Another good post at a blog many of the people who link to me have, for some unknown reason, yet to link to. If you can stand me then why not someone smarter, more eloquent and more generous of thought?

Interesting that a lot of the thoughts on the petty bourgeois that are quoted and summarized can apply equally to both right-wing agitation and the weakness of both the salaried, centrist liberal and also the petty bourgeois "socialism" of what I'll call the Northampton progressive. Especially in the latter cases, the competitiveness for credentials amongst those supposedly in sympathy with the poor seems exceedingly ironic.

Of everything quoted, this stood out the most:
(b) Spontaneism, i.e. contempt for organization, and the abstract cult of direct and ‘spontaneous’ action, no matter where or how — the expression par excellence of petty-bourgeois ‘individualism’;
Just another reminder of why I've always been miserable at any large-scale protest I have attended.

That's all for now.


BDR said...

Thanks, I didn't know about that place (or rather, I knew about American Stranger but lost track when it went quiet). Hope he reciprocates your Kind.

:-p said...

If he does, he does. If not, not. I've obviously been going through a rough patch mentally and my output, both in terms of quality and quantity, is even more variable than usual. Not that I have any ambitions for or related to this blog but I worry significantly more about losing what links I have than about gaining new ones.

So thank you.

Anonymous said...

It's not bad; here's my critical take from 20 mins of reading --

too fancy & self-impressed for my tastes; too jargonian ("praxis" etc); too much involved in the very thing it criticises without indicia of the sad, unfunny ironies therein; reads like naomi klein is the author's hero(in)(ine).

but thanks for pointing me there, it was better than many blogs I've read.

:-p said...

To each their own.

At the very least, I don't believe that the author in question is using jargon merely as a way to position himself as superior to others. I'm guessing graduate school and the pernicious effect it can have on style; it makes it really easy to project the hypocrisy of the institution onto the person. In many cases, this is warranted, but I don't feel that way in this case.

As for heroes, I would guess Debord or Bordieu, not Klein.

Anonymous said...

right, it's style, which says something about content and perspective

fine to write for elitists, I guess... someone has to, and it isn't me! but I realize many like to read what makes them feel clever.

debord that I've read wasn't that polysyllabic or jargonized, nor cliche'd PhD-holding upper-middle using stilted language about symbols, culture, etc (hence Klein)

to me the message is lost in pomposity -- but that just means I'm not the target reader, doesn't mean the author is wrong!

I just like things more basic in tone

:-p said...

Ah I thought you meant Klein as an inspiration for what is written about and the depth it is written at, not as a stylist.

After beating my head against Derrida a few times, and beating myself up for not making too much progress, my friend said "well maybe he's just not a good writer". What a relief that was. That man could jargon!

Anonymous said...

I would say Klein's "gift" (as it were) is for taking Debord's Spectacle and restating it in a consumerist-friendly fashion BUT not really agreeing with Debord -- she uses him like a prowling, slutty girl uses innocent boys as sex toys, in the process breaking hearts.

bad metaphor, I know -- I don't have any respect for Klein. she's nauseating to me.

she uses Debord's ideas to make money -- in the process, excusing consumerism and suggesting it and capitalism can work if purified, run by "good" people, etc. eat the cake and have it too!

on the other hand, I do respect Debord.

don't know Bordieu.

can't read Derrida either... impenetrable muck!

:-p said...

I can't remember my experience reading No Logo as it was so long ago but, but I know what you mean. It's that dreaded "enlightened consumerism" attitude that sees tastefulness as the endpoint of revolution.

It goes back to what I said about Sweden a few entries ago. The way capitalism works, it's simply impossible for everyone in the world to have a fulfilling "green" lifestyle. Unless everyone is willing to clean the toilets and farm (only a romantic profession if you don't have to do it!) and sweep streets, then it will always be some and not others.

So even if I didn't actually have a problem with the norm that they espouse, it wouldn't matter.

I think Klein and Adbusters actually turned me off to Debord/SI and it's only after not thinking about the former for a while that I began to investigate the latter. The progressive iterations of detournement are really smug.

Anonymous said...

The way capitalism works, it's simply impossible for everyone in the world to have a fulfilling "green" lifestyle.


it can't be constrained by "good" or "pure" leaders, nor by "competent" regulators.

it rewards greed, negative selfishness, acquisitiveness, envy, power-lust... all of humanity's negative impulses are capitalism's engine and fuel.

:-p said...

Yes but I think that, aside from the moral considerations, there is a structural problem. The actions and motivations of individuals are almost immaterial. Inequality is inherent, is part of the deep structure. It precedes.