Monday, October 04, 2010

All People Are Pigs But Some Are Piggier Than Others

I was very glad to see Lenin has some criticism of Zizek today, though of course I don't view Zizz' Klan anthropology as so much less serious than those baboons which got Lenin out in his nightshirt with a flaming torch to get the old geezer fired from the LRB that it can be dismissed as just corny comedy. Though it is that, surely, too, and significantly.

Next Act: One of the crusaders to cleanse the LRB of racist animal imagery wrote recently in the Guardian that "The near-hairless pinkishness of pigs makes them easy targets for human comparison." Are we not pigs and brothers? Well yes you are clearly "pig", but "human" is pink. (It has not yet occurred to this Marxist culture critic that anthropomorphised pig imagery in modern mass media has contributed to the construction of the race ideology which enables "pinkish skin" to function as a sign, for her, of "humanity" to the Authority of which she remains in uncritical thrall).

This is not all just bad cabaret because it is part of a praxis: white supremacist patriarchy is a praxis. And a praxis is not merely the combination of some ideas and a few actions guided by them. It is the unity of theory and practise. In the case of Zizz' and Zizzians' white supremacy, the praxis is the unity, the interconnected functioning, of employment discrimination, the control of budgets at public and private cultural institutions (universities, publishers) and their monopoly by a personally white male Euro-American and politically white supremacist clique, and the discursive violence issued by this same clique, which is abundant, and produced in multiple genres, which specifies, refines, elaborates the theory of this praxis, which justifies it, describes its fantasies to seduce recruits and flatter members, endows the relations produced with images and forms and fragments of narrative, portrays the nightmarish phantasmagoria of its avoided alternatives. That is, the praxis of white supremacy is the unity of the real exclusion of black women and communists from the concrete resources of culture production, the erasure of black women and communists from history and silencing in public fora and the publications monopolised by male white bourgeois dissidents, and the presence of their caricatures (the product of despotic control by the white caricaturists) in the mockery of that exclusion accompanied by the laughter, self-contratulation, mutual support and bonding ("network") of the protagonists of this praxis. Together this is the praxis of white supremacy; it is determined by class, its core structure, and as a superstructure this praxis reproduces race and hierarchy and in turn superintends and sustains class, the base from which it springs. And thus the first act of the practitioners when defending this praxis is to dismember it and insist on considering each facet, act, text, and utterance in isolation and relating only to the subjective intentions and experience of the individual practitioner closest to it.

Anyway, this praxis is the context for the latest Zizz clique intervention in the Guardian, by Zizz himself.

So today Zizz offers his signature fare, a lurid racist pageant in his usual landscape where all human subjects are white and all non-white human figures are objects over what to do with which white people argue. And today, perhaps in honour of Adam Kirsch whose slightly modified wraith has provided him with a meat puppet for his self-promotion (otherwise he would have had to perhaps attribute this to "Arthur Feldmann, a Viennese-Jewish writer"), concludes with a blatantly anti-Semitic provocation about regressing from Christian love to loyalty to "the tribe". This after offering Robert Brasillach as the model for "liberal multiculturalism".

For those who still don't understand how this multidirectional digital-age propaganda works, here's the picture:

Zizek understands the heterogeneity of the audience which forms in a few clusters.

Brasillach is offered as figure of "liberal multiculturalism" (all actually existing progressives and leftists, of whatever ethnicity, are presumed named by this figure) ostensibly to condemn it for its secret "intolerance" (its purported exotic touristic posture) and for one section of the audience it will be received so. But in the guise of the invidious comparison Zizek is really floating the suggestion of Brasillach as the appropriate model for the mainstream, the majority of Guardian readers. The denouncement of the Brasillachian nature of the Guardian readers is a conman's form of recommendation to them. The "moderate anti-Semitism" - described to restore the ever fading mythology and vocabulary to the kind of vigor that Zizz has worked for years to inject into an enervated anti-Semitism - is then justified in the concluding paragraph: it is of course the figure of Judaism evoked as the tribalist chauvinism to which Europeans are made to "regress" from their advanced Christian universalist perfection by the advent of contaminating, non-Christian others. It is Zizek's good fortune that the current context will allow some readers, if they wish, to identify the pagan tribalism to which multiculturalism has forced Europe to regress from it's Universal Christian love as Islam, or some vague conception of self-segregating brown others.

As usual, instead of arguing for any of his contentions, Zizek treats them as already proven and promotes his fantasy by the reptition of images and analogies. His tactics have a distinctly visual culture quality: he does not condescend to make an argument, but he will make vivid - he will help his reader picture - his fictional world (like Carl Schmitt and all the contemporary pulp fiction authors inspired by his visions). That easily-pictured quality that he will produce with a monotonous loop of caricature and cliché will substitute for the increasingly obsolete activity of convincing and the deployment of traditional rhetoric. (Recall his confusion of the meanings of what is "easily imagined" with regard to the "end of the world" and the "end of capitalism". He aims to make his Yerosupremacist phantasmagoria "easily imagined" the way the absurdities of Hollywood films are and therefore "believable" in the same way.) Edward R. O'Neill described this tactic:

In the absence of any detectable method, a dizzying array of wildly entertaining and often quite maddening rhetorical strategies are deployed in order to beguile, browbeat, dumbfound, dazzle, confuse, mislead, overwhelm, and generally subdue the reader into acceptance. Example after example is supplied, but the principle that makes them examples is not itself given.

In Zizz' Guardian piece today we find:

On today's market, we find a whole series of products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol. And the list goes on: what about virtual sex as sex without sex? The Colin Powell doctrine of warfare with no casualties (on our side, of course) as warfare without warfare? The contemporary redefinition of politics as the art of expert administration as politics without politics? This leads us to today's tolerant liberal multiculturalism as an experience of the Other deprived of its Otherness – the decaffeinated Other.

(For the moment, I'll resist the temptation to explain the idea of the malign arising from Zizek's list of "malignant properties" - caffeine, fat, alcohol, war, sex and people identified by Zizek as alien.)

