Shown above is an auntie of mine, a hard case. She was anti-everything. Of course we used to call her Auntie Anti.
But in spite of her nickname, I think she had more mother-wit than to be anti-anti-anything; she probably graped the elementary fact that to be anti-anti-X is within a hair's breadth of being pro-X; and of course, she wasn't pro-anything.
In this respect she was a good deal more intelligent than some of my comrades, who have been stampeded by the Norwegian Templar's recent fusillade -- and lengthy manifesto -- into some anti-anti corrals they'd be better off outside of. Examples, from the invaluable mailing lists:
So these two comrades have signed up for anti-anti-post-structuralism. But it gets worse. Breivik was (of course) 'anti-PC', so the comrades are also rushing to nail their colors to the very shaky mast of anti-anti-PC:> (More venom from Anders Breivik, this time directed against > post-structuralism. I rue the day when I bought into the > "socialist" crusade against Gayatri Spivak et al. There was > something deeply reactionary about it that I did not recognize at > the time.)Me too. Glad I got over that one.
... the most obscene phrase in the English language .... is, "I know it's not pc, but..." It doesn't matter what follows it. Anyone who writes or speaks this phrase is an enemy of left activity in the U.S.Another comrade -- and bear in mind, please, that these are people whose stuff I usually like:
... My response on this matter is visceral, and has been that way since I first ran up against the expression in the early '90s. My toes clench, my skin crawls, my flesh creeps, my stomach lurches, my fingernails curl, another few neurons die. . . .
I never listen to debates on it.
To me, the phrase [sc. 'PC] represents the following argument:Terence, this is stupid stuff. Campus 'PC', that hothouse bloom -- a form of sanctimonious militant liberalism -- is not worth defending by anybody who's any kind of a real Lefty. Nor is that other academic fad, post-structuralism; in fact, post-anything is even worse than anti-anti-anything. But in their anti-Breivik enthusiasm, some of the comrades even dug up Alan Sokal's famous practical joke on the academic humanities journal Social Text, and used it as an occasion to heap renewed execration on Sokal.
1. I have a strong opinion based on personal taste
2. I realise that there is reason to suspect that this opinion is unfounded
3. I choose not to defend it using argument
4. Instead I will offer a backhanded apology by calling your view “PC”
This is of particular significance to left positions (or activity) because, almost by definition, [reactionary] conservatism is the pig-headed adherence to positions that are no longer tenable and only made presentable through appeal to emotion and use of ridicule (“pc”).
Now this really seems deeply wrong-headed. No matter what one thinks of Sokal or Social Text or post-whateverism, this incident was a massive punk'd experience for the post-whatevers; you'd think they'd be as eager to call attention to it as a post-Confederate would be to remember the Battle of Vicksburg. Don't mention rope when you're talking to a hanged man's widow.
Similarly, if you want to battle the Breiviks of the world, try to pick some ground where you actually have an advantage. Defending campus identity politics and diction-policing, or the vapid gobbledegook of contemporary academic lit-crit, show a very poor tactical sense.