As the saying goes, words fly away, writings remain. But sometimes, writings rise to words before resting again on paper. This is the journey of around forty columns prepared and deployed on the radio by the philosopher Jérémie McEwen, as part of the show C’est fou…, alongside the late Serge Bouchard. In a collection with the filigree of a mourning tribute to the latter, the thinker re-exposes his reflections anchored in current events, while detailing the links forged with the anthropologist, both at open and closed microphones.

Inevitably, many subjects kept them away. Bouchard, the intellectual in a hat inspired by the forest, McEwen, the thinker in a cap imbued with urbanity. But once gathered around the microphone, alongside Jean-Philippe Pleau, it was the joy of thinking that took precedence – hence the title of the essay. Regularly invited, from 2017 to 2021, to speak out in this radio window on the airwaves of ICI Première, “the only mainstream media hour devoted to reflection” and where “reflection does not excuse itself from thinking”, the philosopher confides in the complicity maintained with the deceased, who had considered him as the natural successor to his seat on the show.

At this point, let’s clarify things: despite a cover and a subtitle which might suggest it, the bulk of the work is not focused on Serge Bouchard and his remarks, but on a body of reflections developed under his kind eye. There we find dozens of chronicles meticulously prepared by McEwen, having served as a basis for his interventions at C’est fou…, then readapted in the form of collected texts. In a format of tight chapters, as required by the media, he discusses all kinds of themes, from the concept of order to that of anarchy, the relationship with reading, including madness, money and extraterrestrials. . Perhaps you cringed at the last word, which gives an illusion of frivolity, but rest assured, all these explorations are based on an approach combining seriousness and enthusiasm.

“I was thinking about all this while listening to the show American Ninja Warrior. Yes, I like listening to this kind of nonsense as much as I like reading [Walter] Benjamin to understand my continent,” he writes at the conclusion of the chapter dissecting violence.

Let the reader discover these slices of thought that could allow those who are disgusted by the cobblestones and monotonous tone of Kant to reconcile themselves with a philosophy in a much more digestible form, without sacrificing its seriousness. These interventions are punctuated by three texts paying tribute to Serge Bouchard, following the evolution of their relationship, on or off the air. His mischievous side and his taste for hamming it up, not always publicly obvious, or the mystery of his position on the political chessboard. The mutual respect they had for each other, even if their disagreements in worldviews or their irreconcilable generational values ​​could sometimes undermine their intellectual communion – their respective approaches to systemic racism revealed, for example, a deep divide between them.

La joie de pensée thus brings together not texts essentially centered on Serge Bouchard, but the fruits of reflections in which he had his share of complicity. Reading it, one cannot help but wonder if the philosopher has not inherited one of the finest qualities that he attributes to his late friend, namely to have become a “voice that succeeds in the feat of making us forget that he is an intellectual.”