The existence of decaf coffee doesn't demonstrate anything about Zizek's contentions regarding the "logic", effects and aims of "multicultralism" and "political correctness". It is one of these "examples" - a metaphor, a figure, a vision, offered to help you picture it, in place of evidence. Like the rats who are offered as "examples" of how Jews infiltrate and contaminate Germany. But Zizek has found ways of disguising the crudeness of this old-fashioned technique by wrapping it in a hip jargon and flexibilising its amenability to interpretation. You can personalise it. His rats are not just rigidly Jews; they are also the reflexive ironic exposure of the rat metaphor of Jews - not rats and Jews but "rats" and "Jews" - from the point of view of critique. Even more usefully, they have been made interactive so that a portion of the audience disliking the whole topic of Jews can read them as, say, Arabs if they like. The most pernicious aspect of this incessantly deployed tactic is to accustom readers to forget the distinction between it and argument, and to become very suadable, and irrational, indeed.

One of the most abrasive aspects of Zizek's racist revisionism is his repeated insistence that "multiculturalism" is an invention and posture of (guilty, touristic) white liberals, when every reputable historian traces the bulk of theory and practise of contemporary multiculturalism as political praxis and policy to the Black Arts Movement and Black Power in the United States, the chief early theorist being Amiri Baraka. But Zizek (like his acolytes) is relentless in erasure of the subjectivity, history and concrete reality of those he considers Other to what he calls the "white culture" of aryan Yerup, black Others especially. Everything but evil itself - from democracy, materialism and "the egalitarian emancipatory tradition" to the Haitian Revolution and cultural pluralism - is expropriated by him and tagged the property of Yerup by virtue of being the works of uniquely creative white bourgeois intellectuals.

So in lieu of offering any argument for his assertions, embedded in assumptions, regarding the political landscape and the origins, aims, practise and "logic" of "multiculturalism", which could never survive a serious historical inquiry, Zizek droningly repeats a series of clichés whose familiarity is intended to incite a sense of agreement - of recognition of truth - that substitutes for the sensation of being won by a persuasive case. The reader is to be induced to "believe" that what Zizek contends is insightful and observant simply as a kind of overflow of the feeling of familiarity aroused in her by the images "African athlete", "Asian doctors", "rap music", "the cultural values of the host society", and of course those "politically correct" (implicitly) women who are "fearful" of "harrassment" and who, Zizek has elsewhere told us, persecuted him "in the States" for "visual rape", though we never did find out the issue of his ordeal.

The parade of stereotypes, placed in proximity, as the painted backdrop to the "liberal multiculturalists" Zizek stages who have themselves legitimised and even created the chauvinism of the xenophobic ultra-right (itself advanced as a figure for recognition rather than a concrete reality described), do the work of ingratiating and demand assent from the reader. Zizek sidles up to his readers and bombards them with these clichés demanding nods of agreement.

But he is like the chessmaster playing on many boards at once, but instead of having the luxury of making different moves on each board, his every cliché has to serve as a move in several different games. When he evokes "today's Brasillachs, some of them even Social Democrats," who want to restrict immigration with "reasonably racist" policies, some of his readers will remember that this is the position he himself advocated in his books and interviews and understand he is therefore offering himself as "today's Brasillach", for the applause and approval of some. Others, who do not like Brasillach, can conveniently forget his books and interviews and accept this comparison as a form of condemnation of immigration restriction which posture they applaud. Both those sections of the audience are those disposed to approve the author and identify with his position. Still others place the author as an opponent or figure of contempt and ridicule. Some of these can accept Zizek as an extremist and ultraleftist (as he himself characterised Badiou) or a crazed Marxist, making an exaggerated and slanderous comparison between Gordon Brown say and Robert Brasillach, advocating policies which Zizek himself has elsewhere denounced as so utopian as to expose their proponents as egotist beautiful soulists.

But the result is that nothing emerges from this but the newly minted and reinvigorated stereotypes and figures, the white "liberal multiculturalist" Leninino rightly envisions listening to Bach on a gramaphone while reading Hegel, an Other with a ghetto blaster whose implied blackness here can serve for foreign-ness in Zizzneyland, the Asian doctors and Indian computer geeks, the wimpy Brasillachs who haven't the balls to go all the way, seize power, be bold, act, change everything, like Zizzney keeps saying he's about to and never seems to find the time for.

All this is such a dense tangle of what is confused and imprecise and insinuating, but at the same time equipped with an applause light and mined with disincentives to criticism (every possible objection is warded off by implying its association with something odious like racism, hypocrisy, fear), that one is too exhausted by it to bother to object to the brazenly Nazified anti-Semitic effrontery of the final paragraph.* And somehow it has been insinuated that if anyone is to blame for all this, this last bit included, it is Jews, multiculturalists from time immemorial who in one way or another have forced Christian Universalism's "regression". So it is there, stinging still, offensive, infuriating, but a little less surprising than the last time. And one recalls how exhausting it was to fight with the defenders of all this in the past, and how viciously Zizzians will attack anyone who objects to his racist texts, and really how comfortable his whole readership, even those who voice a disagreement or criticism now and again, are with his Yerosupremacist scheme, ready to celebrate his rehashing of the oldest anti-Semitic formula as a laudable "philosophical engagement with Judaism", prompt to recycle his recyclings of crude Hegelian and Stirnerian fables of spirit, and all this is encouragement to let it pass. Ten years of letting it pass and we have a very different environment than we had before.

Someone mentioned to me the other day Jimmy the Greek. Now this person obviously thought he was a victim of political correctness avant la lettre, but brought him up as a milestone to measure the distance travelled to today, because even this person who is somewhat indoctrinated in bigotry finds the discourses of the present frightening. How did it happen? It wasn't magic. It wasn't simply ordained from on high and in an instant all humanity was remade to suit the wishes of Rupert Murdoch. It was produced by a praxis.

