Max, Angela, Chris, DL

rc-am rcollins at
Sat Apr 10 12:43:22 PDT 1999

dl wrote:

>The first problem is that the people of the Balkans are
>uncivilized and cannot resist the temptation to use ethnicity as an excuse
>for violence. This, I believe, is no insult but a clear representation of
>the facts. After weeks and months of hearing claims and counter-claims of
>atrocious behavior by Serbs, Croats, Albanians and all the rest, I have
>simply added up the instances of atrocious behavior and come to the
>conclusion that these people, all of them, are essentially hooligans.


I thought my post in reply to this was excessively responsive and very specific. perhaps too much so. perhaps I should have pretended to be a mouth instead of an asshole (as well) and politely chosen to evade the 'remainder' of your post. but your post was not a polite conversation. do you always expect more of others than you expect of yourself?

the 'remainder', if I am being too subtle, consisted of this: there are a number of people on this list, myself included, who have clearly acknowledged the culpability of the various governments and the would-be-govts (like the kla) in the region. it has not been necessary to depict people in the Balkans as uncivilised or barbarians to do this. that you found it necessary to do so only means that this depiction, rather than any serious attempt to comprehend what is happening there, was what preoccupied you. it should preoccupy you, as should the distinction between barbarity (asshole) and civilized (mouth) interest us all. but not in the way you think, not as a way of establishing the implication that we (you) are really civilized, and those people 'over there' are the real barbarians.

if I offended you, as I clearly intended to do, then you should be equally offended by your own statements. I would not have been an asshole if you had not tried to evade your own, however minute, responsibility for the racism in the world after having dramatically insisted on the responsibility of others.

-------------------------------------- rob,

here I think is an instance of the stakes involved in conceptions of the subject. either we think of subjects as already-given, or we think of subject formation as a process. this is what I think Doug meant when he said there was a history to 'the obvious'. if dl was actually concerned to comprehend culpability and agency, he would, as have others, looked to the ways in which nationalism and racism became the dominant, or predominately available, forms of expression of the social antagonisms. lots of people on the list have been doing much around this, so it was available as an approach.

which only leaves the question of why it is possible to slip with such ease into one's own racism whilst denouncing that of others. a topic which goes to the conduct of the propaganda war, and not just dl's post. which is why I thought he did us a service in being crude.


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