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Every so often

I find myself witnessing, or sometimes actually taking part in, exchanges that go like this:

First Person: Hey, what do you think of this proposal?

Second Person: Excuse me, but I wasn’t consulted about this.

First Person: Beg pardon?

Second Person: I wasn’t consulted about this.

First Person: Um . . . but that’s why I’m asking what you think.  I’m consulting you.  This is the consultation right now.

Second Person: I can’t believe you went ahead and did this without asking for anybody’s input.  I really think we need to talk.

First Person: ??

And no, I am never the Second Person.  When people ask me what I think about X, I simply say “kewl” or “meh” or “ZOMG” or “do not want” or some other Internets locution. 

I’ve seen this happen in academic committee meetings, in one-on-one interactions, in large organizations, in local school board debates, etc.  When I ran into this kind of thing during my time as a humanities institute director, I never knew quite how to deal with it, so I usually wound up saying, “well, next time I’ll be sure to get in touch with you before there’s a draft proposal so that I can get your feedback” while thinking to myself, “actually, I’m getting the sense that you’re objecting to the fact that there’s a proposal on the table at all, and I don’t really expect that you’re going to be any more helpful next time around no matter when I ask you what you think, so I’m not sure I’m going to subject myself to this ritual again.”

Fortunately, in my directorin’ days those people were outnumbered by other people who would come up to me and say, “how about we invite A to campus” or “how about we do a symposium on B” or “how about we coordinate with C’s schedule and host the lecture and reception in the museum”—and they were always great suggestions.  After a while I would say to such people, “kewl” or “ZOMG” while thinking to myself, “you pretty much have a blank check from me at this point, because everything you’ve ever suggested has worked out really well for everyone concerned.” I do love such people.

Posted by on 05/04 at 11:27 AM
  1. I can’t believe you posted this without giving me an opportunity to comment on it.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  12:48 PM
  2. Second Person: I can’t believe you went ahead and did this without asking for anybody’s input.  I really think we need to talk.

    First Person: Oh, okay, give me a list of your ideas, and I’ll try to accommodate them.

    [Second Person whips out hilariously long sheet of crayon-scrawled paper]

    First Person: Whew, I’ll have to do my best to include these in the revised proposal.

    [Time passes]

    First Person: Okay, I’ve gutted much of the usefulness of the original proposal, and included a bunch of your demands.  Now we gotta get the process going ASAP, because there’s a deadline.  What do you say?

    Second Person: Sorry, but I oppose the very idea of proposals on principle… sucker.

    The fact that Professor Bérubé’s response to this sort of thing is more properly and preemptively “??” is why Chávez should anoint him as heir.  (OTOH, “anointing his hair,” while technically permissible, is rather too Aschroftian for North Chávezistan.)

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  12:54 PM
  3. Next time, fardels, I’ll make sure you meet with mds while the post is still in the early draft stages.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  01:02 PM
  4. How about you put a post up most Fridays which asks people to abritrarily riff on some insight D you’ve had on aspect E of pop culture?

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  01:46 PM
  5. Please publicly explain the basis upon which you claim to have a right to make this post without having gone through an open, democratic, utterly transparent vetting process certifying each of your ideas as a legitimate one for inclusion in the discussion draft. Without such a process, I’m afraid we can’t begin the public discussion of an early draft; any such discussion or any vote resulting from it would be illegitimate unless we first establish your right to do your job in the first place.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  01:47 PM
  6. The Second Person is totally a liberal

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  01:54 PM
  7. Except when the Second Persons are Republicans being asked for their input on Obama’s budget.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  01:57 PM
  8. Who asked you?

    Posted by Orange  on  05/04  at  02:11 PM
  9. And I didn’t comment on the “For people who think I don’t know how to do short posts” post because I already knew that you knew how to do short posts.

    You haven’t actually turned in the grades yet, right? ‘Cuz otherwise I got stuff I could be doing.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  02:21 PM
  10. When you have no proposals in your hand, perhaps the only play is to sabotage proposals from other players (I’m looking at you, Republicans).

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  02:36 PM
  11. Seven times out of ten, V. Ed., that’s what’s going on.  But two times out of ten, Second Person whips out a hilariously long sheet of crayon-scrawled paper, just like mds says.  And one time out of ten, it’s a completely WTF moment that has to do with personal slights and institutional histories that go back before the Crimean War.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  03:14 PM
  12. Interesting that the physicist folks at Cosmic Variance were having an ambiguously similar discussion; one might suppose there were discussions prior to postings to insure coverage of topics??

    And Julianne presents the following which also sounds vaguely like the “inside the floating head bubble” comments above.