* I post this entry from Victor Klemperer's diary often but it's worth tacking on here again as reminder:

Yesterday afternoon – we had just returned very tired and hot from the flower show, I had peeled off and was making coffee – there appeared in cycling clothes, with sandals and shorts, grey with green turn-ups, a yodelling lad, Wengler, and stayed for hours. Everything spoke against him, but he is such a thoroughly decent fellow that one finds him likeable even at the most catastrophic moment. He had spent several weeks on holiday in Italy. He thinks Fascism or rather the Italian fascists more human than the Nazis. He relates as vouched for, that a few weeks before the beginning of the Spanish counter-revolution, General San Jurjo, who was later killed, had discussions in the Adlon Hotel in Berlin and that there are German officers with Franco’s Moroccan troops. He believes the victory or defeat of the Spanish Popular Front decisive for the whole of Europe and says quite seriously, thoughtfully, without any pathos, as with a weighed-down conscience: ‘One really should go there and help them; but I can’t even shoot.’ Later he complained how disagreeable it is for him to start teaching again on Tuesday.

That is Wengler. Johannes Kühn, however, whom I always took to be a man of integrity and a genuine thinker, professor of history Johannes Kühn has written a short article in the Dresdener NN (16th August) on the 150th anniversary of the death of Frederick the Great. In a hundred lines he twice calls him emphatically ‘a Nordic-Germanic man’. His philosophy is out of date and unimportant; behind it stands the Germanic belief in things higher and beyond this world; his inclination toward French culture is the Northern German’s typical longing for form and the South. – If one day the situation were reversed and the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands, then I would let all the ordinary folk go, and even some of the leaders, who might perhaps after all have had honourable intentions and not known what they were doing. But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lamp posts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.

16th August, 1936



    Thanks for letting me know.

  2. multiculturalism = fascism.

    By golly, it's the 3rd Period line of the Comintern!

    Smash the social-fascists!

  3. haha - but it's all this racial anxiety, this effort to keep aryans in view, meaningful etc. He slams multiculturalism really to advocate outright fascism, as he slams "politically correct" civility to advocate that white people assault black people with verbal abuse.

    and I also understand that most people, including plenty of jexws, and me too most of the time, don't want to hear jews complaining about old-fashioned anti-semitism, about discursive effrontery, in the current moment;, because it's like; you have a jewish voice which has a certain privilege in discourse about Israel should'nt that take every breath considering the reality? But this another reason is why Zizek's gesture is so loathesome; he speaks for "the left" and does the left no favours at all, he is the "communist" who wants to execute critics despotically, and the supposed critic of Israel and supporter of the cause of Palestinians who is really an old fashioned anti-semite and who does explain Israel in anti-semitic terms with anti-semitic mythology while apologizing for the colonialism and white supremacy.

  4. There are also these old gems:

    "We find this stance, a kind of mirror-reversal of the Beautiful Soul which refuses to dirty its hands, at its purest in the Rightist admiration for the heroes who are ready to do the necessary dirty job: it is easy to do a noble thing for one’s country, up to sacrificing one’s life for it - it is much more difficult to commit a CRIME for one’s country when it is needed. Hitler knew very well how to play this double game apropos the holocaust, using Himmler as his Hagen. In the speech to the SS leaders in Posen on October 4 1943, Himmler spoke quite openly about the mass killing of the Jews as 'a glorious page in our history, and one that has never been written and never can be written,' explicitly including the killing of women and children: 'I did not regard myself as justified in exterminating the men - that is to say, to kill them or have them killed - and to allow the avengers in the shape of children to grow up for our sons and grandchildren. The difficult decision had to be taken to have this people disappear from the earth.'

    "This is Hagen's Treue brought to its extreme - however, was the paradoxical price for Wagner's negative portrayal of Hagen not his Judifizierung? A lot of historical work has been done recently trying to bring out the contextual 'true meaning' of the Wagnerian figures and topics: the pale Hagen is really a masturbating Jew; Amfortas' wound is really syphillis. The idea is that Wagner is mobilizing historical codes known to everyone in his epoch: when a person stumbles, sings in cracking high tones, makes nervous gestures, etc., 'everyone
    knew' this is a Jew, so Mime from Siegfried is a caricature of a Jew; the fear of syphillis as the illness in the groin one gets from having intercourse with an 'impure' woman was an obsession in the second half of the 19th century, so it was 'clear to everyone'
    that Amfortas really contracted syphillis from Kundry. Marc Weiner developed the most perspicuous version of this decoding by focusing on the micro-texture of Wagner's musical dramas - manner of singing, gestures, smells - it is at this level of what Deleuze would have called presubjective affects that anti-Semitism is operative in Wagner's operas, even if Jews are not explicitly mentioned: in the way Beckmesser sings, in the way Mime complains."

  5. continued:


    "There is another, more fundamental, problem with such historicist decoding: it is not enough to 'decode' Alberich, Mime, Hagen etc. as Jews, making the point that the Ring is one big anti-Semitic tract, a story about how Jews, by renouncing love and opting for power, brought corruption to the universe; the more basic fact is that the anti-Semitic figure of the Jew itself is not a direct ultimate referent, but already encoded, a cypher of ideological and social antagonisms. (And the same goes for syphillis: in the second half of the 19th century, it was, together with tuberculosis, the other big case of 'illness as a metaphor' (Susan Sontag), serving as an encoded message about socio-sexual antagonisms,
    and this is the reason why people were so obsessed by it - not because of its direct real threat, but because of the ideological surplus-investment in it.) An appropriate reading of Wagner should take this fact into account and not merely “decode” Alberich
    as a Jew, but also ask the question: how does Wagner's encoding refer to the 'original' social antagonism of which the (anti-Semitic figure of the) 'Jew' itself is already a cypher?

    "And, finally, one should not forget that, in the Ring, the source of all evil is not Alberich's fatal choice in the first scene of Rhinegold: long before this event took place, Wotan broke the natural balance, succumbing to the lure of power, giving preference to power over love - he tore out and destroyed the World-Tree, making out of it his spear on which he inscribed the runes fixating the laws of his rule, plus he plucked out one of his eyes in order to gain insight into inner truth. Evil thus does not come from the Outside - the insight of Wotan's tragic 'monologue with Brunhilde' in the Act II of Walkure is that the power of Alberich and the prospect of the 'end of the world' is ultimately Wotan's own guilt, the
    result of his ethical fiasco ... One should also bear in mind that, after his moral fiasco in Walkure, Wotan turns into 'Wanderer' - a figure of the Wandering Jew like already the first great Wagnerian hero, the Flying Dutchman, this 'Ahasver des Ozeans.'

