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Thursday, April 12. 2007
PoMo Politics at Duke, and the Sin of "The Narrative"
With the final outcome of the Duke rape idiocy, it is finally and fully apparent that the Duke faculty and administration have made fools of themselves. And so did the race-monger shake-down artists, who, like the vultures that they are, smelled fresh meat. And so did the MSM with their rush to judgement.
Indeed, the "America is Satan" crowd gets so fired up by rare examples of blatant racism - real, contrived, or imaginary - mainly because they are so rare. And they want it to be true so badly, to support their view of the world and their raison d'etre, that facts and truth go out the window. (Abu Ghraib is another example: The exception that proves the rule.) We usually term such distortions of reality "propaganda."
(The total lack of interest in last week's college rape story proves my point. Who is rushing to support these girls? Where are the feminists? Where's Jesse? Where are the pomos? All AWOL, because the story doesn't fit "the narrative." And "narrative," of course, is a term applied to fiction (and a concept applied to legal case-building).)
It was obvious to normal people without an agenda a year ago that there was something fishy about the Duke story.
As a loving grandparent, I would not contribute one penny for one of those kids to attend such a loony, misguided place - regardless of the quality of Duke's basketball (or lacrosse) teams.
Eat your heart out, Duke.
An addendum by Editor "Bird Dog":
In a piece this week entitled PoMo Contradictions, David Thompson concludes:
That says it all.
I'd also add that I believe the villain of the story to be Mike Nifong, who sold his soul to get elected. By her reported behavior, the accusing woman appears to be mentally unstable, not very bright, and sounds alcoholic and/or drug addicted and, despite the unbelieveable destructiveness of her actions, deserves some pity. If she sobers up, and if she has a conscience, she will never get over the wrongs she has done.
And about "Pomo". Isn't it always the most humble and curious kid in the class who asks the dumb question nobody else wants to ask? They are the best. Got an email asking "What is Pomo"? Abbreviation for "post-modern," usually applied to people with a political or world-view agenda for which truth is irrelevant. No, I would go further: for which truth is considered a reactionary maneuver - and they gladly admit it. Pomo is as old as the Appalachian Mountains: it's also called "political lying."
Posted by The Barrister in Our Essays, Politics at 05:43 | Comments (49) | Trackbacks (5)
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I'm not disagreeing with your assessment of those who so eagerly (and blindly) pursued the class-and-gender oppression angle, but I'm not sure I would call them 'postmodern.'
If I can infer a bit from your 'grandparent' comment, I would say most of the people you criticize are of your generation - baby boomers, most of them. They aren't really postmodern in the classical sense. And their dedication to a metanarrative is more modern than anything - it's the nihilistic adherence to a socio-political understanding of Truth that trumps mere facts.
You're correct in describing postmodernity as being less concerned with truth, but it's more that pomo's aren't likely to believe everything they read. Rather than assuming they know what Truth is (and putting on blinders whenever necessary to preserve that understanding), pomo's tend to assume that Truth is unknowable, and don't even try. Real pomo's don't have much of an agenda at all, beyond enjoying their friends and making it through to the next day.
I'd agree that my benighted generation of Boomers is responsible for much of this mess, where treachery is patriotism, and wielding government force to harass one's opponents is speaking truth to power.
Postwarriors is my term for the Boomers and the unfortunate generations schooled by them.
The term Post-Modern (pomo) contains within itself a sense of irony for Post-Modernism is not in any sense “modern” at all. It has its origins in the work of the late 19th Century French political philosopher and proto-fascist Georges Sorel. Sorelian ideas were introduced to the American Academy by the Late Professor Paul de Man who, as we all know now, hid his WWII Nazi affiliation from the gullible academic world. I think it is indeed the supreme irony that self-styled “progressive” academic community was not only taken in by de Man but was converted by him into their ideological nemesis Fascism.
I'll tweak your response about the definition of 'pomo':
"Truth" is a reactionary ploy.
