remembering your roots

kelley kwalker2 at
Wed Aug 30 10:04:22 PDT 2000

At 12:11 PM 8/30/00 -0400, Doug Henwood wrote:
>Look, gang, I'm all for a discussion of mental illness and the scientific
>status of psychoanalysis, but I'm not for the accusations of "asshole" and
>the like. Enough.

when someone takes knowledge of a relationship between two people--no matter what that relationship is (and yes, it was public, that wasn't the issue) --and deigns to psychoanalyze the respondents in a thread as to their "real" motivations for saying this or that, then proceed to get it wrong AND continue on with the b.s. even after they're called on it, then they're an asshole.

reese deserved to be called out for being "pigheaded". i have no problem with that. i do have a BIG problem with the way some of the enlightenederati treat the people entertained by the shadows dancing on the cave wall. but THAT is an axe i have been grinding for a long time and it has little to do with the current situation. i've been posting on this list for two yrs. an astute observer knows that about me. so dace can ftho.

nonetheless, it is because of something more general related to the current situation that i have had been grinding that axe: it is precisely because i have NEVER had the good/bad/? fortune to be able to live my life among people who are as intelligent and bright <hack hack> as we all are here. but, alas, i'm glad about that because it keeps my ass humble. people like my mother, my neighbor, my kid's teachers remind me every fucking day that our world is an insular little world.

no, i'm not saying that no one else has such relationships that keep them humble. i AM however saying, that if you do, it doesn't seem to be reflected in any of the convos about theory and praxis on this list, let alone your behavior. yes, get angry and upset and hurl insults. i have done so when an issue bothers me--the thread that began with what i thought were ignorant comments coming from a left-identified man, for one.

what is astounding to me, and something rob has been trying to pick up on, reese and matt and others are the very people that you all say you want to reach. they have views and attitudes that we call "false consciousness" or "ideology" or whathaveyou. but rather than recognizing that and having a little compassion for the poor fucks, we tend to do nothing but look down our noses. now, some of that is warranted, but what went on here and what goes on more generally in discussions re "the people": contempt for them. (as i pointed out recently, all social theories about the world have contempt for the majority of "the people". they do so because social theories arise when there is a need to explain why the world is awry for some reasons. in turn, the social theory must explain why most people don't see the problem and, if they do, why they explain the problem in the wrong way or why they do nothing about it

so, some of what goes on here is understandable. it is also understandable that we react hostilely to such views held by someone who doesn't come off as identifiably "left" since most of these people have contempt for what they think "the left" stands for and, in deed, they have contempt for us and think that *we* are the ignorant assholes!

what remains even more astounding is that so many people here seem to have been sprung from the head of zeus. they seem to have performed some sort of forgetting about how they came to an understanding of the world different from that of the rest of "the people". am i the only one who remembers the process of learning to think differently about the world? am i the only who remembers that the process entailed a great deal of resistance, but also pain bound up with exhilerating joy, on my part? am i the only one who recalls that it was not by being beaten into submission that i was swayed but by being given persuasive, persistent arguments and, probably more importantly, admiring the people who were trying to "teach" me because they were good and decent people, people with principals.


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