    Recently I was quite taken by an interview with business leader Nell Minow, who became a parent during the time that she was transitioning to management:

    “When I first became a professional manager, I was pregnant for the first time, and so I grew up with both responsibilities at the same time. You have people saying the same two things to you all day long, which is, “Look what I did.” And you say: “It’s really good. Do some more.” Or they say, “He took my stuff.” And you have to say, “Tell him to give it back.” “

    “You’re constantly trying, whether you’re raising children or dealing with employees, to get them to take responsibility for their own issues. I’m not saying that in a maternalistic way, just in a way of trying to get people to take responsibility for themselves, to do the best that they can and to learn as much as they can. In both cases, you’re trying to make people more independent and bring them along.”

    I found this to be an incredibly succinct statement of what the best scientific mentorship looks like.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  03:46 PM
  13. First person (University administrator): What do you think about this plan about to go into effect in 30 days?

    Second person (faculty member): I’m sorry, I wasn’t consulted on this.

    First person: I’m consulting with you now. This is the “public comment” phase.

    Second person: but the plan is finished and about to go into effect in 30 days. I meant I wasn’t consulted during the formulation of the plan.

    First person: Oh.

    ----
    Captcha (perhaps the best Captcha evar!): “decision” as in “if it’s a fate accompli,* that means I wasn’t part of the process that made the”

    *h/t: Fitz

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/04  at  04:01 PM
  14. Hmmm.  Interesting point, John.

    Of course, I was talking about proposals that really are proposals—not a fate accompli*

    *h/t:  Fitz

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  04:21 PM
  15. "Will you still see me tomorrow?
    No I got too much to do
    Well a question ain’t really a question
    If you know the answer too.”

    - Far From Me John Prine

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  04:33 PM
  16. Heuristic for the university: If your “proposals” are really announcements, you are an administrator. If your “proposals” are really supplications, you are a faculty member. If you don’t get the opportunity to write proposals of any kind, you are teaching staff.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  04:36 PM
  17. This is another subcategory of the “the fights are so bitter because the stakes are so low” aspect of academia, the specific subcategory being:  “I must be given a chance to pontificate on everything, even if I agree with what’s proposed, because I’m a brilliant academician.”

    Sigh.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  04:47 PM
  18. Shorter Exurban Mom: democracy is teh SuXXors! (if she’s responding to 13; if she’s responding to the post, then she’s right on.)

    Michael, yes, I knew that! As rm says: if your proposal is really a proposal, then you’re committed to democracy a faculty member. If your fate* is already accompli, then you’re faced with an administrator.

    * There’s a certain unconscious brilliance to Fitz’s malaprop that only comes out in certain circumstances; this is one of them.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/04  at  05:13 PM
  19. That’s part of why I so avidly await Putin’s head rearing, which I know leaves me somewhere behind the curve, so vigilant am I about the western horizon, but clears my brain of so much excess.

    It’s storming so badly out there right now, though, that I can’t see that far over the ocean.  Which leaves me a moment to consider your pickle, good sir.  I just know that almost nothing gets nailed down, settled, accomplished, moving when you bring it up with those in the ivory towers of pedagogy.

    They, evidently, spend so much time working so hard not to seem defensive while defending whatever they say that they just flip permanently into the authoritative voice and can’t be budged.  Tedious.  Tedious.  I know scholars who are able to impress people while excusing themselves for the restroom.  I don’t think they know they’re doing it, or do and love it too much to give it up.  Like heroin.

    An actual Zen master could probably help fix this.

    Posted by 99  on  05/04  at  06:52 PM
  20. And one time out of ten, it’s a completely WTF moment that has to do with personal slights and institutional histories that go back before the Crimean War.

    See, this illustrates for the Nth time why you’re a better man than I am*, Gunga Din.  Based on the departments I’ve been in, I wouldn’t have set it as low as one time out of ten.  How do you balance the optimism and the realism, given that the universe so often seems to treat disappointment as a fitz accompli**?

    When you have no proposals in your hand, perhaps the only play is to sabotage proposals from other players (I’m looking at you, Republicans).

    Hmm, a governmental angle, instead of an academic one?  Now there’s a thought.  (I should have explicitly noted that the crayon scrawls said “deregulate” and “tax cuts” over and over.) Regardless, I’m sure there’s a way to inflate this alternative until it completely blots out the original post.  Uno dos tres catorce...

    *Not a woman, btw.

    **h/t: Fate.

    Posted by  on  05/04  at  09:04 PM
  21. given that the universe so often seems to treat disappointment as a fitz accompli**?

    **h/t: Fate

    Damn, and I’ve already used the il miglio fabbro line! Now how am I supposed to supposed to express my gratitude at that gem? If it was morning I could talk about coffee and monitors, but now I guess LOL will have to do!

