Saturday, February 17, 2018

… But now we have another problem.
What is that?
What if we find out what makes each of us internally consistent? What if I find your proper name, that thing which describes exactly what you are?
Than I will always be honest, or predictable at least. And you will be able to interpret everything I say and never be wrong. And of course I’ll know your name as well.
No dishonesty, no subterfuge, no Freud, no art… Then we can all be logical positivists.
But it doesn’t matter. That dream’s irrelevant.
I want unification.
It’s an illusion.
I want the illusion.
Do you want the illusion or do you want the illusion to be real?
What’s the difference?
One means that you have an appreciation of the arts. The other means that you’re a fascist.
I thought the above was obvious when I wrote it, and I ignore the fact that people never get the joke, or laugh but are unwilling to admit what it means. I have to turn a paragraph of dialogue into a book for people to take it seriously and think. And even that won't do any good.

Fascism is the difference between art and kitsch, but kitsch is still a form of art.

Fascism is living life as art, believing in the fantasy and mandating that others believe it too: the weakling with a gun, the pederast from Opus Dei.

Offering a drag queen the courtesy of the female pronoun is an acceptance of art;  His demand to be called a woman is fascist.

still writing this shit...

Art is the creation and recreation of this world as a richer one, of animate and inanimate objects suffused with meaning. It's the construction of a moral world, where every aspect manifests the unity of the whole. That world could be a Hell, but it will have the integrity of a hell beyond any hell that could ever exist outside an imagination.

But it is a hell crafted out of a medium: language, paint, stone, or silver halide, and it cannot exist outside the material. A successful work of art is an artifice that pulls us into an illusion and reminds us that it is one. A writer of hells is a writer, not a hell-maker. "A Holbein portrait is first a painting, second a Holbein, third a portrait, and fourth a portrait of.  Art is first artifice and the medium carries the weight and the responsibility of presence." Art is a lie that tells us it is a lie and still makes us want to believe. And it is a work of craft that reminds us it is a work of craft and asks for our acknowledgment and respect. The pleasure of art comes from the tension between the two.

A culture, or a period in any culture will manifest its ethos, and contradictions, in its art. Art history is comparative. We don't share the fantasies of people of the past, but we can read the records, and we experience the sensibilities, the ethea, in art. The work we value of the past and the work of the present that will be valued in the future, describe, and make manifest, desires and contradictions that we, in reading, or looking, can still feel. We study and re-study art because we continue individually to experience it, even as we're taking it apart and examining it. In studying the  art of the past or present, we learn about ourselves, but we remember that people in the future will be better judges  of out art, and of us than we are. The value of art is the value of the honesty that can come with drunkenness. But the people who make it are reminding us and themselves, constantly that in fact we're all still sober.

The modern invention, kitsch, is the ideal of a fantasy world without mediation, without craft or medium. It's a dream that the dreamer asks or demands to be taken as reality.

Art is a lie that reminds us that it's a lie, even as it temps us. It's how we learn about our hopes and temptations and ourselves. Fascism is the choice to follow the lie and demand that others follow us.

a new draft of something. I'm still writing the post.

Monday, February 12, 2018

I'd always thought of Teachout as a overly earnest and shallow -self-serving- moral conservative, but now nihilism is a moral option.

Friday, February 09, 2018

rationalism v empiricism, theory v practice, legal philosophers v lawyers, universalism v particularism (or universalism as such v universalism in the context of particular experience), blablabla, etc. etc, just to keep the links handy.  The case and the Ginsburg quote specifically is well known.

1- Academic Ethics: Is ‘Diversity’ the Best Reason for Affirmative Action?
What went unnoted is that most Anglophone philosophy departments offer little or no coverage of most of Western philosophy of the past two centuries, from Hegel to Nietzsche to Habermas. Leading philosophy departments from Princeton to Oxford are, indeed, not very intellectually diverse, but their lack of diversity reflects no submerged racial or ethnic motivation: It reflects, instead, the evolution of a discipline — hugely shaped by refugees from Nazism, ironically — that moved closer to the natural sciences than the other humanities in its conception of method.