    "This, then, undermines the anti-Semitic perspective according to which the disturbance always ultimately comes from outside, in the guise of a foreign body which throws out of joint the balance of the social organism: for Wagner, the external intruder (Alberich) is just a secondary repetition, externalization, of an absolutely immanent inconsistency/antagonism (of Wotan). With reference to Brecht’s famous 'What is the robbery of a bank compared to the founding of a new bank?', one is tempted to say: 'What is a poor Jew’s stealing of the gold compared to the violence of the Aryan’s (Wotan’s) grounding of the rule of Law?'

    "We BECOME (identify with) the OBJECT which we were deprived of, so that our subjective identity is a repository of the traces of our lost objects."

    It's like magic. Wagner's Anti-Semitism is worth "redeeming" because it's about Wagner seeing himself and his heroes as self-hating Wandering Jews and not at all about how he contributed to the ongoing dehumanization of Jews in 19th and 20th century Germany. Let's have our genocidal cake and eat it too!

  6. "It's like magic. "

    yup, that's Idealism.

  7. Ok, I still haven't finished reading the post. I stopped at this:

    "but they must not intrude too much on my own space. The moment they do, they harass me – I fully support affirmative action, but I am in no way ready to listen to loud rap music."

    Chuckle. Say again? Are you sure about that? Are you sure that the children of white liberals aren't the biggest consumers of hip-hop and urban music today?

    Not that this is anything but a non-sequitur in the article, since what teh kidz are listening to makes not much difference either way vis-a-vis racism- 'structural', institutional, or otherwise.

    But jeez, what world is this guy living in?

  8. I should have pointed the uniquely Zizzian extrapolation of 3rd Period logic - the *true* alternative to *social*-fascism is unadulterated fascism. The only true anit-racism is ... well, do we need to spell it out again?

  9. I'm sorry, I meant caffeinated-fascism.

  10. and if you were to point this out to his defenders anodynen how he makes rap music not indigenous and just creates this white supremacist composite us/them - we white native host society yerup, and the toxic malign others, they will say oh but he is only referencing Ideology, not reality, it rap music in the racist imaginary not real rap music he refers to, or something insane like this.

    caffeinated fascism yup, and it's right there explicitly, the otherness of the other is "toxic" and "malign" and therefore

    "christian love of one's neighbour" ="direct barbarism"

    one's neighbour not being the other of course

  11. Not really dealing the the "threat" of the toxic other, but only thinking one can "detoxify" this other (though "its" proximity is still abrasive and harassing to our culture, with its loud rap music) is "the greatest threat to Christian legacy."

    When, before Zizz, did leftists accept as one of our formulated problems "threats to the Christian legacy"? He's always on about such threats and that legacy.

  12. do you get the feeling Zizzney read that WBM article and took note of Radio Raheem there, deciding to evoke for a certain sector of his readers the last encounter with Sal multiculturalist?

  13. not article, interview

  14. we have to keep in mind this is a long term project --


    Another thing that bothers me about this multiculturalism is when people ask me: 'How can you be sure that you are not a racist?' My answer is that there is only one way. If I can exchange insults, brutal jokes, dirty jokes, with a member of a different race and we both know it's not meant in a racist way. If, on the other hand, we play this politically correct game - 'Oh, I respect you, how interesting your customs are' - this is inverted racism, and it is disgusting.

    In the Yugoslav army where we were all of mixed nationalities, how did I become friends with Albanians? When we started to exchange obscenities, sexual innuendo, jokes. This is why this politically correct respect is just, as Freud put it, 'zielgehemmt'. You still have the aggression towards the other.

    You cannot do the game of erotic seduction in politically correct terms.

    For me there is one measure of true love: you can insult the other.

    It is not clear from this excerpt, but it has already been established in the Zizz "theory", that all the salubrious socially-productive insults that are "exchanged" are one way - down the aryanist, white supremacist hierarcy. (Insults that go the other way, up from Slavic/Balkan undermen to Aryan-Etruscan Slovene, are unforgiveable "reverse racism" - 1999).

  15. 2003:

    On the other hand, we have what right wingers usually refer to as a liberal, extreme narcissism, this "culture of complaint," or, "culture of victimization." You know, where whatever you do -like, I look at you now and [smacks his hand on the table] ha, ha, ha, rape already or harassment - construed as oppressive. Incidentally, the only way to react to excessive political correctness, I claim, is propagating dirty jokes.

    Dirty jokes are ambiguous. On the one hand, of course, I'm well aware they can be racist, sexist, and so on. On the other hand, I hate the term "African-Americans." I prefer black, and they do too. I think African-American as a term is the worst example of apparent political correctness. My best example of this was in Minneapolis, one of the capitals of political correctness [chuckles]. On TV, I saw a debate involving Native Americans, and they referred to themselves as "Indians," and this white, PC liberal said, "No, no, no, don't use that colonialist term. You are Native Americans." And at the end, the poor Indian exploded. He said, "Sorry, I hate that term! Please, give me at least the right to call myself what I want. 'Native American' means that you're making me a part of nature! You are reducing me! What's the opposite of nature? It's culture! You Europeans are culture, then you have horses and us, 'Native Americans' here, with foxes or whatever." So whenever I meet blacks in this kind of situation, I immediately try to break these racist barriers. And what's my measure that we truly broke the barrier? Ok, at one level it's political correctness, but it's absolutely clear that if you play this game, only politically correct terms and ooooh, this fake interest, "ooooh, how interesting, your culture, what a wealth, and blah, blah, blah," it will backfire. Blacks confess to me that they secretly despise this kind of white liberalism. What's the trick? Humor. It's a kind of dialectical double reversal. And this is when they really admit you. That somehow you can return to the worst starting point, racist jokes and so on, but they function no longer as racist, but as a kind of obscene solidarity. To give you an extremely vulgar example, I met a big, black guy, and when we became friends, I went into it like, [assuming a naïve, awe-filled whisper] "Is it true that you have, you know [makes gesture signifying a gigantic penis]?" and (this is a racist myth I heard in Europe) "Is it true that you blacks can control your muscles so that when you walk with a half erection and there is a fly here you can BAM! [slaps thigh] snap it with your penis?" We became terribly close friends! Now, I'm well aware of how risky these waters are, because if you do it in the wrong context, in the wrong way, I'm well aware that this is racism.