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/04  at  09:41 PM
  22. Hey, I come here to escape from my life. I’ve had this kind of exchange:

    Me: What do you think of the proposal?
    Other: What is this? Why wasn’t I consulted?
    Me: You were consulted. I showed this to you a month ago. You read it and offered five very silly changes that needed to be made before you would sign on. Now I have pretended to make those changes and I’m seeking your approval.
    Other: I’m always left out of the loop on these things. I don’t want to chair this committee any longer.
    Me: There is a positive side to this lunacy then.

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  11:09 AM
  23. Hey, I come here to escape from my life.

    Uh, that was your first mistake.  This site is for casting the trials of our lives into even sharper relief.  And wordplay about Quine.

    Other: I’m always left out of the loop on these things. I don’t want to chair this committee any longer.

    This would be wonderful.  Yet I’ve found that somehow the person who would rather not be bothered nonetheless retains the authority to sign things.  Between this and the “one time out of ten,” perhaps I should relocate to State College* or [double-checks interwebs] Potsdam.  Which isn’t located west of Syracuse, but still has much to recommend it.

    Now how am I supposed to supposed to express my gratitude at that gem?

    I’m blushing charmingly, but feel obligated to point out that based on the semi-obscure brilliance of Comment 43 on “Department and punish,” it’s JP Stormcrow who really should be offered the laurel and hearty handshake.  And possibly at least one internet, though I’m not really clear on the criteria.

    *Mua-HA-ha-ha-haaaa!

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  11:39 AM
  24. How about a proposal to remove like the cutie-pie posts of Protevi and mds. And Stormcrow’s frat boy noize while yr at it. 

    Maybe just a proposal to shut ‘er down, MB, given that the cutie-pie WASPocrats, vichy PoMos, and phony “heads” have taken over yr site again.

    Ah wager even Senor Chavez might concur.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  11:44 AM
  25. State College is indeed west of Syracuse.  You just take the road to Morganville, which is what we called Shelbyville in those days. . . .

    Posted by Michael  on  05/05  at  11:48 AM
  26. Ezra, rest assured that I’ll submit your proposal to the WASPocrat, Vichy PoMo, and Phony “Head” Committee later today. We’ll be in touch.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/05  at  11:50 AM
  27. Grazi, Maestro MB.  Actually the WASPocrat (includin’ La WASPette) perhaps the most nauseating of the Kereberos-like beast.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  11:52 AM
  28. Hey Ezra, I got a proposal just for you!

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/05  at  12:20 PM
  29. How about a proposal to remove like the cutie-pie posts of Protevi and mds. And Stormcrow’s frat boy noize while yr at it.

    Excuse me, but I wasn’t consulted about this.

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  12:27 PM
  30. Already have a coupla’, Mlle.  Protevia.  Here’s a modest proposal,</a> para ti while we’re at it ./

    (that said, an examination of frat boy kultur might be interesting, MB. Serio [tho’ I suspect some eggheads have already been there n’ done that]. Examine the CV of the usual successful ‘Merican exec, or engineer--or professor, for that matter--and one generally discovers he pledged to some Sigma gamma epsilon or ‘nother. Frats are sorta the freemasonry of Academia).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  12:53 PM
  31. Yeah, Ezra, the gender insult is completely non-frat boyish.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/05  at  12:57 PM
  32. "cutie-pie”?  Moi?  Lemme check the Urban Dictionary… Sure enough, it’s street for “bitter and sarcastic, yet still precious.” I have been pegged.

    Hang on:

    WASPocrat, Vichy PoMo, and Phony “Head”

    Nope, nope, and… I’m not actually sure, but probably not.  ("Chicka-Wow Chicka-Wow Wow” just in case it’s dirty.) So M. Hound doesn’t seem to be the excellent judge of character that I previously thought.  Another illusion gone.

    If we really need a resident gadfly, perhaps we can convince bob mcmanus to ungive up on the Professor.  And for apéritifs, we could all have Molotov cocktails.

    (Hmm, several of us twee self-satisfied commenters have closed ranks against the renegade, who has obviously struck a nerve with the mirror that he has dipped into the inkwell of truth.  This objectively means he wins.  Bye, everyone.)

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  01:03 PM
  33. Regardless of yr specific flavor, mds, it’s covered with .........cutie-pie.  The old Berube showed a few signs of bohemian-beatish courage on occasion. He’s younger than that now, ah guess.  (Herr McManus scribblings are about as radical as like a Krugman column, anyway).

    Now, maybe fess up to yr Fratishness. That wuz the real dichotomy back in the hallowed halls: who pledged, and who pledged not. Yokels make a similar distinction: like, who tried to join the cops (or CIA, FBI, prison guard union, etc), and who didn’t.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  01:12 PM
  34. Okay, it’s a fair cop, he’s got me dead to rights.  Back in my misspent college days, I went with Felta Thi.