No one, to my knowledge, is complaining about lack of attention to "Chinese" physics in American physics departments, which suggests that here, again, diversity is being invoked opportunistically to avoid a substantive debate about the merits of alternative methods and substantive views, or the virtues of specialization in a particular method. As Thomas Kuhn famously observed many years ago, "normal science" often makes great progress when there is not diversity, but convergence on methods, assumptions, and problems.
2- Supreme Court Rules Strip Search Violated 13-Year-Old Girl's Rights
Arizona school officials violated the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old girl when they strip-searched her on the suspicion she might be hiding ibuprofen in her underwear, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday. The decision put school districts on notice that such searches are "categorically distinct" from other efforts to combat illegal drugs.

In a case that had drawn attention from educators, parents and civil libertarians across the country, the court ruled 8 to 1 that such an intrusive search without the threat of a clear danger to other students violated the Constitution's protections against unreasonable search or seizure.

Justice David H. Souter, writing perhaps his final opinion for the court, said that in the search of Savana Redding, now a 19-year-old college student, school officials overreacted to vague accusations that Redding was violating school policy by possessing the ibuprofen, equivalent to two tablets of Advil.

What was missing, Souter wrote, "was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear."

It was reasonable to search the girl's backpack and outer clothes, but Safford Middle School administrators made a "quantum leap" in taking the next step, the opinion said. "The meaning of such a search, and the degradation its subject may reasonably feel, place a search that intrusive in a category of its own demanding its own specific suspicions," Souter wrote.

Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter. "Judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in the school environment," he wrote.

He said administrators were only being logical in searching the girl. "Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments," he wrote. "Nor will she be the last after today's decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school."

The court's virtual unanimity was in contrast to the intense oral argument that seemed to exasperate the court's only female member, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She later said her male colleagues seemed not to appreciate the trauma such a search would have on a developing adolescent.

"They have never been a 13-year-old girl," she told USA Today when asked about her colleagues' comments during the arguments. "It's a very sensitive age for a girl. I didn't think that my colleagues, some of them, quite understood."

But yesterday's opinion recognized just that. "Changing for gym is getting ready for play," Souter wrote. "Exposing for a search is responding to an accusation reserved for suspected wrongdoers" and is so degrading that a number of states and school districts have banned strip searches. The Washington region's two largest school districts are among them.
I've linked to Ginsburg before, making the same point; ditto Leiter.
But it's not often Leiter's so direct in defending scientistic arguments for philosophy. But saying that would be ignoring his reference to Kuhn.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

You know,…it is easy in America to take a very tiny sum like five hundred thousand dollars and turn it into three hundred million! So easy! But you know what? I don’t want to. Because eet means raping those poor fuckers the American public even more than they are already. You know what ees the difference between the European peasant and the American peasant? The American peasant eats sheet, wears sheet, watches sheet on TV, looks out of his window at sheet! How can we go on raping them and giving them more sheet to buy!
Omygod, I think, this is the man who dragged Cambodia into the Vietnam War, but of course I say nothing, even when a waitress comes by to ask what we want to eat.

“What’s on the menu?” asks Kissinger, and I can barely restrain myself from shrieking, “What’s on the menu, Henry? Would that be Operation Menu?

Instead I obsequiously offer to go and fetch some nibbles. With success comes compromise, and it’s amazingly easy to forget two million massacred Cambodians as one is passing around the cheese straws.

The first passage above is "an unnamed Italian art dealer" in NY, as quoted by Tina Brown; the second is from a memoir by Rupert Everett, used by the author of the review as a comparison and model of what a chatty jet set memoir should be. I'm not sure he's fully aware of the relation.

"Craig Brown has been a columnist for Private Eye since 1989." His first piece for the NYRB, courtesy of Ian Baruma.

