Friday, November 26, 2010

Infra Dig

The thing about Marty is that he had his personal friends but if you didn't take a course from him, or eat at his table, you didn't even know he was alive --from the perspective of being inside Harvard or inside Soc Stud.--To me the entire thing: the festschrift for a man with no real academic production, no serious students, no moral trail other than a trail of slime--reeks of preciousness and an inability to judge the truly worthwhile. I'm deeply ashamed of Michael Walzer for ever lending his prestige to this and, apparently, for being unable to "know" with any kind of moral clarity that people don't say *incredibly racist things* without also promulgating and agitating for incredibly racist policies. Pace EJ Dionne's "we can argue/friends can argue" no one gives a flying fuck if important upper class white people are friends with, and have dinner with, other important upper class white people and if they, as they port goes 'round the table and talk turns to summer vacations occasionally give vent to racist sentiments which are politely ignored or dealt with by an uncomfortable but indulgent "oh Marty!" The thing that pisses off the students is that this mindset, these publications, these policies have real world consequences for actual people who are not, as it happens, white, or jewish, or christian.

Brad knows that I avoided the whole weekend--though I believe my family "represented"(!) but I really stand aghast at the barefaced, hackneyed, amorality on display by my former department expressed in this touching attempt to redirect the conversation:

"Richard Tuck: I let Abdelnassar Rashid speak because he is somebody that I have had dealings with and whose substantive views on this matter I respect."

This is precisely the problem. One is allowed to speak absolute racist hate speech because he is known and loved and has money and favors to dispense to his former students. Another is, briefly, allowed to speak on opposition because he is "known" and has "substantive views." This is an obscene form of "on the one hand/on the other hand" that denies the very possibility of an actual moral stance. I get that maybe in the Econ department, or Geology, or Engineering it may be appropriate to ignore a given Professor's insane and hateful rhetoric because, after all, his graphs or his mines or his bridges are top notch but I'm sorry to say that in a field like Social Studies with its proud moral and intellectual commitment to something-or-other Marty Peretz should never have been allowed to serve as other than an object lesson in what happens when an oppressed person takes a vow that he and his friends will never be subordinate again and cheerfully arrogates to himself the right to put his foot on the neck of everyone lower down on the social ladder from himself. Marty should have been seen as nothing more than a fucking object of study--not a professor in the respected sense of the word. No Fellowships in Marty's name anymore than we name fellowships honoring the diseases we are trying to eradicate.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Woman Fails Turing Test.

A commenter comments about dating over at "Annie's Mailbox" the current online version of Ann Landers.

I dated a guy awhile back who suffered from NPD. He had no consideration of my emotional needs whatsoever. Most of our relationship went like this: We would fight constantly, we'd get to the break-up point and he would feed me some line about how he really thought we could make it work if we just tried harder and would I "just tell him already" what he was doing wrong, I'd fall for it and tell him certain things he needed to change, he would completely disregard them, rinse and repeat. 

I know what you're thinking...Sounds really one sided, yes? I would always ask him what he thought I needed to change. He would always say "Nothing. Just keep being patient." 

He would never apologize, because he never felt he did anything wrong. He would accuse me of over-reacting if I got hurt or mad at something he did. When I would point out that I was bending over backwards to try and make things work while he treated me as a carpet, his response would be "I don't expect you to." He literally felt that, since he didn't claim to expect me to put up with him, he had no reason to feel bad for not putting up any effort. 

A few other things I put up with over those two years: He expected total openness from me, but would always say "I don't feel like talking" or "I'm not comfortable talking about that" when such questions were turned on him. I went the entire two years dating the guy without ever knowing what he looked like, but he expected me to be on the webcam at least once a week. (Not even dredging up all the lies he constantly told me about when I would get pictures.) We never once had a conversation over a phone. He refused to ever get one. It was on the computer or I could just deal with not talking to him. (He claimed not talking to me didn't bother him.) He expected me to be available whenever he wanted me around, and would throw fits if I wasn't. But my request that he warn me if he wasn't going to be around any given day was "me trying to change who he was" and not only did he never do it, he started purposely hiding from me and not telling me he wouldn't be around, sometimes for a week or more, after I did something that supposedly angered him. 

It took me two long years to walk away from that mess. I kept telling myself that if I proved I was different, he would open up and change. Boy, was I stupid!

The Real Problem is the Question Itself

Everyone's a twitter with this from Palin (via Steve Benen):

Palin was asked, for example, about why she initially ran in Alaska as someone interested in bipartisanship, but then abandoned that approach. As Palin sees it, she learned a lesson "when John McCain chose me for the nomination for vice president."
"[W]hat it showed me about the left: they go home," she said. "It doesn't matter what you do. It was the left that came out attacking me. They showed me their hypocrisy; they showed me they weren't willing to work in a bipartisan way. I learned my lesson. Once bitten, twice shy. I will never trust that they are not hypocrites until they show me they're sincere."
So, in Palin's mind, she doesn't want to work with Democrats because Democrats criticized a Republican candidate during a competitive presidential campaign. I get the sense that Palin may not fully appreciate the meaning of the word "hypocrisy."
But the real problem isn't that Palin is some kind of a hypocrite but that the meaning of the words "work" and "bipartisan" have ceased to have any content if the writer's question can be answered as she answered it.