    (Actually, we couldn’t even get a Sigma Pi Sigma chapter going, and I thought the Alpha Chi Sigma crowd with their weird “secret” induction rituals were being very silly, but that was probably just a remaining vestige of the cornfed yokel talking.)

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  01:23 PM
  35. I’m thinking Ezra Hound is the love child* of Dr JA and Louis Proyect.

    *or if you prefer, the mutant bot.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/05  at  01:36 PM
  36. Back when I worked for an NGO, they’d hosted a conference for ideas on a working paper which was to be submitted to the government. Ya’ can’t beat that for uselessness.

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  01:41 PM
  37. You and yr ilk are the problem, Protevia. A few of us still value reason, disputation, justice, scientific thinking, and so forth, instead of the de-sade lite -foocaultian dreck that you mistake for scholarship of some sort.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  01:57 PM
  38. Yeah, and nothing displays the commitment to reason, disputation, justice, scientific thinking, and so forth like pseudonymous trolling and gender insults.

    Listen, Ezra, you got a problem with my work? Think you can show by reason, disputation, justice, scientific thinking, and so forth that I produce “de-sade lite -foocaultian dreck”?

    My proposal to you: bring it on, punk.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/05  at  02:17 PM
  39. I am confused. Is this a humanities problem? Most of the people I know in math would rather not be consulted - too much work. To be honest, this often includes me.

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  02:42 PM
  40. Oh, in 17 I was responding to the post, not to 13, John.  I’m all for the democracy, it’s the sausage-making that’s not fun to watch.  Or listen to, as five colleagues in a row pontificate about how much they agree with the proposal, etc....

    (Captcha:  “process”.  Oh, yeah, it’s a process.)

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  02:42 PM
  41. Although there’s the phenomenon of “yes, I admit this policy makes no sense, but I’m still opposed to changing it”.

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  02:43 PM
  42. Let’s take a gander at Protevia’s bloggyblog...........a few token PC appeals via Hoops, Inc........and Biopolitics. 

    ANSTEIGEN!

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  02:53 PM
  43. A line of Guy Davenport was once read to me by a vexed book reviewer.  He said, “‘Frogpawn and pewter the sea’… what the hell is he saying there?”

    I said that is the most precise description of the color of the ocean I have ever heard.

    He was almost satisfied, but couldn’t grok why “frogpawn”.

    “It’s supposed to hark up the colors of a frog pond but not be one and the sound is evocative of just the right combination of concepts to convey, with ‘pewter’, what he means but can’t be said.”

    Reading Davenport is like reading The Blue Cliff Record; conveying stuff that language doesn’t cover, opportunities for inner-spacewarping comprehension, if no poisoned mentality is interfering.

    I’m reminded of all this because the book reviewer, a master of the English language, if not language itself, was so happy to have this discussion, so bereft of that mandatory ego framing that ruins almost every discussion between educated people everywhere.

    Posted by 99  on  05/05  at  02:54 PM
  44. @42: come back when you’ve sacked up, punk.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/05  at  02:58 PM
  45. Goddamn.  This blog was on the verge of a world record—114 consecutive days w/o a defense of rational thinking and science against PC Pomoism from ToS.  And now it’s all ruined, ruined, simply because I posted a thing that suggests that some people sometimes engage in “discussion” in bad faith.

    Just for that, I’m bringing back Kirby Olson.  You have all been warned.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/05  at  03:48 PM
  46. No, no, please no… not Kirby.. oh good gawd, please not that??

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  04:27 PM
  47. Just for that, I’m bringing back Kirby Olson.  You have all been warned.

    But not consulted.

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  04:32 PM
  48. Lo seento.  Really, I don’t have a Holblo-like rationalist axe to grind, and have never suggested a Quine or the academic-scientific establishment has all the answers, politically, cultural, or otherwise (tho we could do worse than read a Bricmont).  Adorno and pals I peruse on occasion, or try to (while reading Popper’s critiques thereof). Or even Marxy Marx (an empiricist, however, ‘fore he was a Hegelian).  The PoMos are another matter: let the freaks get rolling and reality tends to disappear down a rabbit hole.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  04:34 PM
  49. Hey, this blog has made its peace with Alan Sokal, and has even traveled through the Wayfront Machine to review From Eternity to Here.  And it thought Ophelia Benson’s review of What’s Liberal was way more clever and useful than Jodi Dean’s.  But still . . .

    let the freaks get rolling and reality tends to disappear down a rabbit hole

    . . . you say that like it’s a bad thing!  Everyone—it’s time for a Caucus Race!

    Posted by Michael  on  05/05  at  04:41 PM
  50. Lort!  I am so inexperienced!  Or.  Something.  Are these but riffs in a bibliophile Fafnirian vein?  Can somebody make the term “postmodern” [let alone “ism"] make sense to me?  Or is it taken for granted that it’s senselessness itself?  How ever could it be PC to be postmodernist?  That would imply some creativity and extra-undue hauteur in people too insecure to sustain it, wouldn’t it?  Honestly, I keep getting this feeling I’m in a coma somewhere, and only the notion that Putin’s head might rear, as the sow’s ear told the silk purse so many months ago, has given me hope.

