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Clarissa's Blog

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

Alienated

Maybe all of these “Everybody stared at me and judged me for being in a public place with a toddler”, “At a restaurant everybody watches what I eat and judges me because I’m fat”, “Students treated me worse once I let my hair down”, “My evaluations depend on how nurturing I’m woth students” are a reaction against alienation. 

People are nostalgic for a world where somebody cares about their children, outfits, and food choices. 

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13 thoughts on “Alienated

  1. “People are nostalgic for a world where somebody cares about their children, outfits, and food choices.”

    It’s possible to fight human nature…. but human nature will win every time. I’m reminded of Dorothy Lee (a persaonal fave) who wrote that humans are only truly free when grounded in a community and pursuing value (not necessarily in economic terms)

    Humans are social animals who do not thrive as atomized individuals pursuing narrow economic goals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, have you read The Strange Death of Europe? I’m reading it now and even though there might be too much doom and gloom, many parts are scarily real.

      It’s as if immigration has substituted sex as a dirty subject nobody can dare talk about. It’s precisely as if human nature were begging for something repressed and since sex can’t be it any more, something new is invented.

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      • “The Strange Death of Europe?”

        About 12 years ago I recall an online theory (don’t remember where) that western Europe still hasn’t recovered from WWII – and the worst effect was to rob it of the ability to make positive arguments for western cutlure.

        I phrase it as western europeans losing their basic survival instincts.

        Non-soviet former iron curtain countries seem to be in a somehwat better place since they were toughened up by a few decades of communism (of course they haven’t worked out that trauma yet….)

        “It’s precisely as if human nature were begging for something repressed”

        Nothing is less sexy than extremely open sexuality (that’s not how humans work)…

        I’d say the repressed subject is ethnic conflict rather than immigration per se.. so that’s what governments and populations are pursuing. Some poor saps actually think Macron willing will dereail that…… nope.

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        • I have no idea why the representatives of the great Western civilization have embraced self-deprecation and guilt so passionately. It’s truly like a disease of some sort. Academic inquiry is gutted by the need to reduce everything to colonialism as the only explanation for everything. It’s exhausting.

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          • And mind you, nobody hates colonialism more than me because I experienced it first hand and not through history books. But I’d have to be deranged to blame Ukraine’s problems totally or even mostly on colonialism.

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            • Colonialism as the root of all evil comes almost entirely from two sources (as far as I can tell, enlighten me if I’m wrong, which I might well be)

              Self-loathing intellectuals from the colonialist powers (who secretly believe in the exceptionalism/superiority of their country – even in evil).

              Intellectual immigrants (or their offspring) from colonized places. I’m not sure what the payoff is in that case, but there must be one.

              Most others seem to be able to put things in more perspective, colonialism was generally terrible but not the only (or even main) cause of problems in post-colonial countries.

              “I’d have to be deranged to blame Ukraine’s problems totally or even mostly on colonialism”

              You’re too realistic and honest at heart to take such twaddle seriously? I think of Ukraine kind of like I think of Mexico – on paper it could a powerhouse, but on the ground other factors get in the way.

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              • And it is tempting to blame the Russians, for everything, you know? But life is too short to waste in on wilful blindness.

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  2. Stringer bell on said:

    “I’d say the repressed subject is ethnic conflict ”

    Certainly not repressed by you. You’ve been pissing and moaning about brown hordes diluting your precious white civilization for years now.

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  3. Shakti on said:

    Maybe all of these “Everybody stared at me and judged me for being in a public place with a toddler”, “At a restaurant everybody watches what I eat and judges me because I’m fat”, “Students treated me worse once I let my hair down”, “My evaluations depend on how nurturing I’m woth students” are a reaction against alienation.
    Or perhaps your favorite thesis, tracing everything back to your childhood environment, comes into play. Clearly your mother or father was up in their business judging everything, so everyone else is judgmental. For example, I’m confident I’ll get to hear about my wardrobe, eating habits, (imaginary) toddler wrangling, and professional conduct via nurturing the minute I make any contact with either of my parents or relations. There is no need for me to be nostalgic for this as a hedge against alienation.

    As for being annoyed about colonialism and/or slavery as a reductive root explanatory force for why things are not good now, you can hardly go past something you’ve never addressed. You could just as easily say Western countries have no idea how to deal with themselves without some kind of extreme rentier extraction going on somewhere so they attempt to reproduce it by various means since ostensibly we don’t have formal colonialism or slavery. Hollowing out the welfare state, taking actions so more refugees come in or attempt to, rolling back worker and consumer protections are some ways of reproducing this mass extraction and this friction with Others without going back in time. Western countries have not fully developed a post colonial post extraction identity.

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    • Oh, of course, on the level of individuals, this is a problem of individual psychopathology. But this pathology could be expressed in any number of ways, and people choose this one.

      As for colonialism, I want to make it clear that I’ve never encountered this worldview in anybody who hasn’t been educated in the West. People from my part of the world or Latin Americans would mock me from here to the end of the world if I tried making this argument to them. I only know a few people from Africa who haven’t been educated in the West, and it’s the same for them but it’s a very tiny group and not representative.

      Actually, all non-Western educated Hispanic people I’ve met (and obviously I’ve met a lot) have a great insight into their own condition that is far removed from these Western myths of poor exploited and dumb 3rd world victims.

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      • “non-Western educated Hispanic people I’ve met (and obviously I’ve met a lot) have a great insight into their own condition ”

        IME the same is true of middle easterners – (if in addition to ‘non-western educated’ you add ‘secularly oriented’) colonialism didn’t help but is about 17th on their list of causes of modern problems.

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      • Shakti on said:

        As for colonialism, I want to make it clear that I’ve never encountered this worldview in anybody who hasn’t been educated in the West. People from my part of the world or Latin Americans would mock me from here to the end of the world if I tried making this argument to them. I only know a few people from Africa who haven’t been educated in the West, and it’s the same for them but it’s a very tiny group and not representative.

        The argument about colonialism being the be-all end-all explanation or Western countries suffering from an identity crisis as post colonial nations? (I actually don’t believe it’s the one true explanation of everything)

        As for education in the West? I don’t know about other countries, but in my parents’ and grandparents’ generation, institutions of higher education were lacking. There were very few of them and often people went abroad because no equivalent institution existed. They had literally just started widespread public education for the masses when my parents went to school. The British were interested in having a few petty clerks, not professionals or people educated in humanities and if for some reason you went to a private institution you got a whole lot of Anglophilia. I remember thinking it was goddamn weird my mother had a textbook called “Britain and Her Neighbors” — in the very early 60s. The colleges and primary schools my younger cousins went to did not exist even 20 years ago. The primary school history books out of which my mother attempted to teach me Indian history don’t really blame the British, however. There’s too much history to get through and they were far more interested in establishing continuity.

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        • “The argument about colonialism being the be-all end-all explanation or Western countries suffering from an identity crisis as post colonial nations?”

          • No, I’m taking about the idea that life is shitty in various parts of the world because of colonialism.

          “The primary school history books out of which my mother attempted to teach me Indian history don’t really blame the British, however. There’s too much history to get through and they were far more interested in establishing continuity.”

          • That’s precisely what I’m saying. Postcolonial peoples have very little interest in the self-aggrandizing guilt-trips of narcissistic Westerners. I think I shared the story about this year’s MLA where a professor explained how he literally invents ways of making his area about American guilt to engage students. Because if you can’t push that button, they don’t listen.

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