David Thompson
Subscribe

Categories

Blog powered by Typepad

« Do You See Clown-Self? | Main | Friday Ephemera »

January 19, 2022

Comments

David

That.

Again, chippy mediocrities and their unquenchable resentments. By which I mean, it’s entirely possible – and, I think, quite likely - that if Ms Barrett were actually gifted in her chosen sphere, as opposed to… what she is, then the wokeness would be less of an imperative for in-group status, and less of a tempting consolation.

aelfheld
[...] wokeness is corrupting. It eats away at realism, and at honesty

'Wokeness' requires others to participate in its lies.

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to. -- Theodore Dalrymple
WTP

Meanwhile, among her other works, I can't believe I just took mine to the landfill.

Obviously where art was headed after The Unmade Bed. And it took them 20 years to get there. Lazy bastards.

pst314

Horrors: Racial capitalism!

"Rowland interprets the prison labor force to be a practiced form of neo-slavery that continues to thrive in our present economy...Rowland approaches his role as an artist to be like an investigative reporter, seeking out intellectual, factual, and material evidence to support his written claims."

I'm not sure precisely how "a practiced form of slavery" is different from "a form of slavery", but I think the distinction can be found the work of Oswald Bates and Jacques Derrida.

ccscientist

Prison labor: it is costing everyone to keep people in prison. It seems reasonable for them to work to pay some of that off. In the past that was why they just hanged you--prison was too expensive. It can also be argued that prison labor gives work experience--though it is sometimes not real work and not useful experience.
Rowland: "a critique of property" very marxist but this same "artist" would not like it if you just walked off with his exhibit. This is a fancy way of dressing up envy.
Propaganda also serves to notify the peons as to what the official line is. This is the same purpose that complaints about "misinformation" serve today in the US: lets you know the party line. Of course the party line on covid is so muddled who can keep it straight? The party line on jan 6 or school boards does indeed fit Dalrymple's formula.

Steve E

2) If so, what might be annoying about it from a narration perspective? I'm thinking of two major things myself.

If I over-analyze it, to me, the narrator is trying too hard. It feels like she's selling something. It gets my hackles up and I reflexively resist what she says. But I don't like listening to audible books either (which is odd because I enjoy listening to old radio shows). I feel like I'm being manipulated.

Also in this case, her tone is somewhat condescending.

Steve E

It seems reasonable for them to work to pay some of that off.

The Soviets built their whole economy around that principle.

It can also be argued that prison labor gives work experience

One might even say "Arbeit macht frei."

There will always be prisons. The question is what crimes will be punished. It's easy to see how a leftist views prison as slavery. They will project.

Darleen

Jordan Peterson resigns.

WTP

It feels like she's selling something

Well I thought it was a 'he'...in the traditional sense. But without giving my perception away (or not) that was the slightly less thing that bothered me.

Also in this case, her tone is somewhat condescending.

And this being the slightly more annoying. Though in my head I have it as if specifically talking to a child. Though pretty much the same thing. Thanks.

Steve E

Jordan Peterson resigns.

You can read his full reasoning here in yesterday's National Post.

WTP

The Soviets built their whole economy around that principle.

True-ish but like the Nazis, they really didn't care if their prisoners lived or died. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a little work to earn their keep. Also, generally speaking and from what I understand from law enforcement and some people who have worked the prison system (one of my dad's close friends had been a warden, and some guards I once shot pool with) prisoners are actually rewarded by getting outside the prison to work. At my hometown in GA where due to the hilly lots and such where people (like us) find it easier to take our own trash to the dump the prisoners work the dump on certain days helping people unload. They are exceptionally polite as it is a reward for good behavior.

Steve E

True-ish but like the Nazis, they really didn't care if their prisoners lived or died.

Timothy Snyder wrote an excellent book on this topic: Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

Re the narration, she (and, yes, I hear a woman narrating) exhibited an unnatural tone. The pacing is deliberately slow, which is necessary since it gives the listener time to absorb it.