  16. 2008:

    To provoke people when I’m asked about racism, I like to do my line I love racism, I can’t imagine my life without racism, there there’s no progressive movement now without racism. I’m not crazy…Now comes the preacher part, the real….what do I mean by this is that there is something false about this respectful multiculturalist tolerance…my God, for me political correctness is still inverted racism…let’s cut the crap, let’s say we want to become friends, there has to be a politically incorrect exchange of obscenity. You know, some dirty joke or whatever, whose meaning is “cut the crap we are now real friends”. And I can tell you this from my wonderful experience here, you want a shocking story you will hear it. How did I become here a friend, a true friend, am not advising anybody to do it because it was a risky gesture, but it worked wonderfully with a -with a -with a black, African-American guy. No? How did I become? We were very friendly, already, but not really, but then I risk and told him, it’s a horrible thing I warn you, is it true that you blacks you know have a big penis, no? but that you can even move it so that if you have on your leg above your knee a fly you can Boff! smash it with your penis. The guy embraced me and told me dying of laughter “now you can call me a nigger.” Like when blacks tell you “you can call me a nigger” means they really accept you no?

  17. "they do too." The "they" that indexes the existence of the Other as a single, totalized, category - in other words stereotype.

    As opposed to "my friend," "the guy at work," "the activists working on."

    Quarantined ignorance.

  18. Can I just throw this out there? Diet cola was developed because (believe it or not) there are people in the world who can't metabolize certain sugars or regulate their insulin levels. But I suppose that when the revolution comes, those other weird sorts of "fringe" people can all go to hell. It's diabetic coma for the lot of you! We will only flavor our our authentic communist colas with hydrogenated corn syrup. The Christian utopia has no time for things like other peoples' health problems.

    Soda in general is disgusting and bad for you, so in my personal utopia it wouldn't exist. Caffeine would be administered by choirs of angels via cupcakes. But come on... I'm supposed to take diet soda to be some grand metaphor for how out of control the uppity feminists and "pomo relativists" are? That's a little- how to put it?- out of proportion, to say the least.

    >"erotic seduction"

    Is that what they're calling it these days?

    The whole bit in that hilarious Zizek dissection you linked to about Zizek's regressive reading of "gender" in the Lacanian mode sounded like one giant projective identification. It's almost like he's trying to convince *himself* that it's only natural that men get randomly "accused" of harassment, since people of different genders could never communicate anyway. So nasty business like rape/harassment accusations are only ever based on misunderstandings and mutual misreadings. To my ears this like a shoddy justification for anti-social behaviors and paraphilias (I've read some of the ones date rapists come up with when they're surveyed by social scientists, and the resemblance here is eerie). That these things seem to correlate with "universalist" leanings is itself something worthy of further investigation.

  19. you have to check out this:

    Missy Power is mighty angry again, this time that a cosmetics company is muscling in on her turf. she complains of the "vicious competition among women", seemingly escaped like one of those lapdogs from the pages of her own book, and run rampant, replacing male solidarity... and of those fingernails! who would associate women and fingernails of all things?

    "Capital was and is increasingly feminised via its machines; high-rise gynocapitalism literally making nothing, better and faster, as the circuits babble ceaselessly among themselves. A million data-entry workers sigh as the tips of fingernails clatter interminably; call-centres trilling with the trained tones of treble-tone perfection."

    and what kind of sexist pig (pinkish, being human) would suggest women should be seen over the shoulder of a wanking man all the time?

    "Jessica Rylan is the future of noise, in the way that men are the past of machines. Tall, slender, politely dressed, bespectacled… across a crowded clerks’
    office, Kafka’s heart starts to pound."

    Eugh? I'm sure none of us needed that little glimpse further into the zizzifem imagination.

    the hypocrisy, the posing, is beyond belief, but the thing is, it's ordinary in Zizneyland.



  21. Nina Power really is an odd case.

    In her book there is reprinted a whole interview with toni morrison from the 80s, which she didn't understand. I blogged that interview in its entirely in 2006. Then there is the Palin stuff which is just Jacques Alain Miller rehashed. And the long quotes from Badiou without comment. And I recently saw this, from kpunk's blog in 2005:

    "Abi Titmuss as ordinary, likeable woman, offering a fascinating insight into the nature of contemporary celebrity? Do me a favour. The sickening, simpering Titmuss is worth singling out for special derision because of the propaganda role she plays as a symbol of how, to get ahead in capitalism, it is necessary to set aside all compunctions.

    She operates in consumer capitalism much as the legendary Stakhanov functioned in the Stalinist Soviet Union. Stakhanov was a Ukrainian miner who reputedly dug 102 tons of coal in the course of a six hour shift in 1935. (Needless to say, it turned out that Stakhanov had a whole team of miners working under him). Titmuss' heroic efforts on behalf of the UK ether economy 2005 consist in the example she offers of unremitting self-exploitation . She stands for a shrinking of the possibilities of popular culture down to almost nothing - sending out the message: what more can you expect? - and for a total disclaiming of responsibility - wouldn't you do as I have done, given the chance? Everything she does is implicitly justified as an inevitable effect of global capitalism, not much to do with her at all. As A A Gill memorably put it in the Sunday Times last week, Titmuss speaks 'of her career as the pubescent boy's right-hand companion and of her breasts' inability to remain covered, as if they were a medical condition she had to live with, with as much good humour, and stoicism as she could muster. The outbreaks of exhibitionist sexuality were like eczema attacks: disgusting, unsightly but not her fault.'

    This is the way in which we are bullied into seeing our behaviour whenever we go along with the latest moronic initiative at work. It isn't anything to do with us, the structure is already in place, we might as well get as much out of it as we can.... If Abi can degrade and demean herself, why can't we?"

    that's Power's whole book, her whole "thesis".

  22. curiously, she claims co-authorship
    of a "feminist manifesto", while German claims sole authorship. And there is all this stuff in her books that is barely reworked shit from newspaper articles. But her efforts to disguise the source by rewording a little often lead to nonsense -

    The NY Times:

    "I noted several months ago that, for the first time in recorded history, women’s payroll employment might surpass men’s during this recession."

