Sunday, April 24, 2011

Some Old Familiar Poxyclips


David Redles, Hitler's millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation

Chapter 2 "The Turning Point: Racial Apocalypse or Racial Salvation"

The total chaos of the Weimar period, particularly in the early years, elicited a profound sense of collapse for many Germans, outwardly and inwardly. Perched on the edge of an abyss, the Nazis in particular came to believe that Germany, and indeed Aryan humanity in general, had reached a historic turning point. The old order had collapsed, requiring the appearance of a New Order (a new perception of reality, what the Nazis termed Weltanschauung, or would view). In true apocalyptic fashion, Hitler explained to a journalist,

The day is not far off when we shall be living in great times once more. What we now need is that intelligent writers should make clear to the citizens of Germany the historic turning point at which Germany stands today. We are on the threshold of a unique new epoch in our history. We have reached the turning point when the bourgeoisie must decide whether it will choose Bolshevik chaos in Germany and therefore in Europe, or a National-Socialist Germany and a new order on our continent.

Alfred Rosenberg likened this turning point to those that ushered in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment: “today is again a turning point in the history of the world. At the beginning of the sixteenth century one began in Europe; at the end of the eighteenth century another set in, at the beginning of the twentieth century is again decline and rebirth.” According to Rosenberg, it was a rebirth into a “new synthesis of life,” not simply a new form of government but an inner spiritual transformation: “today we are inwardly experiencing a collapse, and we have a deep longing for a new form of life.”

The testimonials of the Old Guard clearly reflect a sense of living at a time that would bring either apocalypse or salvation. Jakob Hoffmann states that “I always believed a union of the best forces of Germany must bring about a turning point in order to save Germany from chaos.” Wilhelm Scherer remarked that he was happy to have been “able to contribute” to what he termed “a world-historical epoch.” Describing this epoch, he explained,

A presentiment arose in me that only revolution must follow, like one that the glorious history of Germany had not yet experienced. Yes, like one world history had not yet, until now, produced. Germany put into effect a world turning point, brought about by our Führer, his movement, and many of our best who had sacrificed their sacred blood.

Heinrich Maxeiner exclaimed that “I, however, rejoiced that a benevolent fate had placed me in this great destiny and turning point of our Volk – to have allowed me to experience the striving and struggling for it.” Similarly, another minor Nazi states that “we are thankful to our Creator to be able to live in this age,” while yet another proclaimed that “the greatest fortune that could befall me was the circumstances that I was born into a time like no other.” Finally, Arno Belger, a local propaganda leader from Halle, described this “world turning point” in a language reflective of his role within the movement:

An over-strained, spiritually hollow age drew to its close, as antiquated and decaying liberalistic social orders and forms collapsed into themselves. Europe breathed with difficulty under the stifling nightmare of that Uncertain yet Inescapable which was summoned by the shot at Sarajevo as a purifying bath of steel closed upon the civilized world, and so produced the pre-condition for the evolution of the new man of community.

This turning point marked the death of one age and a rebirth into a new age. Rosenberg’s notion that out of the collapse of civilization there is rebirth is a significant and recurrent element of Nazi millennialism. For many Nazis, the death of their world necessitated the birth of a new world. According to Hitler, it was the Nazis’ mission to help finish off the dying old world so that the new one could be born. As he explained to Otto Wagener,

That is precisely the most profound secret of the entire revolution we are living through and whose leadership it is our mission to seize: that there has to be overthrow, demolition, destruction by force! The destruction must be meaningful not senseless, as under Bolshevism. And it can only become meaningful is we have understood the goal, the purpose, the necessity.

Hitler told Hermann Rauchning similarly, “They regard me as an uneducated barbarian. Yes, we are barbarians! It is an honourable title. We shall rejuvenate the world! This world is near its end. It is our mission to cause unrest.” While Rauschning and many later historians took such statements as proof of Hitler’s essential nihilism, he and they missed the central point that Hitler, like his beloved Richard Wagner, saw destruction as potentially regenerative, hastening the birth of the millennial Third Reich.

Rebirth symbolizes the psychological transformation that occurs when a new construction of reality replaces one that has collapsed, a function of the postconversion mentality that I discuss in the next chapter. Nazi rhetoric and propaganda reflected this psychological process in its presentation of contemporary times. A Völkischer Beobachter headline on February 26, 1930 stated plainly, “While the Volk Decays, A New Volk Arises Out of It.” Goebbels explained that “distress is the path to happiness. Disintegration and dissolution do not mean perishing but, rather, ascension and opening. Behind the noise of the day the strong powers of a new creation work in stillness.” Gregor Strasser noted that “in disaster the seed of the coming redemption is contained, and in death the seed of the coming life.” Rosenberg stated that “a new synthesis of state is arising from the collapse and chaos.” Ernst Röhm exclaimed that “the time in which we live, in which a world has collapsed in a roar and a young world struggles for life and light, will be designated by later generations as the birth of a New Age.” The Old Guard Nazi Karl Hepp described the Weimar period in a similar manner;

A world was forever submerged, and there was something new in the Becoming. A spiritual unrest had seized the world and especially the German people, and permitted men to experience the labor pains of a New Age. I also was strongly possessed by the inner unrest of the New Age.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A while ago Zizek managed to pass off a kitchy, tacky, nasty little Goebbelsian quotation as Gramsci. The New Left Review actually printed:

In short, our situation is like what Stalin said about the atom bomb: not for those with weak nerves. Or as Gramsci said, characterizing the epoch that began with the First World War, ’ the old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters’.

