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David Thompson
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November 05, 2012

Comments

svh

But hey, let’s do what Laurie Penny says instead.

Whenever I'm faced with a difficult decision I always ask myself 'what would Laurie Penny do?'

David

Yes, imitating Laurie, or at least imitating her pretensions, is clearly the path to take. What could possibly go wrong? Despite her lengthy and emphatic shouting on the subject, Laurie didn’t tell us why these cultural tools should be done away with, but apparently it’s radical and that’s what matters.

As noted before, it’s one of the great problems for cartoon radicals. In denouncing bourgeois habits (usually while enjoying the benefits of such behaviour, directly or residually, and while very much counting on others holding on to such behaviour), they have little of practical use to offer their followers. If you do away with marriage, monogamy, responsibility, deferred gratification, personal territory, etc., you’re basically left with a recipe for dependency, resentment and unhappiness. Though if a person’s objective is the cultivation of dependency and resentment... then, well, I suppose that doesn’t matter.

Anna

Zombie is compiling a “complete list of Barack Obama’s scandals, misdeeds, crimes and blunders.”

Speaking of which…

ErisGuy

it’s all so incredibly radical and defiant

Except for the obscenity, it reminds of the 1920s: free love.

Laurie Penny's morality (and that of the other fools oft cited here) has been first the elite, then the majority morality for almost 100 years. The old West is dead, soon it will be buried.

Sam Duncan

“small ugly ambitions.”

Laurie and her chums much prefer big ugly ambitions.

the wolf

As Jason Riley put it succinctly in the WSJ: "Might it be that having a black man in the Oval Office is less important for black advancement than having one in the home?"

watcher

"fuck marriage"

Penny, thanks for that but I already thought fooking was one of the things that happened in it. Still, it takes a real journalist to cut through the crap and tell it like it is.

Bart

"Might it be that having a black man in the Oval Office is less important for black advancement than having one in the home?"

Yeah, but which gives "radical" liberal arts grads the greater opportunity for smug self congratulation?

Priorities, man. Priorities.

David

Here’s one.

A while ago, in a post on academic bias and indoctrination, I mentioned an unhinged Marxist English professor named Grover Furr. At the time, Furr was upset that there are still some non-leftists left in the humanities. Well, it seems our befuddled communist is still sharing his wisdom with students.

sk60

it seems our befuddled communist is still sharing his wisdom with students.

Ignore the millions of bodies. Marxism will definitely work next time.

David Gillies

I don't know which is more repellent: the Furrs of this world, who deny the barbarity and violence of Communism, or the Hobsbawms, who admit them but don't care.

David

David Gillies,

He’s an odd one, to say the least. He claims to be “fighting against exploitation, racism, sexism and capitalism,” and apparently the way to do this is to lie repeatedly and deny reality. You see, for instance, all of these people just caught a really bad cold. And these people died of entirely natural causes too. Headaches, no doubt.

Tuition fees well spent, no?

AC1

> fighting against exploitation

By being the beneficiary of state extortion! I'm adding cognitive dissonance to my list of signs of leftist mental illness (the others are projection, narcissism and envy).

carbon based lifeform

it seems our unhinged academic is still sharing his wisdom with students.

Would Montclair State University employ a Holocaust denier to teach 20th century European history?

AC1

There's plenty of economic-creationists who teach economics. It's like a flat earther teaching plate tectonics.

Rob

He's a loon.

WTP

He's a loon.

Yeah, but he sure seemed to get more applause and laughs, supportive laughter, than otherwise.

David

WTP,

“Yeah, but he sure seemed to get more applause and laughs, supportive laughter, than otherwise.”

And that’s where things get a little creepy.

In 2006, at a UC Berkeley “Teach-In Against America’s Wars,” Professor Judith Butler claimed (see video, 16:19) that it’s “extremely important” to “understand” Hamas and Hizballah as “social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left” and so, by implication, deserving of support. That a dogmatic leftist educator was urging students to express solidarity with totalitarian terrorist movements is, sadly, less than shocking. Even when the movements in question set booby traps in schools and boast of using children as human shields, and even when the stated goals of those movements include the Islamic “conquest” of the free world, the “obliteration” of Israel and the annihilation of the Jewish people. No, that kind of moral inversion is pretty commonplace.