    Nina Power:

    " The news that for the first time in human history, there are now more women than men in the U.S. workforce should be understood in all its complexity."

    Then, on lenin's blog I posed a quote from Selma James "we demand the right to work less" and three days later it's her lead in her guardian article, but bizarrely interpreted. her article that consists on her "perrsonal reflections on the struggle" - "ten things feminism could do better" - is just rephrasing criticism directed at her and ludicrously redirecting it at "feminism" and "women in general".

    She really is an astroturf thing, as sady doyle noticed, "throwing up" on Jessica Valenti to get attention of someone with some notoriety, as she already did with Alain de Botton. Then doing this whining performance of being beaten up and wronged and abused when they kick her off their ankles. No criticism of her is legitimate - it's all silly, neurotic, unreasonable, this when she doesn't even know what she is saying half the time since it's someone else's views she's parroting and she's really semi-literate. Her review of Sara Ahmed's book in radical philosophy is breathtakingly ignorant, illiterate and with this juvenile tactic of trying to work in the few things possibly remotely related she's heard of. It's also strangely obsessively racist, erasing "the angry black woman" from ahmed's gallery of four figures and deforming quotations for the purpose of the same concealment, as well as declaring that "linking feminist concerns to race" is "missing from many recent theoretical accounts of feminism". On what planet? On the planet of nina power where feminists like pigs are all pînkish? Butr even after she has erased all woc feminists and burned all their books in the bonfire of the evil feminist vanities, it still is an insane remark.

  23. Ok, so One-Dimensional Woman hit the shelves here last night, and I just cruised through it.

    What strikes me as strange about the screed is the complete absence of politics in a book which demands, if I understand it correctly, the 'politicization of sex.'

    A little reception theory would sure help her discriminate the purported content of advertising from the real lives of the audience.

    Some of her writing lends itself so readily to mockery that I actually feel guilty pointing it out, but pg. 47 tosses out this tautology, "the history of pornography should be understood diachronically." As distinct from synchronic history. Lecturer in Philosophy! But I don't blame Nina. The book must have had an editor. And the editor should have been sober.

  24. Now some of the indignities of her text are out of her control.

    "Just as pink has become the color that somehow symbolizes both freedom and sexual availability ... ." And the cover of the book is - pink. In fact, her *name* is pink. But I expect it is an ironic, subversive pink. This imputed connotation puts her piggie remarks in perspective - pink identifies them as'feminists.'

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. The implication when womanists of color are being erased by Power et al is, I think, less that they're being wished out of existence and more that their work doesn't come close to being "serious" and "weighty" enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as the French/German masters (Hegel, Lacan, Althusser, etc.) That is, if they're even familiar with any of it, which I'm beginning to doubt. Their appeals to a One True Feminism-big-F give the whole movement a good, old-fashioned whitewashing.

    And what is it with the fixation on male masturbatory habits? I see this so often in feminist discussions involving body image (not just Nina Power's) and it's really something. Is it a fear these women have of male sexuality? I don't know, but it seems odd to live your life assuming that any time a woman conducts herself or dresses in an attractive, or even vaguely sexually suggestive manner (which is ultimately subjectively registered, anyway), that she's doing it under the watchful eyes of a billion masturbating teenagers. Maybe I'm defective in my 'femininity', but I couldn't possibly care less if, you know, Random Doofus X at the grocery store feels the need to incorporate me into his fantasy life. Can anybody really control who finds whom attractive? Probably not. If finger nails clicking and women standing over copy machines are especially useful in whipping up men into an onanistic frenzy, then you'd think sexual harassment and social inequity wouldn't exist in cultures where women take the veil or work only inside the home. And we know they do, at similar rates as in any other country.

    I do understand that some women are more sensitive to these things than others, often because they've been victimized in the past- but it doesn't make much sense to act as if one's fears and anxieties are Every Woman's. Often, within feminism, this phantasmic masturbating man is a function of a vulgar structuralism, an overly literal adherence to Mulvey's notion of the "male gaze". To see women's advances in the workplace as some kind of immanent threat to female sexual 'delicacy', as if women at least had the option of being pure mothers or whores in the good old days, but now they're all just big whores, is not a cogent feminist stance. Sex is, as it has always been, relational- the idea that men will someday stop masturbating to thoughts and images of women if feminists just do the right thing is patently absurd. But so is the idea that no female sexuality is politically sound unless it's completely autonomous from male sexuality. Power and her ilk transform the Big Other that they're always talking about into an army of 15-year-olds with hidden cams in every cubicle, jerking off incessantly as women "click their nails" on keyboards and presumably bend over to flash cleavage now and then.

    The imagery she relies on is really quite strange. It's as if she has a hard time envisioning herself outside the viewpoint of a sexual predator. When I think of women working I think of a lot of banal things- emails being sent, children being washed and fed, quarterly reports being run. Not a softcore porn that'd run on Cinemax of a Saturday night.

  27. Excuse the double-posting.

  28. I mean it almost ends up sounding like a way to try to intimidate women and keep them out of the workplace- oh, no wife of mine is ever going to set foot in an office! Why, do you know what they do in places like that to helpless little women? You'll be thrown to the wolves, and they'll all be fighting over the stalls, picturing you at a typewriter taking orders.

    Funnily enough, this was the very line that men were using on their wives in the early 60s, and which forms the core of the political sentiment that Mad Men capitalizes on while pretending not to be nostalgically yearning for that era.

  29. you're brazen hussy anodyne that's what you are! dragging innocent boys into sin!

    ...also striking is how parochial it all is, this zizzian parade of clichés as anthropology - it's intelligible to a small section of anglophone imperial core audience - observations about the pink sow-like humanfemales always running in high heels while talking on iPhones...from fuck to fuck without caring about the poor sad fellows... these reports of what she watched on tv are supposed to be "insights".

  30. But I expect it is an ironic, subversive pink. This imputed connotation puts her piggie remarks in perspective - pink identifies them as'feminists.'