What annoys me more is the content. The object at the center is not a lantern, unless someone can remove it from the wall. Spring and Winter are not proper nouns; it should not be capitalized. Nor Farm Village unless that's an official title. Some of the facts seem suspect. Does winding a clock keep it free from corrosion, or would coating them in oil suffice?

Overall, thinking about this, I think the narration pace is suitable. I imagine walking about, taking it is, and the narration shouldn't rush me too fast (you can start and stop the tape, but that distracts from the experience).

Rebecca

The Soviets built their whole economy around that principle.

What's going on with the memory of the gulags, or rather the use of the gulags as an ideological crowbar? It used to be that right wingers like Robert Conquest wanted to bring the gulags up, and left wingers said there were no gulags, or gulags have to be put into context, or the gulags only have deserving prisoners, or why are you so obsessed with gulags?

I've been watching vlogs by Russians who seem to be "democratic" and "progressive" and "leftist" in the current sense of those terms (ie Russians in the habit of vlogging about how racist or homophobic other Russians are); vloggers from a generation with no direct memory of the Soviet Union, and whose cultural reference points come from American social media. But these progressive vloggers want to bring up the gulags as a subject that Russians should be ashamed of. And it seems that Putin's regime is trying to suppress criticism of the gulags or put gulags in context or question the motives of people who want to talk about gulags. I'm confused about what's left and what's right here.

PiperPaul

You can read his full reasoning here in yesterday's National Post.

The quote from Putin is interesting.

Steve E

I'm confused about what's left and what's right here.

We've been lead to believe that Fascism is right and Communism is left, when in fact they are two sides of the same coin. They are both leftist ideologies and share the same continuum. Any discussion between left and right in this case is moot; witness China's pivot to Fascism. Classic liberalism was seen by both those ideologies as the true enemy as it is by leftists in the west.

Here's what Putin had to say recently. Jordan Peterson quotes him while explaining why he resigned his tenured position at U of T:

“The advocates of so-called ‘social progress’ believe they are introducing humanity to some kind of a new and better consciousness. Godspeed, hoist the flags, as we say, go right ahead. The only thing that I want to say now is that their prescriptions are not new at all. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already. After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also said that they would change existing ways and customs, and not just political and economic ones, but the very notion of human morality and the foundations of a healthy society. The destruction of age-old values, religion, and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones — all this was proclaimed progress and, by the way, was widely supported around the world back then and was quite fashionable, same as today. By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs.

“This, I believe, should call to mind some of what we are witnessing now. Looking at what is happening in a number of Western countries, we are amazed to see the domestic practices — which we, fortunately, have left, I hope — in the distant past. The fight for equality and against discrimination has turned into aggressive dogmatism bordering on absurdity, when the works of the great authors of the past — such as Shakespeare — are no longer taught at schools or universities, because their ideas are believed to be backward. The classics are declared backward and ignorant of the importance of gender or race. In Hollywood, memos are distributed about proper storytelling and how many characters of what color or gender should be in a movie. This is even worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.”

I don't follow what Putin has to say too closely but that quote doesn't seem to deny the backwardness of the Soviet system and the trap the west is falling into. It doesn't reference the gulags and the mass murder that occurred under the Soviet system, but it seems to be open criticism of the things that lead to it. The quote appears in context in the link I made above to the National Post.

pst314

"We've been lead to believe that Fascism is right and Communism is left, when in fact they are two sides of the same coin. They are both leftist ideologies and share the same continuum."

We can thank the propaganda organs of the Soviet Union for initiating the lie that fascism is "right wing", as well as the related lie that those who oppose socialism and favor individual liberty are "fascists".

Sam

Prison labor: it is costing everyone to keep people in prison. It seems reasonable for them to work to pay some of that off.