According to Wikipedia, Everett is a former sex worker, supporter of legalized prostitution, opponent of gay marriage and Starbucks, and a patron of the British Monarchist Society.
He's there, right between Andrea Leadsom and Boris Johnson, just above John Barrowman.

a gentleman never lets politics get in the way of a friendship etc.

new tag for Aristocrats.

Sunday, January 28, 2018


Three seems like piling on.
It's an unequivocal no from me. The way your colleague Ashleigh (?), someone I'm certain no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of, by the way, ripped into my source directly was one of the lowest, most despicable things I've ever seen in my entire life. Shame on her. Shame on HLN. Ashleigh could have "talked" to me. She could have "talked" to my editor or my publication. But instead, she targeted a 23-year-old woman in one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, someone she's never f---ing met before, for a little attention. I hope the ratings were worth it! I hope the ~500 RTs on the single news write-up made that burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been feel really relevant for a little while. She DISGUSTS me, and I hope when she has more distance from the moment she has enough of a conscience left to feel remotely ashamed — doubt it, but still. Must be nice to piggyback off of the fact that another woman was brave enough to speak up and add another dimension to the societal conversation about sexual assault. Grace wouldn't know how that feels, because she struck out into this alone, because she's the bravest person I've ever met. I would NEVER go on your network. I would never even watch your network. No woman my age would ever watch your network. I will remember this for the rest of my career — I'm 22 and so far, not too shabby! And I will laugh the day you fold. If you could let Ashleigh know I said this, and that she is no-holds-barred the reason, it'd be a real treat for me.

The corollary of 'Bro' is 'Babe'
Universities would deserve criticism for rejecting a presentation by the authors of the Nuremberg Laws, but would be right in rejecting a speech by a rabble-rousing journalist who promotes them.
Steve Bannon is a Yes.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Monday, January 01, 2018

Making the rounds again, if not among people born in this country, though they may live here:
"An oldie but goodie", "Ages like fine wine".

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Margot met Robert on a Wednesday night toward the end of her fall semester. She was working behind the concession stand at the artsy movie theatre downtown when he came in and bought a large popcorn and a box of Red Vines.
That option, of blunt refusal, doesn’t even consciously occur to her—she assumes that if she wants to say no she has to do so in a conciliatory, gentle, tactful way, in a way that would take “an amount of effort that was impossible to summon.” And I think that assumption is bigger than Margot and Robert’s specific interaction; it speaks to the way that many women, especially young women, move through the world: not making people angry, taking responsibility for other people’s emotions, working extremely hard to keep everyone around them happy. It’s reflexive and self-protective, and it’s also exhausting, and if you do it long enough you stop consciously noticing all the individual moments when you’re making that choice.
A Viral Short Story for the #MeToo Moment
The depiction of uncomfortable romance in "Cat Person" seems to resonate with countless women.
BBC Trending: Cat Person: The short story people are talking about

I've said it all before.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

See: Tushnet

The distinctions between speech and non-speech, art and non-art, are absurd.

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
JUSTICE GINSBURG: --- the question that I started out with, I --- I wanted to clarify that what you're talking about is a custom--made cake. You are not challenging his obligation to sell his ordinary wares, his, as you put it, already--made wares?

MS. WAGGONER: Not at all. And, in fact, Mr. Phillips offered the couple anything in his store, as well as offered to sell additional cakes, custom cakes, that would express other messages.


JUSTICE KAGAN: Ms. Waggoner -­-

JUSTICE GINSBURG: -- you mentioned -­- you brought up Hurley, but in Hurley, the parade was the event. It was the speech, a parade. At a wedding ceremony, I take it, the speech is of the people who are marrying and perhaps the officiant, but who -- who else speaks at a wedding?

MS. WAGGONER: The artist speaks, Justice Ginsburg. It's as much Mr. Phillips's speech as it would be the couples'. And in Hurley [Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, Inc.], the Court found a violation of the compelled speech doctrine.

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Who else then? Who else as an artist? Say the --- the person who does floral arranging, owns a floral shop. Would that person also be speaking at the wedding?