On PoMO--If you have not already collected the several books, "Google" on "Alan Sokol" and the "Sokol Hoax".
I've been trying to tie down the thinking processes of the left for quite a while now. I recently read, I think on Maggie's Farm, that at Peter Jennings funeral Baba Walters said that Jennings greatness lies in him knowing that there is no such thing as truth. Why that is greatness is a mystery to me. I also just reread David Horowitz's Radical Son and his contention is that the Left does not want to debate, they want to destroy their opposition. They never seek the truth in a situation unless it meets their needs. And now, David Thompson says they don't seek truth, but power for social change. If this is true then why debate with a liberal? At least I'm getting some clarity of thought about the thought process of the liberal mindset. I really should know this since I came from the Left myself. My only recollection is of clouded confusion and frustration.
This is going to annoy some people, but it is not just the "left" that is willing to substitute "indoctrination" for "learning", "rhetoric" for "discussion", memorized "dogma' for "considered opinion", and so on.
I read "Maggie's Farm" and the sites pointed-to because the atmosphere is much clearer here than in some of the other places I read looking for learning, but it is by no means free of the taints of which we complain. You can read my other comments to get a taste of that to which I object, I don't see a point in rehearsing them here just now.
I was a great deal less clear on one point than I wanted to be.
I read Maggie's Farm and the sites it points to because I can find the "Paul Harvey" more frequently doing that than I can any other way that I have found so far.
News papers in general don't do it (the monopoly Omaha World Herald ("Weird Harold") here is good for the comics and if you are a member--I am not--the goings on of the World Wide Church of Nebraska Football. I don't even watch the Food Network on TV any more. I listen to KVNO for music some. Most of the mailing lists I used to depend on for topical news have turned to spam and mush.
Just realized I forgot the footnote! (I won't poke at why nobody noticed--might not like the answer.)
 Famous in these parts for his "The Rest of the Story".
Your recounting of the story about Peter Jennings' grand realization that there was not such thing as truth casts an interesting light on the role he perceived as proper for journalists. Christopher Hitchens recounted a conversation he had with Peter Jennings concerning how the success of the Gulf War would be measured. Hitchens' comment on Jenning's response was interesting, given your perspective on Jennings' disdain for truth:
"And I shall never forget his response, which was, journalist to journalist: "That's only true if we say so."
Seems to me Jennings may have had even less respect for the public than for truth, if he felt it was his job to define "truth" for the unenlightened masses who did not know that there was no such thing. Who would have guessed?
Brilliant! Post-modernity in action! It's not that objective truth doesn't exist, it's that we're all too biased to see it. So we read a few righty blogs, and a few lefty blogs, and the the ones which conform more to our own bias we think of as objective and rational, and the ones that disagree with our own bias we see as dogmatic and irrational.
The rational post-modern is simply the one who can step back from herself enough to understand what's going on, recognize her own bias, and relate to others accordingly.
I'm reminded of Atticus Finch's summation to the jury in "To Kill a Mockingbird", where he said, in effect, that the Ewells had made their false accusations against a black man in a town full of racism and intolerance in the "cynical belief that they would be believed" because of the biased climate of hate.
This case sure seems to be a mirror image of that charge. Now, instead of a poor middle-aged black man, rich white kids were cynically accused, charged, then ruthlessly attacked by the leftists who cynically used this case as a bludgeon to bash what they saw as white priveleged kids abusing a poor young black woman.
Mayella Ewell lives, and her name is Crystal Gail Mangum.
“Postwarrior” is good. I also call them post-patriots. To me, it’s not so much their oppositionalism, but their rejection of traditional sovereign identity, common heritage and national interests for us (the US and western Europe), while not so much condemning same for other countries and tribes and which they often champion, as a matter of fact, and *no matter how racist, sexist or thought-facist these other societies are*. Our post-patriots seem to suffer some sort of mass pathology or group suicide wish- that of not taking pride nor feeling protective of our own people, ways and territory. Theirs is an exercise in self-abnegation and yielding to Others and their agenda. They are rejectionists of Self who don’t like being us or striving for our system’s survival and dominance. Struggle for Self is way cooler for the other guy, whether it’s another culture or a sub-group within our own system fighting to radically change or subvert the way we’ve been and what we’ve achieved.
