Protected: Fraught Encounters

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Snooty British Ethicist

Our annual ethics test has changed and is now read by a person with a snooty British accent.

Mind you, I don’t think that British pronunciation per se is snooty. I love British pronunciation. But the fellow who reads this training does sound obnoxious and condescending. He sounds like he’ll go fox-hunting in a tweed jacket right after he finishes lecturing us on how to be good little servants. I fully expect him to refer to state employees as “the help” any second now.

And I really hate it how they break up the training into tiny little segments to make sure you can’t do anything else while you listen to it. Of course, I’m smarter than some snooty fox-hunting Brit, so I’m blogging up a storm while he drones on.

I wonder how much the services of the snooty fox-hunter cost the state of Illinois and how many academic journal subscriptions we could get with that money.

A Great Link on Fascism

Sorry for the long quotes but I love this because I didn’t think of it myself and there’s an answer here to a question that’s been bugging me for two years:

This is most pronounced among the political class. It is their sensation of being under assault, of the ebbing away of their technocratic, judicial, evidence-based authority over society following the decidedly political jolts of Brexit and Trump, that has led them to resuscitate the fascism frenzy. The omnipresence of that word tells us little about a return of fascist terror, but a great deal about the political class’s own feeling of terror at recent political events.

And more:

Having retired political life, having relinquished political language, having retreated from the sphere of ideology into the comfort zone of expertise and technocracy, they now lack the political resources to deal with change, or even to understand it. And so they see terror and horror  –  and fascism  –  where in fact there is only political confrontation, a revolt; where there is simply the business of politics.

This is a brilliant author. He’s like a Marxist, British Kevin Williamson.

Why I Hate the Resistance

This is why I hate “the Resistance”:

This is a deeply cynical exploitation of the crimes of history to try to give their lame, shallow, playful protests a sense of historic meaning and urgency. Recognising, at some level, that it is bizarre to try to cohere a new movement around an American president who, historically and politically speaking, is not that different to other American presidents, they have to look for a way to justify their disproportionate anti-Trump obsession and emotionalism – and they do it by rebranding Trump ‘Hitler’ and therefore themselves as ‘The Resistance’. Never mind cultural appropriation – this is historical appropriation, the marshalling of 20th-century horrors to inject some depth into their childish, festival-like expression of middle-class angst.

The only thing I don’t get is what it is they are angsting about. I see folks who have literally gone of their rocker with this “Resistance” stuff but I have no idea why. Why them? Why now? Why in such a weird form?

Such is the playfulness that even history becomes their plaything. Even the Holocaust becomes their plaything. They denude these crimes and events of meaning and turn them into memes to make themselves look good. That really is unforgivable. In the process of bigging up themselves, they demean the unique barbarism of the Holocaust and fascism’s other crimes.

Absolutely. 100%. It’s very frustrating to see how easily people throw around Hitler analogies and pity themselves for living in a society that is “just like” Nazi Germany while enjoying historically unparalleled opulence, safety, and contentedness. And there’s no space for a criticism of Trump that is not loony-tunes.

“I’m worried about this policy.”

“Yes! It reminds me of when Mussolini. . .”

“OK, forget I said anything.”

The author of the linked article says the “Resisters” are motivated solely by the desire to trend on social media, but I think there’s more. This is The Hunger Games phenomenon where the better things are, the more people like to titillate themselves with imaginary horrors. I experience great embarrassment when I see a very well-to-do lady write on social media that “we live in horrific times the likes of which the world hasn’t known.” But how come the Resisters themselves aren’t seeing how ridiculous they are?