Monthly Archives: March 2010
This is the third, and the last, in a series of awards for malicious misreading, willful distortion, wanton decontextualization, utter disingenuousness, contemptuous hypocrisy and basic intellectual dishonesty while purporting to be someone of the Left. Perhaps before we get to today’s recipient, I should confess that while much of this is facetious (and perhaps deserving of its own “Unionist’ award), there is something much more serious at stake. For me, the Left designates not only a political economy that stands in critical relation to capitalism, not only a socially progressive vision of a more voluntaristic and cooperative world where liberty and justice are enjoyed by all, but, and perhaps, most critically, that this is all grounded in an ethical relation to one another, to knowledge and to truth.
Of course, right wing discussion groups are full of ignorance, hate, and intolerance. Of course liberal discussion groups are disingenuous, dull, and hypocritical (and they certainly don’t have anyone as clever and intelligent as Unionist to do their bidding, otherwise we might be in serious trouble- imagine Kinsella with intelligence). But I expect the Left to speak ethically, humbly, openly, competently and self-reflexively. My Left dwells in nuance and distinction and it takes from Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil, that the oath of the philosopher (“all is to be doubted” ) should begin with that most fundamentally unquestioned belief in the antitheses of values. Today we might summon this as a challenge to binarism.
In a rarefied world of pure binary antagonism, of fundamentalism, there is no nuance, there is no reverence, respect for alterity, and there is no forgiveness (a hospitable openness gifted in advance). In fact, in such a pure world, the enemy of one’s enemy becomes one’s friend, the friend of one’s enemy becomes one’s enemy, and ends justify means, regardless of how insidious those means. Sadly, the Left sometimes resembles its extreme right wing counterparts exhibits the nuance and emotional maturity of a two year old (I think here of the psychoanalytic term “ambivalence”) which often leads to deranged claptrap, personal attacks, abusive insults etc. And this leads to today’s Unionist award recipient: Stargazer
Essentially, Stargazer portrays herself as the often deranged embodiment of “ambivalence”, oscillating wildly between love and hate- usually the latter as attested to by her perpetual status as babbler which reads “is really pissed.” And her part in the feeding frenzy on DiNovo was exemplary. Just as the derangement to the perceived betrayal was about to launch into full force a babbler by the name of Prophit had the gall to post:
The Ontario leg voted on what in my view is a proper expression of the position of most Ontarians. I am pleaseantly surprised that it was unanimous and that it had the backing of my own party, the NDP.
Stargazer quickly interceded with the following display of generosity:
You’re an idiot. Sorry, I can’t be nicer to you.
Proper expression of most Ontarians? Bull fucking shit. Proper expression of neo religious whackjobs and their lovely neighbours, the Zionists.
It’s censorship, freedom of expression and a whole host of issues at stake here and you think this represents what most Ontarians want? I don’t think so.
Isn’t there a policy you agree to when you sign up here? Like you know, Human rights are not up for debate? Clearly Babble allows for that debate. Frankly I’d rather see all these Israel right or wrong defenders banned. How would that be for censorship.
Then when another babbler Peech bravely shares a personal story, Stargazer simply calls Peech a fine hypocrite:
My cousin was a victim of a murder suicide (aka. “Palestinian resistance”) while she was having lunch in a restaurant . So I have a problem with anyone proclaiming that they have a right to call for the eradication of another nation state or murder it’s members. Especially when it is a double standard which was the whole point of my post which obviously anyone mired in ideology is blind to.
Why do we not see “Victims of Torture from the Fascist Islamic Republic of Iran week”? Why are you singularly obsessed with Israel whilst minimizing or ignoring atrocities of states much much worse? That is the point of the condemnation of IAW.
Hypocrisy at its finest.
Lastly, when it was reported that DiNovo had received threats of violence. Stargazer responded with this shining example of Leftist solidarity and compassion:
The thing is, we have no evidence she had received death threats. She never did give specifics and instead appeared to blame the death threats on anyone who disagreed with her…She has only herself to blame. Until she takes action on the so-called death threats, then I might believe they actually happened.
