Monday, January 31, 2022

Still fucking with this thing, and fucking with Adolph Reed.
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Jäger, a good one

Adolph Reed, is an ass.
Next month, Reed will publish a book that is, in the context of his polemical writing, unusual. Called “The South,” it is an account of growing up in segregated Arkansas and New Orleans, and of navigating, as a young man, Jim Crow’s immediate aftermath. The book read to me as a memoir, a term he adamantly rejects. He told me my interest in the book made him regret writing it; he did not want to receive mainstream attention for his reminiscences. 
Reed is a vanguardist, and vanguardists are snobs.  
What a fucking idiot.
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I call Reed an idiot—he isn't—because he's a pedant. It is a fact that race is less of an issue. It is a fact that people argue from self-interest and not "truth". It is a fact that "Black Lives Matter is a cry for full recognition within the established terms of liberal democratic capitalism." It is a fact that the fading of race as an issue will return class the the central role that Reed prefers. And it is a fact that Reed is so angry that the peasants aren't intellectuals that he can't think straight.

And elitism, as I've said again and again, has a double edge: the elect are permitted to indulge sins forbidden to the common people: "To the pure all things are pure", "Homosexuality for us, but not the masses" "Don't call it a memoir!!" 

In my twitter days, I trolled Catholic rightists by telling them they wanted people to share their own self-hate. Innocence was a lie. The lack of self-hatred disgusted them. They agreed. I was less trolling them than the liberals reading them who didn't get the point.

"Religion promotes the divine discontent within oneself, so that one tries to make oneself a better person and draw oneself closer to God." A quote attributed to Cyril Cusack, whose performance in Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 is a pitch-perfect model of the priest to Oskar Werner's boy. I saw the movie as a boy and don't remember if Cusack reminded me of Daniel Berrigan, whom I met as a 5 year old—he stayed at our house for for a few days when he was on the run—or the reverse.  I've never forgotten his face, moving down towards mine as he shook my hand. I recoiled, pulling my head back, and later asked my mother to explain just what it was I'd reacted to. Her reply was, "Unctuous". Years later I saw the same expression in a part-time student, model, hustler, from my circle—not the director of the Halston bio—who'd been raised by Jesuits. He had the smile of a man who wanted to seduce anything alive. Even his friends didn't trust him.  

Reed is offended by the thought that he's been outed as a storyteller, an orator, not a philosopher, and interested in telling a story about himself. Only members of the elite, his own kind, are allowed to know his secret.

Corey Robin makes my job even easier: "I once said that Adolph is the closest thing to Max Weber we've ever had in this country." And as I once said about Weber:  "The fantasy of objectivity is the fantasy of the universal through the elision of the particular, beginning with the elision of the particular self." All of this in various ways goes back to my comments about The Name of the Rose, from 30 (40?) years ago: the decay of scholasticism. And now the rise of the black bourgeoisie, offends the righteous academic left.

I'm sympathetic to elitists. My stockbroker stocks up on marijuana edibles at places that look like Apple stores; it's something out of A Clockwork Orange.  I miss the days when good drugs were left to criminals and serious intellectuals, who understood the cost.
Unlike Reed I get the joke: "Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself."
 
I'm playing cute with all this. It's fun playing at being catty. I take all this shit for granted and I can't write as if anyone has the slightest idea what the fuck I'm talking about, or if they do, that it matters.

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