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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “March 18, 2017”

Book Notes: Zygmunt Bauman’s Wasted Lives 

The Big Brother described by George Orwell was obsessed with inclusion. His goal was to get and keep everybody in line, never letting them depart from the common fold. The USSR, which was the climactic achievement of this form of Big Brotherhood didn’t let people leave its borders at all.

Today, this kind of Big Brother is not dead. He resides in prisons, in urban ghettos, and in places where it’s still needed to keep people under control. 

This Big Brother now has an even Bigger Brother. This new species of Big Brother is all about exclusion. Who should be discarded, thrown out on the rubbish heap of history now? Which profession has become obsolete? Which group of people is superfluous? 

We all assist Bigger Brother by eagerly embracing the mandate to treat each other as consumption goods. Bauman believed that being stuck between Big Brothers #1 and #2 cannot be the only possible way for humans to coexist. This book was a call to start looking for a new way of relating to each other. 

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Status

I just got an offer for a Mastercard with a $995 annual fee that’s “bathed in 24K gold to reflect your status.”

Did I fall asleep and wake up in fucking Russia?

From Welfare to Welfare

In this country, welfare often takes the form of preserving middle classes by creating imaginary middle-class jobs and paying for them with government funds to avoid calling them welfare. That word would destroy the dignity of middle-class folks and lead them to lumpenize, so the strategy is not incomprehensible.

Whether the recipients of this form of welfare work at diversity and inclusion offices, ethics offices, offices of institutional compliance with block grant requirements or at a defense facility seems like a very minor point. 

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