For Stargazer one moment you’re a brother/sister in arms (she gushes often at Unionist whom she praises for not only anticipating her comments, but saying things so much more wonderfully) the next you’re the enemy. Pure reactive, disproportionate, hate filled bile. Pure Ambivalence.
Today’s Unionist award for malicious misreading, willful distortion, wanton decontextualization, utter disingenuousness, contemptuous hypocrisy and basic intellectual dishonesty while posturing as someone of the Left goes to genstrike over @ babble.
In outrage and contempt for DiNovo, genstrike not only misses the point that the “condemnation”was not of the activists themselves, but a disagreement with their tactics. The condemnation was specifically of their use of the term apartheid. And genstrike’s stubborn unwillingness to recognize this is only aggravated in his comparing the “betrayal” to that of Brutus’ act of treachery.
But what really secures the award for genstrike was his scathing hypocrisy displayed in the ruthless piling on DiNovo and then having a complete meltdown on the babble forum where genstrike allows his/her rudeness to escalate to the point of telling another babbler to “go f*ck yourself”. This was very quickly edited, and I note in a such a way as to attempt still to disparage DiNovo. Where are all the screen captures of genstrike’s outrageous and incendiary remarks? Where was the twittering? Where are the negative sanctions for flagrantly violating babble policy?
Genstrike, stepping away from the keyboard after you have egregiously insulted a fellow babbler is no moral high ground. Your retaliation was far more severe and under far less provocation.
Now, mon frère, mon semblance, to celebrate your insult to public decency with Baudelaire’s opening to “The Flowers of Evil” [from the evening redness in the west]:
To The Reader
Stupidity, delusion, selfishness and lust
torment our bodies and possess our minds,
and we sustain our affable remorse
the way a beggar nourishes his lice.
Our sins are stubborn, our contrition lame;
we want our scruples to be worth our while—
how cheerfully we crawl back to the mire:
a few cheap tears will wash our stains away!
Satan Trismegistus subtly rocks
our ravished spirits on his wicked bed
until the precious metal of our will
is leached out by this cunning alchemist:
the Devil’s hand directs our every move—
the things we loathed become the things we love;
day by day we drop through stinking shades
quite undeterred on our descent to Hell.
Like a poor profligate who sucks and bites
the withered breast of some well-seasoned trull,
we snatch in passing at clandestine joys
and squeeze the oldest orange harder yet.
Wriggling in our brains like a million worms,
a demon demos holds its revels there,
and when we breathe, the Lethe in our lungs
trickles sighing on its secret course.
If rape and arson, poison and the knife
have not yet stitched their ludicrous designs
onto the banal buckram of our fates,
it is because our souls lack enterprise!
But here among the scorpions and the hounds,
the jackals, apes and vultures, snakes and wolves,
monsters that howl and growl and squeal and crawl,
in all the squalid zoo of vices, one
is even uglier and fouler than the rest,
although the least flamboyant of the lot;
this beast would gladly undermine the earth
and swallow all creation in a yawn;
I speak of Boredom which with ready teats
dreams of hangings as it puffs its pipe.
Reader, you know this squeamish monster well,
—hypocrite reader, —my alias, —my twin!
— Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil (1857)
Update: Seems that genstrike just doesn’t seem to know when to stop. He’s pounced on another pile on, I mean, debate topic. Oh the gall… By the way, genstrike continues unabated and without reprimand from any moderators. How charming. babble leaking credibility with each disingenuous breath.
There is no paucity of malicious misreading, willful distortion, of wanton decontextualization, of utter disingenuousness, and basic intellectual dishonesty. Something I’m sure we’re all guilty of from time to time, but occasionally people elevate this to an art form. For years I used to call this “pullin’ a Cherniak”, but having recently come across Cherniak’s doppelgänger in the rabid Left wing of the blogoasylum known as babble, I now use the phrase “pullin’ a Unionist” to refer to such practice on the Left.
