Nietzche: In all the countries of Europe and in America now as well, there is something that abuses this name, a very narrow, imprisoned, enchained type of spirit who wants just about the opposite of what accords with our intentions and instincts—not to mention that they must assuredly be closed windows and bolted doors to these new philosophers who are coming up. They belong, briefly and sadly, among the levelers, these falsely named “free spirits”—being eloquent and prolifically scribbling slaves of the democratic taste and its “modern ideas”: they are all human beings without solitude, without their own solitude, clumsy well-behaved fellows whom one should not deny either courage or respectable decency, it’s just that they are unfree and ridiculously superficial, above all in their basic inclination to see, roughly, the cause of all human misery and failure in the forms of the old society as it has existed so far: which is a way of standing truth happily upon its head! What they would like to strive for with all their powers is the universal green-pasture happiness of the herd, with security, lack of danger, comfort, and an easier life for everyone; the two songs and doctrines which they repeat most often are “equality of rights” and “sympathy for all that suffers”—and suffering itself they take for something that must be abolished.
Rebecca Don’t Be A Leveler.
Narcissus encountered his own image and fell in love with it, but never realized it was the image he fell in love with it. Rebecca seems to be more about preserving the image rather than letting it go. This seems to be the case in the ongoing dispute between Rebecca Schuman (Slate.com), myself and her attacks and Slavoj Zizek and me. The following are a few notes. If you’ve just joined the conversation, here is the original article to keep you up to speed!
A few direct critiques [not personal attacks].
(1) When you use sex as some form of power you do nothing less than align yourself with the very eroticized images in the media that promote the already distant gender divide. You seem to present yourself as someone who is a feminist, yet, the whole way you define it is, in reality, defined by the gaze of patriarchal masculinity. This is nothing short of the conservative Sarah Palin who totes her shotgun over her shoulder and shouts loudly saying nothing of substance, all the while being the victim of masculinity. How so? By defining the way in which she responds through masculine patriarchy. You have done nothing but the same here and have championed the masculine gaze. You have done damage to the movement toward a more feminine turn and equality. In this sense, you’re endorsing masculinity over femininity and the perversion of that gaze. A practical question then is: are you a woman or a man?
(2) Several of your attacks, albeit, in your words are, digressions. However this passive-aggressive behaviour only belies the very power you are attempting to assert through this false humility. I, too wear my feelings on my sleeve (and there are risks involved, you already know this, playing coy doesn’t help your case any), but to use your feelings as some form of defense to attack others and then retract through passive-aggressive barbs is really akin to someone who abuses someone else and then blames that person for receiving your abuse. It doesn’t make sense. You are not a victim, don’t act like it.
This appeal to affect shouldn’t be used as something to stand behind after making a direct character attack on me (i.e., Zizekophant) and on Zizek (calling him a jerk and etc.). This is one thing most of the academy lacks, hell, the whole of western reality and the celebrity culture lacks – they could learn from us – namely in the sense that we need to share our hearts on or sleeve. We need more discourse. We need more heated debate. Most academic colleagues I know think the best response is either silence or no response. Where does that get us? Nowhere. We need more fighting and disagreements, obviously with some semblance of mutual respect, and not because we’re academics, but because we’re trying to be human. It’s also very odd here that in this passivity you say you want to be open and exposed and then in another moment make this digressive attacks. This asymmetry in your subjectivity is demonstrative of someone who desires to control her image as well as those around her. Question that. Live with that. As Shaun T. from Insanity says: Dig Deeper.
(3) Your appeal to a PH.D (and the conversation we had outside of social media where you request that I address as Dr. or Rebecca tells me you have an image issue. You care too much what people think. Although, I appreciate your kindness, I am declining your offer to write something on your blog, mainly due to the fact that in our conversation there was no sense of remorse, no sense of catharsis. The very appeal is itself the very power issue in academia today. That we have come to a place in our human experience where the value of knowledge and paper has combined to supercede the value of the human, as if to mystify knowledge or certain types of knowledge as some esoteric rite of passage. As if value itself is no longer something that is ontological stable with something else to define it.
(4) Read Zizek. I have most of his books. There are places to get them, free even. Don’t go and make attacks on Slavoj Zizek just because you can. I personally am not fanboy, let’s make this clear. You’re using the term in a pejorative sense. I am not a disciple of Zizek. I respect him and most of his work. But that does not mean I agree with everything he says and does. (The following is going to upset his most avid of followers, I get that, but for the sake of proving your once-again caricature of me as a myopic fanboy, I want to be honest). For example, he hopes for some communist utopia (i.e., the third utopia) to take the place of democracy. As we all know, democracy is one of the reasons why the academy is in the mess its in. This liberal utopian American dream that promises to fill the void but only makes It wider. Utopia is what will destroy any hope for progress. Think about it, if equality exists and everything is perfect, then desire is unnecessary. Although, I am a communist anarchist, I differ in this need to believe in some totalitarian system that might make emerge. I also believe in self-mobilization, he even said in the interview he does not. But these differences should be celebrated. Why attack his followers? Why the need to distance yourself from him so vehemently? That’s a better question.
(5) We are both in ideology. We are western educators who have been entrenched in darkness too long. We have to think about certain lines of flight. We can’t afford to simply be libertarian in our approach to institutional subjectivity. The Apostle Paul once made the point that the systems are the enemy not you and I. This is a waste of time. The in-fighting needs to stop. In fact it’s not even in-fighting, that’s too political. I am not even a leftist. Leftist ideology is just as obscene as the Right. These convenient binaries are in the way of doing anything of actual worth.
(6) Lighten up. A joke is a joke. But jokes themselves are quite the fuel we need to systematically undercut the superficial conviviality found in universities today. Political correctness is not going to save us from the problems so prevalent within the academy today. Namely, but not restricted to: Identity politics, power/prestige, economic disparity, educational curriculum, a degree as a rite of passage into the marketplace. We need this dark humor to wake us up to these issues. We have gotten too comfortable. We cant afford comfort when people are starving because of their Ph’d’s.
(7) Education should be about developing new forms of consciousness (radical subjectivity) that then allows for the subject to alter the very fabric of reality. This is not some teleological desire for some utopian framework for education. I think now is the time for post-structuralism to be taken seriously as an interlocutor which develops new forms of education that resist the hegemony of history and economic monism. There are movements now that are helping shape these new forms that lie beyond the mundane binary categorizations that we have for far too long relied upon. The Unschooling movement is one such movement.
Zizek on Paul: http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2010/04/god-order-wisdom-paul-love