Many post-patriots will fight, alright, but just not for our side or our traditional sense of it. They'll fight for us to go away and die off because we either deserve it or life's been too good and yawn-inducing up to now.
I speak fluent Typo, so I didn't even notice.
Post-Modern Politics are clearly big at Duke. But "Post-Normal Science" may also play a part in the thought processes of some Duke university professors:
Particularly in the thought processes of the biology professor who believed that, because there would be no trial, we would never know if the accuser was lying. Even though no DNA from the accused was found on the accuser or her clothing (early on, she claimed that no condoms were used and that some of the "rapists" had ejaculated). Even though Nifong hid from defense attorneys the presence of DNA from men not on the Lacrosse team in the rape test kit results.
Perhaps you can specialize in "Feminist Class-Struggle Biology" when you adopt "Post-Normal Science" in the universities. The scientists have apparently found a way to fit in with the prevailing doctrines taught in the liberal arts in elite universities.
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/222419.php won't load here because one of the advertizements won't load.
What doe it say?
Sorry, it's from Ace of Spades, April 9. Here's part of what he said:
Wow. The "reality-based community," huh?
"Since we haven't gone through a normal legal process, we don't know what really happened," said Duke biology professor Sheryl Broverman. "The fact the charges were dropped doesn't mean nothing happened. It just means information wasn't collected appropriately enough to go forward."
Broverman said she couldn't say one way or the other whether the players sexually assaulted the exotic dancer -- and that the investigation did little to clarify that. "For me, it just means we'll never know," she said.
Gives me all sorts of confidence in that "scientific consensus" on "global warming" knowing tenured elite-university biologists don't quite understand DNA.
Somebody with the requisite skills ought to write a piece teaching us to differentiate among "agreement", "consensus", and "proof" as testimonies to truth.
They are not all created equal.
Does this mean that we'll never the truth of Lincoln's assassination since John Wilkes Booth never went to trial?
To some of us, of course not.
To some of them, of course.
#22.214.171.124.1 Laurence F. Sheldon, Jr. on 2007-04-12 16:24 (Reply)
Judging from this case, it means that if the faculty consensus is that John Wilkes Booth was framed, you must invalidate all evidence pointing to him and find some new evidence.
Since the Duke 88 had formed a consensus that the accused students were guilty, evidence such as DNA from other men in the rape test kit was "not appropriately collected". The DA should have demanded that the police keep trying to collect more appropriate evidence, rather than trying to cover up the available evidence. Cover-ups of this type are unnecessary when scientists who are on your side can simply declare that the available evidence is inappropriate, and disregard it.
Because the police were not smart enough to collect the "right" evidence, the scientific and legal proof of guilt can never be found. But we should, nevertheless, act as if the accused were, in fact, guilty because the underlying issues are so important.
And after all, there was under-age drinking at the party, and they hired a poor, black stripper (never mind that the guy who place the order requested a white stripper). What more evidence do you need of white, patriarchal, class-and-race-based oppression?
In another application of Post-Normal Science, temperature increases during the Medieval Warming Period were eliminated from the famous graph prepared for the pre-Kyoto UN summary on global warming. The recent increases in global temperatures looked much more dramatic that way. This was apparently justified because, as Al Gore later suggested, world governments had to show that they could work together on environmental issues. Everyone knew that Kyoto 1 wouldn't really make any difference.
#126.96.36.199.2 KarenT on 2007-04-12 17:46 (Reply)
Postmodernism to me is radical relativism or subjectivism. A postmodernist will deconstruct ideas and refashion them to suit their needs. Objective truth does not exist. I think Moses came down from a mountain once bearing stone tablits alleging to be truth. And there was a man about 2000 years ago who said that He was The Truth. Our purposes in life are to decern objective truth, not say it doesn't exist and fabricate our own.