I’ve mentioned this a few times – but in her speech, DiNovo said that the Passover Seder begins with a prayer for the Egyptians, who were the enslavers of the Israelites. I pointed out that that is not only false, it is a loopy crazy invention – because the Haggadah (the booklet which is read and sang every Seder night) is filled with triumphalist rhetoric about God destroying our enemies, etc.
My point – how can a rational person stand up in public and make up nonsense like this? Did she just badly misinterpret something someone had told her?
So this becomes the foundation of Unionist’s public derision. DiNovo lies, she makes things up, badly misinterprets and this justifies his zealous and scornful attack on her character. Incidentally Unionist’s comments about her receiving death threats are truly special, but can also be seen as emanating from this foundational premise. In response I posted:
I am no Jew and have never assisted at a Seder supper, but in two seconds I was able to find a Passover Seder Haggadah, that begins essentially not only as DiNovo described in Hansard, but also are simply beautiful words:
So let’s now close our eyes. Can you see the universe and your place in it? Affirm now your role as partner with God in the healing and transformation of all that is. The Seder can also be a time to do “tikkun” (to heal and transform parts of ourselves and our society). To read the Seder please continue reading this piece.
“KIDDUSH We are gathered here tonight to affirm our continuity with the generations of Jews who kept alive the vision of freedom in the Passover story. For thousands of years, Jews (and our non-Jewish allies) have affirmed this vision by participating in the Passover Seder. We not only remember the Exodus but actually relive it, bringing its transformative power into our own lives. The Hebrew word for Egypt, mitzrayim, means “narrow straits.” Traditionally, mitzrayim has been understood to mean a spiritual state, the “narrow place” of confusion, fragmentation, and spiritual disconnection. Liberation requires us to embrace that which we have been taught to scorn within ourselves and others, including the split-off parts from our own consciousness that we find intolerable and that we project onto some “evil Other.” The Seder can also be a time to reflect on those parts of ourselves. Israel, according to the Torah, left Egypt with “a mixed multitude.” The Jewish people began as a multicultural mélange of people attracted to a vision of social transformation. What makes us Jews is not some biological fact, but our willingness to proclaim the message of those ancient slaves: (Say Together) The world can be changed, we can be healed.”
Unionist, of course, dodged this reply, “pullin’ a Unionist”, because his foundational premise for defaming a public figure would vanish. In the meantime, we might just revel in the beauty and hope of a prayer which I otherwise would never have stumbled upon. Hate can lead you to beauty, but only love will lead to peace and justice.
I did forget to mention that Warren Kinsella needs to be graced with a Cherniak Award for his hypocrisy over this. A Cherniak award is given to a Liberal who displays exceptional degree of malicious misreading, of willful distortion, of wanton decontextualization, of utter disingenuousness, and/ or basic intellectual dishonesty. When Warren pounced all over DiNovo for “losing it”, I’m left to wonder why he found it so objectionable, understanding that for Kinsella flagrant hypocrisy doesn’t apply to people who have handed him his ass in an election.
I know that for Liberals/Conservatives the term “deranged Socialist” is simply redundant, but what about within Socialist/ Leftist discourse? Is there a place on the Left for a democratic socialist whose politics include not only Marx, but also Christ, Gandhi, Beckett, Levinas, Derrida, Lacan and a healthy splash of Zizek to name a few. From Marx, I take political economy, from Christ and Gandhi I take strength, compassion, radical love, and a praxis where means and ends are inextricably linked such that the magnanimity of a goal never justifies achieving that goal ignobly. From Beckett and Derrida I take a path of interminable openness parodic laughter and intellectual humility. From Levinas and Lacan I take a respect for alterity. And from Zizek, I take the wonderful zeal, intensity, contradiction and brilliance that is Zizek.