Encore des questions pour le dimanche

Was J. Edgar Hoover Black? I hadn’t even known he was gay, but it seems that he was both gay and Black and was thus passing in two senses.

Exactly how much worse would the Republicans do than this?


Over Thanksgiving I disagreed with a new arrival here on two topics: academia and Occupy.

Him on academia:
♦ it should be about teaching, not research: the goal should be human contact and helping people
♦ it is hypocritical that some people have excellent professional records and no families: the priority should be human contact and helping people, from the base of a traditional family life
♦ it is schizophrenic that we are able to work on a project with people with whom we disagree strongly on other issues, or who have voted against tenure for friends of ours, and so on: the focus should be human contact, loyalty, and taking care of people

Me on that:
♦ it’s not a church charity, it’s a high powered job in a large research complex
♦ it is not a crime to put a some other life project ahead of traditional forms of family life; many do it
♦ treating the academic industrial complex as a patronage system is exactly what one wants to work against

Him on Occupy:
♦ it is naïve – things are worse than Occupy realizes, and they cannot be changed by Occupy activities
♦ the Occupy people are not serious and will be easily discouraged
♦ if they were serious they would do something like refuse to pay taxes

Me on that:
♦ yes, but Occupy has already changed the tenor of public discourse
♦ that is surely true of some, but not necessarily of all
♦ perhaps they will organize such an event; right now they are organizing refusal to pay student loans; if you have ever refused to pay taxes you will know what a serious step that is and what the repercussions are; Occupy may correctly doubt that this can be successfully organized before more discussion and organizing around smaller issues takes place.

I don’t know if I am right but it seems to me somehow that this person’s attitudes on academia and on Occupy are related: you can’t do too much in any area, he seemed to be saying; stick close to home and exude human warmth. Larger steps, on the other hand, receive criticism from him because they are not large enough. I am not sure what my attitudes on academia show about me. I was fairly born Gramscian: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

In astrological terms I have the Sun in Capricorn in the 8th house, Mars in Aries in the 11th, and a lot of Plutonian and Uranian energy generally. This means I am an agent of transformation although it may not show; that I can wait because I know I will succeed in the end; that I do not fear long term planning work in large organizations; that I am not resigned but am as patient as an old hill.


The question I have about the executive branch organized assassinations of American subversives abroad (see the link above) and the current plan for indefinite military detention at home – in a context where torture as well as many new forms of surveillance have already been legalized – is this:

♦ given that those things have been organized by the Democrats as well as the Republicans, how is it that voting Democratic helps to protect us from them? I understand that the idea is that the Democrats will appoint some few judges who are glimmers of hope and who will, eventually, declare these things illegal, whereas the Republicans will not.

♦ however, what I have been foreseeing for about thirty years is some sort of authoritarian state with economic shock, disappearances, and all the rest of it – more subtly done than in some countries I have lived in, but still done. I keep seeing signs of it, things I recognize from the dictatorships I’ve lived in or spent time in; we’ll not be as overtly Gothic as some places because this will not be necessary; we will look more like Mexico except that we will not be as well aware of our situation as Mexicans are of theirs.

What do you think?


3 thoughts on “Encore des questions pour le dimanche

  1. “I don’t know if I am right but it seems to me somehow that this person’s attitudes on academia and on Occupy are related”

    – I agree with you completely. He feels impotent in the public sphere and compensates for that by exaggerating the importance of the private sphere. People who manage to exist productively in the public sphere and even achieve something in it are a threat to him. So he will do anything he can to convince them and himself that they are hopeless, deluded fools.

  2. He’s Argentine, and Argentine culture is very castiza I find – lots in common with Spain in terms of mindset, psychology and so on.

    Brilliant analysis, Clarissa – gracias – !!!

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