Clarissa's Blog

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

Forget the Statues

God, people, let’s not make it about the statues. Didn’t you see what happened at the presser yesterday? Trump didn’t want to denounce Nazis so he slid the discussion onto the terrain of statues. I thought everybody understood that this was manipulation. But I’ve looked at my news feed and on FB, and people seem to have bought into it completely.

It’s a great idea to discuss statues. Statues are part of nation-building, and they should be discussed. But not with Nazis. It doesn’t matter if Nazis are right or wrong about the statues. It matters that they are Nazis. Even if they were 100% correct about the statues, or anything else, it doesn’t change the shameful, intolerable fact that there were people with swastikas and torches marching around a peaceful town in the United States. Tomorrow they will pick a subject that they will be clearly right about, like the impoverishment of the working classes, so what, they will become ok?

It’s like this ancient argument of “yes, but Hitler defeated unemployment.” So he did. And he was also right in that the economic situation of the Weimar Republic was bad. So what? Haven’t the people of this planet already paid an enormous price to not have to debate with Hitler? 

Please, let’s keep the discussion on point. Nazis are unequivocally bad. If everybody just accepted it, we could move on and discuss something else. But tragically, not everybody accepts it. Let’s not allow those who can’t accept it distract us from this egregious fact. What happened in Charlottesville is not about statues, the BALL, the Antifa, or the make and color of the Nazi murderer’s car. It’s about the rise and strengthening of Nazis who are supported by the sitting president of the United States. 


A New Language

Inequality is not a useful measure of anything and discussing it serves no purpose. 

The USSR was exceptionally equal in terms of income. Especially since those in power had everything but actual cash. At the same time, the US was exceptionally unequal among developed nations. So what? Any Soviet doctor in, say 1981, would slaughter to have the lifestyle of a US supermarket cashier. 

So does this mean that inequality is good? No, of course not. It’s simply not a useful category for the analysis of anything. The reason why inequality gets discussed is that there’s hope that the sense of injustice attached to it will light a fire under people’s bums and  they’ll become politicized. As we have seen, it doesn’t work.

People don’t think in terms of classes. They (we) have interiorized the neoliberal mentality that is highly individualistic. You can only cure like with like. Talk to neoliberal subjects in their language. Not in the language of an extinct population of the denizens of the past. 

An entirely new language of progressive activism is needed. It should be the kind of language that introduces a space to question neoliberal dogma but from a position of engaging with the future, not the past. 


Do Republicans have to run the incumbent? Or can they come up with somebody else in 2020? ‘Cause this is clearly for shit.


If you don’t see a profound and crucial qualitative difference between neo-Nazis and people who protest against neo-Nazis, this is where no conversation is possible because something is very badly not OK with you. 


There is nothing more contrary to the logic and goals of neoliberalism than solidarity. This is why neoliberalism puts in place structures of feeling that make us shun solidarity. The first great victory we need to obtain is discovering all the insidious ways in which neoliberal alienation has insinuated itself as a positive good into our minds. 

Be Like Illinois

Illinois Senate, by the way, passed a resolution classifying neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organizations. 

How about your state? Isn’t it a good time to get in touch with your state representatives and urge them to do something?


My university is a very good place to work (when Rauner isn’t messing with us). There are no preparatory meetings that seem to eat up the last week of summer holidays for many academics. I have a departmental meeting on Friday and I can go an all-faculty breakfast also on Friday. It’s not obligatory. I decide whether to go or not based on whether I feel like gabbing with colleagues over free food. Last year I didn’t. This year I do. 

Other than that, I’m free. This is important because there’s always stuff to do in preparation for classes to begin and in winding down all of the summer research projects.


An article in the NYTIMES is titled “Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism.” The idiot airhead who wrote this trashy piece would benefit from being sent back to the sexy USSR where surgical abortions with no anaesthetic were the only available contraception and women had to undergo up to 3 dozen of these procedures. She’d also love having no access to any supplies from which a semblance of a hygienic pad for menstruation could be fashioned. And I have no doubt she’d get a special kick from the sky-high rates of rape, pedophilia, incest, workplace harassment, sexual molestation and beatings that were the lot of all Soviet women. 

Oh, the sexy Soviet paradise we’ve lost! I hear one can only get a sexier time in a burqa.  

For Kids

What I love in this country is how well everything is organized for people with kids. I still can’t get over the shopping carts with the opening for kids to put their feet through and the little plastic seats. Or the parking spots for pregnant women right in front of the entrances with pictures of little storks. Or the changing stations in public restrooms. 

Also, there are so many completely free places to take out kids here in town. Parks, playgrounds, the splash pad. Everything is clean, very well-maintained, with padded flooring, shady picnic areas, and shockingly clean public toilets. 

Of course, we pay high property taxes but it’s great to see that the taxes go to something worthwhile.

The Familiar Familial

Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer. I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast.

Hey, I’ve heard this before. Public renunciation of family members was very much in vogue back in the USSR.

It’s not surprising that the fellow became a neo-Nazi. With parents who can do something like this, it’s strange he hasn’t killed anybody yet.  Obviously, the parental assholishness doesn’t justify the son’s neo-Nazism. But his neo-Nazism neither justifies nor predates the parental assholishness.

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