19 August, 2008

Luding Bridge

Home after work, eightish, as the grey at the horizon glisters that bit brighter than the grey overhead, and the gasometers are giving out; the blackberried professionals pour off the first carriage onto Hornsey platform, and struggle up the stairs in a flat throng. I drop eaves on a young woman:
He was also, he also had a marionette of death with him. I mean, well—who would bring that to a christening?
I am in every mood to appreciate the macabre. The AHRC has withheld its fecund nipple for a second time, pooh-poohing my scholarship application and denying me my rightful forty grand. I am consoled only by the thought that doctoral theses on John Lennon, Prada handbags and poofter Shakespeare are being well rewarded. Not that I'm bitter or anything. An elder colleague, no friend to the AHRC, wisely counsels me 'not to capitulate to their imaginary'. But now they have hacked away the planks once and for all, and the Luding Bridge will be just that much harder to cross. Still, onwards to victory, comrades:

To fight with Heaven is infinite pleasure!
To fight with earth is infinite pleasure!
To fight with men is infinite pleasure!


*

At Metafilter, someone called Nasreddin, whose identity I can only suspect, links here with generous words. The context is a "Which important books haven't you read?" discussion, where the assembled stooges try to impress each other with greater and greater lacunae. Naturally, the idea behind these admissions is: I have come this far without [Ulysses / Hamlet / War and Peace, etc.]—and I'm no worse off for it. The bigger the book you scorn, the bigger you are. Philosophy comes in for a bit of one-upmanship too, including gems like:
I think a lot of philosophy is actually best ingested via secondary sources. Especially works in translation, where you'll be missing out on possible linguistic nuances anyway. You can certainly get the "meat" of Plato in 100 pages of well-written exposition.
And later:
I've read quite a bit of Plato, I like Plato. But, honestly, if you're going to read philosophy as a matter of cultural literacy you would do better to read the early moderns: Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, with a dash of Hobbes, Pascal, and Malebranche for good measure. (I would add Kant, but he is all but impenetrable.)
(Myself, I advise against expectations of increased 'cultural literacy' from any study of Malebranche.) But the bloke who really annoys me goes by the soubriquet of 'Yoink'. At the request that he illuminate the Greatness of the Great Books, he snorts:
Well, the request is a bit absurd (if you want to know why, see Cliff's Notes), but, with regard to the authors I mentioned above (Austen, Melville, Flaubert and Tolstoy), here you go:
"Oh, alright—if you really must have a display of my superiority." The subsequent display is 'favourited' by no fewer than five fellow readers, including—gasp!—Nasreddin himself. Do these epigoni take him at his word? Here's what Yoink thinks of Melville:
Melville: delerious prose-poetry of the most intoxicating kind. Melville puts the whole of Western Lit in a blender and sends you out sailing on a turbulent sea of allusions, puns, half-caught echoes. To read Melville is to find yourself remapping the literary and philosophical world.
What disturbs me about this assessment is the casualness of its sublimity. Sublimity must never be made casual: then it becomes bathos. It ruins Melville, or more accurately Moby Dick, for which 'Melville' is here blatant synecdoche, to call him 'prose-poetry', and it ruins him to use the expression 'of the most intoxicating kind', which a trip to Google will soon expose as crass gush. Melville does not put the 'whole of Western Lit'—a tasteless abbreviation—'in a blender' and to read him is not to find oneself 'remapping' any sort of world. What Yoink has done is reiterate a slew of clichés, on the very level of the Cliff's Notes he disparages, dressed up in the prose style of a Coldwater Creek catalogue. Yoink might as well not have read Moby Dick if all he could glean from it was a hackneyed encyclopaedism. And in that case, he'd have done better to keep his views to himself, lest his respondent think reading books is merely about checking 'Greatness' boxes off a list.

