Saturday, May 23, 2015


  • Cathy Young said something in a recent piece that highlights what's wrong with not just the hyper-focus on campus rape, but the reaction to critics of rape culture: "The problem is not female "wickedness"; it is a campus culture that fetishizes trauma and turns "survivorship" into a cult."Maybe if liberals and leftists stepped out of the shadows instead of leaving MRAs to provide the counterattack (blaming women for their own rapes, making erroneous claims of an epidemic of "wicked" women who lie about rape, etc) there could be an actual solution (like taking the onus off the campus to provide justice. for example). I agree that there's a culture of, if not exactly fetishizing trauma then valorizing it, but even suggesting that seems beyond the pale to most feminists. And as much as I recognize that this is a very sensitive issue, I can't help but see the inherent classism in the hyper-focus of campus rape to the exclusion of other groups of women who face sexual violence (sex workers, women who are incarcerated, trans women are especially vulnerable) who don't have the resources nor benefit of big-name feminists fighting for their rights.
  • Another thing that's been struggling with lately is the left reluctance to own the split between its more authoritarian, activist wing and more moderate members. The right does this. (Unfortunately, the right is also pretty good at getting their fringe players elected to office.) I've used activist left to refer to the far left or progressives as most of them travel in activist circles, or are sympathetic to that ideology. Ive heard illiberal left or authoritarian left, used mostly by those on the right which makes me hesitant to embrace either. The problem is that people use left and liberal interchangeably. I guess libertarian left works for the other half, if libertarianism wasn't associated with right-wing politics, as it is here in the US. I'm something of a left-libertarian I guess, in the Chomsky sense, but I understand the reluctance to adopt the label, even if you share many of the same views. I should stress that all this infighting occurs among fairly connected leftists, usually in media or academia. Most of the people I know in my Midwestern, working-class city who call themselves liberals or leftists would find what justice-focused blogs define as "the left" completely alien.
  • "I write because I hate. A lot. Hard" This William Gass quote has always resonated with me, but I've recently adopted it as my personal mantra. I'm very anger motivated, I've noticed. 
  • TV note: Showtime has been airing a great documentary on director Richard Linklater this month. (You can usually find it before or after one of its many viewings of Boyhood.)