David Thompson
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December 10, 2011

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rjmadden

The undergraduate course: “Cultures and Economies: Occupy Wall Street” will be available next semester and taught by Professor Lisa Duggan.

Will Prof Duggan be teaching students about not wasting money they don't have on worthless courses that leave them in debt with no hope of a job?

Oh wait.

"Professor Lisa Duggan – Areas of Research: Lesbian and gay studies, queer historiographies, constructions of whiteness in the United States."

http://sca.as.nyu.edu/object/LisaDuggan

I guess that's a no, then.

David

rjmadden,

“Will Prof Duggan be teaching students about not wasting money they don’t have on worthless courses that leave them in debt with no hope of a job?”

Such practical advice wouldn’t exactly serve Professor Duggan’s political leanings or her own career prospects, which depend on students making precisely that mistake.

As I’ve said before, we have a great many students who imagine they have an unchallengeable “right” to study X at someone else’s expense, regardless of whether a degree in X will lead to private sector employment and a return via taxation. Hence the disingenuous bluster about refusing to honour the repayment of student loans, supposedly in the name of “social justice.” It’s therefore unsurprising that the most vehement supporters of the “occupy” phenomenon – a central theme of which has been student debt - have often been lecturers in disreputable, politicised, question-begging subjects with little if any market value. (David Graeber, Nina Power, Priyamvada Gopal, et al.)

When students are obliged to choose their degrees wisely because they can no longer palm off the bill on some other sucker, politically tendentious and all-but-useless courses will become, at best, a fringe indulgence. Without the taxpayer as the eternal rube, “constructions of whiteness,” “anthropology and anarchism” and “magic as a tool of politics” won’t look quite so attractive in the harsh light of day.

Mr Eugenides

In fairness,

“OWS as a topic of study offers prismatic opportunities to consider the changing shape of inequality in our society and the dynamic processes of repertoire change in social movements globally, from the picket line to the sit-in, to the consideration of life course trajectories, among other themes central to the sociological apprehension of the modern context”

is a far greater sentence than any of us will ever write.

Podsnap

It will be strange indeed when the students of the “Cultures and Economies: Occupy Wall Street” course go and protest the 1% and high student fees after they finish their degrees.

Very, very meta.

rxc

Professors like Dr. Duggan and her students seem to be quite talented in putting words together to form sentences that just roll on and on. One obvious career path for the students with these talents would be some form of writing, especially creative writing. Careers in academia would be best, of course, but Prof. Duggan is never going to retire and give up her lucrative tenured position, so they must go elsewhere. Literature and poetry come to mind, of course, but they are not very remunerative. Journalism too, but editors seem to be a bit harsh about run-on sentences and flowery language, unless the publication is quite specialized. Technical writing is out - engineers really do have a hard time writing, but no one would want the instruction manual for an airplane or a nuclear power plant to be written in this style.

No, I think the ideal career choice for these students would be - advertising.

carbon based lifeform

rxc,

That's unfair to people who work in advertising.

Karen M

I’m tempted to talk about the irony of kids taking out student loans to enrol in a class that will “study” why irate college grads who can’t get jobs are camped out in tents complaining about the amount they owe on student loans;

The thing is it might be worth studying why 'occupy' disintegrated into filth, rapes and stabbings so fast right across the country. Why (oh why) doesn't all that 'horizontal' organizing work? Why are lefty students with joke degrees so incredibly gullible and selfish? Stuff like that might actually be interesting…

Karen M

Department of Social and Cultural Analysis

Take a look at the faculty bios…

Groan.

Trimegistus

These "courses" will be nothing but training and indoctrination programs for the leaders of this coming summer's riots and street brawls. President Obama is using the same playbook as his mentor Hugo Chavez: build up a private army to disrupt opposition events, then use the police to crack down on the opposition in response to the violence.

Democracy in America: 1787-2011. R.I.P.

svh

New York University will offer a class next semester on Occupy Wall Street

So are the occupodpeople hiring now?

John West

God forgive me, but all these perverted, warped, stupid people need to be taken out back and shot before there isn't a person left in America that knows how think for themselves or perform a useful task.

This is no longer humorous. The left is taking us to oblivion. We can either line up the Jews in ww11 Germany, or we can do something about it before it's too late.

My money is on that we will line up like turkeys on Thanksgiving like the distracted idiots we have become. Between electronic gizmos and sports we are f u c k e d .

Sorry, I am furious that our once great society has come to this.