Since it sounds like something from a trailer for idiotic violent white supremacist fantasy, like Red Riding Hood, Zizek's fans loved it and repeated it everywhere, never for a moment suspecting that the communist revolutionary intellectual Antonio Gramsci would neither write nor think like a Nazi video game.

Around the same time, he picked up something similarly stinking of fish from an aryan supremacist website and has been popularising it with the help of Verso, The London Review of Books, the Guardian and the rest of the progressive press at which institutions there apparently are no longer any editorial skills whatsoever. This latest Zizek gag is a manufactured quote from the French Nazi collaborator Robert Brasillach. It is concocted from two sentences taken from articles published a year apart and spliced together to give an erroneous impression of Brasillach's position and output.

Zizek writes:

Brasillach put it this way:

We grant ourselves permission to applaud Charlie Chaplin, a half Jew, at the movies; to admire Proust, a half Jew; to applaud Yehudi Menuhin, a Jew; and the voice of Hitler is carried over radio waves named after the Jew Hertz. … We don’t want to kill anyone, we don’t want to organize any pogrom. But we also think that the best way to hinder the always unpredictable actions of instinctual anti-Semitism is to organize a reasonable anti-Semitism.

In fact the first sentence is from a piece published in February 1939 while the second is from April 1938. The sense created by this suturing of fragments torn from their context is grossly misleading.

In First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Zizek gives the source for this manipulated pseudo-quote as '"Challenging Mind" by Rodbod' which he claims is to be found on the website What you can find from europe-landofheroes however is a tribute film to Arkan, and nothing about Brasillach. Zizek has directed his readers to something I suppose he imagines justifies his Slovene embezzlement through aryanist nationalism scam, but it is no source for his pseudo-Brasillach. That can be found, rather, posted in 2006 on an aryan supremacist forum called Skadi, devoted to "Germanic Leitkultur", where the two sentences are quoted in a single paragraph in this order, the later first, but not combined as if they were part of the same text.

Brasillach's "soft" faction lost a battle with a more virulent group at Je Suis Partout, and he resigned. Yet he still could write, "I have confidence in the Wehrmacht and in Adolf's patriotism." Brasillach saw himself as a "moderate" anti-Semite. "We grant ourselves permission," he wrote, "to applaud Charlie Chaplin, a half Jew, at the movies; to admire Proust, a half Jew; to applaud Yehudi Menuhin, a Jew; and the voice of Hitler is carried over radio waves named after the Jew Hertz." He declared that "fascism is anti-Semitic." As he put it in 1938, "We don't want to kill anyone, we don't want to organize any pogrom. But we also think that the best way to hinder the always unpredictable actions of instinctual anti-Semitism is to organize a reasonable anti-Semitism."

Now this pseudo-Brasillach is spreading out through the virtual land without factcheckers, the virtual land of the gulls, where the pseudo-Gramsci and the pseudo-Chomsky, the pseudo-Toussaint, the pseudo-Enron Insiders, the fictional Arthur Feldman Viennese Jooo, and other Zizekian fabrications have also been fruitful and multiplied.

Democracy, Raced = Dysfunction

(This despotism is what The Wire creates the justifying mythology for.)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In 2009, The University of Michigan held a conference on The Wire "as both a topic and a model of critique."

PBS radio in Michigan discussed the academic organisers' ideas of the importance of the series for real-world policy making:

"You know," says Tillet, "The Wire is one of those shows that, regardless of one's academic discipline, one can find a common language or a common interest to talk about the show. You can have sociologists coming together, or economists, or literary critics, or historians, all trying to wrestle with the questions that the Wire posed to its audience members."

That's exactly what Paul Farber is banking on. He's a grad student at the University of Michigan and one of the guys behind the Wire themed conference, which they're calling "Heart of the City." He thinks there's something in The Wire for everyone to talk about: from inner city students to scholars. Even a big time politician like President Barack Obama has gone on the record saying it's his favorite TV show.

"The show is unique," says Farber. "It offers not just compelling story lines, but also really focused and keen ideas about policy making. When we think about reform, oftentimes it's around single issues platforms. So you go in and fix the schools, or you go in and fix crime. What the show demonstrates to us is that you can't just intervene in one area without having a really sincere, deep impact in others. The idea is that all areas and sectors of society are intimately connected."

And since Obama has already gone on the record saying how much he likes The Wire, Farber hopes that when it comes time for the administration to talk about new policies or reform, Obama takes into account what he learned from watching the TV show.

Current fascistic praxis in Michigan reflects the significant success the show's producers, it's academic fans and the propagandists of their world-view across the culture industry have had in their anti-democratic, racist ideological assault.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

But if you want to get a true sense of what the "shadow budget" is all about, all you have to do is look closely at the taxpayer money handed over to a single company that goes by a seemingly innocuous name: Waterfall TALF Opportunity. At first glance, Waterfall's haul doesn't seem all that huge — just nine loans totaling some $220 million, made through a Fed bailout program. That doesn't seem like a whole lot, considering that Goldman Sachs alone received roughly $800 billion in loans from the Fed. But upon closer inspection, Waterfall TALF Opportunity boasts a couple of interesting names among its chief investors: Christy Mack and Susan Karches.