Let's see what he says about Flaubert:
Flaubert: where to begin? Madame Bovary is the obvious example, although I prefer "L'education sentimentale." For a start it's simply a privilege to be exposed to such a whip-smart mind and a prose style that combines an extraordinarily labile grace with sinews of steel.
Here is another species of false humility. This species is signalled, as so often, by the use of the word privilege—a word that should be razed from dictionaries, as a punishment for its services to the obsequious. Were I Ayatollah, I'd law it that anyone claiming such a thing as this to be privilege should have that privilege immediately rescinded.

The snivelling begins in the first words. Notice the rhythm of ideas: Where to begin? It is all too much; the genius of Flaubert escapes all mortal summary. But then, with a tip of the beret to the 'obvious example', a little jab in the ribs: I acknowledge the preference of the many, but I am capable of subtler appreciations. But it gets yet more vain. Flaubert's prose 'combines an extraordinarily labile grace with sinews of steel'. Labile means 'unstable, prone to lapse', and so it is not surprising that Google has hardly heard of 'labile grace'. Is it really the word Yoink wanted? Did he perhaps mean 'agile grace'? Or is he, rather, attempting a bit of theology? And what could it really mean to say that Flaubert's prose has 'sinews of steel'? No passage I adduce from the novel could possibly confirm or disprove the statement.

Worst of all is the contention, superficially unremarkable, that Flaubert has a 'whip-smart mind'. I have just googled the phrase. Who else possesses a whip-smart mind? The teenage protagonist of a young adult novel; a hypothetical physics-major freshman; someone's 13 year old niece; the Frances McDormand character in Fargo; and the soft-rocker Craig Finn. What these minds have in common is that they are smart, yes, but possibly not quite as smart as the speaker, or else, so smart as to be deficient in other, more important qualities present in the speaker: 'whip-smart' has the quiet soupçon of condescension. Mrs. Roth, not given the context, confirms my intuition. In the circumstances, calling Flaubert 'whip-smart' frankly lacks taste.

*

And what is so damned wrong with lacking taste? Why should I castigate some irrelevant schlub on Metafilter for failing to meet my standards of delicacy? Doesn't that lack taste? Possibly. It is my suspicion—soupçon—that being a good writer, a good thinker, is essentially about possessing or acquiring good taste. By taste I do not mean politeness. Taste is judgement in the realm of the unquantifiable. It is the aesthete's equivalent of phronesis, practical know-how: it is aesthetic know-how. To have taste is to know not only the dictionary definition of a word, but its precise colour and nuance—knowledge that cannot be transmitted succinctly or mechanically. To have taste is to know that, if we would communicate the greatness of a Melville, we must not rely on stereotype. It is to be alive to possibility, and above all to the rare possibility of bouleversement. It is to know, likewise, when to be outrageous. Flaubert and Melville had perfect taste. Both could be outrageous: Melville with his bloody mess of a book—hardly a 'fabulous quest-narrative which is gripping at the level of narrative'—and Flaubert with his St. Anthony and his Dictionary of Received Ideas, into which would now have to go the mental contents of a Yoink.

He says that the main reason to read these works 'is that they're just fucking amazingly enjoyable to read', as if that proposition could genuinely answer the question, put to him initially: 'For what reasons, besides blunt-force insistence, are they considered required reading?' Yoink lacks taste because, with his literary nose retroussé up Flaubert's arse, he has not allowed himself to hear this question: he has not entered into dialogue. Words are labile things, and require mastery: to deal with words is to deal with people—to hear, to communicate.

33 comments:

James Ashley said...

Thank you for this, Conrad. Your mastery of tone is inspiring.

In the scheme of things, I feel that I may one of the schmucks you are describing rather than the person of taste at the other side of Luding Bridge, but I enjoyed this all the same.

James

Peony said...

Reading this I realized that I have not really laughed-- or even smiled-- in days. I started giggling at Yoink and by epigoni and his brothers shlub and schmuk... well, yeah, I was actually smiling again.