Sam

Karen M,

Why (oh why) doesn't all that 'horizontal' organizing work? Why are lefty students with joke degrees so incredibly gullible and selfish? Stuff like that might actually be interesting…

Agreed, but I can't see lefty academics wanting to teach that for some reason.

John West,

We can either line up [like?] the Jews in ww11 Germany, or we can do something about it before it's too late...Between electronic gizmos and sports we are f u c k e d .

Eh?

mojo

No need for shooting, John. These types tend to self-destruct pretty quickly. Evolution in action, and all that. Of course, they also tend to take a fair number of innocent idiots with them, so there's that.

Anna

Do we think Professor Duggan will be teaching students about any of this?

Goodbye Lenin

The true study of the intellectual elite is increasingly their own being, or rather the art of having thoughts about their thoughts of self. It might get nominally framed in a strange view of 'society' but is always about how they regard the world as opposed to how it actually is.

Sorry to be blunt, but I think the word 'wankers' fits them all perfectly.

Franklin

"sca.as.nyu.edu/object/LisaDuggan"

I'm looking forward to Prof. Duggan haranguing the NYU web development staff for classifying her as an object. Maybe the struggle will be recounted in some "scholarly" journal one day.

David

Anna,

“Do we think Professor Duggan will be teaching students about any of this?”

Given that the professor has a vested interest in affirming at least one of the protestors’ stated aims, I shouldn’t think so, at least not without some very careful and selective framing. I don’t think a realistic appraisal would be entirely helpful from her point of view, or indeed that of her students.

She is, though, the author of Sapphic Slashers, the aim of which is to “not to persuasively demonstrate an empirical link between lynching and lesbian love murder,” but “to offer a juxtaposition of customarily disconnected events and stories in order to show… how narrative technologies of sex and violence have been deployed to privatise and marginalise populations, political projects and cultural concerns.” Apparently Professor Duggan is “illustrating the work of sex and violence in making the state and the nation.”

One reviewer described the book as “a dense, indigestible mass of post-modern verbiage.”

So, the kids are in good hands.

AC1

http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2011/12/03/the-week-in-pictures-3-12-11/?pid=6420

Not sure working in a soup kitchen will help much either but..

Ted S., Catskills, NY

to privatise and marginalise populations

Hells bells, I'd rather have my identity privatised. The alternative is having these nasty collectivists trying to define my identity for me.

Anybody who wishes to deny me the right to define my identity is evil.

David

“Do we think Professor Duggan will be teaching students about any of this?”

Professor Duggan is described, rather generously, as “a specialist in modern US cultural, social and political history.” Though I’m not sure why she warrants any credibility as a guide to the ‘occupy’ phenomenon and its remarkable delinquency, except insofar as she seems broadly sympathetic to it.

Having browsed some of her material, I see that Duggan is a fan of “egalitarian co-operative thinking” and “practical utopian planning,” and has the obligatory fixation with collectivist identity politics, but dislikes Republicans and the idea of the nation state. She tells us that the activist group FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment) “produces creative analyses of public policy… they also spend a lot of energy imagining otherwise, at the nexus of intimate and public life. How might we live without a rigidly binary gender system?” The professor seems easily impressed by “radical” organisations that “make up new ways of living,” especially those that draw upon “historical resources including socialism, Pan-Africanism, anarchism, Third World anti-imperialism, women-of-color feminism and sexual dissidence.”

So the prospect of her subjecting the ‘occupy’ pantomime to a remotely realistic appraisal seems… er, remote.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

How might we live without a rigidly binary gender system?

We'd be extinct, since there wouldn't be any males to mate with any females.

Darleen

“practical utopian planning,”

Huh? Sheesh, I guess I was born without that prismatic opportunity gene.

sackcloth and ashes

'Department of Social and Cultural Analysis'.

I see the opportunity to save NYU some money ...

P45s all round!

pedant2007

Please help me. What constitutes a "prismatic" opportunity?

Rich Rostrom

To be fair:

The "Occupy" movement is a genuine social phenomenon. A fair number of people have be participated, and the "idea" has been aped in hundreds of places and many different. It has historical roots, and the initial actions were almost immediately copied by lots and lots of imitators.

That it is a foolish and destructive phenomenon doesn't make it lass valid as an object of inquiry. Spiritualism and soccer-thug rioting were foolish and destructive, but important.

But this should be a graduate-level seminar topic, not a cheerleading exercise.

I can even defend this professor's "construction of whiteness" study as possible real scholarship. According to Google Ngrams, usage of the phrase "white man" increased five-fold from 1800 to 1860, and continued to rise up to 1920, while the usage of "black man" hardly changed. Why? Argyuably, during this period a distinct "white" racial or cultural consciousness formed. The how, what, and why of this would be a worthy object of study - again, at the graduate level, and not with political axe-grinding.