MS. WAGGONER: If the --- if they are custom--designed arrangements and they are being forced to create artistic expression which this Court determines is a message --­

JUSTICE KAGAN: So could -­-

JUSTICE GINSBURG: How about the person who designs the invitation?


JUSTICE GINSBURG: Invitation to the wedding or the menu for the wedding dinner?

MS. WAGGONER: Certainly, words and symbols would be protected speech, and the question would be whether the objection is to
the message provided or if it's to the person.

JUSTICE KAGAN: So the jeweler?

MS. WAGGONER: It would depend on the context as all free--speech cases depend on. What is the jeweler asked to do?

JUSTICE KAGAN: Hair stylist?

MS. WAGGONER: Absolutely not. There's no expression or protected speech in that kind of context, but what if --­

JUSTICE KAGAN: Why is there no speech in --- in creating a wonderful hairdo?

MS. WAGGONER: Well, it may be artistic, it may be creative, but what the Court asks when they're -­-

JUSTICE KAGAN: The makeup artist?

MS. WAGGONER: No. What the Court would ask --­

JUSTICE KAGAN: It's called an artist. It's the makeup artist.

MS. WAGGONER: The makeup artist may, again, be using creativity and artistry, but when this Court is looking at whether speech is involved, it asks the question of is it communicating something, and is it analogous to
other protected -­-


MS. WAGGONER: -- forms of speech.

JUSTICE KAGAN: -- I'm quite serious, actually, about this, because, you know, a makeup artist, I think, might feel exactly as your client does, that they're doing something that's of-- of great aesthetic importance to the -- to the wedding and to -- and that there's a lot of skill and artistic vision that goes into making a -- somebody look beautiful. And why -- why wouldn't that person or the hairstylist -- why wouldn't that also count?

MS. WAGGONER: Because it's not speech. And that's the first trigger point -­

JUSTICE KAGAN: Some people may say that about cakes, you know?


JUSTICE KAGAN: But you have a -- you have a view that a cake can be speech because it involves great skill and artistry.
And I guess I'm wondering, if that's the case, you know, how do you draw a line?? How do you decide, oh, of course, the chef and the baker are on one side, and you said, I
think, the florist is on that side, the chef, the baker, the florist, versus the hairstylist or the makeup artist??
I mean, where would you put a tailor, a tailor who makes a wonderful suit of clothes?? Where does that come in?

MS. WAGGONER: Your Honor, the tailor is not engaged in speech, nor is the chef engaged in speech but, again, this Court -­

JUSTICE KAGAN: Well, why -- well -­ woah. The baker is engaged in speech, but the chef is not engaged in speech?

MS. WAGGONER: The test that this Court has used in the past to determine whether speech is engaged in is to ask if it is communicating something, and if whatever is being communicated, the medium used is similar to other mediums that this Court has protected. Not -­-

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Does it depend on -­-

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: So that begs the question, when have we ever given protection to a food? The primary purpose of a food of any kind is to be eaten.
Now, some people might love the
aesthetic appeal of a special desert, and look at it for a very long time, but in the end its only purpose is to be eaten.
And the same with many of the things that you've mentioned. A hairdo is to show off the person, not the artist. When people at a wedding look at a wedding cake and they see words, as one of the amici here, the pastry chef said, there was a gentleman who had upset his wife and written some words that said "II'm sorry for what I did,"" something comparable, and the chef was asked, the cake maker was asked, was that affiliated with you?
And she said no. It's affiliated with the person who shows the cake at their wedding. It's what they wish to show.
So how is this your client's expression, and how can we find something whose predominant purpose is virtually always to be eaten? Call it a medium for expressive expression. Mind you, I can see if they've -­ create a cake and put it in a museum as an example of some work of art, that might be different because the circumstances would show
that they want this to be affiliated with themselves.
But explain how that becomes expressive speech, that medium becomes expressive speech.

