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Showing posts from September, 2010

Idiotically Offensive Reactionary Propaganda

Recently, perhaps because I want to be annoyed and angry, I've been reading posts on websites devoted to the alarming American fascist movement down south. Aside from finding them frightening, I'm also mystified by their utter stupidity. (My pet peeve is their "Obama = Marxist" equation that is followed by their "Socialism = National Socialism" claim that ignores the fact that, really, they're the fascist movement.) In fact, they are often willfully stupid and proud about being stupid - why else would their ideologue, Glenn Beck, denounce intellectuals and academics on a regular basis? Funding public schools is a communist conspiracy, so ignorance is an American freedom...

1. The Token Canadian

Um... We would go to our better hospitals in Canada I would assume. Where we get medical care for free. Aside from whacko libertarians, Canadians tend to be happy with their health care system. If anything, we don't like the fact that privatization is c…

Where's Andrea Dworkin When We Need Her?

The recent and brutal gang rape in BC sadly demonstrates, once again, that the late and much-maligned Andrea Dworkin is not an outdated dinosaur. Her analysis of misogynist violence, the institutions and ideology connected to patriarchy, is not something we can easily dismiss. Her speech "I Want A Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape" is still tragically relevant: there was never any truce and this most recent example of misogynist warfare is another terrible instance, in a long list of patriarchal violence, of the ongoing oppression of women.

Somewhere in the counter-revolutionary late 80s the unrelenting feminism of the Dworkins was shunted aside for the so-called "sex-positive" feminism of the 3rd Wave. The sexist violence continued but it became taboo, in certain chic feminist circles, to ask about the normative grounds of this violence, the institutional and ideological props for the material reality of patriarchy. It was just not fun to ima…

On Anti-Intellectual "Leftism"

Amongst leftwing academics, especially marxists, there is often an impulse to embrace a crude anti-intellectualism. Expressed in the form of radical politics, this impulse claims that intellectualism is "elitism", that academia and theory are ultimately bourgeois, and that there is some sort of authentic working-class way of being that is anti-academic and anti-intellectual. While I agree that intellectual elitism is a problem that needs to be confronted, I am increasingly concerned with this simplistic anti-intellectualism. Sometimes it takes the form of a general disdain for academia and academic texts. Other times it is a more specific type of disdain - that book, that work of art, that piece of music, that film is bourgeois.

My first problem with this position is that it is just as elitist as the elitism it is supposedly attacking: "You're bourgeois because you like to go to symphonies; I attend proletariat concerts of working-class folk singers." (And …