Christy is the wife of John Mack, the chairman of Morgan Stanley. Susan is the widow of Peter Karches, a close friend of the Macks who served as president of Morgan Stanley's investment-banking division. Neither woman appears to have any serious history in business, apart from a few philanthropic experiences. Yet the Federal Reserve handed them both low-interest loans of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars through a complicated bailout program that virtually guaranteed them millions in risk-free income...

...It's hard to imagine a pair of people you would less want to hand a giant welfare check to — yet that's exactly what the Fed did. Just two months before the Macks bought their fancy carriage house in Manhattan, Christy and her pal Susan launched their investment initiative called Waterfall TALF. Neither seems to have any experience whatsoever in finance, beyond Susan's penchant for dabbling in thoroughbred racehorses. But with an upfront investment of $15 million, they quickly received $220 million in cash from the Fed, most of which they used to purchase student loans and commercial mortgages. The loans were set up so that Christy and Susan would keep 100 percent of any gains on the deals, while the Fed and the Treasury (read: the taxpayer) would eat 90 percent of the losses. Given out as part of a bailout program ostensibly designed to help ordinary people by kick-starting consumer lending, the deals were a classic heads-I-win, tails-you-lose investment.

So how did the government come to address a financial crisis caused by the collapse of a residential-mortgage bubble by giving the wives of a couple of Morgan Stanley bigwigs free money to make essentially risk-free investments in student loans and commercial real estate?

Just an exercise

Galeano - 2000

Eduardo Galeano, Reading, 3 November 2000 from Lannan Foundation on Vimeo.

Watch. Do.
So both Beck and Zizek, the extremist neanderthals in their niches, have fallen a little from grace just as their years of labour are coming to fruition. Explosively. Even though it's been coming on so steadily for so long, the laborious restoration of the barbaric language, mythology and pseudo-science of white supremacist patriarchal domination, the sudden freedom and bravado with which it is all used now shock even some who have adopted some softer version of the reactionary revisionist discourse themselves.

But we have to remember that discrediting this and shaming it and stripping it of its respectability was the accomplishment of culture wars of the past, and if ground has been lost, it need not be lost forever. We can retake that territority if we wish.

KS:... Notice also that the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine or the utter destruction of Iraq by the American military, for instance, are marginalized in this culturalized framing, leaving us at the superficial-and I would argue, ideological-level of a Thomas Friedman-type worldview that tries to reduce all explanations of "what went wrong" in Iraq as a product of a time-immemorial culture of the Arabs that can or cannot be civilized or modernized. Notice how it blames "them" and "their" culture for all that is wrong and leaves untouched anything the US war and occupation of Iraq did to them. Second, and for me more significant, this culturalized talk reduces and produces subjects and identities to simple civilizational and cultural templates. I recently spoke to my older brother on the phone and he said something to me that highlights this well. He said to me, "Khaldoun, I feel like an object. All my opinions and everything I do is now seen by both friends and foe as stemming from my Muslimness. It's like that's all I am now..." This is something many of us so-called Muslims or Arabs-no matter how secular or complex may be our identity-have been more and more exposed to this simplification. Everything from our sexual and dating desires, our views on marriage or on gays and women, to our critical insights on Israel or other political issues-are all reduced to our Muslimness/ Arabness. Moreover, it produces what Ferruh Yilmaz calls a new social ontology of difference by reconstituting our political identities from a class or colonial based way of seeing to an ethnicized/civilizational one.

And, as I have already mentioned, it's not only crude racists that speak to you this way. Often, and more so now, it is the default language of some on the non-mainstream left as well. Indeed, in academia, Yilmaz and I have been noticing an increasing number of left scholars who are themselves slowly becoming interpellated by this civilizational discourse. Once the social divide becomes culturalized around categories like Islam and the West, it transforms the way we see social issues like inequality, conflict, human rights, and so on. So to your question of what kinds of strategy are emerging, first thing I would say is that we have to be careful and not to think about politics as coming from a particular discursive content. Rather we have to see how this discourse relates to power and what it does once it articulates itself in the public sphere. Often we judge someone's politics by the words contained in his or her worldview. So words like "patriarchy" or "homophobia" are usually seen as adopted by "progressive" minded folks. But I think this is very limiting, especially when the social divide has been transformed from a class and colonial divide to an ethnicized/civilizational divide. So in our times, often these words are used as adjectives that precede civilizational categories, so that when they come together (patriarchal culture/Islam) it particularizes these political and social offenses to a specific people or culture. This means we have to start looking at the fine work of some postcolonial feminists and queer theorists like Joan Scott, Uma Narayan, Jasbir Puar, Judith Butler and others who are doing creative critical work around these issues.

JC: You mentioned Thomas Friedman, whose particular perspective on the Middle East has been quite damaging in terms of how he contributes to the culturalization of political discourse. This goes all the way back to his bestselling book From Beirut to Jerusalem, in which he engages in some absurdly reductionist arguments. Obviously the news media play a key role in the circulation and legitimation of the discursive patterns you are describing here. Given that the Weave is an alternative media project, I'm feeling a need to ask you about mediatic spaces where one might find more critical voices - voices that try to resist being interpellated into the "good Muslim/bad Muslim" framework, for instance. For people who are looking for alternative sources of news and commentary, what do you recommend?

