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April 18, 2011

Comments

Leo

Who needs evidence when you can simply “alter reality”?

Who needs talent when you can coast on your skin colour and leftwing politics?

Seriously, don't other departments get pissed off with this junk?

David

Leo,

“Seriously, don’t other departments get pissed off with this junk?”

I doubt they engage with it, at least not by choice. Why would a reputable professor of history or chemistry volunteer to sit through reams of material like this, from what appears to be Lubiano’s only substantial work:

“The intersection of Afro-American vernacular, as language or as attitude toward language, the historical moment and its varied constraints, and the narrative structures, form an intersection within these texts: a nexus.”

In Lubiano’s writing there are lots of intersections and nexuses, some of which even form intersections. Thank goodness Lubiano has escaped “thoughtless identification with the content” – in this case, her own dissertation. She is, however, “undermining a dominant Anglo-American realism predicated on rationalism.” So there’s that.

newrouter

so is that her definition of a nexus? that's how i see the colon or i'm being an idiot on this?

David

According to Lubiano, the nexus in question – which is an intersection of various things and also, er, an intersection of various things – is:

“The unmediated space for the construction of meta-realistic visions that undermine a dominant Anglo-American realism predicated on rationalism and linear historical constructs.”

Rationalism and linear historical constructs being very bad things, apparently. Unlike intersections and nexuses, which sound terribly impressive. And which, it seems, multiply at an alarming rate.

Sam

there are lots of intersections and nexuses, some of which even form intersections.

You can understand why she didn't want to proof-read it.

AC1

Lefties are so selfish they want their own version of reality!

Pellegri

Yo dawg, we heard you like intersections...

David

AC1,

“Lefties are so selfish they want their own version of reality!”

Well, this one does. And selfish is the word.

Lubiano plays the role of victim when her “expertise” is questioned and claims to be oppressed in ways that are fanciful and never quite pinned down - despite having a rather cushy job for life at an elite institution. As a self-described “teacher-critic leftist,” she feels entitled to use the classroom for her own personal “activism” – a mix of quasi-Marxist fantasy and unpleasant racial prejudice. She also feels entitled to subvert educational proprieties to suit her own ends and to “sabotage” the organisation that employs her – and which continues to employ her despite a remarkable lack of published work, professional ethics or discernible ability.

It’s worth noting an incidental but telling feature of Lubiano’s blathering. It is of course peppered with the usual postmodern tropes about being “sceptical… of finished politics” and “foregoing the easy comfort of feeling ‘right’ or ‘knowing the truth’.” But despite this, Lubiano is adamant in her own politics and righteous superiority. I doubt the professor would “forego the easy comfort” of her own “professional expertise” in matters of race and gender, to which she refers quite often and with lofty certainty.

So profound is Lubiano’s moral and political certainty, she can divine the guilt of male students based solely on their pigmentation and supposed class affiliation. The Duke lacrosse team, for instance, were members of a Designated Oppressor Group – designated by Lubiano, of course – and so the particulars of who did what to whom were, for her, irrelevant. As was due process and any normal standard of probity. Thus, Lubiano could presume the lacrosse team’s guilt - “regardless of the ‘truth’” – on grounds that the players were “exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus.”

Lubiano’s eagerness to denounce so many categories of humankind in one breath – based on nothing – is no doubt a sign of her own unassailable righteousness.

WTP

Thus, Lubiano could presume the lacrosse team’s guilt - “regardless of the ‘truth’” – on grounds that the players were “exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus.”

Yet if some unenlightened lunk like myself had ventured to guess that their accuser would one day murder her boyfriend, I'd be the racist one.

David

WTP,

It’s one of the benefits of “altering reality” whenever it suits. Evidence and consistency are only for the little people.

mojo

I don't blame her for being a racially-absorbed po-mo idiot. I blame Duke for hiring her and giving her tenure. If you encourage lunacy...