Well, there are the academics, the little people, and those who would use all the isms mentioned above in a public way for private ends. Most post-patriot elites and leading race/gender/climate change/ and general dissatisfaction with America-mongers don’t seem to really care about these issues so much as use them for their own purposes. Politicians, self-appointed experts and celebrities will sometimes whip up real, but more often than not will exaggerate, distort and even manufacture out of whole cloth all sorts of identity group grievance against our society in order to increase their own purse and/or power. In this regard, I don’t see much difference between Nifong, Jesse Jackson and Bill Clinton.
Gore, too, who’s a self-promoting and hypocritical change-agent for the sake of his biz interests and career, but there appears to be a bit of self-deception at work in his Gaia crusade. He seems to actually believe some of what he’s saying, or at least justify his distortions in the name of a greater good, and that he’s a messiah. He’s more JC Jimmy Carter-like, another embittered, unre-elected America-isn’t-exceptional leading “light".
But Sheldon is right in that conservatives have been known to abuse rational thinking and issues, too, for purposes. We still hold elections and uphold a jury system, but what of the results, when classical ed, critical thinking, and a healthy regard for objectivity are in decline?
Thanks to all for the interesting comments. Keep up the good work. We need it. If we are talk radio, you folks are the callers that make the show.
Sean, when you hear people say "perception is reality", tell them not necessarily, that because it is perception, it is merely the perception of reality.
If this offends them as old-fashioned hidebound objectivity ("not progressive enough"), then remind them of the words of the immortal Ransom K. Ferm, who said (in the foreword of K. Vonnegut's "Sirens of Titan"):
"Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty-three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules--and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress."
buddy, I think what Algore needs is some Ice-9 to offset global warming. I think most of what Vonnegut said was, to coin one of his phrases, granfaloonery.
As far as who are the real progressives CS Lewis said: " We all want progress, but if your on the wrong road; in that case, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the more progressive." Thus well tried Traditions may turn out to be the most progressive of ideas.
Great quote, Buddy.
Maybe the objection to objectivity has an objective?
I’m thinking that pomos deny and manipulate fact and deconstruct logic and meaning in order to construct variable, situational new “truths” to wield as weapons against the West out of academic conceit, ennui and masochistic need, and especially to herd people into various constituencies that can be manipulated for a new elite’s power and profit. What’s progress for thee ain’t for me, we’re now all saying back at each other. Our communal/traditional sense of who the US and West are and what our values should be is being rent in a tug-of-war, an uncivil war between identity and objectives and a conflict riddled with the new “meaning” profiteers.
great stuff char & sean --the CS Lewis ought to be up on billboards, with floodlights.
That Frank Lentricchia, when he announced that the postmodern movement “seeks not to find the foundation and conditions of truth, but to exercise power for the purpose of social change” gave about as good a definition of "evil" as there can be. Force a movement based on lies, and what can come to the people but bad things?
This is a commenter on Roger Simon's
"And here's another question: Why are almost ALL of the AGW people also against the war?
In the US today we have two really big tribes, the Democrats and the Republicans. Many people within those tribes have accepted the concept that one tribe is Right and the other is Wrong. Thus, normally liberal, pro-women's rights folks are donning scarves and protesting the liberation of repressive nations. Meanwhile, traditional conservatives are backing the further bloat in our federal government, more federal noses in private life and somehow have leaped across the chasm that once separated religion and politics (one that was traditionally guarded by conservative elements of the political system).
It's not just the openly partisan folks either. I know anarchists that are protesting for National Healthcare and Federal support for Colleges (talk about oxymorons... or at least morons). If people accept a party as their tribe, they will defend that tribe (and its tribal leaders) even when they've obviously made mistakes or gone against the normal tribal values.
At least, that's how I see it."
Posted by: dclydew
Next question --how did it get so bad? My answer, the sin of electing Bill Clinton. But that's not really a peacemaking sort of answer.