You'll have to find a solution to the problem of prison slave labor undercutting legitimate businesses vying for the work being done. I thought Shawshank Redemption did a good job demonstrating the innate corruption such arrangements invite.

Personally I'd be satisfied with prisoners merely being denied their rights for a proscribed term. That we generally turn a blind eye to the rampant violence and rape between inmates and thuggish behavior from guards is not western society's proudest aspect.

sonny wayz

The series is, frankly, a self-indulgent wankfest. But the film, Serenity is actually rather good

Interesting. I preferred the series, finding the film a bit OTT in places. However, the film did tie together some story threads. Possibly due to the series being canned suddenly, without an opportunity to develop the story arc.

The above being from memory, not having seen either in ages.

Steve E

The quote from Putin is interesting.

Great minds think alike. I was formatting my post while you were posting so I didn't see it. Cheers

sonny wayz

@ Uma's feet (no, I don't want to know)

"Does winding a clock keep it free from corrosion, or would coating them in oil suffice?"

Haven't listened to the recording, but my first thought is this is the result of a game of 'telephone'. It started out as 'seizing', and somewhere got warped into 'corrosion'. Bearings can get a bit (!!!) sticky if not exercised.

Or, of course, it could all be bollocks.

WTP

The difference between fascism and communism IMNSHO is the scope. Fascists and communists are both state-centered, top down systems. The difference is fascism is oriented toward what is best for the state, with the implication that the state then decides what is best for the people. Communism is more global and far reaching even into the state in which itself resides.

Fascism will mostly leave you alone, especially if you are of the soceoethnic majority of that state. It is nationalistic but can be a bit broad minded as one can sort of see in the balkans and central Europe, re Austrian-Hungary Empire or much more softly Czechoslovakia. The latter is a stretch but still in the general idea. These systems are functional internally as there are not so many cultural differences to overcome. Not good but not awful. Until Germany f'd that up with their hyper-expansionism and almost communist-like turning on and viciously persecuting their own citizens, though mostly limited to Jews and other minorities.

Communism OTOH is completely unworkable, views even its own citizens, regardless of ethnicity (though often harder on Jews and such) as prey. And when they run out of wreckers and hoarders and such to blame, they turn on their neighboring countries as OBVIOUSLY there is nothing wrong with communism because it exists for the good of ALL peoples. It's these other countries and their policies who are to blame. For communism to work, EVERYONE must comply. It's for EVERYONE'S own good of course. Fascism makes no such claim and thus is slightly more honest.

Fascism, for all its faults is nothing more than the nationalism that has functioned and been able to survive since civilization began. Communism OTOH is everywhere and always a failure. China is only the power, and thus threat, that it is today because after Mao they shifted from communism to fascism. To some degree one can quibble about which factions/ethnicities in China are the actual state but that's a digression for another context.

JMNSHO, you understand.

Darleen

as the related lie that those who oppose socialism and favor individual liberty are "fascists".

Mussolini created fascism and was quite clear that he considered the [classical] liberal ideal of individualism wrong. For him, the individual only existed, and found his/her true fulfillment within the State (never against it or outside it, either).

Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State.... It is opposed to classical Liberalism.... Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual.

WTP

You'll have to find a solution to the problem of prison slave labor undercutting legitimate businesses vying for the work being done.

Agree that they should not be offered to the highest bidder, but doing work that falls within the responsibility of the state is fine. As I said, helping out at the dump, basic road maintenance, growing their own food, etc.

Doing work for private enterprise should be flat out forbidden.

Steve E

For him, the individual only existed, and found his/her true fulfillment within the State (never against it or outside it, either).

Yes. Another spawn of Rousseau.

mokka

that quote doesn't seem to deny the backwardness of the Soviet system and the trap the west is falling into

The sophisticated Guardian is on principle against simplistic narratives and in favor of contextualization,
but the contextualization has to be put in context

With the Soviet victory in the second world war elevated to a national rallying point under Vladimir Putin’s presidency, the forced labour camps, through which millions of Soviet citizens passed, are seen by many as an unfortunate but necessary by-product. In many museums and in much public discourse, the Gulag is not ignored completely, but is “contextualised” in a way that plays down the horror and pairs it with the war, suggesting the two come as a package.

