Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Private Cholitude

Last Wednesday I discovered the blog Choledad Privada, a nonacademic blog by an academic (just like this one), so today I am featuring it. Read it for pleasure. If you are one of those prepared to understand it, you will instantly see why I recommend it. And it is also a FACEBOOK group, which makes it fully modern ;-).

Also for pleasure, I recommend reading Ginmar’s post on therapy at the VA, about which I know thanks to Jennifer. I have now had Reeducation extirpated with acupunture, in a house off the Avenue of the Republic of Panama. It is still always useful to know I am not the only person who has been frustrated with certain Reeducative contradictions.

All my friends are reading novels or history books for pleasure. I should be doing the same, and yet I am not. I am reading a blog called Peru Apartheid which is as interesting as a book, although the printed page is still an important aspect of reading for pleasure.

E.T.A.: Choledad Privada brings our attention this video. Check out Roberto Carlos – he’s looking good!


51 thoughts on “Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Private Cholitude

  1. What struck me about the tactics taken by the VA concerning the purported need to rebel and to have a simple recipe for doing so, is that it is the same approach taken with regard to women, when we say, “the system is pretty fucked in ways X and Y.” The response is often: “Well you are too weak and uncoordinated in your attitude. Why not try being firm and direct for a change?”

    And that is funny, because, you know, directness has been tried, and doesn’t work so recommendations about how to pop one’s head out every now and then and say something are not going to work either.

  2. Those blogs look wildly creative and I wish I had more than the most rudimentary Spanish skills.

    Re: “Rebellion:” Rebellion has had it. Go get a butterfly tattoo. Use lots and lots of profanity. If you say shit and fuck enough, you’ll get that respect you crave.

    I think deep down too many women think it’s wrong to be female and they should really be men. I stopped that one when, age 21, I was trying to fit myself into a pair of men’s jeans. Well, with my hips, it didn’t work. So I should go shoot myself? I had too much self love for that.

    Women, love yourselves.

  3. Yes – I know these people well. They’re in the business of liberating very conservative people by making them differently conservative, and thus more functional / less trouble, etc. etc. It’s your standard HR/industrial psych line. Laughable but also very irritating if you have to deal with people who take it seriously.

  4. Since it’s wrong to be just old dull conservative me, I’ll retool myself as rebel. That way no one will notice how what really counts with me is fitting in!

  5. Industrial psych, it’s true, check out HR in a large institution and you’ll see! The problem is that they think women are weak minded and should stay traditionally feminine. They want you to use officially rebellious fashions but be very conservative in fact. Wear grunge or s/m clothes but be in a couple and buy a house; at work, support the guys.

    Those blogs, yes they *are* wildly creative. I feel like dumping everything else and just studying them, but I can’t.

  6. I don’t care whether people think I’m conforming or rebelling or not. This is a non-issue with me. But I have never cared about fitting in, or at least not since I was adolescent. My life is about meeting my needs and the needs of those who are important to me.

  7. Yes, but you see, that isn’t an attitude the VA appears to be able to imagine, even. And it seems they are trying to dupe their reeducands into conformity, through a sort of back door…

    The nonrecognition of female subjectivity, it’s something I learned about via my experience with my ex, the English one, but retroactively I’ve realized that NOT realizing people don’t see me as a person is one of the main errors I’ve made in life. I’ve negotiated and explained a lot to such people, wasting my time, not realizing what the problem was.

  8. retroactively I’ve realized that NOT realizing people don’t see me as a person is one of the main errors I’ve made in life. I’ve negotiated and explained a lot to such people, wasting my time, not realizing what the problem was.

    I’ve been there too. You know how they put the ball in the court of the weakest party: “You have a problem communicating.” However, these savage tactics can easily backfire. I worked for years and years to fix my “communication problem” and now I am a PhD on a scholarship, and I KNOW who has the communication problem and who doesn’t!

    But yeah — you do need to assess your opponent to figure out how much is bluff. And since we have been trained to see de facto power as indicating merit, we often have a lot of social conditioning to undo before we can see reality properly.

