Wednesday, January 01, 2003

On sunday I linked to post by Sam Heldman, which I've spent too much time rewriting, without resolution. The last two sentences read: "It would be nice to be reminded that the category [of the political] is a variable, but I'm still not sure it is- or that it should be allowed to be in a democracy (there's a big distinction there). Maybe what's invariable is our capacity for delusion."
What did I mean by arguing against 'allowing' something in a democracy? I think it meant I was tired and wanted to go do something else. Previously it read that the political was in fact variable, so basically I flipped the sentence and tried to cover my ass.
This all goes back to my comments on esthetics and the conversation I had with Sam a few weeks ago, in regards politics, cultural and artistic 'integrity'. From my end this began in late November and I've made so many posts on the subject that I would recommend reading the whole lot if you haven't already. But both he and I keep coming back to the same issues, which are important to each of us for deeply personal reasons: for him as a left wing lawyer attached to Southern culture and for me as an artist who grew up around high culture and left wing politics and law. For both of us the contradiction is between the love of a cultural heritage and an awareness of the baggage the culture and the love of it carries, though Sam gets a break since his love is for a working class culture and mine is for a more bourgeois or even aristocratic one (though I do have a Carter Family cd or two on my shelf, and still make my living humping sheetrock)

The post that ended with the question of what to 'allow' in a democracy, whatever the word meant to me at the time, was a response to his observations on the blindness of otherwise pleasant white southerners in relation to the symbols of politics and the confederacy. And obviously my last comment, no matter how brusk refers to moral, not literal disallowance. But even then, how do we police our own stupidity? I am going to be writing a lot more on this, since I think it is the only important philosophical issue worth debating. Ontology doesn't interest me much. But here's Sam's latest, including a great quote from William James. And I'll also recommend this week's New York Review, which isn't on the web yet, but has a good piece on the Jurgen Habermas and the roll of a humanist intellectual in politics.

I'm going for an early drink.

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