KS: First I would recommend that you read the fine works of folks like W.E.B. Du Bois and study others like Ida B. Wells. Over the past couple of years, for instance, I've learned much from Ida B. Wells campaign to stop the lynching of black men who were accused of raping white women. The similarity between that campaign and what is emerging in our times was very shocking for me. And I was absolutely amazed by how Ida B. Wells, noticing northern liberal white complicity in the lynchings, maneuvered to fragment the racial hegemonic formation of her time by finally turning liberal whites against the white lynchers. I think this is the project of our time: is it possible that we can intervene in this new hegemonic bloc-making in such a way that liberals can be tugged away from this new racial magnet (let's call this de-interpellation)? Is that possible or is it wishful thinking and naïve on my part? I can see why some folks may think the latter, but from the few talks I've made to the public I'm always energized by liberals who come to speak to me later and tell me that they needed to hear what I said. So I would recommend finding folks that can speak in such a way to fracture this hegemonic formation. This would mean that you would have to refuse to abide by the constraints of the debate manufactured by our mainstream political and media institutions. Don't let them frame the issue. They will try to frame the issue around free speech or something of that sort, between Muslims who come from a culture that does not yet have experience with free speech (or gender equality or gay rights...) and "our way of life." You have to be diligent and find other frames, like searching the chains of incitements and locating the nodes that produce the debate in the first place and showing its racial element. Many academics and experts do not recognize this and proceed to pontificate upon the axioms of this politically constructed and politically manufactured debate

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Socialization of losses and...

"Privatization of profits and socialization of losses": from goldbugs to Keynesians to trots and anarchists, the chosen syntagma to abbreviate the sequence of events that led us to where we are now. As if socialization signified some definite end to the process of enrichment. The financier stuffs himself, bails out on the check, calls a cab, and goes... where? Monte Cristo?

Even leftists are buying the idea that 'socialization' means the financiers lie in bed all day, waking only at two in the afternoon to pick up their welfare cheque. The lazy scrounging bastards are hoovering up entitlements.

That fiction will be maintained for as long as one believes that the crisis was created by greed-blinded stupidity: the Credit Default Swap cooked up over a boozy weekend in Boca Roca; Quant-fetishism; or the 'ideological' inflexibility of people who have read too much Ayn Rand... all explanations propounded by the popular press and novelistic accounts of the crisis. Those are all reasons put forward for the "shocking" neglect of the "miscalculated" risks incurred by finance before the crash.

The simple fact is that risk was allowed to be miscalculated to an insane degree precisely because crisis had been prepared for so efficiently.
"Socialization of losses" isn't the end of the story, it's just the beginning.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Black Power Revolt of the 1960's - Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor from RedReel on Vimeo.

After the Watts riots, 58% of participants polled said they thought the effect of the riot would be favourable. 54% of those arrested though the riot would "help the Negro cause". 51% thought the riot would make whites more sympathetic to the problems of blacks. More than 80% thought the riots would make whites more aware of the problems facing the African-American community.
Amiri Baraka on Obama, circa 2008
In an October, 2008, radio interview, poet-activist Amiri Baraka accused leftist critics of candidate Barack Obama of being afflicted with “some kind of egotistical self-regard as the perfect radical.” Today, in his latest poem, Baraka calls President Obama a “yapping Negro” who would sell his own folks “into slavery.”

Monday, April 04, 2011

What would you identify as the central insights of Academic Choice theory?
The theory begins by identifying three principal ways in which economists try to maximize their utility. First, they receive salaries from universities, which can be increased if their course enrollment increases. Course enrollment is primarily driven by students with future careers in business and the financial sector, so an economist has an incentive to propound theories that CEOs and financial institutions find attractive. Even if adoption of these theories leads to substantial public costs, these costs will not be shouldered by the economist personally. Second, by developing such theories an economist can open the door to future wealth as a lobbyist or consultant. Third, the support of economists is critical to creating and maintaining special privileges for the financial services industry and for top corporate officers. By threatening to withdraw this support, economists can engage in rent-seeking. I call this last practice academic entrepreneurship.

Is it really plausible that economists threaten top banks that in the absence of some kind of payoff, they will change the theories they teach in a direction that is less favorable to the banks?
There are certainly cases in history of the following sequence:

a. Economist E espouses views that are less favorable to certain special interest groups S. Doing so threatens the ability of S to extract rent from the public.
b. Later, E changes his view, thereby withdrawing the prior threat.
c. Still later, E is paid large amounts of money by representatives of S in exchange for services that do not appear particularly onerous.

For example, let E = Larry Summers and let S = the financial services industry. In 1989 E was (a) a supporter of the Tobin tax, which threatened to reduce the rent extracted by S. This threat was apparently later withdrawn (b), and in 2008 E was paid $5.2 million (c) in exchange for working at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw (an element of S) for one day a week.

Isn’t it offensive to assume that economists, for motives of personal gain, shade their theoretical allegiances in the directions preferred by powerful interest groups?
How could it ever be offensive to assume that a person acts rationally in pursuit of maximizing his or her own utility? I’m afraid I don’t understand this question.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Manning Marable 1950-2011

Jared Ball on Marable's Malcolm X bio which he did not live to see published.

And down a few posts here, Marable's lecture Living Black History. There are two other lectures on the original site.

video platform
video management
video solutions
video player

Michael Eric Dyson: Manning Marable, A Brother, A Mentor, A Great Mind

The Great Wells of Democracy and others at googlebooks, including Beyond Black and White with the celebrated and enduringly important reply to Adolph Reed's essay The Current Crisis of the Black Intellectual.

