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Tuesday, 18 July 2006


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» Did I Really Read This, Again? from Slant Truth
For the record, Id like to second the thoughts of Scott and Swifty on this bullshit. Please people. Give it a rest. ... [Read More]


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Rich Puchalsky

As soon as I saw the article beginning with a long bit about _Dead Poets Society_, I knew that it was doomed. I vaguely remember my reaction to the movie as a mixture of dislike of overripe Romanticism and class antagonism.

As for the rest, you're asking people to go against their organizing ideology. What would they have if not a unified group of enemies? Maybe that's the reason for the recent Schmittian tear.


Gee wiz, way to confirm the prejudice that anti-Theorists just don't read, Scott Kaufman (and sidekick flames from Rich Puchalsky - what a shocker).

Rich Puchalsky

Thanks for taking the time, with "sidekick", to confirm that I was right about where you were coming from, Charles.



Holy crap, Charles, do you ever have this wrong!


Are you trying to ironically perform the very logic of Scott's piece? Is this a Butlerian move that you're attempting? Are you in drag? Because you're doing it very artfully...

Must every poor excuse for an argument by someone you disagree with metamorphose into a whirl of unthinking self-congratulation? How many times can "You're so right!" appear on the same page before someone's hay-fever acts up?

Yes, that part... Bhabhian mimickry? Is that what you're up to, you sly dog?

Seriously, I think you should treat Scott with a little more respect...


Sorry, there's an extra- "Rich," at the top of my comment.... Pleaze ignore.

Adam Kotsko

I enjoyed Dead Poets Society, but I was in tenth grade at the time.

Rich Puchalsky

I have to admit that I was teasing Scott a little bit, CR, in what I thought was a kindly way that Charles would be sure not to get. But Scott's "people" (which I echoed, yes) was really much more subtle.

I was completely serious about _Dead Poets Society_, however.


Wait a minute, Rich, I thought I was being mean and funny. Now you're telling me that you meant to... not mean it?

I think you're fibbing now, actually. I think you fell into a trap and now you're trying to slither out of it. Back in the trap!


I enjoyed Dead Poets Society, but I was in tenth grade at the time.

Adam, you're old. Sixth grade for me! Saw it with my friggin parents!

Alex Leibowitz

I was offended by the article too. I'm not so sure why? Maybe it's because I'm still convinced that literature only merits study in connection with other disciplines? That is -- I don't deny that reading literature is *pleasurable* but I'm not sure that (to pick a good scare-crow) Harold Bloom deserves public or private support in the same way that scientific and mathematical enterprises do. Then again, I suppose one could say the same for philosophy?

Alex Leibowitz

Well I read literature like everybody else. I even write poetry. But I just don't have the same faith in its value anymore. Some of you are probably more committed to it than I am. Tell me -- is it wrong to hate "literature"?


Alex - I haven't read fiction (aside from the newspaper, of course) since I dropped first year literature because the instructor was a dumb-ass. The final straw for me was when he credited "A German named Kierkegaard" with writing "Being and Time." Even as a first year, I knew this was wrong. I watch a lot of TV, though.


Scott-either I have no idea what you are saying or you misread my coment to John. When I told him you are so right, I was agreeing with his point that the proliferation of such stupid articles, the fact that they keep on appearing, pointlessly, indicates that we are dealing with something like ressentiment. And, I further agreed with him that left academics, like ourselves, also demonstrate this kind of ressentiment when we continue to react to, be angered by, rather than ignore, these articles. Where is the self congratulation in that? It seems more self critical to me.


I think I'll be tucking this one away for future deployment, oh yes I will...

Scott Eric Kaufman

What, you need evidence that I'm sometimes wrong? Good lord, haven't I provided it in abundance already?

noah cicero

I'm coming to your house next week.

Be ready!!!

You don't need to clean your house or anything. I would prefer it if your ladyfriend or mom was drunk on the sofa wearing a torn up nightgown screaming at the characters on General Hospital.

Rich Puchalsky

If I must be entirely serious, then I must say that I think that Jodi's idea is silly. It advances the idea of competing ressentiments between two groups: the group of people who publish such articles, and the group of "left academics" who react to and are annoyed by these articles. Nowhere within this scheme are the ideas that perhaps the individuals publishing such articles are individuals without significant party feeling or common background beyond that of being English professors, or that perhaps some of them are "left academics", or that perhaps those annoyed are not themselves all "left academics" (whatever that means), or that perhaps -- as Scott originally said -- just about everyone is annoyed by a particular sort of bad article. It's the creation of a group of "such article" writers so that you can ascribe ressentiment to them, then a compensating ressentiment in your own group. It's the creation of two groups, one of which you comfortingly belong to -- the leftist one. The basic political distinction is between friend and enemy (what is the attraction of Schmitt's simplistic and archaic politics, anyway?) so in order to have a group of fake friends, you must create one of fake enemies.

Scott came very close to saying "*you* people tend to say this" in his response, of course, which is why I teased him about it.


I don't see what's silly about it. I think the point that some of us overreact to the article, rather than just simply find it annoying, is noteworthy and that Nietzsche's notion of ressentiment tells us why. I don't think everyone who is simply annoyed by it manifests ressentiment--and I didn't say or imply that they do.

It's also the case that some publications continue to publish ideas that are already familiar rather than ignoring them. And it's the case that there are some people who continue to have the feelings that lead them to write these articles. I am grouping them together (or agreeing with John Ransom's grouping) under the category of ressentiment. What's weird about that? We make groupings all the time: writers of chic-lit, left intellectuals, lacanians, English professors. In fact, the grouping John made and I affirmed didn't rely on a friend/enemy opposition at all because it noted how each groups manifested ressentiment, a manifestation that would cut across a divide to create a new grouping of those manifesting ressentiment. The ressentiments, then, are not competing but something shared.

Sure folks are left out of this scheme--there were never any claims that it was all encompassing.

Alex Leibowitz

I think we flatter ourselves whenever we consider that *we* are the ones who will decide the future course of intellectual life in America. Clearly the oil-barons are the real power behind academic discourse...

Scott Eric Kaufman
I think we flatter ourselves ...

But if we don't, who will?

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