What’s a little creepy is that Butler’s audience of students – supposedly the intellectuals of tomorrow – saw nothing to dispute and nothing to mock. Instead, they applauded her, quite emphatically.

[ Added: ]

Four years later, Butler was confronted with her own words, at which point she simply lied, insisting that hers is a “politics of non-violence.” With breathtaking hubris, she claimed that the video of her speaking had been edited in “an effort to distort” her view. Readers can watch the (continuous, unedited) video in its entirety and decide for themselves whether Professor Butler was “cut short,” distorted or taken wildly out of context... just before being applauded by her credulous admirers. (For more on Butler’s distortions and dishonesty see the comments following this. Some of the links may be of interest.)

Rafi

What’s a little creepy is that Butler’s audience of students – supposedly the intellectuals of tomorrow – saw nothing to dispute and nothing to mock. Instead, they applauded her, quite emphatically.

The students want to show their solidarity with women-hating, gay-hating child murderers. Doublethink is radical now.

David

Rafi,

“Doublethink is radical now.”

It does seem quite popular, especially among those who’ve been sufficiently processed – sorry, educated. I suppose what’s comical, or grotesque, is that the applauding students likely imagine themselves to be hugely sophisticated “critical thinkers,” and not, say, credulous jackasses.

The “teach-in” publicity material promised a panel of “experts who will provide informed and critical perspectives.” Yet Butler doesn’t seem terribly informed about the groups she champions and whose motives she distorts. Hamas and Hizballah are, we’re told, “opposed to imperialism” but the groups’ own fantasies of global Islamic dominion – “conquest” in their words - pass unremarked. Apparently we’re to admire the progressive credentials of homicidal theocrats who hijack ambulances and bomb school buses, and whose Friday sermons regularly wish “annihilation” on “every single Jew on the face of the Earth.”

So. On what does Butler base her claim of expertise? She’s a Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature who speculates about gender, often poorly and dogmatically, and who makes absurd political statements then lies about them afterwards. The “radical” event at which Butler spoke - and was agreed with, radically - was announced as “an opportunity to challenge assumptions and consensuses” and yet the air of groupthink is obvious in the video, as demonstrated by the lack of challenge to counterfactual claptrap. Even the title of the event – “Teach-In Against America’s Wars” - is tendentious. This is “challenging assumptions”? Whose, exactly?

Smudger

Still, Grover Furr. That is the best name ever.

WTP

And that’s where things get a little creepy.

What gives me the creeps is not just that there is so much support for these horrible ideas, but that even when speaking to people outside of academia there is a denial either a) that such a thing exists or b) that it is anything to be concerned about. This usually comes from the type of people who spout socialist solutions to problems, many of which were created by too much socialism itself, while denying that they themselves are in any way socialist simply because they own stock in a retirement plan. Or sometimes their denial comes in the claim that they support free “and fair” markets, as if we’re supposed to gloss over their definition of the word “fair” as being the same as support for what any rational observer would call free markets.

Henry

"What’s a little creepy is that Butler’s audience of students – supposedly the intellectuals of tomorrow – saw nothing to dispute and nothing to mock. Instead, they applauded her, quite emphatically"

My hunch - just a hunch, you understand - is that Butler's fans would turn out to be a cliquey lot if one were to get acquainted with them. I think we've already noted on this blog how her style of writing and speaking almost dares you to disagree. One of the features of groupthink of this sort is a pressure on members not to raise uncomfortable objections.

But what do I know?

David

Henry,

Somewhere online there’s a documentary of sorts about Butler, made by Paule Zajdermann, in which she’s followed around campus, around galleries, etc, while opining at tedious length and mingling with her admirers. Despite her alleged egalitarianism, she’s very much presented as the academic superstar, a higher being - a role she seems to enjoy a great deal. The sycophancy and credulity is almost funny. She speaks, lesser mortals listen gratefully; nothing is tested or disputed. I used to have some recordings of Jacques Derrida holding forth among a group of young devotees and that was even worse. Though it’s interesting how the dynamic is not unlike that of thirteen-year-old girls swooning over some shirtless boyband.

“Critical thinking,” you see.

morpork

Re PenelopeRed's tweet: "smash monogamy, screw the patriarchy and destroy marriage."

I take it she does NOT support gay marriage then.

colagirl

Sometimes I wonder if we're going to be forced to spend the next hundred years painstakingly piecing back together all the stuff we've trashed in the last fifty.

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