Petry student Jim Wilbur graduated from Fairfield University in 1986. During my first week of class in 1992, Petry brought in a postcard he received from Wilbur from a tour stop in Europe. I found this 1995 interview in which Wilbur cites two of his heroes:

Question: Who were your "heroes" or role models if you could name just a couple?
SupChunk (Jim): Walter Petry. Jackie-Earle Haley. That's about it.

posted by Linus | 5:07 PM