  9. I also note that I’ve always been attracted to large cities and institutions where I wouldn’t really be known or engaged with much, except if I chose. It was all about emotional safety, although I would have said broad choice of activities and cultural options. But more deeply it was about having the option of functioning impersonally with most people, not having to deal in depth with people like those we’ve been describing.

    (This may be why I didn’t find out about my “communication problem” until AFTER I had the PhD, the scholarship, and so on.)

  10. I have a core group of family and friends who are real to me, and most of the rest of humanity is in the background. Like flat and rounded characters. That strikes me as OK. It is also clear to me that most people have no reason to be interested in me or what I do and that’s OK, too.
    But I don’t like unjust treatment. Many matters are not personal but rather matters of justice. We don’t live in small groups any more, and we need to treat each other fairly without necessarily even understanding each other.
    It makes me angry when I get poorly treated on the basis of things like my gender, age, and appearance, but I always point out what my rights are and usually can get restitution. As a matter of fact, I have won all my major battles in life. More than once rivals have tried to push me aside and have never figured out why they lost against such a seemingly poor rival as moi.
    Ha Ha!

  11. Here is Chuto from Private Cholitude. Thanks Professor Cero for following us. I loved this part ” a nonacademic blog by an academic (just like this one)”. This is one of the best descriptions of our blog. Members of PC can be lawyers, sociologists, business administrators, the point is talk from an everyday people perspective.

    You know i am happy because Facebook is giving me a good welcome, i am now reaching 500 friends!! My wish is this one:

    Keep in touch!


  12. Re. The “communication problem”, I remember that somehow a diagram came up before my eyes, and I could see clearly what was meant. It seemed that I didn’t think in a sufficiently linear and sequential manner. Rather, if concrete facts were a line on a graph, I made intuitive leaps between one point on the graph and the next. My bosses, who had detected this tendency, decided that I must be phony who couldn’t think at all. (My father, who seems to have been very much of a clerical-thinking mindset himself, seemed to have been quick to corroborate this view. {My father, a man with much confusion and emotional turmoil inside, always leans as hard as he can towards the right, in an attempt to draw from it the kind of clarity of thinking that will staighten himself out.})

    But, what it turns out to be is that there is no hierarchy of merit, despite wishful thinking, that one starts of being a great clerical worker, and then gingerly climbs the academic’s steps. Rather, as Myers-briggs type theory suggests, we are likely to process information either predominantly in a SENSORY (concrete) sense OR in an INTUITIVE (abstract and pattern-recognising sense).

    Back in these bad days of the workplace abuse, I used to believe in the possibility of rectifying my “bad habits” by applying a certain strength of mind, which I have in abundance. I thought I could just stick to the railwayline of this slow, sequential thinking, like a snail on the tracks. However, this wasn’t to be. My mind much prefers to chew upon abstractions. To make it do that which it prefers not to do, without a break, produces not only an fierce internal battle wherein I have to fight my “distractions”, it is immensely and distressingly counter to my nature.

    I see “intuition” in the personality typing sense to have the character of a racehorse — flighty, competitive, inclined to store up strong bursts of energy and run with it (and then requiring time to recover). Intuition has a relatively fragile and highstrung temperament compared to “sensing”. It’s not incompetent, it’s just built for a very specific task.

    “Sensing” is like the good old reliable plowing pony. Its bones are strong, its temperament phlegmatic and tolerant of changes in weather and treatment. It is attentive to straight lines, and taking one thing at a time.

    I don’t think that the two personalities can perform interchangeable tasks. It doesn’t work that way, and causes distress if tried.

  13. Hi H – yes, justice is key. For that, though, one needs citizenship, and I’ve spent so much time in places that don’t really have that (e.g. plantationlandia), that it, along with justice, is entering the realm of fantasy for me!!!

    Hi Chuto, and YES!

    Hi J – you know, the Jungian types the Meyers Briggs model is based upon have been questioned (as to whether those binaries really cover people’s ‘types’), etc. But in my layperson’s view, that one – intuitive / sensing – really does seem to have validity. I’m strongly on the N side and I’ve met people who are strongly S; they’d be incomprehensible to me if I didn’t realize that they actually *are* in another world, and they see things I don’t.