The Disgusting Jean-Luc Nancy

What the Arab peoples signify to us

Disgusting right from its tortuous opening, which some will forgive as a dilletantist flourish, but which in fact is doing yeoman’s work in defining a narrowly eurocentric perspective on events in north Africa:
The Arab peoples are signifying to us that resistance and revolt are with us once again, and that history is moving beyond History.

Nothing that Arabs do can have significance unless it is signifying to “us”.
Meanwhile, other States strike at their own rebels quite forcefully, sometimes with the help of a powerful Arab neighbour.

Would be kinda vulgar to name the actors, or give geographical specifics (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan). I’m poeticizing here!! “Canaan’s ancient land”, that’s my level.
Benghazi insurgents are asking for help

Erm, okay, well that was pretty specific, but we can verify: we’ve spoken to most of them, it really is what they want.
the heavy guilt of a “West”

White man’s burden.
It is fine for the beautiful souls of the left and the sophisticated operators on the right to sigh or protest;

Smelling a nineties revival here: remember Zizek used this line repeatedly during the bombing of Belgrade? And ended up screaming in caps, “not yet ENOUGH bombs, and they are TOO LATE”? We are in the presence of Euro-geist: it’s sophisticated shit.
We are no longer just simply in the world of Western arrogance, self-confidence and imperialism.

Reality refutes this at every point. The most outrageous lie in this piece.
it is simply in the process of melting in the fusion that begets another world, without sunrise or sunset, a world where it is day and night everywhere at the same time and where it is necessary to reinvent the act of living together and, before all else, the act of living itself.

Logorrhoea. Nothing intelligible is being said here.
So, yes, it is necessary to keep a close eye on the strikes that are aimed at undermining the vile assassin of the people; sure, it is necessary to strike - him, of course, not the people.

Imagining Prof. Nancy here, anxiously overseeing the computer monitors at the command control of the French airforce, shouting ‘Non, zat iz not Qadaffi’s harem, zat iz a wedding party! Keep going!”
It is up to the people in question and to all others, including us, to ensure then that the oil, financial, and arms dealing game that installed and maintained this puppet (among many others) in power does not start over.

Yeah, this time is different. We’re gonna get rid of all that nasty shit. Once the smoke clears.
It is the responsibility of the peoples, yes: and it is also of course to us, the peoples of Europe or America, that this is addressed.

Is there anything that happens in this world that is not addressed to ‘us’, in the final instance? Is there anything in this world that doesn’t ultimately demand the response of a West whose sheer depravity and savagery has been demonstrated again and again over several hundred years?
It is a delicate task.


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Oompa Loompas

To expose the game plan of the reactionary culture warriors of this revived "universalism", scourge of "multiculturalism", one can usefully compare Zizek's revision of Haitian history to the Oscar-honored film the Blind Side, (the dignity of which Barbara Walters vociferously defended against the gentlest, most cautious, understated and non-aggressive criticism of Vanessa Williams) described here at Bitch Flicks:

imdb synopsis, as composed by Anonymous:
The Blind Side depicts the story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher's presence in the Touhys' lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own.

Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.

The real synopsis, as composed by me:

The Blind Side depicts the story of a white woman who sees a Black man walking down the street in the rain. She tells her husband to stop the car, and he obliges—oh, his wife is just so crazy sometimes!—then, out of the goodness of her white heart, she allows him to spend the night in their offensively enormous home.

Unfortunately, she can’t sleep very well—the Black man might steal some of their very important shit! But the next day, when she sees that he’s folded his blankets and sheets nicely on the couch, she realizes that, hey, maybe all Black men really aren’t thieving thugs.

Then she saves his life.

There’s a way to tell a true story, and there’s a way to completely botch the shit out of a true story. Shit-botching, in this instance, might include basing the entire film around an upper-class white woman’s struggle to essentially reform a young Black man by taking him in, buying him clothes, getting him a tutor, teaching him how to tackle, and threatening to kill a group of young Black men he used to hang out with.

However, a filmmaker might consider, when telling the true story of Michael Oher’s struggles to overcome his amazing obstacles, to actually base the film on the true story of Michael Oher’s struggles to overcome his amazing obstacles.

Instead, we get Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) as the adorable southern heroine. We get the white football coach’s unwillingness to stand by his Black player, until one day, he has a revelation on the field and screams at a referee for making yet another terrible call against Oher. The result? The viewer gets to cheer—not for Oher, mind you—but for the lesson the coach finally learned: racism is bad! Yay white people! We rock!

Zizek's revisionist history of Haiti is remarkably similar. He insists, as does this odious film, that he is telling "a true story", but he modifies the historical record to transform the history of white European expropriation, domination, opppression and exploitation of Haiti and Haitians into a treacly tear-jerker fable of its opposite, white European civilisation, salvation and emancipation of Haiti and Haitians. As in the touching tale of rich white benevolence, in Zizek's pseudo-histories ideology is truly reality on its head, as Zizek switches the places of producer and expropriator of all values as well as of victim and perpetrator of wrongs, erasing imperialist violence and in its place inserting white superiority and benevolence, erasing the biases of Eurocentric and Eurosupremacist history and replacing it with the biased "politically correct" "liberal multiculturalist" cultural-ideological oppression and intimidation of "we white leftists", and erasing European expropriation and appropriation and replacing it with African and African-Caribbean imitation, gratitude, emulation.