Let's make Russians as manipulable by guilt as the Germans, but our intentions are purely therapeutic...

But unlike Germany ... the Russian state ... has never been forced to fully accept the terrible weight of its past ... not calls for vengeance or destruction, but a desire to find atonement and peace ...

And Putin is saying let's have the history, but don't try to guilt-trip us like the Germans.

It appeals to our conscience and sentiment, calling for a deep and honest understanding of the period of repression, and empathy for its victims. ... Indeed, we and our descendants must remember the tragedy of repression and what caused it. However, this does not mean settling scores. We cannot push society to a dangerous line of confrontation yet again.

So if I understand how all this is chained together ... Putin's language of national cohesion and collective action harks back to the Great Patriotic War. The Gulags cast a moral taint that undermines national cohesion not only then but now. This is a good thing according to people who equate national cohesion with jingoism and racism, and a bad thing according to Putin.

Steve E

So if I understand how all this is chained together ...

Thank you. An interesting analysis.

The challenge I have with the Guardian piece is that conflating the Gulag with the War ignores the fact that the Gulag pre-dates the war and was an endemic feature of Marxist-Leninism as anyone who has read Solzhenytsyn can see.

Why were so many Russian soldiers who spent time at the front put into the Gulag as Solzhenytsyn himself was? This conflation may simply be the result of time. There are almost no pre-war people still living who weren't young children. It's easy to romanticize the war effort especially as the last of that generation dies out. Tying the two together is a convenient way to sweep away the unsavory.

At least, the Russians acknowledge the Gulag when teaching their history. The ignorance in western schools of such a horrid past is astounding. When a Soviet era leader has to point out that the west is losing its collective mind, you know we are well and truly screwed. I speak as someone who lost relatives (through my paternal grandmother) during the Holodomor.

pst314

The challenge I have with the Guardian piece is that conflating the Gulag with the War ignores the fact that the Gulag pre-dates the war and was an endemic feature of Marxist-Leninism as anyone who has read Solzhenytsyn can see.

Indeed. A very important error. "Error".

WTP

OK, not to beat a dead horse but went back and played the Vizcaya link again, listening for a female voice. I still wasn't sure. My wife hearing it again said female. But when I noted that I sensed a slight lisp there, she wasn't sure. Because I asked a question that never occurred to me before but neither of us could recall a female who had a lisp. Or one of that manner. She herself had a somewhat similar speech impediment such that I have fun tormenting her with tongue twisters, but that is something rather distinct from a lisp or at least the kind of lisp we were perceiving. But maybe I'm perceiving (or imagining) something too subtle to be generally distinct?

Karl

Wow, that Vixcaya guy was a genuinely massive philanthropist eh? Giving more-or-less permanent employment to a village-load of useless swamp people, even when he wasn't there.

Though I don't think that's the impressions the obviously female narrator was going for.

Governor Squid

There are almost no pre-war people still living who weren't young children.

I'd posit that your observation could be broader: there are almost no people alive today, anywhere in the world, who weren't young children.

Steve E

there are almost no people alive today, anywhere in the world, who weren't young children.

Touchée!

Stuart

I remember going to the Googenheim in New York with my brother. Unlike the Met Museum, where we happily spent most of the day looking at amazing things, we were so disappointed with the lack of quality of the exhibitions. We spent two hours looking at a bunch of average paintings and sculptures, and then we both stopped and stared when we saw a genuinely good painting - something to properly *look at* rather than just pass by.

It was a Rembrant.

The rest was a traaash fire.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Amazon-co-uk-logo
Amazon Link

Blogroll