    And why does the name “Kirby Olson” instill such a feeling of doom in me?

    Posted by 99  on  05/05  at  04:51 PM
  51. Oh, shoot, I’d just decided this was a Caucus Race!  And me with no comfits.  Alice, Alice!

    Posted by 99  on  05/05  at  05:09 PM
  52. Kirby’s not exactly Einstein, but not the worst lutheran-beatnik in blogville (he does seem a bit bipolar, shifting between like Gregory Corso and Kant-lite). He does however detest Foocault as any rational and even kultur’d person should.

    Carrollian phunn now is acceptable? I thought you nix’d that vis a vis the Monty Python left bit.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  05:21 PM
  53. Carrollian phunn now is acceptable?

    Jeez, was anybody consulted on that?

    The hum of the International is getting deafening and it’s coming from inside the blog!!

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  05:33 PM
  54. If we’re going to have a cage match between Kirby Olson and the ToS, I’ve got dibs on the beer concession and the popcorn concession.

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  05:42 PM
  55. Are capitalists even allowed anymore?

    Posted by 99  on  05/05  at  05:49 PM
  56. How about like a Valve cage match, Billzoni, or at least lit-byatch-slap contest--though you’d have to clear it first with yr soopersteins (did they issue you an order to scooch over here? es posible).  I don’t know Kirby nor am I defending him, but I find it interesting how you make some facile (though typical) association: perhaps because of the contra-foocault point?  Attack those NAMBLA role models and heads will roll.........

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  05:59 PM
  57. ALLOWED? WE ROOL!!!

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  06:03 PM
  58. El Presidente will not be amused.

    Well, actually, I am hiding behind his gleaming bulk.  I will not be amused!  Capitalism is poison, pure and simple, proven, game, set match.  And it isn’t even feasible to be both capitalist and have opinions.  I mean, one or the other, I guess, poisonous as it is, because having an opinion means eventual loss, which, as you have seen, isn’t tolerated in capitalism.

    No, no!  Time to really embrace something new!

    Doing things for the pure decency of them!

    Posted by 99  on  05/05  at  06:14 PM
  59. Isn’t it time for yr xanax and cabernet, AWB?

    Wit you are not, btw.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  06:15 PM
  60. What is “ToS” and “AWB” and is “Foocault” meant to insult Michel or the ancient Asian mystics?  I’m so seriously not up to speed here.

    And is wit prized above the unbound in these parts?  Or, really, are we playing out the lack of good faith discussion/consultation in point?

    Or, was I right about the Caucus Race to begin with?

    I am indeed confused.

    Posted by 99  on  05/05  at  06:43 PM
  61. "ain’t it funny how an old broken bottle
    looks just like a diamond ring”

    -Far from me - John Prine

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  07:05 PM
  62. Are endless strings of hypotheticals a sign of La Vaca, or no?

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/05  at  07:23 PM
  63. Shouldn’t we consult fardels bear on the maximum number of rhetorical and hypothetical questions that can be sustained in one comment thread?

    And 99:  How ever could it be PC to be postmodernist?

    No one knows.  Early attempts to fuse the work of Lyotard and Baudrillard with an approved anti-racist, anti-misogynist, anti-ableist, anti-homophobic, and anti-bagist-and-dragist pedagogy were conducted in the Livermore lab in the late 1980s.  The results were too horrible to relate in detail, but you can view a brief example here.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/05  at  08:12 PM
  64. Oh!  My.  Thank you.  That was quite detail enough for me!

    Posted by 99  on  05/05  at  08:35 PM
  65. Christian, the needing-to-be-consulted probably is a humanities thing. I gather that science faculty write proposals for people outside the university who actually send money back. Sounds like a get-rich-quick scheme to me. In humanities, helping to write paragraph IV.C.iii of a policy, or getting a vote in the Faculty Senate, well that’s all there is proposal-wise. Money? That would violate my monastic vows. So, anyway, it makes one question one’s relevance and usefulness. Which can make one a little bit hypervigilant about slights to one’s dignity and importance.

    -----------------------------------

    Have a bunch of undergraduates been assigned to participate in this blog? Is it a theater class? Is EP’s radio broadcast style from his Mussolini-loving days really the best model of discourse if one’s goal is to elevate reasoned discourse? (Is any Pound a model of reason?)

    Just talk, kids, it’s much easier.