That's one of the problems with discounting academic bafflegab: the actual subject mey be real.

Robert Heinlein once noted that one can generate a marshmallow "interdisciplinary" major from almost any two unrelated subjects - but if one isn't careful, one can wind up doing genuine PhD level work.

David

Rich,

“That it is a foolish and destructive phenomenon doesn’t make it lass valid as an object of inquiry.”

Well, if people wish to spend their own money on studying ‘occupy’ in a classroom (which doesn’t seem to add a great deal to what a reasonably smart person might observe anyway), I guess that’s their business. But given the context is there any reason to suppose that the lessons will be remotely realistic or encourage realistic criticism? After all, the more interesting aspects of ‘occupy’ are its various pathologies, some of which I’ve tried to highlight. And unrealistic “study” isn’t worthy of the name.

I wonder, for instance, whether students will be encouraged to question the overtly amoral tactics outlined in some detail by the occupodpeople themselves, and with which they hope to coerce the police (and of course local residents, the general public, taxpayers, etc) by escalating the level of disruption and public inconvenience:

Force the cops to clear the park inch by inch, but try to avoid arrest in so doing. Once they have cleared the park, rouse the crowd through loud amplification announcing that you intend to march (any destination will do). Get the music blaring and then march aimlessly, blocking traffic the whole way, for hours. The crowd will be energized and willing to march for a long time, being spurred on by energetic music and chants.

Note the absurdly self-justified, self-flattering tone, as if any means were acceptable in their lofty, cosmic struggle; and note the lack of any regard whatsoever for those on whom they hope to impose their will. They jump on the word “brutality” when speaking of the police but have no such words for their own thuggish narcissism, as documented here repeatedly and at length. A few classes on the colossal self-involvement, dishonesty and moral cretiny of such people – and the passive-aggressive psychodrama of leftist “radicals” in general - might be worth a few bucks. But I think we both know that isn’t likely to feature very prominently, if at all.

Goodbye Lenin

Rich Rostrom wrote: "The "Occupy" movement is a genuine social phenomenon"

But to many of us, it is a "social phenomenon" from people who do not want to integrate with society and have no real desire to contribute to it. If it is worthy of study, it is because we need to see how people can be so self-obsessed and so narrow minded that they place destruction above creation.

rjmadden

Get the music blaring and then march aimlessly, blocking traffic the whole way, for hours.

Yeah man. Radical. Blocking the traffic for hours, what a laugh.

Except... traffic means:

People trying to earn a living.
People picking up their kids.
Fire engines.
Police cars.
Ambulances.

David

“Yeah man. Radical. Blocking the traffic for hours, what a laugh.

Except... traffic means:

People trying to earn a living.
People picking up their kids.
Fire engines.
Police cars.
Ambulances.”

Exactly.

Expressed clearly, their ambitions almost make them sound like… well, sociopaths. Which, I’d guess, is why they take care not to express certain basic facts clearly (or at all). See, for example, this. It would also explain the insistence on framing the police as some dark and brutal force conveniently unrelated to the wishes and proprieties of the wider population. Say, local residents who don’t find much comfort in squalid shanty towns on their doorsteps, or round-the-clock drumming, or vandalism, or intimidating mobs, or endless territorial chants of “Whose streets? Our streets.”

Things like that.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

The real problem was the police trying to clear out the parks. Instead, they should have Occupied the Exits, and either not let anybody pass by them, or let people move in only one direction (in which case I suppose it would be Occupy the Entrances). By definition this would be no more violent than the original Occupation.

Anna

Yeah man. Radical. Blocking the traffic for hours, what a laugh.

Except... traffic means:

People trying to earn a living.
People picking up their kids.
Fire engines.
Police cars.
Ambulances.

People taking a neighbour to the doctor.
People fetching medicine.
People keeping an eye on elderly relatives.
People trying to keep (or create) jobs.

Hey we could play this game all day.
Let's call it 100 More Reasons Why Occupy Is Seriously Full of Shit.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

"We need more; you have more," one protester, Amin Husain, 36, told a Trinity official on Thursday, during an impromptu sidewalk exchange between clergy members and demonstrators.

didFoxNewsSendYou?

How many of you were pointed here because of Fox News?

David

didFoxNewsSendYou?,

“How many of you were pointed here because of Fox News?”

Having checked the referrals for this post, I see no-one was directed here via Fox News. What’s your point?

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