    It's race very blatantly actually, the "clean" girl is pink, the naughty dirty girl, chocolate eater, is brown;

    But a hip young feminist must have her indulgences. Just as pink has become the color that somehow symbolizes both freedom and sexual availability, like a curious form of hygienic nakedness (think of High Hefner’s claim that ‘the Playboy girl has no lace, no underwear, she is naked, well-washed with soap and water, and she is happy’), chocolate has come to indicate that its female devourer is a little bit, well, ‘naughty’.

    Take for example the Iranian [sic] business woman, Anousheh Ansari, who paid to go into space:

    "Ansari said to ABC news that she didn’t care what was on the menu on the International Space Station as long as there was one thing – chocolate."

    You’ve paid twenty million dollars to go into space, and all you can think about is chocolate? All humanity’s technological and mathematical capacities stretched to the breaking-point in the name of the abstract, pointless beauty of extrea-terrestrial exploration and yet a Flake in front of the tell might have done?

    Chocolate represents that acceptable everyday extravagance that all-too-neatly encapsulates just the right kind of perky passivity that feminized capitalism just moves to reward with a bubble bath and some crumbly coca solids. It sticks in the mouth a bit.

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  32. Last sentence but one appears to be a handful of words arranged without meaning to hold up the term "feminized capitalism"

    This is really incredible, the crudest, most hackneyed misogyny is this formulaic presentation

    how leninino and others view this as "marxist" and "feminist" really does baffle me, but it is revealing about what they have in mind behind their own identification of politics

    there is aerospace industry, masculine and noble, "abstract, pointless beauty" - no exploitation, no production.

    there is Ansari, an American computer geek and billionaire identified ethno-tribally. she is a savage. she is portrayed as appetite, stupid brown female ruled by instinct and hunger, incapable of undersytanding the abstract beauty that has fallen into her hands somehow wrongly.

    then there is Power dramatizing herself as more than merely ditzy, but a real simplton, taking tabloidy gossip(what was printed by ABC news azbout women astronauts space wanting chocolate) as transparent unmlediated Historical truth, the essence of Ansari, the intellectauly deficient savage of appetite inacapable of appreciate abstract beauty and science of white masculine achievements, in this remark in network news website.

    so we have apology for capitalism itself, for the resource allocation and exploitation that results in space exploration and space tourism accomplished by the racist misogynist vilification of this abject brown other into which American billionaire is transformed so she can serve as effigy and scapegoat. the obsession with her chocolate "devouring" and her constast to clean happy playgirls portrayed by Power as white/pink because clean and desireable, therefore necessarily white/pink issues in the breakdown of sense entirely in that last sentence. She is so overwrought with loathing and fear of this brown woman, this "Iranian" intruder into a ruling class of properly abstract White Genius possessing clean, properly pink women, that she descends into gibberish with a distinctly scatalogical theme: "chocolate representings what feminised capital is so eager to reward with chocolate" It "sticks in the mouth."? She seems to be describing some infantile anal stage memory....

    thus the importance of "pink" in her rants, while seemingly just kind of random effort at magaziney snark, and no doubt plundered from some other blogger initially, derives some the peculiar imagery of her racist misogynist anxieties.


    First Female Space Tourist Takes Off
    Businesswoman Makes History as She Rides on Russian Rocket Bound for International Space Station

    Sept. 18, 2006 —

    What do you have to do to fly into space?

    You have to be incredibly smart and accomplished -- just look at the current space shuttle crew, or politically connected.

    Sens. John Glenn, Jake Garn and Bill Nelson all talked NASA into giving them a ride on the space shuttle.

    Or you have to be rich enough to buy a seat. For $20 million, you can get a seat on the Russian Soyuz for a quick 10-day trip back and forth to the International Space Station.

    Ask Dallas businesswoman Anousheh Ansari, who became the world's first paying female space tourist today when she took off on a Russian rocket bound for the space station.

    She is the fourth private astronaut to take a trip on a Russian spacecraft and visit the station.

    "I have been waiting for this moment all my life, and I am looking forward to this experience, not so much the rocket ride but the experience of weightlessness and seeing Earth from the space station," Ansari said before liftoff.

    Passion and Smarts for Space

    She paid for her ticket to ride the Soyuz launching to the space station this week. The irony is she is smart enough to have become an astronaut on her own.

    Ansari immigrated to the United States from Iran with her family when she was a teenager. She earned degrees in engineering and eventually founded her own telecommunications company in Dallas, which she and her husband sold for millions.

    Her passion for space spurred her to donate $10 million for the X Prize, which backed the SpaceShipOne flights in the Mojave Desert in 2002.

    Ansari's chance to fly on the Soyuz came when the Russian Space Program pulled Japanese businessman Daisuke Enomoto from the flight for medical reasons.

    Ansari is a petite, very striking woman.

    She told "Good Morning America" weekend anchor Bill Weir that she was most looking forward to one sight.

    "I'll be able to see & Earth for the first time as a very bright blue, glowing in the dark background of the sky," she said.

    Asked how she had been training physically and mentally, Ansari said, "Well, mentally I've been training for a lifetime now. I have been imagining this moment ever since I can remember. But physically, I started training here in March."

    Ansari said her experience training in zero gravity was fun.

    "I was like a kid in a candy store," she said. "I couldn't stop giggling. It was the most unique and fascinating experience I've had on Earth, and I highly recommend it to everyone to try to do that."

    She wants to help make space tourism available to all.

    "I certainly hope that space travel will become something common that would be accessible to everyone who wants to take the trip. I will personally do everything in my power to see that happen," Ansari said.

    Sweets in Zero Gravity

    Ansari has something in common with two of the three women who have already flown into space this summer.

    Lisa Nowak was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery STS 121 mission, and she made sure chocolate was on the menu when she flew.

    Spacewalker Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper, who is on STS 115 that is scheduled to land later this week, also wanted chocolate.

    Ansari said to ABC News that she didn't care what was on the menu on the International Space Station as long as there was one thing -- chocolate.

    The Soyuz that launched this morning kicks off the Expedition 14 phase of the International Space Station.

    Ansari's crew mates are astronaut Miguel Lopez-Alegria and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin. The third member of Expedition 14 is astronaut Sumita Williams, who will be joining the crew when she flies up as a member of Discovery's next flight, STS 116, this December.

