The Slow Wokeists

Zizek talks about The Fast Runner and wokeAF film critics:

I’m not giving you this multi-cultural bullshit, ‘ooh, native Americans, Inuit, what a great nation,’ no, [The Fast Runner] is simply a good movie. Did you see [it]? I simply enjoyed it. And I hope I can repeat a story why I like it….it was a big lesson against superficial leftist critique….some people who were friends with the producers sent me a box of all the materials about the movie….the director* of the movie (who now unfortunately [has] died), you know the story so I won’t go into it; but some idiot – I mean white, liberal, politically correct — ….reproached the movie for succumbing to Hollywood commercialization, because you know the movie stages an old Inuit legend, and the movie changes the ending. I read [that] the original Inuit legend ends tragically; they all more or less kill each other. In the movie [however] it’s just that the two bad guys are not even killed, they’re just excommunicated and so on; it’s a much softer, open ending.

So the reproach was, ‘you’re not faithful to the original, you’ve succumbed to Hollywood commercialism and so on.’ Oh my god. The guy, the Inuit director, gave a perfect answer. He said, ‘no, you are a white racist here….because you don’t see that retelling the story always in a different way to fit the present circumstances [is] our Inuit tradition. Your notion of “being faithful to the original” theory is your white people’s ideology. You don’t get…how our original native logic works; it’s very opportunistic. We – because we are the original traditional people – don’t fetishize our culture into the original tradition; we manipulate it to tell the story always in a new way.’

*- Zizek said director but I think he’s referring to the movie’s writer/producer, Paul Angilirq.

Thx, Creeps

I’d struggled with different ways to describe the illiberal “liberal” monsters I hate, for instance:

  • Identitarian neoliberals
  • Social liberalism-only liberals
  • Libertarians with slightly less subhuman faces (sorry, Mr Dubcek, Ms Sontag)
  • Creative class moderates
  • Comfy class gay-friendly tax evaders
  • Judith Butlerian jihadists (sorry, Mr. Herbert)
  • Pronoun-obsessed empire enthusiasts
  • Trust funded tumblr twats
  • Politically correct social Darwinists
  • Intersectional neoconartists
  • Artisanally woke centrists
  • Social justice 1%ers
  • School-privatizing aesthetic Stalinists
  • Austeritarians for over-invested identity politics
  • Inclusive deregulators
  • Speech-policing free traders for greater economic inequality

but they’re all too long. On a blog it doesn’t matter, but on twitter with the 140 character limit it’s difficult to make a point and describe the radically social liberal, warmongering, economically conservative corporate whores who have gained complete media and cultural hegemony¬†and destroyed any chance of social democracy.

You know the kind; like the ChapoTrapHouse boys said, they’re the so insufferably woke people who, as long as they name the latest bunker buster bomb after Sojourner Truth, can sleep well at night. The sort that, like my twitter pal Phillips Pasha says, praises putting Harriet Tubman on the 20$ bill but wants a Grand Bargain on social security. In other words, Hillary Clinton’s cadre.[1]

Now God knows the alt-right has a lot to answer for but to give credit where due they have enriched the political vocabulary; their name for the type of “liberal” described above is SHITLIB. It’s concise, snarly, evocative, righteous — perfect.

So thank you, fascist Shitlords; I appreciate it.

[1] Cf., the conclusion of Eric Alterman’s What Liberal Media?: it is full of people who are socially liberal (often extremely so) but conservative on economics and foreign policy. Yes, duh.

Co-opted Point, Counterco-opted Point

From BBC Panorama’s “Secrets of Scientology”:

Ex-Scientologists: The technique is to push your buttons. People have emotional buttons, they have things that set them off, and [Scientologists] study you for that….watch you very carefully. [Scientologists] compare notes, [find your weakness and] push your button next time….[to the Interviewer, John Sweeney] Yours was “bigot,” right?

John Sweeney: I am not a bigot.

[Clips play of Scientologists calling Sweeney a bigot]

John Sweeney: Calling me a bigot annoys me because I am not a bigot.

Ex-Scientologists: I understand that.

John Sweeney: Hold on a second–

Ex-Scientologists: But if I keep cutting you off like this I will actually drive you nuts. [cuts off Sweeney again and again]…every time you start to say something I cut you off, it’s another way of getting you – so that you become emotionally upset. It builds up like a dam: all these things you want to originate keep getting cut off, it builds up like a dam and finally explodes –

John Sweeney: It’s annoying– [cut off] I want to say something —

Ex-Scientologists: No! [crosstalk] Bigots are not allowed to talk!

Here’s the vid; quoted passage above begins at about 17m50s:

It’s normal that he flinches at that word: as a bourgie, educated member of the media elite, John Sweeney has been trained to believe being a bigot is the worst thing one can be, a zillion times worse than exploiter, robber, plutocrat, Big Liar, election stealer, torturer, torture enthusiast, war criminal, mass murderer (basically anything horrible but sexual assaultist and rapist) – not only the worst thing morally, but also potentially the most damaging to one’s career. Sweeney is genuinely horrified to be so accused and is indignant because he suspects his accusers operate in bad faith.


