On 7/27/07, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:"Michael, curiosity: Do you read Slate for fascinating examples of propaganda like this, or do they also do any real journalism?"

Claudia, all you have to do is look at Slate once in a while and you can come up with your own answer to that question.

Your reaction to the article was not knee-jerk, thanks. I found the article interesting because I do think that personal agency is key to dealing with situations like addiction, even if it is not the only element necessary for recovery and rehabilitation, and I do think that we are awash with a lot of PC victomology. Just watch any program on Oprah or Larry King. And while the fact that one of the authors is at the AEI is relevant and interesting, I do not automatically discount someone's opinion because they are at a rightwing think tank any more than I automatically accept someone's opinion because they work for a left wing organization or write for a left publication.


Thanks, Michael - I will take the present example as illustrating Slate's approach.

I have to say, I don't "automatically discount someone's opinion because they are at a rightwing think tank," but I certainly take that as a relevant factor to understanding what they write, and especially why they write it.

No disagreement on the problem of PC victimology: but not because it's "PC" but because singling it out by this name not only ridicules what it references without unpacking the sociological reasons for it. More abusively, this Orwellian labeling of "those Others," the ones who are claimed (never by themselves: is that a clue?) to be practicing it hides and denies the even larger practice of the same and more by the hegemony under attack. That is, the folks waging an attack on so-called PC victimologies are using attack to deflect attention from their own indefensible position.  (Sorry if this is unclear.)

I think society is even more "awash" with ideologies like these authors' -- their attacks against "PC victimology" (a term invented by whom?) are themselves a form of the same kind of identity politics, and worse. They are a brashly biased and factually ungrounded assertion of opinion in support of the global structure that is rapidly destroying the globe while exploiting most of its humans for the continued privileging of these few sorts -- who from the plush support of the AEI make this amusing claim that their world is no longer being respected. 

The 1%, worrying that the 99% in subjugation are getting away with something. The $2M/year CFO worried about a dip in profits if the clerks take a pencil home.

As my freshmen friends say, OH WOA, WHINE SOME MOAR. 

(Sorry - writing it in all-caps is also part of LOLcat-speak, which is actually one of the most subversive linguistic critiques I've ever seen, relying in its full glory on images as well as intertextual play. But still, apologies to all for the capslock. I've been half the day online with this dialect :)

Again, Michael, I don't think our positions are opposed.

I'm not denying the irritating over-use of "victim privilege" (another oxymoron worth unpacking) by a few. I too have seen, for instance, a person not rehired because of absymal performance claim entitlement to redress b/c it was against his race or gender, not b/c in an overwhelmingly multicultural and gender-diverse organization, he was the single employee who skipped meetings, failed to complete work, and sidetracked institutional resources to his personal use.

C'est la vie. A single swallow doth not a summer make, and the first thing any scientist or common-sense critical thinker learns is that anecdotes do not = data.

When I see such the global medical, scientific, governmental, think-tank, economic, military etc. establishment more than 66% eradicated by the formerly trodden-under peoples currently controlled under labels like "lazy moral failure"; when I see the institutions run and advised by the Paul Wolfowitz's and Sally Satel's statistically awash in the Other; then, I'll begin to consider whether the AEI has something true to say. Until that time of empirical substantiation, I see them continuing to run things quite oppressively, while calling it the reverse.  These labels, stigmas, calls for public shame and legal punishment -- all part of the mechanism of oppression. 

(Again, I'll apologize for the hyperbole here; the capslock discussion with young friends has been examining online IT issues from the perspective of Foucault :) Blame those French social theorists for my grandiloquence.)

But as I said - I think we're in fair agreement on most of this, no?