    If I had time, concentration, or inspiration for it, I’d write a counter-list of things to do, counter to what the VA told Ginmar. It would be a really good idea and a revolutionary feminist act. So I’m throwing the idea out there.

  14. Yeah, those M-B things have been questioned, but I go along with what has explanatory power for me. Better an explanation that others have questioned than no explanation at all. I think most people would dig themselves in to the position that seems most comfortable to them. So long as the system serves them, they do not require an explanation regarding those the system does not serve. It serves their sense of power not to seek such a thing.

    But try to put the grid of a very different way of thinking over your mind, and do not allow your mind to depart very much from this mode of thinking. Some find it natural, others find it impossible, I’d suggest. So we have some interesting phenomena that cries out for explanation.

    Putting it another way: Somebody who certainly does not lack in intelligence is condemned as incompetent and stupid to the point of “not even being able to speak properly.” What is going on here? Does it matter? Can society continue to go along without taking account of the contradictions?

  15. Yes, in general, although I’d say that comment about not being able to speak properly was just a cheap shot, not even an attempt at describing anything real.

  16. I know. Maybe it was because they didn’t get the “intuitive” type but my point is that it is also a standard way of calling people non human … it’s often used against women. My tendency is not to dignify it with more, or assume it was based on any actual characteristic of yours at all. Although it may be true, women capable of abstract thought get more c***.

  17. I wasn’t assuming it was a characteristic of mine. Did I give that impression? My view is that a kind of plodding, concerted characteristic, which covers all its bases is also going to speak in the same, concrete, simplified manner. In other words, “speak properly”. My view is that because I didn’t think “properly” (which is to say, in a way that puts little emphasis on abstract ideas) I also didn’t speak “properly”.

    But of course, this is the surface level of the analysis — the part which actually has some phenomenological quality that I can work with.

    What you have rightly detected is the underlying quality of authoritarian ideological malice, which sought to undermine me as a human being.

    And I am now pleased to say, that I have got to the bottom of it. I understand the entirely of that which I had only partly understood before. The authoritarian may USE phenomological data as lynchpin for his or her attack, but it is a surface justification for a deeper motive of expressing hatred. It is actually imperative NOT TO observe the character and behaviour of the victim too closely when mounting these kinds of attacks. But you DO need a public justification of attacking — ie. the phenomena that you can point to.

    I honestly believe that my father’s deep seated rage at me was that instilled in him by his Rhodesian environment, which dictated that there are certain people less than human (women, blacks). He needed to pinpoint some surface phenomena as a public justification for him venting his fury on me. In doing so, he educated me, unwittingly, not only on the evils of sexism, but also concerning racism, and how that works.

  18. And there’s another aspect, too. I learned recently that in the days of his youth, my father was a man who could not say no to miltary service. He did his two tours of duty, which were required, but then was requested to do more (apparently not required as such). He couldn’t say no. So the war had started by this time, and they were going to send him out into the bush, where he stood a relatively good chance of being killed.

    Luckily for him, my mother freaked out or was induced to freak out, and consequently pleas were made on his behalf to station him more locally, within the city, to mollify my mother.

    This information I got recently, but it explains a lot. It suggests the basis for a certain character formation, whereby whenever my father feels distressed or emotionally discombobulated, he attacks the female members of his family, distressing them, and then imputing his own distress as having originated from them, and thus, in his own bizarre way, begs for mercy.

    I had sensed that this way going on before, but I had never understood the reason for it until now.

  19. Also, regarding the Myer-Briggs, I think that no matter what you personality type is, if you are brought up from childhood within a particular culture and context, you will pass through a certain stage where you are thinking very concretely about the world in a manner that is much akin to the way people think around you.

    As for me, I had no intuitive feeling for this culture, and I received no help in bridging the gap. So, I pretty much approached everything in a highly abstract way, trying to make sense of it.

  20. “The authoritarian may USE phenomological data as lynchpin for his or her attack, but it is a surface justification for a deeper motive of expressing hatred. It is actually imperative NOT TO observe the character and behaviour of the victim too closely when mounting these kinds of attacks. But you DO need a public justification of attacking — ie. the phenomena that you can point to.”

