The organizers of the annual Women’s March have decided not to hold a rally in Eureka on Jan. 19, as previously planned, because they say participants do not represent the diversity of the area. “Up to this point, the participants have been overwhelmingly white, lacking representation from several perspectives in our community,” the press release went on to say. “Instead of pushing forward with crucial voices absent, the organizing team will take time for more outreach. Our goal is that planning will continue…”
Translation: we got deathly bored with this thing and prefer to post memes on FB instead.
Another quote from Stegner’s novel:
I suspect that what makes hedonists so angry when they think about overachievers is that the overachievers, without drugs or orgies, have more fun.
I hate AT&T. Which is not a fresh sentiment but I have a new reason to detest it. Its workers were laying cable in my street and somehow made the transformer explode. Now we have no electricity. It’s below freezing, so that’s bad news. The AT&T guy who blew the transformer told me they had no idea how to fix it and just kept digging.
The neighbors next door are having a huge brunch party. The neighbors across the street have a house full of visiting relatives from out of town. They are all very unhappy. Everybody has a fridge full of food for the holidays.
AT&T are dumb fucks.
Let’s take another example. We keep hearing about identity politics a lot. But today’s identity politics is deeply neoliberal in nature. It changed dramatically as the neoliberalism conquered our minds, and we still talk about it like it’s the same kind of identity politics that existed in the 1970s and was actually a wonderful and powerful thing.
Neoliberalism destroyed people’s capacity to get together and advance a collective agenda on behalf of their group because it eroded the very concept of a group. Inclusivity erases the boundaries of groups. And we all know that there is nothing liquid capital hates more than boundaries.
Take the Civil Rights movement. It achieved its greatest victories when it was about addressing centuries of a very specific brand of horrific violence against a very specific group, African Americans. But once it became about an undefinable group of “people of color” that includes somebody like Elizabeth Warren, it can’t achieve anything.
Or take gay rights. Again, when it was about gay people fighting against very specific kinds of oppression visited upon specifically gay people, this was a powerful movement. Once it turned into LGBTQIA+ABCDEFG and so on into infinity, it was diluted as being about everybody who is vaguely uncomfortable with vaguely defined gender roles. Gay people are still horribly oppressed in many places around the world. But we don’t even hear about it any more because it’s all about isolated individuals who have the cultural and economic capital to yelp more loudly about their solitary discomforts.
Then, let’s take women’s rights. Once you can’t define, or in some circles even use, the word women, there are no women’s rights. There is only the right of already very powerful (in comparative terms) women to articulate their individual grievances.
Who gains from all this inclusivity? A black boy in East St Louis? A lesbian in Magadan? An indigenous woman in Chiapas? Obviously, not. Their historic and legitimate grievances are co-opted by those who are already winning in the neoliberal competition. Collective vindication turned into neoliberal competition, and we haven’t even realized that it was happening.
Here is an example to illustrate the preceding post. “But nationalism excluuuuudes!” people moan as if that had to put an end to all discussion of the subject once and for all. They have been schooled to believe that excluding is bad, inclusivity is good, and these are eternal truths that are not to be questioned.
If we do question them for a second, however, we will realize that exclusion is the basis of any collectivity. There is no “we” if you can’t define who doesn’t belong to the “we.” If everybody belongs, then nobody does.
Everything good in life is based on exclusion. Family, friendship, love, profession, competence, language, reading. If you call somebody a friend, this signals to the world that this person is special to you in ways that the rest of the inhabitants of the planet aren’t. Every time you say anything in any language you exclude everybody who doesn’t speak it. Of course, liquid capital hates languages because they are a barrier to sales. It would be so much easier to sell if everybody spoke the same patois of marketing slang.
The foundational principle of neoliberalism (i.e. the reign of liquid capital) is that everybody is an isolated individual constantly competing with everybody else. The “we” is anathema to neoliberal mentality. That’s why all this propaganda exists to make us unthinkingly worship on the altar of inclusivity.
And as I said in the previous post, our reward for dismantling the “we” is the feeling of virtuousness we experience while doing it. It’s a very solitary, self-righteous pleasure because it’s deeply competitive in nature.
Since liquid capital owns all the mass media and is aggressively squeezing out any alternative means of mass communication, it implants in our conscience ideas and concepts that are helpful to capital. We all become little agents of liquid capital, busily laying the road for its triumphant march.
Capital knows how to reward us for this self-defeating work. It takes away welfare protections but instead gives us feelings of virtuousness and superiority. Humans are by nature more selfish and competitive than altruistic and cooperative. (If you don’t agree, observe a group of toddlers at play. They are more ferocious in their competitiveness than a bunch of Wall Street traders). Capital feeds our natural need to feel superior to others and, in return, undermines the already tenuous and artificially grown capacity to empathize and cooperate.
Capital works at an advantage from the start.
You know how people get together for parties and social occasions, right? I don’t understand what they see in it. Family gatherings I get. Hanging out with one or two friends who are profound, interesting people – this is something I really enjoy. But beyond that, I just don’t get it.
It’s not even about not enjoying it. That’s not the problem. There are many things people like that I don’t. Onion rings are one example. But group socializing is as if people decided to hang upside down from chandeliers. I don’t dislike it. I don’t get it.
Internet is a great enemy of parenting. Parents drive themselves to insanity fretting that something is horribly wrong with their kid because somebody online mentioned some utterly imaginary milestone that all kids supposedly need to hit by a certain age.
I stopped googling when Klara was 8 months old and had a viral rash. I made myself physically ill by researching her symptoms and dredging horrific diseases out of the depths of Google. I spent the whole night weeping, and the kid woke up completely healthy and chirpy.