    Posted by  on  05/05  at  11:20 PM
  66. Vexed by all this, I turned to my sweaty, hairy, tic-addled hero, Žižek! I just love him, and would marry him, no matter how much work it might turn out to be.  He’s so clear.  Quickly I learned at that link that “postmodern” is the polite way to say PC nowadays.  I just hate that about postmodernism.  It doesn’t hold still.  You have to keep paying attention.  No wonder that Brundlefly was so immediately recognizable!

    Hell!  They’re everywhere.

    Truly, I was egged at a blog once for expressing revulsion over the notion of James Bond romancing a man into giving up the enemy’s secrets.  WHUT is homophobic about that?  Bond.  We were talking James Bond.

    So, well, then, carry on… PC pomo something or other.... xoxoxox

    Posted by 99  on  05/06  at  01:46 AM
  67. It appears to me that the next not-at-all-paid consultant to offer his services to this thread will be the CC-Ryder of Route 66.  He now has a Clade you know, and the darksyde is strong with him.  Are we about to suffer his wrath as the referee of the cage match????

    Posted by  on  05/06  at  02:26 AM
  68. Christian, the needing-to-be-consulted probably is a humanities thing.

    No, it happens in the World of Science too, often because of the money.  You get labs and disciplines (Ha!) becoming their own little fiefdoms, and sometimes they start thinking that their input is vital for recarpeting the business office.  And there are still committees and proposals to take umbrage at, if policies appear to threaten one’s autonomy.

    However, mathematicians remain above such mundane things, at play in the field (or ring, depending on the operations) of the numbers, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic.

    Posted by  on  05/06  at  08:15 AM
  69. their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic

    You know, that’s a pretty catchy little phrase.  Somebody ought to write it down someday.

    Posted by  on  05/06  at  08:54 AM
  70. You know, that’s a pretty catchy little phrase.

    Just a little something from my creative Wellspring.

    Posted by  on  05/06  at  09:39 AM
  71. in classic booj-wah liberal fashion MB.com has become the very thing MB initially opposed: Monty Python leftism.  Bring in zee comfy chairs, etc.

    Humor, whether python zany, or Seinfeld/Borat-like yux, forms part of the WASPo-zionist imperialist hegemony, comrade. Zizek might even agree with dat.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/06  at  11:30 AM
  72. Oh no!  The signifier has gotten detached from the signified again.  I hate when that happens.  For the record, and for those of you with short memories, here’s what “Monty Python left” means, according to this very blog:

    I’m not going to get involved in the Monty Python Left’s latest parsings of Churchill’s self-defense, namely (as Churchill now writes), that he meant the “’little Eichmanns’ characterization” to apply “only to those [World Trade Center workers] described as ‘technicians.’ Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by.” In other words, the dead working class and the dead kids were all right by us; it’s only the dead who were actively aiding and abetting the project of American Empire who deserve our condemnation.  I’ve read a number of these parsings in the past week, and they tend to run something like this: What about the cheesemakers?  Are they exempt, along with the janitors and firemen? No, the cheesemakers were far from innocent– as were the WTC dairy producers in general.  They may have been “very little Eichmanns” as opposed to “little Eichmanns,” but they were nonetheless comparable on some scale to the technicians of the Holocaust. What about the accounting department on the 82nd floor of the south tower?  Were they guilty? Yes, guilty as sin.  The 82nd floor was an especially imperialist floor, even if the photocopy room could more accurately be described as “quasi-crypto-imperialist” rather than nakedly “neo-imperialist.” But what about the Holocaust analogy?  Were these people really the moral equals of Eichmann? No, Professor Churchill did not say they were “like Eichmann.” Please do not take his words out of context.  He said they were “little Eichmanns,” which is quite another matter, as it implies a difference of scale.  Please see the cheesemakers, above.

    This humble blog stands by this old post, too.

    Posted by  on  05/06  at  12:30 PM
  73. Gosh, now i have to be sitting there tonight, in the theater, attending SPAMALOT(Best of Broadway tour company production); and questioning, if i am, or am not, a Monty Python-leftist parser?  Can i get a parable with some sliced jack (boot) cheese to go with the spam???

    Posted by  on  05/06  at  05:27 PM
  74. Eerily enough, these days “I have to push the pram a lot.”

    Posted by  on  05/06  at  07:32 PM
  75. Keeping on the bright side of life is most difficult when ones tries to be the monarch of anarcho-syndicalists.

    Posted by  on  05/07  at  04:47 AM
  76. Yeah, that’s it, sorta, spydey. Eric Idle & palsies: tory pedazos de mierda, regardless of the PCness, wit, the schackaspearean airs. Python works for the King. 

    (that said, I don’t think Ward’s that pythonesque, MB.  Paraphrasing Iggy, ah don’t have time to make no apologies, WC’s more anarchista, and hardly zany [the Hook quote was nice]. I don’t always agree with WC’s views, but his writing on the Allotment Acts was interesting and well-researched).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/07  at  09:33 AM
  77. No, no, the defenses of WC’s followup essay were Pythonesque.