Thank you Comrade. For this I forgive you for being so unkind to good ol' Marty. (I forgive you, but still am preparing for my final checkmate-- so beware and en garde)...

peacay said...

Well. There is no misreading your tone. What a thoroughly uncharitable assessment.

I am sorry to hear that your application was not accepted Conrad. If the lotto ticket delivers on its hollow promises tonight, I may just have to fund your scheme myself.

John Cowan said...

And I say there is no taste, and the assumption that there is (as opposed to my taste, say, or yours) is nothing but an instrument of self-oppression; I emphasize self, though of course whoever is self-oppressed tends to oppress others too. As there is no place in science for ideas and none in semantics for meaning, there is no place in aesthetics for taste.

Not that I disagree with your particular aesthetic judgements in these cases, necessarily. As you now know, shame at admitting what I haven't read is alien to me, which is why I could hardly get past the fifth comment in the discussion you are discussing: shame and the inversion of shame is what it's all about.

Lily Roth said...

My dear Peacay,

I wouldn't want you to imagine that Mr. Roth is always uncharitable. But I will admit that his charity never extends to matters of taste. He derives such joy and amusement from criticism that it hardly seems fair to deny him the pleasure.

Mrs. Lily Roth

Greg Afinogenov said...

nasreddin, c'est moi. It is a shameful, if not terribly well-kept, secret.

Greg Afinogenov said...

In my defense, I favorite all comments which even slightly hint of an appreciation for culture beyond the Neil Gaiman-Richard Dawkins level. Metafilter teaches you to keep your standards low.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Ah Greg, I know: I was only ribbing you! Seriously, though, you don't have to read Metafilter.

John: the comparison between meaning and taste is very apt; both have to mediate between absolute and relative, or less crudely, between public and private. Taste (like etiquette, manners--and language itself) is neither wholly rigid nor wholly flexible: one has to work within it. Tastes are fundamentally different: for they are entirely private and not answerable to others. If I dislike strawberry ice-cream I am not answerable to the 99% who love it. But I am under obligation to use words as they are used by others, and to behave according to the customs of the society I live in. That is what I mean by 'taste' here.

PK: All lottery-funded donations welcome!

Shawn Thuris said...

"Whip-smart" sounds a little like "terribly clever" -- that is, praise with veiled reservations -- and might work better for someone like Ambrose Bierce. For describe Flaubert, she no so good. The whole thing sounds reminds me of hearing a teenager say, "You gotta read this [Nietzsche's Zarathustra]. It will kick your ass up one side and down the other!"...minus the rowdy charm.

peacay said...

Dear Mrs Roth

Thank you. Your support is admirable. I am mostly entertained and usually enlightened by your husband's criticisms, particularly so when they are applied to authors and figures from literature and history.

I presume on this occasion that the hatchet he carried for the AHRC found easier purchase in the backs of unsuspecting targets from a rambunctious forum outside of his normal purview.

In my view, the context dictates that the comments and participants deserve a large measure of immunity from so critical a deconstruction as your husband offers in the name of taste. These were not remarks delivered from a personal, rarefied island of literature discourse, nor were they constructed with an eye towards thesis defence.

But I am under obligation to use words as they are used by others, and to behave according to the customs of the society I live in.

So it's not when in Rome.. then? No. Remove the statue or column and bring it back to one's own drawing room. There, both the technique and maker can be skewered outside of its original context. Tasty.

Once the houses in Cairns and Batemans Bay and the sundry living and travel indulgences have been met, an oracle will be consulted about the possibility of a stipend.

Language said...

But I am under obligation to use words as they are used by others, and to behave according to the customs of the society I live in.

No, actually you're not.

And MetaFilter is a fine place for discourse; it just happens not to be the sort you prefer. The fact that you do not care for something does not imply that you are above it, and I hope you will grow out of your easy assumptions of superiority. They are unbecoming.

Conrad H. Roth said...

