Friday, September 14, 2012

plus c'est la même chose

Tedra Osell makes the arguments of David Brooks (and National Right to Life)
God... forbid anyone, anywhere should ever have to “involuntarily” do anything.

...In every single instance we are arguing over control. Children are a problem in a world that insists on autonomy and self-determination, because children compromise one’s autonomy and change one’s life path.

I submit that a society in which children are a problem is a society that is deeply inhumane.
update: I didn't read beyond the post. Osell in response to a question
The rhetoric for abortion rights in an American context (or probably in the context of most industrialized countries) depends on the language of autonomy and self-determination, yes—in part because autonomy and self-determination are so central to the culture.
I would assert, however, that the “right” to abortion stems from the simple fact that abortion is possible and that women with unwanted pregnancies will—and have, throughout history—abort those pregnancies. The argument is therefore not about the right to an abortion so much as it is about whether or not women will have access to safe, legal medical abortion or whether they will be left to their own devices.
Judging by the post itself I'd written that she'd described change "unknowingly". She just articulated it very well. And again, (less fortunately)
indian 09.14.12 at 2:58 am
Why do feminists feel the need to speak like steretypical prole men in discussing such topics? E.g., “pisses me off” from the OP or “fuck that shit” from the quoted material. It’s almost like they valorize traditional maleness? Anyway, I find it hopelessly middle-class in origin. Elite women or prole women do not act like prole men, sorry. I know this even better as a bit of an outsider to Western culture.

Tedra Osell 09.14.12 at 3:19 am
I am middle class. I don’t see why that’s “hopeless.”

As to whether I swear because I valorize traditional maleness: no, not that I’m aware of. I swear because I find doing so (1) an effective way of demonstrating emotion; I not only have an opinion on this topic, I also have strong feelings; (2) rhetorically desirable.

Also, I don’t know that it’s true that prole/working-class women don’t swear. Certainly working-class women who are concerned with being respectable don’t, but plenty of working class women do.

Am I to infer that you think swearing is something I ought not to do? And if so, why?
The Urban dictionary definitions for Prole. I like the first one.
From "proletarian" meaning wage-earner or worker. The shortened version being a derogatory term used by the middle and upper classes to deride the working class majority.
Oh Tarquin, look at those wretched proles. Set the hounds on them.
And Osell's vulgarity is mannerism not manner. It's a pose, as she admits.
One partial explanation might also be that I (again, can’t speak for Belle) do, in fact, cultivate a somewhat aggressive persona (although actually I have used this very little on this blog) as a compensatory mechanism for imposter syndrome, which is a pretty common problem for high-achieving, ambitious American women, I understand. I believe it is supposed to have something to do with anxiety engendered by the dual imperative to be “good” in the sense of “achieve, do well in school, be successful at work” and “good” in the sense of “be nice, don’t challenge authority, don’t stand out.”
A pose is a pretension, a sign of weakness, which is how it reads. The problem isn't that it's acting, but that it's bad acting.  Commenter etv13 posts a link to a discussion of Univocal Heteroglossia at Language Log.  She posts it as an aside, and Language Log isn't known for literary criticism, but Chris Kluwe does a better job of it than Ossell.

A.O. Scott reviews The Master.
More showman than shaman — he holds his followers in thrall with jokes, dinner-table toasts and bawdy songs — Dodd is so adept at the performance of sincerity that he may long ago have fooled himself into believing the bizarre doctrines he seems to pull out of thin air. “The Master,” meanwhile, is rigorously agnostic about his methods and intentions, refusing the temptations of satire and gazing fondly at Dodd’s follies even as it notes the brutal way he and his acolytes deal with doubters and heretics. This semi-sympathetic stance makes sense, since the film, a glorious and haunting symphony of color, emotion and sound, is very much its own Cause.

Our minds sometimes play tricks on us, substituting invention for memory. Movies turn this lapse into a principle, manufacturing collective fantasies that are often more vivid, more real, than what actually happened. “The Master,” unfolding in the anxious, movie-saturated years just after World War II, is not a work of history in the literal or even the conventionally literary sense. The strange and complicated story it has to tell exists beyond the reach of doubt or verification. The cumulative artifice on display is beautiful — camera movements that elicit an involuntary gasp, passages in Jonny Greenwood’s score that raise the hair on the back of your neck, feats of acting that defy comprehension — but all of it has been marshaled in the pursuit of a new kind of cinematic truth. This is a movie that defies understanding even as it compels reverent, astonished belief.
Duncan Black, September 2012
Dear PR People
Occasional, if futile, reminder that I'm actually not really interested in most popular nonfiction books. I'd be much more likely to read and comment on fiction. Also, too, TV and movie screeners.
Duncan Black, March 2010
What The Hell's A Research Paper
I think a major consequence of the lack of reading non-fiction other than textbooks is that when in late high school or college teachers want research paper type things, the students have a lot of trouble largely because they've never read any. They aren't familiar with the basic model. This gets interpreted as "they don't know how to write," which I guess is somewhat true, but they don't know how to write in a particular style because they have spent so little time reading that particular style.

Obviously this is good enough for a blog post, and not "I am an education expert," but I do, at least, have experience teaching at the college level….
Ossell's stumbling charts the move away from individualist idealism just as it charts the return of the open acceptance of class, but her response isn't enough to resolve the problems of abortion.  Abortion is not downloading, another activity that's to often defended as moral rather than simply acknowledged as ubiquitous.  Questions of the viability of human life are not as simple as questions relating to the quantity or definition of data, even if they have to be treated the same way as  questions of law.
The strongest non-idealist defense of abortion rights follows another logic
We need a new generation of technocrats who understand that democracy is procedural not ideational. We don't need better, smarter, masters of the universe, we need a more educated populace and scholars with a sense of irony. We need fewer philosophers and more historians. We need a return to the understanding that greed is inevitable, but that's its a weakness, and that democracies have freedom of speech not because governments grant it but because the government is not granted the power to take it away. Technocrats as fantasists of their own power have everything backwards.
It's less a question of whether women should have a right to abortion than under what circumstance we should allow the government to interfere. Osell makes the argument for social ubiquity but not society.

The world as we experience it is messy; law is not. Once you accept the distinction hard questions become easier. All governments that would claim to be based on the world beyond experience will be based on bigger fictions than those that are the basis of democracy.

Technocrats recognize governments and individuals, but not society, since it can't be quantified. Like Donald Davidson's rejection of the conceptual scheme [always, for simplicity, quoting Simon Blackburn],"arguing that where the possibility of translation stops so does the coherence of the idea that there is something to translate”, society like the subtleties of Proust in french, or Jabberwocky in english, "n'existe pas!" Thatcher is claimed to have made that argument, but didn't. She paid lip service to "a living tapestry" while doing her best to shred it.

For technocrats, rules are primary, people are secondary. Rules are something we have in common, but only as the lowest common denominator. Focusing on the mean puts downward pressure on the mean. Studying only the ubiquity of mediocrity, it spreads.

A society of laws can produce the image below, but laws cannot define the implications. Laws in a republic cannot be used to oppose fascism in its infancy, as sensibility and idea; it is an aggregate and can only be opposed by an aggregate. Democracy is the rule of amateurs governed by laws not the rule of experts governed by their own sense of reason. We need an educated populace; the former "Bitch PhD" should give up on home schooling her own child and get a job teaching high school, preferably the children of proles. I think maybe Adrienne Pine would agree.

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