David Gillies

“Seriously, don’t other departments get pissed off with this junk?”

From experience, they mainly use it as a means to indulge in a bit of sardonic one-upmanship. For sure, there is a resentment that scarce funding is being squandered on such vacuous tripe, but with this goes a sense that no matter how evanescent one's academic output, at least one has not descended to the utterly content-free wilderness inhabited by the likes of Lubiano. A rich vein of sniggering contempt was to be mined every exam season by those of us in the Engineering faculty, simply by comparing the published exam syllabi of, say, the MA in Peace Studies and the MSc in RF and Microwave Engineering. It was a touch de haut en bas, perhaps, but richly deserved nonetheless. When confronted with such a Busby Berkeley level of pinhead choreography, it was hard not to recall Hume's advice to consign such sophistry to the flames.

David

“pinhead choreography”

I’m writing that one down.

On a broader point, it’s interesting how language is being deformed, practically inverted. What Lubiano does would presumably be considered a “liberal art” of some kind. Yet she and many of her peers are anything but liberal in the classical sense, or indeed artful.

Lubiano’s output, such as it is, is littered with racial presumption, tribalism, paranoia and outright bigotry – hardly the ideals of a classical liberal. She judges male students as being guilty of serious crimes based on their skin colour and supposed class affiliation. (The lacrosse players were, she said, “almost perfect offenders” due to their “class entitlement.”) She seems to regard people as interchangeable members of predetermined groups – a term she uses continually - rather than as individuals. When not slandering students as racists and rapists, she flatters herself and her own intellectual prowess, often in unwittingly comical ways. And she wants to “dismantle the unquestioned common-sense of capitalism” to make way for something never quite specified but which would presumably be more suited to her authoritarian urges.

I’m not entirely sure how to describe Lubiano, but liberal isn’t the word I’m looking for.

John B

"Thus, Lubiano could presume the lacrosse team’s guilt - “regardless of the ‘truth’” – on grounds that the players were “exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus."

The cynic in me suspects she didn't really think they were guilty on the whole rape thing- I honestly doubt some of these people really believed the players were guilt.

Rather, I suspect their membership in an unapproved group had already had them guilty - of the cardinal sin of being in a "politically dominant ". The case- "regardless of the 'truth'" simply gave a more acceptable public excuse for the accusations.

David

John B,

“The cynic in me suspects she didn’t really think they were guilty on the whole rape thing…”

The cynic in you may be right. Though if true, that would make Lubiano’s behaviour even more improper and contemptible.

Rafi

The professor – tenured at an elite university - is apparently “physically traumatised and psychologically assaulted” by, among other things, global capitalism.

David, I can go one better.

"The group's agenda, clear to me after sampling as many of the meeting's 500 panels as I could, is devoted to disparaging grammar, logic, reason, evidence and fairness as instruments of white oppression. They believe rules of grammar discriminate against "marginalized" groups and restrict self-expression."

http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2011/04/_after_spending_four.html

David

Rafi,

“They believe rules of grammar discriminate against ‘marginalized’ groups and restrict self-expression.”

Thanks, I saw. Clarity, proof and logic must not be “privileged.” It’s interesting how so many leftwing “critical theorists” want to blunt and dismantle the tools of actual critical analysis. But still, those “white, European and American, middle-class contexts” must be deconstructed and triumphantly overturned. That’s what edgy people do.

And kids who can’t read or string a meaningful sentence together will really get on in the world.

David Gillies

The most salient flaw of (to paint with a broad brush) Dragunia/Indy/New Statesman Leftist thought is its relentless question-begging. Solipsism. Echo chamber. Self-congratulatory bien pensant circle-jerkery. The conclusion of the argument is assumed in its support. It's sterile. non-productive and oh, sweet merciful Jesus is it BORING! If tedium were an Olympic sport (pace Peter Simple) these people would carry all before them. They are boring on an industrial scale.

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