MS. WAGGONER: Certainly not all cakes would be considered speech, but in the wedding context, Mr. Phillips is painting on a blank canvas. He is creating a painting on that canvas that expresses messages, and including words and symbols in those messages.
-"Certainly not all cakes would be considered speech"

-"You are not challenging his obligation to sell his ordinary wares, his, as you put it, already--made wares?

MS. WAGGONER: Not at all. And, in fact, Mr. Phillips offered the couple anything in his store, as well as offered to sell additional cakes, custom cakes, that would express other messages."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

This has been getting a lot of play.
The first four of more than 40 click and follow the thread

Monday, November 06, 2017

Gustav Grundgens in Fritz Lang's M, (1931)
Arendt contra Brecht, Baudelaire, and Dark Zero 30

The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 3, Ch. 1, Sec. 2: The Temporary Alliance Between the Elite and the Mob
If we compare this generation with the nineteenth-century ideologists, with whose theories they sometimes seem to have so much in common, their chief distinction is their greater authenticity and passion. They had been more deeply touched by misery, they were more concerned with the perplexities and more deadly hurt by hypocrisy than all the apostles of good will and brotherhood had been. And they could no longer escape into exotic lands, could no longer afford to be dragon-slayers among strange and exciting people. There was no escape from the daily routine of misery, meekness, frustration, and resentment embellished by a fake culture of educated talk; no conformity to the customs of fairy-tale lands could possibly save them from the rising nausea that this combination continuously inspired.

This inability to escape into the wide world, this feeling of being caught again and again in the trappings of society—so different from the conditions which had formed the imperialist character—added a constant strain and the yearning for violence to the older passion for anonymity and losing oneself. Without the possibility of a radical change of role and character, such as the identification with the Arab national movement or the rites of an Indian village, the self-willed immersion in the suprahuman forces of destruction seemed to be a salvation from the automatic identification with pre-established functions in society and their utter banality, and at the same time to help destroy the functioning itself. These people felt attracted to the pronounced activism of totalitarian movements, to their curious and only seemingly contradictory insistence on both the primacy of sheer action and the overwhelming force of sheer necessity. This mixture corresponded precisely to the war experience of the "front generation," to the experience of constant activity within the framework of overwhelming fatality.

Activism, moreover, seemed to provide new answers to the old and troublesome question, "Who am I?" which always appears with redoubled persistence in times of crisis. If society insisted, "You are what you appear to be," postwar activism replied: "You are what you have done"—for instance, the man who for the first time had crossed the Atlantic in an air-plane (as in Brecht's Der Flug der Lindberghs)—an answer which after the second World War was repeated and slightly varied by Sartre's "You are your life" (in Huis Clos). The pertinence of these answers lies less in their validity as redefinitions of personal identity than in their usefulness for an eventual escape from social identification, from the multiplicity of inter-changeable roles and functions which society had imposed. The point was to do something, heroic or criminal, which was unpredictable and undetermined by anybody else.

The pronounced activism of the totalitarian movements, their preference for terrorism over all other forms of political activity, attracted the intellectual elite and the mob alike, precisely because this terrorism was so utterly different from that of the earlier revolutionary societies. It was no longer a matter of calculated policy which saw in terrorist acts the only means to eliminate certain outstanding personalities who, because of their policies or position, had become the symbol of oppression. What proved so attractive was that terrorism had become a kind of philosophy through which to express frustration, resentment, and blind hatred, a kind of political expressionism which used bombs to express oneself, which watched delightedly the publicity given to resounding deeds and was absolutely willing to pay the price of life for having succeeded in forcing the recognition of one's existence on the normal strata of society. It was still the same spirit and the same game which made Goebbels, long before the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany, announce with obvious delight that the Nazis, in case of defeat, would know how to slam the door behind them and not to be forgotten for centuries.