    This seems very acute to me, key. (More also but I’m in the midst of a weird system maintenance problem.) Very interesting re your father & how he

  21. Sorry about the system maintenance problem.

    Anyway, so you can see this kind of authoritarian tactic as something like a particularly aggressive kind of feint in sparring. Actually it is more that that, because it is also like an illegal manoever in wrestling, where you can, for instance, rub your knuckles into the rib cage of the opponent to get him to release. It’s very surreptitious and hard to detect.

    So you need two modes of training to fight against it. One is the kind of focus that enables you to differentiate between a feint (something that appears to have substance, but only stays on the surface, and becomes a decoy from the ploy, whatever that may be).

    The other aspect you need is a certain amount of stoicism and indifference to the pain of how you might be perceived, as you work to equalise the balance of the relationship that has been upset by illegal tactics.

  22. System maintenance – I object to all things Microsoft and wish people would leave it alone / send me something else. I think there’s a bug in Vista itself, too. And that system seems to be so “idiot proof” (hah – idiotic – although I think it may be better than XP ultimately, I am not sure) that you cannot fix anything in it / get around / go another way. Do not let me go on.

    Thought: best translation of Choledad Privada might be CHOLITUDE IN PRIVATE LIFE – do you all think?

    Back to Jennifer – yes, these sparring analogies are very good. There’s more but this is one of the intriguing pieces:

    “…a certain character formation, whereby whenever my father feels distressed or emotionally discombobulated, he attacks the female members of his family, distressing them, and then imputing his own distress as having originated from them, and thus, in his own bizarre way, begs for mercy.”

    A lot of men are like this and the one who figured it out well enough to explain it was one of the ex prisoners, who sat around in jail observing people and figuring out their psychic mechanisms. This one of your father’s is terribly manipulative and it’s what my famous (hah!) X used to do! Watching someone actually do it is downright spooky.

  23. Projective identification or the Shadow side, again.

    But what makes it even possible is the a priori nature of identities. I mean if my identity is established on the basis of allegedy permanent and stereotypical characteristics, even before I get a chance to express anything about myself, then there is no room for the organic whole of my psyche. Consequently, I’m going to have to chip bits off and send them to exist elsewhere (behind the walls of my own consciousness, and behind public view). That is why gender roles are so damaging.

  24. Projective identification, oh yes. And that chipping off. I used to dream that I was recording my actual thoughts on tape and putting the tapes in the freezer for future use, at a time when I would be able to express my whole self.

    The acupuncturist sensed that this was my problem – if you leave your actual thoughts in an external disk drive you keep in the freezer for future access, you don’t actually have them at hand. (Although I’d say at least they are still somewhere that you know about.)

  25. Hm. I just had the attitude of uncertainty about everything — like most people must experience things within the bourgeois mold. I felt as if my humanity was in doubt, and that I had to prove my worth as a human being by doing everything perfectly. If I failed in perfection (which included pleasing others) then I would not be able to reclaim my soul.

  26. I only had that attitude within the family! In school and in the outside world they didn’t doubt my humanity or require perfection as a way to reclaim the soul!

    Only in the family. I had hurt my mother by not being the kind of motherhood oriented girl who would have affirmed her, and by being a baby who needed care, and by being an independent being. Her unhappiness with me caused my father to be dissatisfied as well. He had had to get a regular job and she had had to become a housewife because they had decided to have me. They had given up the possibility of being artists and writers for my sake, and then I wasn’t the child they had hoped for. I had to make it up to them by being a Stepford Child. Or at least so I thought: because it was the narrative my mother recited all day.

    Your phrase, the attitude of uncertainty about everything, sums it up quite nicely.

  27. I think there is more of the repressive British culture here, which is likely to steal your humanity and make you earn it back.

    My family also really, really didn’t like me. It’s one part of the puzzle that I don’t completely understand yet. What did I do to earn the extreme, malevolent hatred? My feeling is that I reminded my father of his mother. I think he felt neglected by her in an extreme way — the kind of neglect that is a form of abuse. But there was also the side that my character is intellectual and driven by curiosity. Looking back, it seems like in all things the way I was behaving was like any child — spontaneous, naive, about the effects of my behaviour. Despite that, it was always presumed that my behaviour was staged — enacted consciously for maximal effect. I think my father, in particular, had the idea that I was trying to shame him by showing up his mediocre intelligence, or by mocking his instructions. The fact is that this wasn’t even slightly the case. Rather, when I misunderstood him or couldn’t anticipate what he required from me, it was because I couldn’t read his mind — and people who expect this kind of mind-reading are poor communicators.