The formula to which Zizek resorts to provide the old colonialist framework and imply what still cannot be stated explicitly is quite simple, familiar from countless stories of white fulfillment and self-improvement attained by saving black people from themselves. (This is something even very flawed white people are qualified to do). Zizek's version (unlike say the cagier one here, where McNulty has failed to save D'Angelo from his depraved savage unnatural welfare queen mother) is as pure as the Blind Side's. The fears of Oher that keep the Touhys up at night are matched in Zizek's Speilbergian scenario by white soldiers' fear of "some tribal war chant" coming from "the black army":

The ex-slaves of Haiti took the French revolutionary slogans more literally than did the French themselves: they ignored all the implicit qualifications which abounded in Enlightenment ideology (freedom – but only for rational, “mature” subjects, not for the wild immature barbarians who first had to undergo a long process of education in order to deserve freedom and equality…). This led to sublime “communist” moments, like the one that occurred when French soldiers (sent by Napoleon to suppress the rebellion and restore slavery) approached the black army of (self-)liberated slaves. When they heard an initially indistinct murmur coming from the black crowd, the soldiers at first assumed it must be some kind of tribal war chant; but as they came closer, they realized that the Haitians were singing the “Marseillaise,” and they started to wonder out loud whether they were not fighting on the wrong side. Events such as these enact universality as a political category.

There are no grounds in the historical record for this detail. It is expertly camouflaged as some kind of thoughtlessly ejaculated - and thus insignificant - "excess" and "sloppiness", but it is a precisely calculated to be thus defended against objection (as too small and unpremeditated a point) and to allow for the plausible deniability of the pleasures the fans derive. The fiction is packed with revisionist hints that replace history with throwback colonialist adventure stories for boys. It would be odd for French soldiers to be surprised that French citizens should be singing French songs. But Zizek's fable manages to cloud the (amply documented) reality to suggest instead a 19th century colonial cartoon, and to excuse his invention by implicitly attributing it to some unnamed soldiers from the metropole modelled on characters one would expect to find in such popular propagandistic stories. This imaginary foil expectation ("some tribal war chant" issuing from "primitive blacks" which he intensifies elsewhere as "half-ape blacks") is arranged to situate the Marseillaise, and the white soldiers' epiphany of universalism it triggers, as proof of the efficacy and virtue of the European white supremacist civilising mission. This epiphany is of course defined as white men realising black men can be their equals - or nearly - if put through a sufficiently stern but generous apprenticeship. This packet of hints combine with the previous hint offered by visions of black Haitians, simple as they were, taking white French Ideas too "literally", to produce history as a minstrel show skit. The 19th century stereotype of childlike, imitative "negroes" is evoked to transform the history of African-Caribbean freedom struggle into one of successful and magnanimous, if comical, colonial tutelage, within a fictionalised context governed by the unquestioned assumption that "equality" and "liberty" were actually concepts invented by white French bourgeois men. Contact with this incomparably creative intellectual force, German spirit, white genius, inspired the enslaved to revolt, Zizek insists - and thus to attempt "premature" liberation and self-rule. Failure was inevitable, Zizek assures us, but the attempt is proof of the worthiness and validity of the civilising mission.

The Haitian Revolution truly deserves the title of repetition of the French Revolution: led by Toussaint 'Ouverture, it was clearly "ahead of his time", "premature" and doomed to fail, yet, precisely as such, it was perhaps even more of an event than the French Revolution itself.

It is not, as some defenders of Zizek will insist, that Zizek is evoking some other racist's ideas about the barbarism and immaturity of the Haitians and the precipitant haste of their slave revolt and later war of independence. Rather it is Zizek himself asserting the accuracy of this Hegel-ish take and bringing forward history as proof. Of course, he explains, Haitians could not effectively seize the liberty and self-govenrment of which the French white bourgeoisie taught them to dream, but how touching and remarkable that they even tried to imitate their masters! (This is again a repeat of the same narrateme...Mrs. Touhy fearing theft and violence but elated to see the folded sheets; the French soldiers fearing "the black army" singing "some tribal war chant" but astonished to hear the Marseillaise; "you white leftist men and women" and Zizek not expecting much from "half-ape blacks" and breathlessly impressed with the astonishing attempt to realise French principles! And of course your joy at the sight evidences your white virtue.)

This all is designed to give Zizek's readers the same pleasures the white Blind Side audience derives from the infantilized Oher and the wondrous efficacy of his simple-minded "literal" interpretation of his white guardian's directive to protect his team as he would his white family.

The invention of the averted menace of "some tribal war chant" and the ensuing proof of "universality" (black men can also attain the demigodlike condition of "French-ness") is Zizek's white-entitled Hollywoodizing of events beyond recognition (and anarchronistically infusing his tale with the image vocabulary of a 19th century race theory he is devoted to reviving) using for pretext the well-known passage from Pamphile de Lacroix' memoires of the campaign (cited by CLR James and others). His fictionalising works in precisely the same way as The Blind Side and aims for the same effects, titillating a white audience with a brush with savage black danger and its overmastering by white dominance, encouraging and affirming this audience's white supremacist contempt, while allaying its fear and stroking its vanity.

