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Comments on How the right does it::
Oh, *there's* the Modest Proposal.
That's InstaPundit's 3rd strike and he's out of my regular lineup. I'm sure he's heartbroken. Of course, I've now added both Kevin Drum and Charles Murtaugh as possible replacements. Where will this madness end?
Instructive? I guess, but now I need another shower and some Pepto-Bismol.
I made up my mind about Mr. DisinGlennuous when I found an article linked in his blog. The (newspaper) article described how elements of the USA Religious Right, the GOP and a representative of the Vatican were meeting at the UN with ambassadors from Saudia Arabia, Sudan and Iran. It seems that they were finding common ground on various social issues, and were meeting to find ways of pushing their views in the UN.
In short, the article described actual elements of the right in actual conspiracy with actual islamofascists (to use a favorite word of Glenn's).
Reynolds had a comment on the article, 'NOw will the left stop supporting islamofascism?' (quote from memory).
At that point, I decided that he was nothing more than a right-wing BS artist, and wrote him off. Nothing I've seen or heard about him since has dissuaded me.
I was never a regular reader of InstaPundit, but I got pretty disgusted with Reynolds when he distorted a piece in The Economist to make it seem like it supported Palestinian terrorism. I blogged about it back in April.
Calpundit is pretty good, but I have to admit that, as a lefty postmodernist academic type, I'm getting pretty tired of the way that lefty commentators blithely call my tribe (and I'm paraphrasing) "trendy postmodern lunatics" ( link to Calpundit )
and say things like: "the most cutting edge of the po-mo critical studies sect doesn't even believe that science produces a valid description of the real world". Um, where do I begin? Bruno Latour, the most famous practitioner of "science studies" wrote an entire book to refute these kinds of slurs. And (this is something I'll admit that visual arts students studying Baudrillard miss) postmodernist theory isn't a licence for "anything goes" relativism. Keening lament at the loss of meta-narratives would be more like it.
OK, I'm sorry. Too broad a brush, I admit.
I read Gross & Levitt a few years back and then read a whole bunch more and ended up pretty unimpressed with post-everything. Sort of seems like a reasonable insight (social construction of reality etc.) that's often taken to laughable extremes.
But not by everyone, I'm sure. Hopefully you're one!
It's ok. I've got a lot I want to say, but I haven't figured out how to say it at the moment. I'm personally very anxious about the way in which my discipine is being used as a weapon in the so-called "culture wars," particularly when it looks like we're being ganged up on by both the left and the right.
There certainly is a good deal of woolly thinking related to the various "posts" around, but some of the stuff I'm seeing has this tone of "oh, wow, we can finally prove that this particular Emperor has no clothes" when really they've just discovered that Sturgeon's Law applies to academia as much as it does to Science Fiction.
At the risk of boring others, I'll make a couple of remarks:
There are significant disciplinary differences between the way that cultural studies is practiced in the US to the rest of the world. However, these differences get elided in these debates, as can be seen in Aus when the local right-wing columnists start parroting a line of attack that has no relevance in australia. (example, the political correctness debate, almost completely unheard of here until the mid 90s, when it got imported here wholesale by the right, to the befuddlement of leftists)
In Australia, one of the most successful right-wing tactics has been constructing a "powerful" intellectual "elite" whose interests, they tell us, are fundamentally opposed to those of both the working class and the mainstream middle class. Never mind that the actual political and policy influence of this supposed elite is at its lowest ebb in twenty years. One of the main tools of this wedge tatic has been the demonisation of postmodern theory as a soul-corrupting fog destroying our nation's youth.
I could go on. But, crap, I should do some real work.
Australia sounds much like the US in your penultimate paragraph, Nick. There's probably a book or two waiting to be written about the use of the word "elite" in recent political rhetoric.
Yeah. I think Andrew Ross's book No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture has some discussion of that issue in the US context, but I haven't had a chance to read it in any depth.
There's a fair amount of work floating around on Australia's favourite racist (ex-) politician, Pauline Hanson. She was a master of the wedge issue, and managed to carve off a large fraction of National (rural conservative) and Liberal (urban conservative) vote by arguing that all politicans were in bed with the intellectual elite. The resulting effects were quite complex. To say the least.