LH still seems to have a block regarding certain varieties of my experience, but then, there is someting of the Yoink in him at times. I find it quite odd that he upbraids me for 'easy assumptions of superiority' when that is exactly what I am attacking myself. Since I don't read Metafilter, I have few prejudices about it as a whole: it was Greg who seemed to slight it.

I am obligated to use words as they are used, insofar as I wish to be understood. Change is possible, but must be gradual. The same is true with taste, of course.

PK: It is true that Yoink's remarks were meant casually, and delivered in a casual context of discussion: but then I also think that people reveal most about themselves and their unconscious assumptions in this kind of arena.

And yes, it is exactly 'when in Rome'. But it is also 'when in Italy', 'when in the world'. Yoink's words are on Metafilter, but they also aspire to grand and lofty sentiment: they are satisfied and dismissive pronouncements, and intended as such.

Peony said...

I don’t necessarily want to rush to Conrad’s defense—since his lovely lady already does a fine job in that department. Plus, of course, I am still mad at him and all those involved in the Heidegger debacle.

However, I did want to bring up one point. I am here in LA for the month. As inevitably happens I am greatly discouraged by the conversations—where people used to read actual books or discuss art exhibitions, now it is an unending discussion of what to buy, where to play, and reality TV. And, while you could say I ought to find some new conversation partners (actually I AM accepting applications) still, I have come to feel that overall in the US (at least on the West Coast) we are seeing a real downturn in the state of the intellectual life.

Yes, I am talking about anti-intellectualism & philistinism—where just as Conrad points out, the bigger the book or thinker or teacher you dismiss, the bigger it makes you seem. Nothing is argued, but rather as our Conrad sarcastically stated, it is just out-right dismissed; or perhaps less odious where casual flights of fancy pass as profundities.

To be honest, rather than being concerned for Yoink’s hurt feelings, I feel more concerned for a world where only the bottom line counts: what you do, not what you think; how much you make, not how you contribute; where we defend Yoink but stand silent when Herr Heidegger is being disparaged by many who didn’t even read the book! And yes, I am in LA where perhaps this is particularly apparent or discouraging. To me, again, rather than worry about being fair to Yoink, I feel gladdened that someone will stand up for taste…No offense intended to Yoink either since I didn’t even read the thread—my point being that I think intellectual gadflies have always served an important role—especially when they write as well as our friend.

I apologize for the length of this comment.

Peony said...

"And I say there is no taste, and the assumption that there is (as opposed to my taste, say, or yours) is nothing but an instrument of self-oppression; I emphasize self, though of course whoever is self-oppressed tends to oppress others too. As there is no place in science for ideas and none in semantics for meaning, there is no place in aesthetics for taste"

After that long response to LH below, I realized that it was this statement above that actually most puzzled me.

To say that there is no place in aestheticics for taste is like saying there is no place in ethics for moral principles. In such a world, where everything becomes leveled; that is, where everything becomes a matter of *personal preference,* we would probably be unable to have art museums or art history...

So for that reason, I beg to differ that there is no place in aesthetics for taste.

To replace collective taste (or even loosely acceptable cultural standards regarding taste) would be to necessite a condition based solely on the sum personal preference in any given society (and this would show its effects in economic efficiency) so that you might see classical music no longer being performed and popular art replacing the old masters in the art museums...

That is because no "taste" (if by taste here you mean personal preference) could stand above the rest.

I probably didn't correctly understand your statement above... I did find it puzzling though, and thought I would go ahead and ask what you meant by it.

Conrad H. Roth said...

I don't really care about Yoink any more. I don't know Yoink. All I can think about is

"I hope you will grow out of your easy assumptions of superiority"

How more succinctly hypocritical could one be? And from someone I respect! It leads me to suspect that 'easy assumptions of superiority' are associated less with erotetic and troublemaking youth than with the sclerosis of maturity. It is just so wrongheaded a criticism of what I write--it boggles the mind.

michael reidy said...