It’s fashionable to say that the language and techniques of social justice have been co-opted by the right – in the example above, the religious right, kooky division – but I’ve been tweeting that it’s better to say they have been counterco-opted back from SJWs and therefore returned to their natural home. That social justice has been recently confirmed as corporate, and often cynical, neoliberal identitarianism, perhaps it’s now best however to say they’ve always been in the same illiberal home, moving as it were from room to room. Someone should burn it all down to the fucking ground.

Zizek On Smug Liberalism

I appreciate Bernie Sanders…because I’m so sick and tired of this upper middle class white political correctness where, you know, they don’t really have any contact with black people, with poor people; often their political correctness even has a clear class edge. You know, when an American liberal talks about how, in some circles, women have no rights, they are mistreated, quite often they mean Latino-American and black families and so on.

Bernie Sanders…in Vermont…was very careful to avoid this upper middle class elitist politics. The key of his success is that he doesn’t dismiss ordinary farmers, all those who are usually part of even the populist racist moral majority. He kept a dialog with them. So he is a living proof that the left should abandon this arrogance of ‘oh middle class workers, they are just half proper fascists and so on, we can’t maintain contact with them.’

— From the recent Guardian discussion video, which has been taken down from YouTube.

Socialism Vs. Neoliberal Identity Politics

Zizek in the video above beginning at about 9m30s, is righteous:

Post-political society, where social-political life or state rule, is more and more reduced to rational administration. Like, we don’t debate about economy. As Peter Mendelson put it nicely two, three years ago (of course I disagree with him…) but he said, “let’s admit it: we are all Thatcherites in economy.” So the only thing we can do is – you know, when I was young we were still dreaming about ‘socialism with a human face’ — his point was, all we can do is ‘global capitalism with a human face.’ You know, we change a little bit – more tolerant laws, more rights to this/that, more social security – but you accept the rules of the game.

In this state of things, all conflicts are politically neutralized, they are no longer perceived as political economic conflicts; they are restated as cultural conflicts – in this sense, they are naturalized. And of course with cultures – different ways of life – all you can do is tolerate. The solution of the conflict is not ‘I will make you disappear or you will kill me’ but ‘let’s tolerate.’ A nice example is here in Mexico I read how Mexican poor farmers, they try to formulate their fight as exploitation of poor farmers. Nobody was interested. You know, the moment you complain in this way, there is always some neoliberal guy who says ‘yes, but sorry [this is a nice word] structural readjustments are necessary.’ So there is some intelligent manipulation; they reformulated their struggle as the struggle of indigenous people against the Spanish cultural imperialism. All of a sudden, they became much more popular. A nice example but for me a rather sad example of how to be heard at all you have to culturalize your predicament.

When exploitation is normalized by definition no one gives a shit. Only when the exploited can tie their predicament to some kind of social bigotry can they have any hope of remedy – and even then the compensation is less about return of resources and more about an empty recognition of the struggle by the creative upper middle class (“dignity”). Of course the problem is that exploitation and bigotry need not – and increasingly often do not – coincide. In fact the world is run by a veritable Benetton advertisement of a transnational, multiracial, religiously ecumenical neoliberal elite that is quite happy to exploit anyone it can, regardless of color or creed. Exploited groups incentivized to frame their plight as a result of historical bigotry rather than of contemporary economy in turn incentivize other exploited groups to do same in reaction and competition all of which further atomizes and particularizes working and middle class society into tribalist conflict – meanwhile, exploitation intensifies. This is our world, and it sucks.

Identity Overclass

Michael Lind, 2003, Texas Monthly:

at the end of the day, if you have an exploitative economic system where the exploiters are pro-gay, pro-choice, and PC, you still haven’t solved some fundamental problems in the economy like the class structure and the distribution of wealth.

The dilemma in this dynamic is institutionalized not just in political circles and the Democratic party but also in the neoliberal university system that, culturally, wrings-out any young person’s concern with class and replaces it with identity politics — a note that sustains through life. Then, economically, the moment this young person has enough money (or even social capital) to “be somebody” they forget how to think and advocate like a poor person, but of course retain their identity grievances. At last, finally, this person is set to believe and advocate that the world will finally be set right when a vegan transsexual POC, too, can be a sociopathic 1%er CEO of a major corporation and hire for pennies an illegal immigrant nanny (forced by economic necessity to leave her own children) to sit the adopted kids and teach them the correct use of pronouns.

Causality Poop

Political chicken-or-egg questions, one for each side:

Do neocons want war all the time in order to militarize American society, or do they want to militarize American society in order to ensure perpetual war?

Do comfy class/professional activist/media liberals care about identity politics more than class and foreign policy because they can actually see progress being made with identity issues, or does progress only happen with identity issues because such people care about them more?

For what it’s worth I think the former is true in the first question, but I’m less sure than I used to be. I’m absolutely certain that for the second question, the latter is correct.