Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

h1

You Say You Want a Revolution….

February 14, 2007

Chris Bowers of MyDD:

Throughout most of my life, I have been enamored by the idea of movements and revolutions. During the decade I spent studying literature, I was always most excited by experimental, avant-grade [sic] work that took place during times of political and social upheaval (you can never read enough early twentieth century artistic manifestoes–fortunately, there is no shortage of them). When I studied critical theory and philosophy, I was always most interested in work that challenged established norms of government, the self, perception and knowledge with radical, but rigorous, new ideas (I was obsessed with Michel Foucault at multiple times during my career in academia). History has always been a favorite hobby of mine, and my favorite topics are invariably revolutions: American, French, Russian, Irish, Indian, Cuban, Eastern European–you name it. Also, no matter how many presidential candidates, members of congress, Democratic Party leaders, or other national figures I meet and talk with, my favorite moments in political campaigns are always large rallies (preferably those organized by volunteers, or those convened to celebrate an electoral victory). I want to be there at the moment when history happens, when the world changes, when consciousness shifts, and when the people rise up and throw off the shackles of the elite, the status quo, and the comfortable. I have wanted that for a long time. Before that happens, I want to be an active member of the small clique, coterie or circle that identified the possibility for massive change and precipitated its manifestation. Whether it is a revolution of the sort Ben Franklin or Tristan Tzara would identify, I want in. As William Wordsworth wrote in The Prelude about witnessing the world change up close during the French Revolution “bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.” Man, do I ever envy young Wordsworth. I want working for a candidate to give me a taste of the revolutionary feeling for which I long, and I want my regular job to do the same thing. For a long time, artistic and intellectual endeavors provided me with that spark, but when they ceased doing so I moved onto a career where that feeling was quickly re-establishing itself: online progressive activism. If I am willing to upend my entire life to search for that feeling, the least I should expect from the candidates I support most fervently is that working for them will allow me to sense it.

Excellent satire – a perfect depiction of the naive, self-obsessed young poseur who thinks that revolution is “way kewl”, a big rush, kind of like extreme snowboarding, except with power so you can boss people around (being in a “small clique” in charge of everything – how kewl is that??), and he’s qualified – nay, entitled – to take some of the fun and games for his ownself.  Grab that brass ring, dude!  To the barricades!  But first let’s stop at a Starbucks and pick up a couple Double Shot Espressos – we need the buzz, man, it’s all about the feelings, the sensation….

The style is right on target, too – all the leaden narcissism of a college application essay.  A brilliant stroke by the author.

And this is a scream:

(I was obsessed with Michel Foucault at multiple times during my career in academia)

A little overboard with the stereotype here, but it’s so hilarious, it’s OK.

Too bad this piece is for real.

As the fabulous IOZ writes, accompanied by an aptly chosen historical photo:

The dork wants power, and he wants to ride a wave of popular whoop-dee-doo into a office with a view, a satellite feed, and two secretaries. Fuck the revolution, kiddo; work on your resume.

Yes, the dork wants power, but he also wants thrills.  He’s clear about the fact that he doesn’t really care what the principles are behind “movements and revolutions” – he just likes ’em!  Loves ’em, in fact! 

I find it dismaying that snools like this are in the vanguard of the “netroots” and so-called “people-powered politics”.

h1

“Snools” and “Daddy’s Little Titterers”

January 9, 2007

marydaly.jpg

Mary Daly, with her labrys

One of the best writers I’ve encountered -both  in feminist philosophy, and in the world outside that “ghetto” – is Mary Daly, radical lesbian feminist theologian and activist.  She hits the nail on the head on so many issues, and does it with fiery eloquence.  She’s a true Supervixen.  I’ll provide a couple of quotes from her works today.   The passages in bold are my emphasis.

The first quote introduces the word “snool”, a marvelously useful word:

As Wanderlusty/Wonderlusty women weave our way Weirdward into the Realms of Pure Lust we find we must fight off the Fixers/Tricksters, those poisonous presences whose program is to freeze/frustrate our Movement.  These are the sovereigns of the sadostate, which can also be called the State of Boredom.  For it is infinitely boring to be blocked from the movement of/toward one’s innately ordained happiness.[…]

The compulsion to bore everywhere bores Lusty women.  The institutions of Boredom – its media, its schools, its industries, its amusements, its religion, its governments, its culture – are programmed to control Viragos, to keep us within the confines of bore-ocracy, using bore-ocratic details and mazes.  Weird women snore at the brothers’ Bored Meetings, seeing through the lecherous leaders as Chairmen of the Bored. […]

Given these conditions of Stag-Nation, Elemental Shrews and Furies urgently experience the need for Re-Naming/Re-Claiming our stolen Flames, undoing the promethean theft of Fire, retrieving our ravaged desire.

The would-be preventers of this retrieval of gynergy, the ghosts/ghouls that want our movement dead, are snools.  The noun snool (Scottish) means “a cringing person”.  It means also “a tame, abject, or mean-spirited person” (OED).  In sadosociety, snools rule, and snools are the rule.  The dual personalities of these personae – the cast of characters governing and legitimizing bore-ocracy – are unmasked by definitions of the verb snool.  This means, on the one hand, “to reduce to submission: COW, BULLY,” and on the other hand, “CRINGE, COWER.”  Snools are sadism and masochism combined, the stereotypic saints and heroes of the sadostate.