Let the imaginal defend you from their imaginary.

Those devourers of conspecti that infest higher education know the way to a good degree. I think of the words of A.E. Waite in his introduction to the Tarot concerning those who remained beached on the sands of divination.

"These interpretations are comparable in every respect to the divinatory and fortune-telling meanings with which I shall have to deal in their turn. The diabolism of both is that they are true after their own manner, but that they miss all the high things to which the Greater Arcana should be allocated.."

Language said...

I find it quite odd that he upbraids me for 'easy assumptions of superiority' when that is exactly what I am attacking myself.

But that is precisely what is so delightful and so human-all-too-human: the attack on one's own weaknesses in another!

How more succinctly hypocritical could one be?

Oh, come now: I like to think of it as giving a needed tweak of the too haughty tail.

It is just so wrongheaded a criticism of what I write--it boggles the mind.

Criticism of oneself always seems so unfair! One's own criticism of others, per contra, always seems not only justified but measured and reasonable. How could anyone dispute it, let alone take offense at it?

Bottom line: treat others as you would like to be treated. Takeaway lesson: if you are not familiar with a community, best not to assume the worst it for the sake of an easy bit of fun. And really, someone who parades his own knowledge and sensibility so joyously (and pleasingly) has no business mocking others for parading theirs.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Many thanks for the salutary lesson. That lesson being that no matter how I clear I think I'm being, and no matter how much familiarity one has with what I write and how I think, I cannot be sure that he will really understand what I'm trying to say.

I openly welcome criticism of myself here. That is, I openly welcome criticism with some reasoning and justification to it. I don't object to you disagreeing with me or putting me down--there's nothing unfair about it. Plenty of people have made reasonable criticisms of me, both here and elsewhere. Cowan specialises in it, and usually gets it right. So to toss off some comment about how I should be able to 'take it as well as dish it out' (as you put it once before) misses the point. What I objected to was the facility of your remark, which reflects more on your own jerking knees than on mine.

I have, on my part, actually explained the crassness and self-satisfaction evident in Mr. Yoink's words. You have explained nothing of the sort here. I don't know why you continue to assume that my 'tail' is 'haughty': is it merely because I criticise others? In which case, who is tweaking your tail?

"Bottom line: treat others as you would like to be treated."

That's a very poor dictum. Better treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves. Better yet to treat others as they deserve, within the limits of law and sanity.

"Takeaway lesson: if you are not familiar with a community, best not to assume the worst [of] it for the sake of an easy bit of fun."

I don't know where the invisible wall is, Steve. Where do I 'assume' anything about the 'community'? What I did was to make some arguments (with which I do not insist that you agree) about one person (aside from a couple of harmless jabs about Plato) based on reading. And why assume (for it is you who are assuming) that I write 'for the sake of an easy bit of fun', rather than for the purpose of understanding?

"And really, someone who parades his own knowledge and sensibility so joyously (and pleasingly) has no business mocking others for parading theirs."

I'm not mocking him for parading his knowledge and sensibility; Christ, everyone 'parades' his own sensibility, it is a hollow expression. I'm criticising that sensibility itself. Do you not see the difference? You didn't seem to have a problem with it when Eco was under the knife, but for some reason poor defenceless little Metafilter (!) needs to be defended?

Steven Augustine said...

"And MetaFilter is a fine place for discourse; it just happens not to be the sort you prefer."

LH is for MetaFilter discourse; CR is against MetaFilter discourse; sum: zero.

"The fact that you do not care for something does not imply that you are above it, and I hope you will grow out of your easy assumptions of superiority. They are unbecoming."

LH employs sententious language to punish CR for employing tendentious language to punish third parties for using bumptious language directed at neither LH nor CR; moral advantage: third parties; critical advantage: CR.

"LH employs sententious language to punish CR for employing tendentious language to punish third parties for using bumptious language directed at neither LH nor CR; moral advantage: third parties; critical advantage: CR."

