Of course, in order for the rhetorical trick described in the previous post to work, the label needs to be something that people really don’t want to be. Adding “phobic” to your insults is particularly brilliant because it puts you in a position of a psychiatrist giving out diagnoses. That’s a role that projects great power.
Nothing is more pathetic than people who try to attach labels that nobody minds. “Socialist! Communist!” These meant something negative in 1952. Today they are a badge of honor sought by the privileged classes. “Yes, but how is communism better than nazism?” It’s not but making these lame, nitpicky points about why your insult SHOULD land if only the world were fair is loser behavior.
Everybody who voted for Trump was a Nazi in the same way as everybody who doesn’t want to get a COVID “vaccine” is an anti-vaxxer. And in the same way as everybody who doesn’t want to read Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo is a racist. And in the same way as everybody who opposes puberty blockers is a transphobe.
This is the oldest rhetorical trick. Call people some outrageous name and redirect their energy towards denying the charge. They will look so weak and pathetic issuing denials (“No, Comrade Stalin, I’m not a Japanese spy. You know how dedicated I am to our great revolution. Please, Comrade Stalin!”), that they guarantee your win.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The power to name is the power to create and blot out of existence. Some people have figured that out while others keep mumbling pitifully “no, please, I’m not a racist-Nazi-hater-phobe.”
Here’s a longish quote to show why I find Charles Moore’s biography of Margaret Thatcher so irresistible. It doesn’t even matter who these men, Joseph and Sherman, were. I’d never heard of them before. But this characterization makes them come alive on the page:
“Joseph cared so desperately, thought so deeply, meant so well, and yet somehow bungled things. All these qualities were to become even more apparent in the course of 1974, and all of them, the bungling included, were to help the cause of Margaret Thatcher. Alfred Sherman was a very different character. A former Communist, and former machine-gunner for the anti-Franco Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, Sherman maintained a Marxist rigour of thought after his conversion to the right, and a Leninist capacity to identify virtually everyone else as the enemy. His style of argument was absolute. When arguing against public spending on railways, for example, he was not content to call for privatization or a reduction of subsidy: he argued that all rail track should be torn up and the lines converted into bus lanes. He was manifestly, almost proudly, ill fitted to the compromises of party politics.”
I actually left work early to go home and read the biography.
This is not just some guy being censored by Twitter for wrongthink on vaccines. This is a professor of the Harvard school of medicine. One of the most cited epidemiologists on the planet. He’s currently on the board that studies COVID vaccine safety.
But you can’t share or even like his message because a bunch of uneducated dumb interns on Twitter doesn’t approve it.
Of course, Twitter stock price has more than doubled during lockdowns. So Twitter management is profiting handsomely from the official COVID narrative.
This is in response to Arkansas banning medical gender transition for children.
I’m so old I remember when supporting the ACLU was what good people did. Good people remained the same but ACLU became horrid and completely dishonest.
The blessed intro on transnationalism has finally appeared on my academia.edu profile in the correct form. Many people are being put off by the title but it’s actually quite good. Of course, the COVID parts were written in May, so I’d obviously do them differently today. The larger message still stands, though.
This is a theoretical chapter, so it’s 100% in English.
Geese are nesting, which makes them aggressive. They come to my office balcony door and tap on it with their beaks, slobbering over the glass. I like to keep the balcony door open but it’s impossible while the geese are aggressive because if they walk into the office, I will never be able to explain to the building management how that happened. We aren’t allowed to keep windows open because it’s unsafe or whatever. I use a credit card to jiggle the lock and open the balcony door illegally.
As long-time readers know, every year around my birthday I indulge my love of the biography genre. This year I lucked into the greatest biographer I ever encountered.
There are two problems biographers tend to experience. The first is the desire to relate every detail they have been able to uncover, which makes even the most fascinating life sound tedious. I once reviewed here on the blog a biography of Somerset Maugham that drove me nuts with the interminable lists of every person the extremely sociable writer ever met. The author of the book pouted over the review but I stand by it. The incapacity to self-edit and organize their material haunts many biographers.
The second problem is that instead of s biography many authors create a hagiography. It’s impossible to write about your subject without falling in love with him or her at least a little. But too often biographers begin to sound like they are writing an authorized biography of Lenin in the 1974 USSR. Their subject sounds so perfect that a reader drowns in pink, sloppy goo of adoration.
Thankfully, Charles Moore, the author of the three-volume Authorized Biography of Margaret Thatcher is nothing like that. He is a genuinely talented author who can write about a minor policy dispute in 1959 in a way that makes you turn over the pages with shaking hands, desperate to find out how things turned out. He’s not overawed by his subject, elegantly taking the piss out of Thatcher whenever the situation warrants it.
Moore is extraordinarily good at organizing his information in a way that keeps you riveted to the page. And riveted I am. I’m walking into walls and forgetting to leave my parked car because I can’t unglue myself from the book.
Crucially, Moore doesn’t insert himself into the narrative. I have absolutely no idea how he feels about any of the political ideas discussed in the book. And that’s a blessing.
Yep. Surveillance capitalism is about to achieve its greatest victory with extreme ease. All that it needed to do was get the Bezos-owned newspaper to publish daily articles about “a scary virus,” and people lined up to get surveilled, controlled, traded, and modified.
It’s profoundly gratifying that there are two actual leftists – Wolf and Greenwald – who don’t eagerly fellate the big tech.
I’ve been socializing so aggressively that today was the first time in ages that I had a chance to enjoy a few tranquil hours, alternating between reading, bullet journaling, and doing the laundry. These are my most restful activities and I should engage in them more often.
The aggressive socializing hasn’t anything to do with COVID but, rather, with suffering a very painful betrayal by two friends and beginning to fear that I had lost the knowledge of how to make friends. Yes, it happens to us, older people, too.