That "some tribal war chant" which Zizek envisions his white protagonists fearing they hear from, in his words, "half-ape blacks whose grandparents jumped in trees like apes in Africa," evokes a whole scenario from colonial propaganda's imagery of savage blackness which continues to be exploited by Hollywood (for example elaborately in Blood Diamond and Amistad) though usually not with as open a relish and bravado as one finds in Zizek and his fans. (Though these scenes have been provided with a similar alibi: Speilberg's inexcusable opening Amistad sequence was frequently defended, just like Zizek's endless stream of racist imagery, as some other racist's vision offered only to be "subverted" and repudiated by the subsequent joyful revelation of the gentle nature and educability of Cinqué and the other Amistad escapees). Like Mrs. Touhy's elation as her fears are proven unfounded (at least in this instance, and the implication, as with Zizek, is that the relief is exceptional good luck, and a lesson that not all Young Black Men are wilding superpredators or irredeemable), Zizek stages the joyous discovery - the savage "blacks" are civilised after all, they sing French songs!

Unsurprisingly, Zizek further lards his Haitian History fable, freely adapted from "a true story" and ending with a celebration of Haiti's post-Independence liberty and prosperity that was the gift of French colonisation and Enlightenment, with other Hollywood formula scenes, uplifting, "sublime moments" exhibiting white "authenticity", heroism and goodness. Inviting his reader/audience to share in the tearful sentimentality of white self-celebration, Zizek parades the true greatness of "white culture" and its emancipatory Enlightenment while all the inconvenient details of history are washed away in the deluge of emotional fluids provoked. His aim is to confirm his audience's feeling - not to convince but to seduce and massage - that white supremacist empire's violence (which yes yes must be acknowlegded) is merely accidentally factual, not of the essence, while its justice and benevolence are manifestly destined Truth. So very soon Zizek shows us Toussaint Louverture on a victory tour in Paris surrounded by a wildly cheering audience of Jacobins...

Arguably the most sublime moment of the French Revolution occurred when the delegation from Haiti, led by Toussaint l’Ouverture, visited Paris and were enthusiastically received at the Popular Assembly as equals among equals.

...see it, the steadycam whirl about him, the jubilation all around, with this vindicated and triumphant black hero at the centre.

(It didn't happen quite that way, you say? Killjoy, hater?)

And Zizek takes pains, as does the Blind Side, to stress the (special) black object of proper and successful white civilising mission is not to be feared. The carefully chosen primitive pupil can be awed and made loyal, trained to put the interests of "the family first", as Oher lives to "protect the family" and excells as a lineman.

It was the first time that an enslaved population rebelled not as a way of returning to their pre-colonial "roots", but on behalf of universal principles of freedom and equality.

The message and its powerful appeal to white supremacist sentimentality is the same - protecting the quarterback, protecting the European "enlightement project". True superiority will earn respecta and subservience. Not only are actual African, African-Caribbean and indigenous American culture and history erased from the revolutionary history of the late 18th-early 19th centuries, their absence is openly applauded as a civilisational advancement: Zizek applauds the Haitian rebels specifically for purportedly discarding African culture, hopelessly backward and parochial, for supposedly indigenous French/European culture labelled "advanced" and "universal". The "particularism" of the exploited revolting against the exploiters, self-emancipating and unified as a class, is demonised as backward and savage, while history is revised into fictions to offer reassurance that properly mastered by white civilisers (preposterously credited with inventing justice and liberty and democracy), black objects of benevolence (ludicrously portrayed as needing to have their consciousness modernised by a beleaguered slaveowning capitalist bourgeoisie trying unsuccessfully to throw off a decrepit feudal and Absolutist cultural and political superstructure) will be grateful and willingly subordinate. But in order to tame the black savages and teach them their duty to fight for the protection of the "universal Man" that are the white bourgeoisie, the white civilisers have to understand and accept their own superiority, their universality as entitlement to own the universe, their Hegelohistorical mission, and, today as before, the truth of their/our history:

The French colonized Haiti, but the French Revolution also provided the ideological foundation for the rebellion which liberated the slaves and established an independent Haiti; the process of decolonization was set in motion when the colonized nations demanded for themselves the same rights that the West took for itself. In short, one should never forget that the West supplied the very standards by which it (and its critics) measures its own criminal past…

...[Once having grasped that great white intellect liberated the black Haitians], we white Leftist men and women are free to leave behind the politically correct process of endless self-torturing guilt.

Zizek's harrangue is an old one: White guilt and fear, stoked by race traitors and (Jewish) infiltrators into the white elite ("liberal multiculturalists" from "the big cities" who infect the homeland of "local people" with the proximity of "immigrants" etc.) stand in the way of completing the civilising mission. The decline into superstition and bestiality that results from the compromising of white seperatism and supremacy is plain - knowlegde is discarded for a celebtration of ignorance, alas poor Marx!, everything lowly, degraded and weak, is championed over what is noble and high and strong, women and worms are cherished in the place of will and intellect, the very seperation of Man from Ape is blurred, the inferiors demand recognition and inclusion ludicrously: "Ain't I a communist?". This catastrophe is familiar - it is the evil consequence of slave morality. "Whites", the glorious blond beasts, the strong, have been attacked by the banded forces of defectives who artificially support the weaker species ("gays with AIDs, black single mothers") in a "Darwinian" struggle. The "whites" have been deceived into the belief that they must repudiate rather than vindicate and bolster white supremacy and its benevolent world order. They have been convinced they must give up trying to raise up by enslaving and educating, gradually, not "prematurely", the lower races, gradually extinguishing their inferior "cultures" (their "fascinating dances" and "wife beating") and instead sink to their level, tolerate their superstitions and violence, allow them into the most elevated assemblies to mingle with Great Thinkers, to drag down the whole society into absurd rituals, "collective trances" and "channeling", in an attempt to enact a perverted notion of equality. Like the Blind Side, Zizek's pseudo-history of Haiti, selling the white civilising mission as an orgasmically sappy success, offers a flow of white supremacist kitch in sentimental erruptions that a certain audience can never get enough of. The history of European capitalist imperialism is not one of crimes (and justice therefore could not demand reparations, a menace Zizek goes on to attack again and again), but a tale of genuine white moral and intellectual superiority of which "whites" can be proud and for which they/we deserve the gratitude of all those recipients of the gift of our/their superior European culture and white "intellectual tools".

