Monday, November 5, 2012

With readers at the ACPA in L.A.

On Friday I attended the first day of the American Catholic Philosophical Association meeting here in Los Angeles, and had the pleasure of meeting longtime readers Eric Mendoza, Alfredo Watkins, and Alex Yousif.  That’s me with Eric, Alfredo, and Alex, respectively, in the first two photos.  (By the way, you can find Eric’s blog here and Alfredo’s here.  Go check ‘em out.)  

So, small world.  How small?  I’d find out that evening when a few of us professors went to the Chart House in Marina del Rey for dinner.
As the conversation got philosophical, our waiter raised a curious eyebrow and it soon came out that he’d been a philosophy major and retained a keen interest in matters philosophical and theological.  One of my more playful fellow diners pointed to me and to my mild embarrassment told the waiter “Hey, this is the famous Ed Feser, he’s got a blog!”  Without missing a beat, the waiter -- whose name is Gordon Savage (that’s him with me in the third photo above) -- replied “Oh, I read that blog.  I didn’t recognize you from your photo.”  At first we thought this must be a gag, but then Gordon casually related without prompting that he’d been trying to get a friend to read The Last Superstition

So, of all the waiters in all the restaurants in all the cities in which the ACPA could have met, we got the one who actually reads this blog.  What are the odds?  I felt like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.  The consensus around the table was that we had a new proof of God’s existence on our hands.

Anyway, if ever you find yourself at the Chart House, leave Gordon a big tip.  And do try the lemon salmon!


  1. Was a pleasure meeting you in person professor! Hopefully we will see each other again at future conferences.

  2. A proof of God indeed. The universe is too small for coincidences of such magnitude.

  3. Anon,

    You are aware that was a joke, right?

  4. I'm also hoping we can meet again, Dr. Feser! Perhaps we talk in more detail about why you can't stand Star Wars... :)

  5. Dang it, I was there on the second day, not the first. :(

  6. "Perhaps we talk in more detail about why you can't stand Star Wars"

    I'm sorry, but WHAT?

  7. Oh, perhaps I should give a bit more context. In Dr. Feser's "Metaphysics of Vertigo" post from last year, he mentioned he was "pretty conventional when it came to movies. What I think is good is pretty much what everyone else thinks is good.” Then he added this exception: “Star Wars? Sorry, can’t stand it.”

    As something of a Star Wars geek, I was naturally curious of why Dr. Feser didn't like the SW movies. I was even more intrigued when he mentioned at the ACPA conference that he hadn't seen the prequels! So, it's not "The Phantom Menace" and Jar-Jar Binks that's to blame...

  8. Dr. Feser,
    I was also thinking, “what are the odds?” For two decades in L.A. restaurants I’d been more often saddled with the movers and shakers of the entertainment industry — a tightly-strung crowd that typically wallows in fear that the temporary high from their latest movie deal or new beachfront condo is the best life has to offer. They often look at me like this is the first human contact they’ve had for days not spoiled by envy. It’s like working a soup kitchen for the rich and famous.

    So serving not just one, but two tables of Catholic Philosophers was a gas. The closest I’ve come to such an honor in the past was when my regular Ken Starr would bring all the top visiting legal scholars for dinner in Malibu. Nothing like Natural Law theory with a decent Sonoma Chardonnay!

    My only regret is that I had to manage three other large tables at the same. I would have preferred more time to chat. Or at least to listen in on the discussion.

    Gordon Savage

  9. Hi Gordon,

    Perhaps I'll come back some time!

    Hi Bobcat,

    Too bad! I would like to have seen you. Some other time for sure.

    Hi Eric et al.,

    Well, basically I just find the whole thing unbearably corny. I think everything from the acting to the dialogue to the costumes to the aliens to the character and place names is all incredibly cheesy. I think much the same thing about Star Trek, frankly, though no doubt in saying so I'll make enemies of a whole new group of folks!

  10. I was there with Ed and our colleagues at the table, and I can confirm that things went down just as he recounted. All of us at the table were truly astonished and gratified at our serendipitous (nay, Providential) meeting with Gordon.

    Speaking of which, let say that it was great to have Gordon as a waiter. First, he was a really good waiter per se (and I should know as my wife and I have both served as waiters over the years). With a consummate adroitness, Gordon skillfully negotiated the harrowing vagaries of ensuring we each (but especially I) had checks printed in such a way that would satisfy our most meticulous colleagues in the business offices of our respective universities. Second, and more important, we were able to snatch gems of conversation with Gordon regarding his experience studying philosophy and theology at Yale University and his ongoing pursuit of the same. Gordon, you are a gem. From our all-too-brief exchange, it's clear to me that you see the integration of the contemplation of God and the world with "poetics" (in the classical sense), the crafting of narratives imbued with a proper metaphysics. I wish you all the best in your endeavors! Hollywood could really use someone like you right about now!

    As if that weren't enought, on top of all that, I got a chance to thank you in person, Ed, for your book "Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide" which I'm using in my MA course on natural theology.

    Finally, I'd recommend the crabcakes. And that's saying a lot since I hail from Maryland. They were supreme.

    Thanks, Ed. Great to see you last weekend.

    - Mike Sirilla