  28. Further to my comment in moderation, it seems that many people have been brought up with the idea that there is only one approach to life, in the whole world, that represents right thinking. Attendant to this is the assumption that everyone automatically knows what that is. These kind of people become very distressed when someone else proves not to be on their wavelength.

    Unfortunately, it gets more complicated than this. The people who have this view also seem to subscribe to a notion of intersubjectivity, (quite different from Marechera’s studiously leftist version of same), whereby it is assumed somehow quite literally that we do actually all share the same mind. So it becomes a sin not to know what the other person is thinking. It’s viewed as a willful deviation from right thinking, as well as a sign of moral indifference and failure to show due consideration.

    It seems like the people who experience the world in this way have become extremely sensitised to what other people think of them, so that they can actually “feel” the process of other people’s thoughts, especially the negative thoughts they presume people have about them. Because of this acute mode of feeling, whereby they can sense the proximity of the other so much, and presume to know the other’s vacillations, they get into the mode of thinking “we are all of one mind” (ie. I can tap into your mind at any time, and gauge your responses to me.)

    However, what seems to disturb such people more than anything is to encounter behaviour which should contradict this thesis for them, but instead, painfully confirms their worst fears. Instead of saying to themselves, “Jenny is acting independently from the dictates of my own mind simply because she isn’t a mind-reader,” such people say, “Jenny is reading my own mind, and acting indifferently through her independence. She is mocking me by going against my will, even though she can read my mind well enough!”

  29. Strangely, though, the acupuncture I did took away the *feeling* of being interpellated by what I just described above. That was what it was for, and I only realize slowly that it’s working this well. I noticed two nights ago that the feeling was going, and now, although I wrote that comment, it seems foreign to me. Not that it wasn’t true, or that I wasn’t told it; I certainly acted on it. But it seems gone, replaced by better contact from the less distorted or less frustrated feelings the family had. This is quite an interesting experience.

    In general I think parents freak out when their children remind me of other family members. I am like both of my grandmothers and their sisters, so it has got to be freaky for my parents.

    What you say in the second comment is true I’m sure, esp. the last paragraph. It explains a lot. I think I’m guilty of it sometimes too, at least to some extent.

  30. I see it as pre-Oedipal vestiges that come into play. For a long time in my life I was the victim of other people’s vestiges — that is, to the degree that these vestiges have become calcified as permanent or semi-permanent parts of the way the system functions. To try to explain a little: If people have fallen into the habit of using projective identification to target others as the “feminine” or negative (in some way) aspect of their own consciousness, then gender ideology becomes reified as part of the way the system is prone to function “normally”. And once you have been knocked down enough by the practical effects of people’s indulgence in this projective mode of behaviour, it is hard not to feel ‘interpellated’ as well as profoundly irritated all the time.

    But what helps is having a little bit of money — not too much — to make my own way. That means I am less in the position of being viewed according to this negative interpellation, as well as being less in the position of having to acknowledge the impact of the projective identification as a real psychological force working against my interests.

  31. This would be why I’m the most vulnerable to it now working for large paternalistic institutions. They are in a sense supporting one: that is, they see themselves as doing that, whereas one is actually supporting them via surplus value, of course. Still, they try, and people project pre-Oedipal vestiges into one. So this model explains why professors are so strange! I see the answer: I need another business of my own on the side!!! For this reason as well as the more obvious ones. 😉

  32. To a greater extent, anyway, although I never believed this when people explained it to me back then.

    Who knows – I always thought some remained relatively free later on as well, perhaps some do, but I have rarely seen women do it. The most honest bloggers on this, in my view, are Servetus and Kiita (the latter having just quit academia, and the former threatening to, for these reasons, and I don’t think the problem is not having had enough training in resistance…).

  33. Yes. Well I have already felt the scathing attacks of those who hate females simply because they are females. I am actually one who has lost all hope of being treated appropriately and fairly — it if happens, it is icing on the sponge cake of my everyday existence. So we shall see.