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?

Let us not lose sight of what all this is for. The ruling class is accelerating attacks on the lifestyle of the "first world" majorities, which includes most white folks. And the catastrophe that results in the rich world is to be blamed on the collapse of white supremacy, on the revolt of the inferiors and slaves and white mingling with the lowly. The immiseration of the majority in the rich world is going to be explained, by the ruling class through its mass media, by a formula that a pseudo-left has been as hard at work installing as common sense as the fasho right. The current world system is crumbling, and some kind of new imperial white supremacist neofeudalism or neofascism is what the ruling class are attempting to transition to. (A wild-eyed petty bourgeois pseudo-left, evangelists of abstraction as petty bourgeois radicals always are, has already declared itself content to envision a future "communism" as Plato's Republic, the same left which defends a historiography classing Herrenvolk democracies as egalitarian societies with merely concrete minor defects.)

This project to reinstate and reinvigorate discredited and debunked white supremacist assumptions involves the pervasive iteration, under cover of varying degrees of flexible postmodern irony and disavowal, of the paradigm that Zizek and posse disseminate in their mocking "alternative" nightmare vision of an intellectual culture polluted with "toxic" primitives and which David Simon promotes to the mesmerised ecstatic delight of the same ressentimental white supremacist audience in The Wire.

The ruling class aggression is accelerating. The population has been really "softened up", since the flowering of altermondialist anticapitalist militancy (after decades of culture war successes for de-colonial radical pedgagogy) at the turn of the millenium, by years of "world-altering" ("game-changing") "crises" coming ever more rapidly after one another. In the US, a significant portion of white population will blame "the Black President" for the transformation of the US into a "Third World" country. It may take five years but this is how the history of the completed privatisation and final asset stripping of the US Treasury will be remembered. Obama came in, a cinematic episode (which even those who recognised the ersatz nature of the event dared not entirely repudiate, out of fear of the perpetual state of emergency associated with Bush as much as owing to an awareness of the reality of his supporters' aspirations and energies) popularly viewed as crowning a long period of anti-imperialism and the dismantling of white supremacist patrarchy, and by the time he left office, the country looked more like Latin America than like Scandinavia. (Remember the meme of how devastated New Orleans looked "like Africa"). All the damage of the ruling class offensive now will be attributed to Obama as The Black President, to black rule. Or this, in any case, is the hope of Zizek and Simon and their followers, fans, protégés and spawn, the outcome toward which their ideological labours are directed. The Wire, the new "Leninist Eurocentrism" and "universalism", the barbarisation and de-civilisation of culture and moeurs, and all the popular historical revisionism and "daring" "courageous" new analyses - weren't "the blacks" better off in slavery/colonialism? weren't "women" better off in the 50s supported by "breadwinner" husbands? - have prepared the frameworks. This is the project served by the "failure of multiculturalism" genre of punditry, which David Simon's "decline of the American Empire" enlarges and illustrates as soap opera. The postwar boom and the brief period when the fruits of the victories of social movements, revolutions and anti-colonialist wars of independence were enjoyed, is to be written by the "new universalist" white supremacists as the golden age of white rule. This golden age is to be chronicled as victim of barbarian invasions...the egoist, competitive, masturbating, empty-headed, consumerist feminists, the fetishist particularist violent animal anti-intellectual anti-racists, the exploitative victimologist sentimental goddess-worshipping anti-imperialists.

Bob Roberts was taken to Sundance to get a distributor. The producer recalled how between writing and release, it had become less satire and more topical lampoon. In the writing stage, the spectacle of neocon right wingers blaming economic inequality on welfare and the social programs initiated in the 60s was a stretch, an exaggeratiion; the producers worried it would seem extreme. When the film was being shot this was extreme satire, like Woody Allen's height-of-paranoia "impeach Reagan" button in Annie Hall. But reality was catching up and would overtake satire. A week before Bob Roberts' Sundance screening, this meme (which now seems so ordinary it is difficult to recall how shocking it was when it was thrust into the mainstream) was actually introduced by the Republicans into the political pundit vocabulary. So when it was stated in the film, there was "an audible gasp" from the audience (and afterwards, a bidding war for the rights to distribute.) Still when the film was released it was seen as "over the top". Then a few years later it appeared "prophetic". Now it seems understated; all that was nearly implausible is now routine; the portraits of corruption and ruthlessness seem mild. A young viewer might have a hard time detecting the tone or even getting what its supposed to be about.