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January 14, 2009

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carbon based lifeform

Some hilarious comments on the O'Neill article:

"heading off for a weekend of binge drinking in an Eastern European city is not "the poor" having a well deserved break. It's the Sun-reading middle classes behaving like they are being told to behave."

It's that damn false consciousness again!

TDK

There's a hint of a turf war going on here

Note George Monbiot here
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/13/heathrow-campaigners-environmentalism-brendan-oneill

He absolutely loathes Frank Furedi and the ex-RCP crowd

On the same day we had
http://www.climate-resistance.org/2009/01/the-pastiche-politics-of-the-runway-rush.html
And today
http://www.climate-resistance.org/2009/01/comment-is-not-free.html

There is some speculation that Climate Resistance is a front for the Spiked crowd. Certainly there are associations.

David

“It’s that damn false consciousness again!”

Yes, it’s good to see so many indignant commenters inadvertently confirming O’Neill’s point about condescension and paternalism. One guy sneers at “wanky overpaid stag-night idiots.” Presumably, the commenter feels he ought to be in charge of how much people who go on stag nights get paid and how they celebrate.

“Heading off for a weekend of binge drinking in an Eastern European city is not ‘the poor’ having a well deserved break. It’s the Sun-reading middle classes behaving like they are being told to behave.”

Note what happens when the proletariat doesn’t conform to the socialist narrative. Suddenly, the “oppressed” become “the Sun-reading middle classes” (!) who are, naturally, being manipulated by dark forces. So no condescension there.

David

TDK,

Yes, it does look like there’s a, er, personal aspect to it. But maybe the personal is rather important here, not least with regard to Monbiot, whose ostensible motives are somewhat suspect. One might, for instance, wonder if there’s some link between Monbiot’s vehement and unconvincing disdain for “the rich” and his own rather elevated upbringing and ancestry. (Monbiot is nothing if not a product of the “privilege” he affects to despise, and hence his sensitivity to accusations of being a “toff”.) There’s also Monbiot’s rather free-wheeling approach to “facts”, most recently regarding average incomes. Consequently, I think one has to entertain the possibility of other, more personal, motives. As so often, one might suspect that the political agitation has quite a lot to do with some personal psychodrama.

If nothing else, Monbiot is a true believer and troubled by authoritarian urges. And let’s not forget he was recently enthused by the prospect of recession, with all that entails for those with low incomes, and all in the interests of “social justice”. I see no reason to believe that he, or those who make similar assertions, are actually “concerned” for the poor in quite the way they claim.

TDK

I particularly liked the Climate Rush article.

They make a good point and its worth stating again. Environmental protesters are NOT anti-establishment. Politicians of all parties are more in line with the environmental vanguard than the general public. The latter lag far behind. The protesters are a convenient prop for politicians to use to claim they are responding to populist pressure when they pass restrictive legislation. "But you demanded we restrict your freedom".

Anna

Wasn't Monbiot last seen whinging about the eco-horror of Agas?

David

TDK,

“Environmental protesters are NOT anti-establishment.”

In my experience, environmental protestations are frequently accompanied either by an assumption of overwhelming public support (itself dubious) or, more often, by an assumption that democratic proprieties can be swept aside in order to forcibly enlighten those whose priorities differ, even if they comprise a vast majority. If you follow the commentary of environmentalist groups, you’ll see this theme recur. Plane Stupid and Climate Rush are proudly dismissive of mere formalities like democracy, persuasion and reasoned argument, such is their moral authority.

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/12/behold-my-virtue-2.html

It’s rather like how we hear about the “rightwing establishment” in the pages of the Guardian, and the usual blather about challenging some terrible bourgeois consensus in the media, schools, etc. The Guardian’s own middle-class readership of around 300,000 is in very large part made up of teachers, social workers, educational advisors, broadcasters, media types, etc. The paper’s influence is thus much greater than its limited sales would suggest. Many of the views propagated by the Guardian are, to a significant degree, the views of the current educational and media establishment. (Max Hastings famously said of his writing for the Guardian that “it is read by the new establishment.”) Thus the ever-so-daring “challenge” to an alleged “rightwing establishment” is very often a restatement of orthodoxy among the political, educational and media elite.

James S

"Wasn't Monbiot last seen whinging about the eco-horror of Agas?"

He's got a thing for cooking: "In this age of diamond saucepans, only a recession makes sense."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/oct/09/comment.economy

Horace Dunn

TDK and David

Regarding the personal element in O'Neill's piece. Well, yes. It is interesting to note that more than a third of the article is all about O'Neill and how this person accuses him, poor baby, of being one thing and another person accuses him of being something else and how he has to accept this sort of thing ("it comes with the territory") but nonetheless even though our planet is imperilled he'll keep using his limited quota of words to correct assumptions made about him by Monbiot and co. I counted six occurrences of the pronoun "I" in the first paragraph alone. But anyway we have a better idea of where the various Guardian types stand in relationship to their attitudes to the working / middle / upper classes, so that's the main thing.

Ana

I can't answer your specific question, but I would say that, since Agas are a symbol of those smug, middle-class, weekend-cottage-in-the-country types, I should jolly well hope that the Guardianistas are on the attack. I mean, that's what the Guardian is for, surely.

David

Horace,

Vanities aside, what struck me was the inadvertent confirmation of paternalistic urges.

AMac

Lima's commentary on "Che" recalled a review of an art show from 2004.

Jerome du Bois of "The Tears of Things" ruminated on the opening of Cuban artist Abel Barroso's exhibit at the Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.

This one might not have ended up laminated and framed.

http://www.thetearsofthings.net/archives/000134.html

Rob

Oh, how I wish there was a right-wing Establishment. There might be a right-wing establishment, e.g. a club somewhere whose members are mostly conservative, but a right-wing Establishment? It disappeared at least ten years ago, probably twenty.

As David said, the Establishment is now the political class, the media, NGOs, the civil service, teachers, the Law. Please demonstrate how ANY of those are right-wing these days. The reality is the Left has a death-grip on all these areas. Fifty-something pony-tailed wankers at the BBC and the Guardian only claim to be anti-Establishment because it is fashionable to do so.

Horace Dunn

Rob

Precisely. And the “new” Establishment have wasted no time in becoming snobbish and blustering – just like the “old” Establishment that they spent decades deriding. The grumbling, raised earlier on this thread, about the ghastly Sun-reading types flying off for cheap stag-nights is a good example. The left set themselves against what they saw as the exclusivity and elitism of the old ruling class only, once they’d grasped power, to become equally as exclusive and – I would argue – much more elitist than the people they replaced. Perhaps that is why they spend so much time on the kind of vacuous posturing that David highlights so often this thread. Maybe they need it to persuade themselves that “they” haven’t become like “them”.

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