Yet it is here if anywhere that a valid criterion may be found for distinguishing the elite from the mob in the pretotalitarian atmosphere. What the mob wanted, and what Goebbels expressed with great precision, was access to history even at the price of destruction. Goebbels' sincere conviction that "the greatest happiness that a contemporary can experience today" is either to be a genius or to serve one,[57] was typical of the mob but neither of the masses nor the sympathizing elite. The latter, on the contrary, took anonymity seriously to the point of seriously denying the existence of genius; all the art theories of the twenties tried desperately to prove that the excellent is the product of skill, craftsmanship, logic, and the realization of the potentialities of the material.[58] The mob, and not the elite, was charmed by the "radiant power of fame" (Stefan Zweig) and accepted enthusiastically the genius idolatry of the late bourgeois world. In this the mob of the twentieth century followed faithfully the pattern of earlier parvenus who also had discovered the fact that bourgeois society would rather open its doors to the fascinating "abnormal," the genius, the homosexual, or the Jew, than to simple merit. The elite's contempt for the genius and its yearning for anonymity was still witness of a spirit which neither the masses nor the mob were in a position to understand, and which, in the words of Robespierre, strove to assert the grandeur of man against the pettiness of the great.

This difference between the elite and the mob notwithstanding, there is no doubt that the elite was pleased whenever the underworld frightened respectable society into accepting it on an equal footing. The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it. They were not particularly outraged at the monstrous forgeries in historiography of which all totalitarian regimes are guilty and which announce themselves clearly enough in totalitarian propaganda. They had convinced themselves that traditional historiography was a forgery in any case, since it had excluded the underprivileged and oppressed from the memory of mankind. Those who were rejected by their own time were usually forgotten by history, and insult added to injury had troubled all sensitive consciences ever since faith in a hereafter where the last would be the first had disappeared. Injustices in the past as well as the present became intolerable when there was no longer any hope that the scales of justice eventually would be set right. Marx's great attempt to rewrite world history in terms of class struggles fascinated even those who did not believe in the correctness of his thesis, because of his original intention to find a device by which to force the destinies of those excluded from official history into the memory of posterity.

The temporary alliance between the elite and the mob rested largely on this genuine delight with which the former watched the latter destroy respectability. This could be achieved when the German steel barons were forced to deal with and to receive socially Hitler the housepainter and self-admitted former derelict, as it could be with the crude and vulgar forgeries perpetrated by the totalitarian movements in all fields of intellectual life, insofar as they gathered all the subterranean, nonrespectable elements of European history into one consistent picture. From this viewpoint it was rather gratifying to see that Bolshevism and Nazism began even to eliminate those sources of their own ideologies which had already won some recognition in academic or other official quarters. Not Marx's dialectical materialism, but the conspiracy of 300 families; not the pompous scientificality of Gobineau and Chamberlain, but the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"; not the traceable influence of the Catholic Church and the role played by anti-clericalism in Latin countries, but the backstairs literature about the Jesuits and the Freemasons became the inspiration for the rewriters of history. The object of the most varied and variable constructions was always to reveal official history as a joke, to demonstrate a sphere of secret influences of which the visible, traceable, and known historical reality was only the out-ward facade erected explicitly to fool the people.

To this aversion of the intellectual elite for official historiography, to its conviction that history, which was a forgery anyway, might as well be the playground of crackpots, must be added the terrible, demoralizing fascination in the possibility that gigantic lies and monstrous falsehoods can eventually be established as unquestioned facts, that man may be free to change his own past at will, and that the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and clever-ness, of pressure and infinite repetition. Not Stalin's and Hitler's skill in the art of lying but the fact that they were able to organize the masses into a collective unit to back up their lies with impressive magnificence, exerted the fascination. Simple forgeries from the viewpoint of scholarship appeared to receive the sanction of history itself when the whole marching reality of the movements stood behind them and pretended to draw from them the necessary inspiration for action.