[…]

Snools appear and re-appear in various forms. […] Among the henchmen required for the smooth operation of fixocracy are the cocks, danglers, pricks, and flashers who keep girls and women intimidated.  Necessary also are the fakes, framers, frauds and hucksters whose job is to manufacture and spread delusions.  Heavier work is assumed by rakes, hacks, rippers and plug-uglies.  Plug-uglies are among the grosser snoolish incarnations.  Plug-ugly is defined as “a member of a gang of disorderly ruffians often active in political pressure and intimidation.” […] Plug-uglies, while creating the illusion that they are always giving something, are in fact drainers of energy whose plugged-in fittings close women’s circuits, sapping the flow of gynergetic currents so that these cannot circulate within/among women.

Such, then, are the rulers/snoolers of snooldom, the place/time where the air is filled with the crowing of cocks, the joking of jocks, the droning of clones, the sniveling of snookers and snudges, the noisy parades and processions of prickers.  Such is cockocracy/jockocracy, the State of supranational, supernatural erections.  This is a world made to the image of its makers, a chip off the old blocks/cocks, who are worshipped by the fraternal faithless as god the flasher, god the stud, and god the wholly hoax.

Wayward, wanton women, having been warned of the snoolish snares, proceed forthwith on our Wonderlusting/Wisdomweaving Quest.

From Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy.

She also addresses the problem of all those women in society who are programmed to obey and cater to men, and to attack any women who challenge the Snoolish Status Quo.  I call them the “Little Sisters in the Frat House”.  Daly writes about this problem at length in her books, but here’s a brief quote that gives the gist:

Hag-ographers perceive the hilarious hypocrisy of “his” history.  At first this may be difficult, for when the whole is hypocrisy, the parts may not initially appear untrue.  To put it another way, when everything is bizarre, nothing seems bizarre.  Hags are women who struggle to see connections.  Hags risk a great deal – if necessary, everything – knowing that there is only Nothing to lose.  Hags may rage and roar, but they do not titter.

Webster’s defines titter as follows: “to give vent to laughter one is seeking to suppress: laugh lightly or in a subdued manner: laugh in a nervous, affected, or restrained manner, especially at a high pitch and with short catches of the voice [emphasis Daly’s].”  Self-loathing ladies titter; Hags and Harpies roar.  Fembots titter at themselves when Daddy turns the switch.  They totter when he pulls the string.  They titter especially at the spinning of Spinsters, whom they have been trained to see as dizzy dames.  Daddy’s Little Titterers try to intimidate women struggling for greatness.  This is what they are made for and paid for.  There is only one taboo for titterers: they must never laugh seriously at Father – only at his jokes.

from Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism.

The aware Supervixen will learn to recognize these Snools and Titterers in her life.  She will stay away from them as much as possible.  She will fend them off and build up her shields against them.  They are “psychic vampires” intent on sucking her energies and destroying her.  And they are all over – especially on the Internet. 

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Be careful out there.

H.R.H. Supervixen

h1

Why Do Nothing?

January 7, 2007

Here’s an excerpt from a book by an author whom I like a lot:

Shortly before Allen Ginsberg died, I heard him chant in Central Park to the tune of his little pump-organ.  The key line that stayed with me was “It is never too late to do nothing.”  I thought then, Yes, I am too busy, step back, let it go, never see anyone again, be a hermit, go shopping once a week at 6 a.m. when the market opens, talk to seals and loons and dolphins only, and when the body gets a little more decrepit, take it out in a rowboat aimed at the horizon and blow it up with dynamite.  Carrying that plan, I wandered to the other side of the park and heard jazzy music.  There were festivities celebrating some special occasion, and thousands of uniformed schoolkids marched up Fifth Avenue in neat formations.  There were adult bands too, horsemen, dressed-up folks on National Guard vehicles.  There was a lot of energy about, but some participants were clearly exhausted.  A dozen obese girls shuffled along, weary of dragging their weights, and ahead of them there were some little guys, ten-year-olds maybe, carrying drums.  They were tired too; they had probably been at it for hours, walking down from Harlem, doing “hurry up and wait,” assembling in a dry dusty place, having their teacher fuss over them, and now there were all those other smart schools and they were just that little group, special husky kids and their undersized musicians – might as well quit now while they were still on their feet.  As despondency was about to strike I saw the chief drummer suddenly change his mind.  Why do nothing?  Why not pull down all the energy of the universe?  Some huge ray of power hit that diminutive player of a snare drum, a flash of divine lightning, and immediately his sticks hit the wooden sides of his drum, smartly, a touch of staccato – tick tack, get the show going here – using a harsh dry rattle, and then all heaven burst loose as his mates got going around him.  There was an instantaneous fusing with the spirits of Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, Max Roach, and other angels that got into their awakening souls, and the small band was doing solos and joint rhythms harmonized with tricky compositions on a trumpet another boy found under his jacket that spat out the hoarsely cutting notes of Miles Davis’s “So What.”  The plump girls behind him were dancing their divinity in perfect step, trembling the brilliant cadence within their bodies, emitting rays of light that swept the Fifth Avenue audience for miles.

Emptiness took form.

From AfterZen, by Janwillem van de Wetering.