    Posted by  on  05/07  at  01:10 PM
  78. I don’t pretend to have a professional literatteur’s reading skills, but that’s like not so obvious, Maestro.  You at least suggested that the parsings of the MP leftists AND WC’s self-defense were both BS, more or less: “So I’m not going to get involved in the Monty Python Left’s latest parsings of Churchill’s self-defense, namely (as Churchill now writes), that he meant the “’little Eichmanns’ characterization” to apply “only to those [World Trade Center workers] described as ‘technicians."’

    Whatevs, but according to you, MP leftism appears to be a subset of Churchillness (Ward, not Winston).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/07  at  04:50 PM
  79. Well, I don’t always see WC as being “on the left” in any straightforward way.  His alignment with the Contras over the Sandinistas w/r/t Meskito issues, for example, deranged the usual left-right alignments.  I mostly think of Churchill as being in the Churchill Party.  But yeah, sure, anyone who gets into the business of parsing out which people in the WTC deserved to die that day is getting Pythonesque.  Point taken.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/07  at  05:05 PM
  80. I think Ward Churchill is courageous, and has the heart to try to express things with manly disregard for the politically correct.  As someone who struggles to arrange words or present images in a manner so as to strike at a higher sense, I can’t help but admire his willingness to make a gorgeous point, even if it would scandalize those more determined to follow form than truth.

    I understood him the first time.  Of course he didn’t mean the rest of the victims.  Of course he’s not an insensitive animal.  He was trying to help people see clearly instead of turn into a bunch of animals determined for revenge.  I know that people who don’t know the man might very understandably take it the wrong way, and maybe he was too appalled by that horrific day to think it through, but he <i>did</b> make a very salient point in vivid and unmistakable terms.

    What blows my mind is, however unmistakable the terms, vast herds of humans mistake them anyway, with just about any new point one wants to make on the public stage.

    Posted by 99  on  05/07  at  05:08 PM
  81. #78 just about clinches the following hypothesis for me:

    “Ezra Hound” is a sock puppet for Dr. Helena Heleniaphorism.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/07  at  05:16 PM
  82. No. Ward meant something, rather unpythonish (and non-groovalicious) like the capitalist-zionist swine of the WTC had exploited 3rd world countries (including muslim ones) for years, so they got their comeuppance or something, though there was collateral damage (the non-technicians).  Faux-pas, perhaps, but words aren’t weapons. 

    (Wrong again Mlle Protevia, and don’t pisss me off o we’ll call yr dept. sooper and pull funding on yr boiapolitics projects).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/08  at  01:00 PM
  83. Yeah, WC is one of those people who actually believes that the World Trade Center was the center of world trade.  As opposed to being, you know, a big building mostly full of New York State government functionaries, which is what it actually was.  And I don’t see anything courageous about hauling out Ye Olde Americans = Nazis trope within 24 hours of an attack without knowing the first thing about who launched the attack or why.  It seems completely knee-jerk to me.

    That said, the hysteria that led to calls for his firing was really and truly McCarthyesque, and I now think it affected not only the U of C president’s decision to overrule the internal faculty committee but even the selection of committee members.

    Posted by  on  05/08  at  01:24 PM
  84. Actually Dr Helena Heleniaphorism is too good for our Ezra. I’m going back to Dr JA and Louis Proyect.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/08  at  01:50 PM
  85. But seriously, Ezra, my proposal to you in #38 still stands, and going back to the “Mlle” thing while you continue to punk out is beginning to look like projection.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/08  at  01:55 PM
  86. the hysteria that led to calls for his firing was really and truly McCarthyesque

    That I’ll agree with, sir. He became another convenient whipping boy in Limbaughland--(something like “framing” as y’all say). Indeed the Churchill-hysteria resulted in some problems for CU alums (...ah heard Chairman Ward Churchill hisself personally indoctrinated this leftist pansy in red communist doctrine...).  Bastante

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/08  at  01:57 PM
  87. Set up a ring, Protevia--legal, Marquess of Queeensbury style. LA, or LA. We can settle it via some applied biopolitics.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/08  at  01:59 PM
  88. Why not on one of your many blogs, punk? You know, the ones that live in Canada with your girlfriend.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/08  at  02:11 PM
  89. Yr the punk, Protevia, not to say a humorless little puta. Putavia!  Like most pomos someone dares question yr parisian masters, and you start byatching. 

    I don’t have to prove anything to you, or link to my blog.  Mano a mano (offer goes to any, even Maestro MB). Legal, ring, etc.  We can prove it there.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/08  at  02:15 PM
  90. This is gonna be good.  Or not.

