Butler (Re: cop shows, postmodernism and all that

Steve Perry sperry at usinternet.com
Mon Feb 8 09:18:39 PST 1999

Well, you're right, so far as you go--but it seems to me that all the post-whatever intellectual movements have contributed substantially to a diversion of energies from practical politics. They're kinda like video games in that regard; they advance the privatization of experience and of intellectual/emotional engagements. I mean, is it really going too far to suppose that they've got something to do with the utter lack of any new political movements (or leadership cadres) emerging from the universities in the last 20 years or so?

---------- From: Frances Bolton Sent: Monday, February 08, 1999 10:18 AM To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com Subject: Butler (Re: cop shows, postmodernism and all that

This sentiment has been expressed a number of times. I still don't know why we have to take such a consequentialist view of reading Butler. Why isn't it enough that her work is interesting? Why must it contribute to furthering the cause of the left? I can't remember anyone on this list suggesting falling behind the Butler banner, as opposed to that of, oh, let's say Marx. What's up with this "oh but is it good for the left?" litmus test, anyway?

frances -----Original Message----- From: Carl Remick <cremick at rlmnet.com> To: 'lbo-talk at lists.panix.com' <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com> Date: Monday, February 08, 1999 10:39 AM Subject: RE: cop shows, postmodernism and all that

>Re Steve Perry's: "In part I'm simply wondering if there is anyone else
>here who thinks that these various post-what-have-you intellectual
>movements are largely an unfortunate sideshow so far as left politics is
>Thank you, Steve. That's the most intelligent comment I've seen on this
>list in some time.
>Butler fans, reflect on this for a moment: "Capital trembles in its
>boots every time the name Judith Butler is mentioned." Notice how
>ludicrous that sounds? But substitute the words "Karl Marx" for "Judith
>Butler" and you have a real statement. Marx has scared the bejeezus out
>of capitalists for well over a century -- even now -- because he was not
>only brilliant but could, in his essential message, be understood.
>We're talking *politics* here, gang -- not course credit, not tenure
>Championing Butler and her ilk is not going to get the left back on the
>political map. BUTLER IS A *GIFT* TO THE RIGHT, a pop fly -- a writer
>so easily ridiculed that the left will be jeered off the stage so long
>as it wastes its few resources defending her and her ilk.
>More than two centuries later, people still quote and are moved by the
>Declaration of Independence because its philosophical points could be
>clearly understood: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." etc.
>What banner do you propose is suitable to rally under for Judith Butler?
>When the left mattered to some degree, it's because it was able to bring
>laser-like focus on the real injustices of the world. Today, all too
>much of the "left" consists of wonky little dweebs playing word games.
>The left has a great opportunity before it, and you're staring right at
>it -- the Web. The Web is something new under the sun. Potentially,
>it's something that can, for the first time, give the left critical mass
>in reaching out to huge numbers of people. But to do that, you got to
>have inspiring messages. I don't see that evolving from the pursuit of
>obscurity that Butler & Co. symbolize.
>Carl Remick

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