The attraction which the totalitarian movements exert on the elite, so long as and wherever they have not seized power, has been perplexing because the patently vulgar and arbitrary, positive doctrines of totalitarianism are more conspicuous to the outsider and mere observer than the general mood which pervades the pretotalitarian atmosphere. These doctrines were so much at variance with generally accepted intellectual, cultural, and moral standards that one could conclude that only an inherent fundamental short-coming of character in the intellectual, "la trahison des clercs" (J. Benda), or a perverse self-hatred of the spirit, accounted for the delight with which the elite accepted the "ideas" of the mob. What the spokesmen of humanism and liberalism usually overlook, in their bitter disappointment and their unfamiliarity with the more general experiences of the time, is that an at-mosphere in which all traditional values and propositions had evaporated (after the nineteenth-century ideologies had refuted each other and exhausted their vital appeal) in a sense made it easier to accept patently absurd propo-sitions than the old truths which had become pious banalities, precisely because nobody could be expected to take the absurdities seriously. Vulgarity with its cynical dismissal of respected standards and accepted theories carried with it a frank admission of the worst and a disregard for all pretenses which were easily mistaken for courage and a new style of life. In the growing prevalence of mob attitudes and convictions—which were actually the attitudes and convictions of the bourgeoisie cleansed of hypocrisy—those who traditionally hated the bourgeoisie and had voluntarily left respectable society saw only the lack of hypocrisy and respectability, not the content itself. [59]

Since the bourgeoisie claimed to be the guardian of Western traditions and confounded all moral issues by parading publicly virtues which it not only did not possess in private and business life, but actually held in con-tempt, it seemed revolutionary to admit cruelty, disregard of human values, and general amorality, because this at least destroyed the duplicity upon which the existing society seemed to rest. What a temptation to flaunt ex-treme attitudes in the hypocritical twilight of double moral standards, to wear publicly the mask of cruelty if everybody was patently inconsiderate and pretended to be gentle, to parade wickedness in a world, not of wickedness, but of meanness! The intellectual elite of the twenties who knew little of the earlier connections between mob and bourgeoisie was certain that the old game of epater le bourgeois could be played to perfection if one started to shock society with an ironically exaggerated picture of its own behavior.

At that time, nobody anticipated that the true victims of this irony would be the elite rather than the bourgeoisie. The avant-garde did not know they were running their heads not against walls but against open doors, that a unanimous success would belie their claim to being a revolutionary minority, and would prove that they were about to express a new mass spirit or the spirit of the time. Particularly significant in this respect was the reception given Brecht's Dreigroschenoper in pre-Hitler Germany. The play presented gangsters as respectable businessmen and respectable businessmen as gangsters. The irony was somewhat lost when respectable businessmen in the audience considered this a deep insight into the ways of the world and when the mob welcomed it as an artistic sanction of gangsterism. The theme song in the play, "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral," was greeted with frantic applause by exactly everybody, though for different reasons. The mob applauded because it took the statement literally; the bourgeoisie applauded because it had been fooled by its own hypocrisy for so long that it had grown tired of the tension and found deep wisdom in the expression of the banality by which it lived; the elite applauded because the unveiling of hypocrisy was such superior and wonderful fun. The effect of the work was exactly the opposite of what Brecht had sought by it. The bourgeoisie could no longer be shocked; it welcomed the exposure of its hidden philosophy, whose popularity proved they had been right all along, so that the only political result of Brecht's "revolution" was to encourage everyone to discard the uncomfortable mask of hypocrisy and to accept openly the standards of the mob. A reaction similar in its ambiguity was aroused some ten years later in France by Celine's Bagatelles pour un Massacre, in which he proposed to massacre all the Jews. Andre Gide was publicly delighted in the pages of the Nouvelle Revue Francaise, not of course because he wanted to kill the Jews of France, but because he rejoiced in the blunt admission of such a desire and in the fascinating contradiction between Celine's bluntness and the hypocritical politeness which surrounded the Jewish question in all respectable quarters. How irresistible the desire for the unmasking of hypocrisy was among the elite can be gauged by the fact that such delight could not even be spoiled by Hitler's very real persecution of the Jews, which at the time of Celine's writing was already in full swing. Yet aversion against the philosemitism of the liberals had much more to do with this reaction than hatred of Jews. A similar frame of mind explains the remarkable fact that Hitler's and Stalin's widely publicized opinions about art and their persecution of modern artists have never been able to destroy the attraction which the totalitarian movements had for avant-garde artists; this shows the elite's lack of a sense of reality, together with its perverted selflessness, both of which resemble only too closely the fictitious world and the absence of self-interest among the masses. It was the great opportunity of the totalitarian movements, and the reason why a temporary alliance between the intellectual elite and the mob could come about, that in an elementary and undifferentiated way their problems had become the same and foreshadowed the problems and mentality of the masses.
[57]Goebbels, op. sit, p 139.