SA affects Olympian bemusement whilst employing thinly-veiled, standard blog-tiff sanctimony to declare a subjective affinity for CR's critical prejudices; moral advantage: LH; sum: zero.

John Cowan said...

Conrad has asked me to explain myself.

Peony, I in fact don't think there's any place in ethics for (universal) standards of virtue, or in aesthetics for (universal) standards of taste. Indeed, I don't believe there are any such things. However, I also don't believe that there are only particular, individual ethical or aesthetic judgments either.

Geoffrey Pullum's Language Log essay "'Everything is correct' versus 'nothing is relevant'" expresses the via media between these two extremes in the domain of English grammar. People who adopt "Everything that actually occurs is correct" believe that whatever a native speaker (not drunk or insane, etc.) says is grammatical by necessity, whereas people who adopt "Nothing that actually occurs is relevant" believe that the rules of grammar exist in the Platoplasm, entirely independent of how anyone speaks, and if everyone violates a rule, so much the worse for everyone.

As Pullum says: "But there had better be a third position, because these two extreme ones are both utterly insane."

To hold that there is such a thing as universal taste adopts the "Nothing that occurs is relevant" position; in principle, something might be considered tasteful even if everyone on earth found it tasteless. In practice, this is a cover story for an authoritarian or parent-centered position (Blake's Urizen) that says "Universal taste is defined by my taste, and you must conform, or else."

To hold that there is nothing but particular tastes adopts the "Everything that occurs is correct" position. In practice, this is a cover story for a rebellious or child-centered position (Blake's Orc) that says "My taste is just as good as yours, so up yours."

But do read Pullum, making the necessary mental translations; he's far more eloquent (if less symmetrical) than I.

(Conrad complains of a poster calling himself Yoink; Pullum of one calling himself Zink. Curious.)

Peony said...

Thank you for responding John! (And thanks to Conrad too)

I think the 1st problem perhaps is you brought up the word “universal.” To say that there IS a place in aesthetics for “taste” is not to say that there is “UNIVERSAL TASTE”. Indeed, there are many fascinating stories of powerful shogun and daimyo in Edo Japan showing their prized treasured to visiting Europeans. After taking the piece out of its nested pauwlania boxes (like Russian dolls, the boxes fit one inside another—several boxes deep), they would then unwrap the treasure from its protective brocade in front of the stunned eyes of the visitor-- A dark brown piece of asymmetrical, stoneware pottery.

Talk about a gap in taste!

And that is the thing, it is not universal and it is not changing. Yet that there exist standards of taste (and yes it is a spectrum so that individuals will subscribe or not to what is bodily knowledge) inform the two reactions. For to the European with their overwhelming admiration of Chinese porcelain, an understated dark brown stone ware jar with clear imperfections in both potting and glaze remained, alas, incomprehensible.

If you are interested I just wrote about this at length here over at my place!

I am no expert, but I would wager a guess that much the same could be said for language as well. No, there is no universal, unchanging grammar. At the same time, there are collective standards of usage. I just heard the expression “probally”—what do you think of that? It’s all context so that “probally” while not “tasteful” or appropriate for an article in the newspaper might be OK for certain blog posts (depending on tone)??

To sum up: no one was talking about universalities or Platonic ideas! (I don’t even think Conrad was). And, yes, I think by taste, Conrad is pointing to something beyond the personal taste of individuals.

Thanks for responding—and adorable pics of the baby!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank John Cowan for introducing me to the superb word, "Platoplasm". Thanks.

Anonymous said...

metafilter is an overrated site filled with pretentious left-leaning idiots who get outraged a lot over the most trivial crap, especially so when people call their community out on their bullshit (OH NOES! WE CAN'T HAVE PEOPLE POINTING OUT THE BAD POINTS OF THE MEFI COMMUNITY! OUR COMMUNITY IS SOOO DIVERSE, WHILE ALL OTHERS AREN'T.).