    Also, I am aware that Western society in its current manifestations is a child-centred society. So, a student is bound to be treated better than an actual academic.

  34. By the way, see pp 528-529 on that article I sent you last night [Marc Howard Ross ,Political Psychology, Vol. 16, No. 3, 1995,Psychocultural Interpretation Theory and Peacemaking in Ethnic Conflicts ].

    It concerns “transitional objects” and it is what I have always known, as an adult, concerning my different way of processing “the concrete” (or, I should rather say, the simple, sensory) aspects of my environment. I don’t process these in the same way as most Australians do at all.

  35. I think the problem is more about being able to exist as yourself at all – the inappropriateness and unfairness starts earlier on (I am here talking about the realm of academia). If you don’t come from the right social class, then you have to remake yourself in graduate school, and it’s rough, but it’s later that you find out that, paradoxically, your academic self, which is desired and which you need, is not allowed to exist.

    We’re quite explicit about not mistreating students as much as we do ourselves and other faculty. It’s policy – and not just where I am now!

    I’ve got to read the article but I can’t now, I am procrastinating and must stop. Later in the week, though – it looks “key,” as they say.

  36. It seems that if you do not find you have to remake yourself in graduate school for class reasons – and it’s some internal process about consciousness, not about refinement – then you are already middle or upper class enough.

    There are some professor bloggers, first generation to college, who have talked about this. And I had a student I watched do it. It was really weird. He didn’t need to for any external reason, but felt he had to become someone else in order to relate to the whole shebang internally. He ended up doing well, but I would have thought he would, anyway, and the entire process (which he was conscious of and talked about) looked painful. I suppose only he knows for sure how necessary it really was.

  37. Well so far I don’t find my academic experiences at all painful. Would they let me teach a class? That would be another thing again. I’m sure if my students were adult enough, I would easily manage it.

    What I found difficult — as you know — was to try to get to the consciousness levels of middle schoolers who were entirely different in mindset from those of that age who had been my peers. Actually, if I had bent myself over twice, I couldn’t have done it. It was like they were soft where I was hard; I was hard where they were soft: a totally different cuture.

  38. That experience – the one you describe as difficult – is what is most difficult for me, as well.

    Maybe it is: I was in school to learn, and knew I could, and didn’t think it was my right to pass. They are there to get degrees or because they have been told to be there, and they do not know that they can get through – yet they do think it is their right to pass. I had confidence whereas they only have entitlement … could it be?

    Now, in the case of my student who fairly seroconverted himself to a different culture and class consciousness, it seemed to be that he did not think he, being who he was, had the right to be where he was. He only knew he could do the work. He didn’t feel that was enough (and perhaps he was right in a way, I do not know). He wanted to be 100% sure he could and would be recognized by one and all as someone who had the right to be there (in Upper Academia, in a very Yankee atmosphere, with lots of bluebloods nearby). And he WAS specifically thinking in terms of the Upper Academic job market.

    [Hah! I like that phrase Upper Academia, I believe I shall use it henceforth as a geographical-plus term. I need a name for the type of term, parallel to Bakhtin’s chronotope. Classotope?]

  39. Well at least he got it all figured out. I’m in a different situation. I am driven to KNOW and to FIND OUT, and to be as rigorous as it is humanly possible for me to be. (That is the absolutely most important thing to me.) Beyond that, I do not really have as much interest in what happens to the knowledge I dig up. (This is due to my cynicism, brought about by some harsh life experiences.) So, if I can find some students who have the same attitudes as me, I will be a little bit ecstatic. Apart from that, I don’t know where to go or what to do with myself.

  40. You’re better defined to yourself than many of my grad school cohort were at that time. We had the job market and the tenure track in our blood before we were even aware of that, and we didn’t see the distortions or say STOP until these were fairly full blown. It has a lot to do with being in very privileged academic circumstances, on the one hand, and not fully realizing how privileged they were (and what our futures might be if we did not leave THEN), and on the other hand, being destitute enough that we HAD TO GET ACADEMIC JOBS (the calendar and the time lines of things cause this in the U.S., at least).

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