  34. Chocolate represents that acceptable everyday extravagance that all-too-neatly encapsulates just the right kind of perky passivity that feminized capitalism just loves to reward with a bubble bath and some crumbly coca solids. It sticks in the mouth a bit.

    It really is the staging of herself as poop and chocolate smeared infant, reduced to baby babble and imaged sitting in the bubble bath, startled and delighted to be "chocolately" at both ends. Elsewhere she becomes more explicit about her envy of another woman's "cholatier sex", the same woman whose "naked greed" and ceaseless masturbation is deplored as introduction to this story of the wasting of masculine humanity's achievement, it's "crumbly" "crumbling" into the engulfing savage ravenous mouth of the brown chocolate devourer in space.

    The image is frequently repeated - the egoist appetite Woman devouring, engulfing, making shit out of, destroying the noble and glorious masculing civilisation.

    Ansari and Valenti are two avatars of this same naked greed, just two vile instances of what happens when capital is "feminized" - "literally making nothing" - and the eternally insatiable Eve has escaped from productive, noble, white male mastery.

  35. It really is fascinating and it adheres exactly to the zizekian patterns of image. There is no content. There is a collage of images. Observe:

    chocolate has come to indicate that its female devourer is a little bit, well, ‘naughty’.

    The naughtiness of the "female devourer" is in the typical zizekian style introduced by a sock puppet, thrust into the text from outside. Someone, unidentified, but vast influence implied - some Big Other - uses chocolate to indicate the naughtiness of the female devourer. It's a feint in that it will lead some readers to expect that this "indicator", this protagonist of rebuke to the devourer, will be rejected and given a comeuppance. This authority will be dethroned, the phrasing seems to promise. It's nasty misogynist mythology and hectoring will be debunked and refused.

    But au contraire.

    The text is so meandering, in Zizekian fashion, that some readers, having been proimised this debunking and dethroning, will afterwards believe it was in fact delivered. But the opposite occurs. Power herself becomes the factotum of this big other, taking on the task to chastise the naughty girl who has devoured the chocolate. She becomes shrill like an angry nanny. She pulls a naughty girl in front of the class or to the pillory: behold this slut, this wicked wench! Her words thrashing the naughty girl like a switch.

    Take for example the Iranian [sic] business woman, Anousheh Ansari, who paid to go into space:

    "Ansari said to ABC news that she didn’t care what was on the menu on the International Space Station as long as there was one thing – chocolate."

    You’ve paid twenty million dollars to go into space, and all you can think about is _chocolate_?

    Power is aghast. She needs itals for her breathlessness. Chocolate? Is this chocolate in the pocket of your spacesuit missy Iranian?

    Power's modesty and uprightness are scandalised. Does Iranian Ansari have any idea of the value and glory and nobility of that which she has insulted with her vile self-indulgent snacking on sweets? Her loathesome bodiliness? Whup. Whip.

    All humanity’s technological and mathematical capacities stretched to the breaking-point in the name of the abstract, pointless beauty of extrea-terrestrial exploration and yet a Flake in front of the telly might have done?

    What a debased and lowly creature is this Iranian woman! She doesn't deserve humanity's technological and mathematical capacities (chocolate and tellies don't require them, they're just made by the elves without John Galt and friends) stretched to the breaking point for abstract pointless beauty ... the cheezy Ayn Randian rapture, the sentimental cheap transcendance, the Buzz Lightyear uplift TO INFINITT AND BEYOND! - not for you Iranian woman devourer, base being, satisfied with a flake in front of the telly, vulgar animal.

    Chocolate represents that acceptable everyday extravagance that all-too-neatly encapsulates just the right kind of perky passivity that feminized capitalism just moves to reward with a bubble bath and some crumbly coca solids.

    And there is Power in infancy, having been a good girl, she gets a bath, and there is the chocolate and chocolate, the chocolate that is rewarded with chocolate, the chocolate that is and isn't chocolate, and sticks in the mouth a bit.

    Incredible how she just dumps her whole subconscious out like that for show on page after page. Next up, having given Ansari the devourer her spanking, she turns the channel to see what the other wicked sluts are up to. Pornification! Watching in dismay, she discovers that her breasts are "yapping dogs" she can't stop petting...No, no, you misunderstood what is meant by "contemporary breasts" are other women's breasts. They are yapping dogs that need petting, not hers, other women's, lesbians, Americans, bad women, Iranian chocolate devourers before the telly.

  36. in the original version blogged in 2006 she did literally have "you don't deserve..."! and she really just stages herself as this vulgar provincial reading the tabloids and gasping over the gossip, "well I never!" Ansari wants chocolate in space! julia roberts arrested for driving barefoot! oh my stars, that's outrageous. oh, here it says - listen to this. Oprah Winfrey has had her favourite jeans copied in four different sizes so they always fit at every time of the month! of all the decadent....

    Whilst I obviously think that free space travel should be a matter of brutal programmatic centrality for any government, the news that an Iranian businesswoman has paid to do it is vaguely cheery - even if they made her take the Iranian flag off her spacesuit. However:

    'Ansari said to ABC News that she didn't care what was on the menu on the International Space Station as long as there was one thing — chocolate.'


    You've paid twenty million dollars to go into space, and all you can think about ischocolate?! Get out! You don't deserve the cosmos! All humanity's technological and mathematical capacities stretched to breaking-point in the name of the abstract, pointless beauty of extra-terrestrial exploration...and yet a Flake in front of the telly might have done? Pfft.

    I'm thinking of starting a boycott of chocolate - it's making an idiot out of everyone, but particularly women. That acceptable non-food (non)extravagence that all-too-neatly encapsulates just the right kind of perky passivity that feminised capitalism just loves to, with a bubble bath and some crumbly cocoa solids. It sticks in the mouth a bit.
    // Posted by InfiniteTh0ught @ 04:09 pm

    As blogging it's just typical imitation zine style chatter, but put forward as what all these very serious left intellectuals mean by marxist feminist critcism, it's really worrying. This is supposed to be an "aphoristic" example of historical materialist analysis of something, what nobody can say. It's really hard to see what these guys find enlightening about this analysis, or really how the analysis is more than the paragraph in the ABC news piece about chocolate padded out with a moralizing tantrum and set up by an insistance on the racial whiteness of "clean" women.