Well, I'd say as long as we are all looking for somebody else to blame the problems on, we don't understand the problem.
A great truth I learned somewhere is that of all of the people on the planet, and of all of the forces in the universe there is but one that you can control, and one other that I can control.
You can control the way you think and the the things that you do, and I can control the way that I think and the the things that I do.
With those two things, we are going to have to get it done--it is all we have.
Who recently blamed everything sad that has happened to America on Lee Harvey Oswald? One of our commenters did.
Anyway, I see now that the discussion of whether he worked for the KGB has ben re-opened. And I forget where I read that, too. A new book on the subject.
This comment is rapidly becoming a comment on my memory, instead of the topics at hand. I'm going to take some Geritol and prune juice, and take a nap, if I can remember to take the nap.
Naps remember themselves. Just don't be holding a pair of scissors or a letter opener when you topple over.
There is another great truth in there. Late weekends paper had an article about sleepy drivers and the fact that when the body shuts down, it SHUTS DOWN. The fact that you are carrying scissors or driving a vehicle is of no interest.
One of my daughters drives a Big Truck--as have I, and the pressures to drive when sleep wants its turn are enourmous.
Awakening to the sound of nine on the rumble bars is a bowel expanding experience.
Who to blame? Lets see. Adam and Eve, the Prince of the Air, Judas, Caliglia, DeSade, Marx (Karl not Groucho), Darwin, Neitzsche, John Dewey, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Tojo, Mao, Ho (not the girls Imus was refering to), Po Pot, Sadam, Bill and Hilary, the useful idiots of the 20th century, todays Dems., and Osama to name a few. If any of us were in the Garden of Eden I,m sure we would have used the same postmodern decision making abilities as Adam and Eve and we'd be in the same predicament as we are in today. Its a fallen world. The way I see it is that its our job to find truth and fight evil with Christ in our hearts.
Amen. Truth is, you can't boot Christ, or God, or the Golden Rule, out of your heart and not replace it with something else. We're wired to long for something in that space, so something is gonna be there. If it's just more of yourself, then you're probably in pretty deep trouble--not to mention, you're gonna be trouble for everyone else.
Here we were talking about Kurt Vonnegut (early exposer of pomo fake-humanism), and the news just came over that today he passed away. RIP, and thanks for all the fun!
(not gonna mention any other still-living names today)
Self-worship is the default setting, and it is pathological. Not one of us deserves it.
The only way we deserve it, is if we gave our own selves life.
Does it occur to anybody else here who is arguing for the the "its-all-relative-they-do it" point of view?
I for one insist that wrong is wrong. Period. Doesn't matter how many do it, what their rights to do it might be do it.
Wrong is wrong.
And for the lefties that like to yell about the Constitutional Right of Free Speech.
Last I remember the Constitution says something about how the goobermint shall make no law infringing on speech.
Nary a word that says I have to provide a place for it, nor put up with it.
A LOOK AT THE DUKE CASE AND THE POSTMODERN NARRATIVE: "With the final outcome of the Duke rape idiocy, it is finally and fully apparent that the Duke faculty and administration have made fools of themselves. . . . It...
Tracked: Apr 12, 08:15
I always skip over crime news, and don?t watch local TV news about one crime after another, as I just insulate my mind from it, as I insulate my life and family by paying to live in a safe...
Tracked: Apr 12, 08:31
I always skip over crime news, and don?t watch local TV news about one crime after another, as I just insulate my mind from it, as I insulate my life and family by paying to live in a safe community....
Tracked: Apr 12, 08:46
Armed Liberal exhumes an old post on the role of speech.
Tracked: Apr 12, 10:16
Amo-amas-amat is where it's at. Or was, for high schoolers educated in our day mid 20th century. (The Birth of Venus by William-Adolphe Bougeuereau, 1879 Oil on canvas, Musee d'Orsay, Paris) La Shawn jogged our memory today with her invitation
Tracked: Apr 12, 18:08