Thursday, January 13, 2022

"Someone will write something about Didion and her beginnings as a Goldwater Girl and California libertarianism. But it won't be me." And now I guess they have. 

And the same people now tut-tutting Didion are mourning Terry Teachout.
repeat from 2018
I'd always thought of Teachout as an overly earnest, shallow, self-serving moral conservative, but now nihilism is a moral option.

Teachout was an aesthete. Aestheticism is a form of denial; if nihilism isn't overt it slips out. Didion understood. What artist isn't tempted by nihilism in an age of crisis?

Vice is alluring; then show it as alluring; but it brings with its train peculiar moral maladies and suffering; then describe them.

The Third Man is about the limits of friendship and the seductions of fascism; to claim that fascism is a moral point of view is to already admit being seduced. "Twee fascism". I should've used the phrase, and for Bacharach too. I'm almost curious what he has to say about all this. 

Marfrks: "For academics, ideas are games", without weight, connecting Teachout and Scialabba to technocrats, and why technocrats are gamers. Graeber's inverted technocracy is a form of positivism. Nihilism is an inverted moralism. So we end up with art critics interested in aesthetics but not art, because honesty scares them. Jeet Heer is an earnest liberal Zionist who writes about comics. His conservatism is manifested in the same childishness, again, without weight.
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Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus. Conservatism at it's best is human strength identifying itself with/as weakness; Fascism is weakness identifying with/as strength. It's the difference between "I serve the law" and "I am the law". "Unto the pure all things are pure", is a license to anything. Barbarians don't need a license. They accept responsibility for their choices. But if Biden is starving Afghanistan it's because he thinks he had no choice; following the doctrine of double effect he's been granted absolution. Doctors and nurses on the ground, doing their jobs in a crisis, are conservatives; social workers, people wanting to help, are liberals. It's the difference between behavior and ideation. Baudelaire and Didion would get the joke. A lot of people would, and do, but few "philosophers" "theorists" or "social scientists", most of whom identify as liberals. 

An appropriately scathing review of Teachout's biography of Louis Armstrong. "Teachout has tailored Armstrong’s life story along lines that recall Horatio Alger." The art itself becomes meaningless.   

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