It is a site best ignored.

LanguageHat is also a cranky-assed fuckwad who is just bitter that the revolution hasn't happened.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Anon #2: I decline to comment on the overall quality of MF, and have no interest in attacking (or defending) it. However, Greg / Nasreddin, a Filterite, seems not to be outraged by my observations. LH, meanwhile, is not a fuckwad, even if his patrony on this issue is somewhat irritating: and if he is 'cranky-assed', then, well, so am I. Generalised ad hominem, especially from behind a wall of anonymity, is neither apposite nor desirable.

Cowan and Peony: it seems we have been talking at cross purposes. What I said above about taste "mediating between absolute and relative, or less crudely, between public and private" is another way of putting what Pullum writes in his article. When I said that Yoink violates standards of taste, I did not mean by 'taste' something that I have pulled out of my arse, but rather something that I have observed (albeit unscientifically) in a broader society or community of words. This observation does not, of course, require any belief in Objective Value Judgements (whether ethical or aesthetic): a belief I absolutely lack.

Peony said...

The last bit by Conrad is what I was trying to say as well--albeit in a roundabout way. I also liked Platoplasm....!

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

conrad, you just need to go into nasreddin's commenting history. He is a wannabe intellectual who has anger issues (much like a younger version of LH).

Secondly, ad hominem is a perfectly fine method of discourse if I am attacking a person's ethos. This isn't a dialectic. We aren't aiming for truth. LH is trying to pull moral superiority over you, much like you are with me (behind your pseudo-anonymous name).

If I want to call him an angry-assed reactionary fuckwad I can, cause that is the way he regularly acts while hiding beind an image of a white-suit wearing linguistic saint walking among the muck and disgusting masses.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Yes, my friend, but the key point you're missing is that I happen to know both LH and Nasreddin, and therefore I'm in a much better position to assess both of their characters. You can call LH anything you want--it's a free internet--but that don't make it either true or convincing. Finally, ad hominem is fine; what I objected to was generalised ad hominem. It's not against the law--it's just not terribly interesting. I'm not asserting any moral superiority over you; I'm only pointing out that if you want to criticise someone it's better (more useful, profitable, interesting, persuasive) to stick to specifics.

Greg Afinogenov said...

Wait, what, anon? You're criticizing Conrad for being "pseudo-anonymous"?

Also, if you're going to toss around words, you should know what they mean. Is LH a Trotskyite or a Zinovyevite? He can't be both a reactionary and be angry that the revolution hasn't happened!

(I am indeed a wannabe intellectual, a label I wear proudly, and to be compared to a younger LH is an honor. As for the anger issues--frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.)

Anonymous said...

Actually nasreddin I used the term 'reactionary' and 'revolution' as comparatively and illogically conflating terms that would draw you or LH out on your prescriptivist hypocrisy, which it did.

A fine job I must say.

I did it because I personally like how a person can make a statement about language being used in a certain manner and yourself or LH would jump down their throat in a second, but LO! DON'T COME KNOCKIN' AT THE DOOR OF OUR LEFTIST IDEOLOGIES.

Those words are untouchable don'cha know?!

But that's ok, you go back to your church of post-structuralism and defending Russian actions while decrying anything western as evil.

You'll make a good future totalitarian intellectual.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Totalitarian intellectual indeed! Greg, I think we should clamour for your inclusion in a new edition of The Captive Mind.

Greg Afinogenov said...

That sounds like a pretty good gig, actually. I'd bet it pays better than being an organic intellectual. Allahu akbar!

peacay said...

I have also been attacked by this (not doubt soon to be removed) spamming commenter lately. I was thankful for it because I discovered that I can now leave comments on old posts - variable time choice - in an approval queue so they never make it to the blog. Customization-->Settings-->Comments. I think the variable timeframe for approval is new.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Thanks for the tip. I would be more thankful if there weren't 150 of the fucking things.