too much blog talk

Mr Turbulent Velvet replied to our post about Nietzsche, sort of preemptively killing us in the windup. But we are still determined to trace out one of Nietzsche's posthumous "becomings" -- how N. became a Nazi -- in order to demonstrate that the selective reading of Nietzsche that made him acceptable to the nazis is picked up and reproduced by those who criticize him for being a protofascist without questioning the history of that image. Unfortunately, I’m doing some heavy lifting in another part of my life right now – the editing part – so that I just don’t have the energy today.

So, instead of Nietzsche, a little short post about a funny blog thing. A couple of days ago, at one of our favorite blogs, Charlotte Street, there was a post about “bruschetta brigade” – which I guess is the equivalent, in the U.K., of limousine liberals. It was a nice riff that ended like this:

“Here is ‘mere talk’; meanwhile others must make tough decisions etc. ‘Bruschetta’ has the added advantage of sounding foreign – there is always something somehow foreign and unpatriotic about these intellectuals, non? Thus, the phrase glides along grooves ideologically pre-prepared. It is little more than a Barthesian mytheme.”

We made a few comments in the comments section about luxury and its ambiguity in both the classical economic tradition and in Marx.

Well, these comments were seized upon as the quintessence of po-mo nonsense by another blog, Harry’s Place. And, in order to add a little of the necessary irony to the mix, the comments were then attributed to the guy who writes Charlotte Street. Who then writes about the HP people coming to his site and making pissy comments on the post. Thus completing the circle, which is either a vicious circle or a circle jerk – or both. First, you get the drift of the signature. Second, the politics of citation. Third is the blissful repetition of the gesture I was criticizing in my thesis without any consciousness that the gesture was being repeated. The unconsciousness is not my subjective interpretation -- several remarks showed that commentors had inversed the sense of the thesis I was making. And it wasn't a difficult thesis. The scorn poured on the meaningless phrases, all with words of more than two syllables, all obviously “unnecessary” when common sense would tell you all about luxury – how could this be anything other than the reactivation of the very trope I was pointing to? And finally, to put the icing on the eclair, I believe that some commenters on the HP blog must have read earlier posts of mine, stuff I’ve written over the years about my habitual destitution, and transferred the sense of that to the writer of the Charlotte Street blog – there was some discussion about whether the writer of the latter was unemployed.

All of which is pretty funny. If I’d set up a psych experiment on Derrida’s notion of the effects of a text, I couldn’t have come up with a set of more validating inputs. Plus, to me, the luxury of watching my original tracing of the psychopathology of luxury create responses that blindly repeat that psychopathology in another domain (that of rhetoric). I wonder if this is how Pavlov felt when walking through the kennel?


Deleted said…
My appeal to have the Harry's Place people sent off to spread democracy and liberal enlightenment in the Middle East has gone nowhere, Roger. They could have the eclair you mentioned as their reward, but they prefer to make the rounds of blogs misconstruing and misrepresenting with gay abandon. Ironically, that same set of behaviors would make them a greater success there, given the current political arrangements, than they do on weblogs. Is that eclair so unappealing? It has, as you say, received its icing.
roger said…
Those people are an exciteable bunch, man. Sorta like the Tiger Beat crowd meets the pro-war crowd. However, I don't think it is a good idea for them to stumble around the Middle East. They could very easily hurt themselves. I think that they've found a great niche, piling on George Galloway day after day. It is inexhaustible fun, a., b/c George Galloway has never even noticed, and b., every day they can repeat what they did the day before, and experience the same enjoyment!

Of course, I could apply the last sentence to my own inexhaustible fun piling on George Bush. But I'll let somebody else do that.
Deleted said…
In addition to their hatred of eclairs, there's a marked high school tendency to want to pile on an enemy (which can be created on any pretext) in order to impress the biggest bullies. Using the Sokal Hoax to belabor people when it's not remotely apposite is even more fun. Taking a limited concept and stretching it is not just laziness. It's strategic. Everyone knows it's done in bad faith. It's part of the thrill. They can make their intellectual bones that way and get an invite to post on Moonbat Central. Turbulent Velvet has noticed an affinity for Nietzsche -- or, perhaps, a certain kind of reading of Nietzsche -- in that grouping. It carries over to the triangulators.

I'm done treating their arguments and views as anything other than the puling of wannabes and secret snitches. It might be fun to see them get eaten alive by the heavyweights once their victory over modernity and po-mo is cemented.
Paul craddick said…
I follow the discussion at "Harry's Place" - and of course Harry's place [Pierrot's] - when I've got the time, and I must say that the spirit of Nietzsche doesn't loom large at the former. Or rather, it ain't there at all.

Rather, the bloggers there catechize all-comers with the usual leftish pieties quite regularly. For example, a recent post scolds the new Pope for his negative remarks vis-a-vis same-gender matrimony. Surely this counts for something ... if I'm remembering correctly, Roger recently identified civilization itself with the vanquishment of (among other evils)"homophobia."

I suppose that for both sides of the current Left schism - and obviously with an opposite appraisal - one's stand on the dethroning of Uncle Saddam is a kind of moral pons asinorum (or, rather, acid test); all other agreements apparently count for naught.

(By the way, is "reactionary" the new term of opprobrium - replacing the shopworn "fascist"?)
roger said…
Paul, you didn't know that I am the Western Civ commissar? Hey, I have the Lenin prize to prove it.

I think we are mixing up themes, here. The Nietzsche theme I have temporarily suspended, as I am brain dead at the moment. The other theme was the usual poking at another blog. You will be happy to know, however, that the seed of the latter was a little covertly quasi-Nietzschian point I made against my man Marx at the Charlotte Street blog, re the reduction of luxury to some class defined concept, with which I strongly disagreed -- old Karl went a little off course there in the second book of Capital. I have a strange, curse, however -- whenever I make a conservative point, conservatives take me to be making an ultra left point.

Maybe my family, four hundred years ago, shouldn't have burned that witch.
Deleted said…
I've been hunting for better terms of opprobrium. Royalist, my current favorite, is getting blunt from overuse. I also tend to get indigestion after hearing or using the words "moral" and "immoral". I may resign myself to communicating with grunts, whistles and the occasional piercing shriek.

The Uncle Saddam (ghastly thoughts. . .) test is the latest in a series of similar tests. Pro-war, interventionist liberalism has extended its tentacles further and further to the left. My position is that if an evil dictator is worth overthrowing, he's worth not supporting in the first place. There's a seemingly endless supply of evil dictators who owe a debt for their positions of power to an ill thought out, debased version of realpolitick. The pro-war left impresses me as a gaggle of celebrity-hungry opportunists who have found a market niche. They're the kind of left wingers who could find some good in evil nanny state toilets. I think I have found my new term of opprobrium!
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