[58] The art theories of the Bauhaus were characteristic in this respect. See also Bertolt Brecht's remarks on the theater, Gesammelte Werke, London. 1938.

[59] The following passage by Rohm is typical of the feeling of almost the whole younger generation and not only of an elite "Hypocrisy and Pharisaism rule They are the most conspicuous characteristics of society today.... Nothing could be more lying than the so-called morals of society" These boys "don't find their way in the philistine world of bourgeois double morals and don't know any longer how to distinguish between truth and error" (Die Gewhichte einei Hochverratels, pp. 267 and 269) The homosexuality of these circles was also at- least partially an expression of their protest against society.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Rose McGowan in 1998, one year after signing the nondisclosure agreement, and now.

File under Trolley Problems. A soldier explains what Oxbridge philosophers can't. It's a sign of how far we've fallen that it has to be explained at all.
A thousand years ago when I was about to begin my military career, a wise old retired Marine colonel, a veteran of the carnage at Tarawa, gave me some advice. Paraphrased here, he said
So you want to be a career soldier? Good for you. But remember that the longer you stay in uniform, the less you will really understand about the country you protect. Democracy is the antithesis of the military life; it’s chaotic, dishonest, disorganized, and at the same time glorious, exhilarating and free — which you are not.

After a while, if you stay in, you’ll be tempted to say, “Look, you civilians, we’ve got a better way. We’re better organized. We’re patriotic, and we know what it is to sacrifice. Be like us.” And you’ll be dead wrong, son. If you’re a career soldier, you may defend democracy, but you won’t understand it or be part of it. What’s more, you’ll always be a stranger to your own society. That’s the sacrifice you’ll be making.
"A military in service to a democracy is an authoritarian order in service to a free one: every soldier is simultaneously both a soldier and a citizen." A living breathing contradiction in terms. Before we negotiate with others we negotiate with ourselves.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

“They’re gonna look at me and they’re gonna know."

Feminism in 2017. "It's complicated"

It was never an “open secret” among me and my then-colleagues that Leon Wieseltier, the longtime literary czar of the New Republic, behaved inappropriately with women in the workplace. It was simply out in the open.
When I was in high school, I let my guy friends shoot crumpled paper balls into my cleavage at lunch. I thought this made me cooler than the other girls, and that my ability to assimilate and remain sexualized was special.  
The author's wedding photographs, on their own webpage,

by Aaron and Whitney Photography

Rose McGowan: "I have been silenced for 20 years."
She chose silence.

'There are powerful forces at work'
Vanity, insecurity, Freudianism and careerism.

"Weighing the Costs of Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein: Annabella Sciorra, Daryl Hannah, and other women explain their struggles with going public."
All told, more than fifty women have now levelled accusations against Weinstein, in accounts published by the New York Times, The New Yorker, and other outlets. But many other victims have continued to be reluctant to talk to me about their experiences, declining interview requests or initially agreeing to talk and then wavering. As more women have come forward, the costs of doing so have certainly shifted. But many still say that they face overwhelming pressures to stay silent, ranging from the spectre of career damage to fears about the life-altering consequences of being marked as sexual-assault victims. “Now when I go to a restaurant or to an event, people are going to know that this happened to me,” Sciorra said. “They’re gonna look at me and they’re gonna know. I’m an intensely private person, and this is the most unprivate thing you can do.”