    Posted by  on  05/08  at  03:01 PM
  91. It’s not likely to be anything, MB. The Pomo (or most leftists for dat matter) simply doesn’t understand the meaning of Honor (the word doesn’t signify, as y’all yawp).  So he/she makes the usual bitchy insinuations and taunts, so forth (and I don’t see any fine print asking us to link to a blog, etc.).  Not saying the non-left doesn’t do this as well, but SOP for the gauchistes (as Orwell well knew, as well, however trite he may be). 

    The churchill phenomena did not lack for Orwellian overtones as well.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/08  at  03:31 PM
  92. "Mlle Protevi” wasn’t a taunt?

    Ahhh, never mind.  Never bring a knife to a blog-comment fight, as they say.

    Posted by  on  05/08  at  03:59 PM
  93. Right here, right now, punk. You called me out, I stepped to it, and you punked out, punk. Your move.

    Also, punk.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/08  at  04:05 PM
  94. His feeeelings are hurt!  As I said, Punktevi, we can settle like mano a mano (of course, that’s unlikely.  I suspect you’re as weak and ineffectual as your writing). Yr pseudo-philosophy’s garbage, yr blog tasteless, even yr little chitchat here sucks.

    He started it, MB.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/08  at  04:49 PM
  95. No one could have expected the Internet Tough Guy Challenge to a Fight!

    Listen, punk, you’ve shown that it’s your feelings that have been hurt by your oh-so-dependable rising to the “punk” bait. You been played, little doggie, played like the little punk you are.

    I’ll tell you a little story, doggie dog. There once was a no-count little punk streeballer who called himself “the bone collector.” And he called out Allen Iverson one day, said he wanted to play him one-on-one. Said Iverson’s game was “de-sade lite -foocaultian dreck,” if I recall the exact phrase. And you know what Iverson said back to the little no-count punk? What he said was this, doggie, and you should remember it well: “Sure, boy [oh yes he did, he called him “boy”!] all you got to do to play me one-on-one is become a starter in the NBA and you can play me one-on-one twice a year, guaranteed.”

    So, little doggie dog, boy, punk: all you got to do to get taken seriously is publish a review of one of my books in a peer-reviewed journal and we can go one-on-one.

    Or we can do it here. Your call.

    Also, punk.

    And, boy.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/08  at  05:02 PM
  96. You know, it occurs to me that I am in fact being a humorless (#89) boor. Ezra didn’t come here for a fight, he came here for some harmless word play. I was just tired and emotional and reacted badly to a nice little doggie who just wants to play.

    So you can have this way out, Ezra, if you want.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/08  at  05:33 PM
  97. That’s right, your last post; Protevia. At the same time, anyone who mistakes foocaultian dreck for like a guide to Reality as a whole deserves to be byatchslapped.  So, I accept yr apology.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/08  at  06:24 PM
  98. Now that’s a good little doggie puppy. You won’t lose your bone after all.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  05/08  at  06:32 PM
  99. Not so leetle, jp, and not down with the frat-boy noize, even the PC sort.

    We should not mistake the Nietzschean Raubtier for the foocaultian lapdog.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/08  at  06:39 PM
  100. One hundred!  Woo-hoo!  [Does the Triple-digit Comment Dance at desk]*

    ...Wait, too substance-free and cutie-pie?  In my defense, I didn’t actually invoke any common catchphrases or internet traditions**.

    *You’ll have to take my word for it.

    **Dammit.

    Posted by  on  05/11  at  09:43 AM
  101. Yr about as witty as a Davey Brooks column, mds. Best to STFU ‘fore we unearth all yr pro-Bush/neocon/GOP posts, puto.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/11  at  11:03 AM
  102. With all due respect… No, scratch that.  With an enormous surfeit of unearned respect, David Brooks wouldn’t be able to identify an internet tradition if it walked up and bit him on his Ezra Hound.  So the comparison is hardly fair.

    Posted by  on  05/11  at  12:03 PM
  103. Why not take it to the Seinfeld fan site, puto.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/11  at  01:22 PM
  104. Whoa. Protevia is not merely a backwater <del>poodle</del> Pomo, but has actually published some important stuff, and has been mentioned in the steinford encyclopedia of like contemporary deeep thinkers.  Deleuze’s writing nearly interests us; he was a bit more of a naturalist, albeit freaky phrench-Nietzschean sort, than the usual hegelian-kantian sort (or kabbalah-mystic sort ala Derrida).

    Along with praising some empiricists (like St. Hume), Deleuze also upholds finitism--nearly a nominalist sort of view. So was Deleuze quack, or wack? Not sure, pero interesante.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/11  at  04:17 PM
  105. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu BJJ MMA Thai Boxing Training Classes in Westchester County New York 100&#xF;R;EE 30 Day Trial. A 60 Day MONEY BACK GUARANTE.

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