YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

February 27, 2015

Are “young” people dead to the world?

WSJ Spring Fashion Issue

WSJ Spring Fashion Issue

Last night, being bored by Hannity’s love fest with conservative potential candidates for President at CPAC, I switched to NBC, which broadcasts EXTRA and ACCESS HOLLYWOOD at that time (7-8pm West Coast ST). And so this blog.

I was not surprised by the glamour girls, the culturally correct blue jeans (that will hug the body all day, including at the office), or the dread of aging, with homage to (entrepreneurial) “ageless” Christie Brinkley and Cindy Crawford. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/25/christie-brinkley-skincare-cindy-crawford-unretouched-photo_n_6753130.html.) That’s business as usual. (There was also an obeisance to Madonna’s ageless beauty and pluck in finishing her song at the London pop music version of the Grammys after she fell off the stage, which has aroused the networks to fulsome coverage, including Fox.)

What shocked me out of my snooze was the segment in which a pretty young woman described her initial resistance to submission in sex (she mentioned “bondage”), which she was successfully coached out of. Appreciative smiles all around.

It turned out that my blog on the fabulous success of the movie and novel Fifty Shades of Grey was the most viewed in February, thanks partly to its being posted on a website devoted to the history of women. (See http://clarespark.com/2015/02/14/fifty-shades-of-romantic-necrophilia/.)

Sadly, a tiny number of these viewers used the reference to my analysis of middle-aged women (MOM) being the target of the sadomasochism that I have studied. (http://clarespark.com/2009/07/13/eros-and-the-middle-manager-s-m-with-implications-for-multiculturalism/.)

Perhaps more interesting was the next show on NBC, “The Slap” in which Uma Thurman was the lead character in this episode, and sure enough, she had a bad mother (an English professor of great note, who turns out to be dying: played by the ageless Blythe Danner) who, it is suggested, has thwarted her daughter’s desire for marriage and motherhood. The Los Angeles Times synopsized this episode as “Anouk” attempting to “balance” her contending alliances with mom and younger boy friend (a hip singer), while yet another post mortem sees Thurman’s character as “the voice of reason” (criticizing her hippie friend for pursuing revenge against the hyper-masculine Greek-American slapper of her obnoxious, unsocialized, violent little boy. See http://2paragraphs.com/2015/02/uma-thurman-voice-of-reason-on-the-slap/). That “Anouk” is a successful writer for television gets left out, for these culture critics are dead to the world, and to the crucial details of plot lines.

Uma Thurman in 2paragraphs

Uma Thurman in 2paragraphs

Moderation wins again, and Thurman is yet another ageless beauty, likely to appeal to the NBC demographic (18-49), who may be themselves torn between motherhood and abortion rights; Anouk decides to keep the child, leaving us with a note of optimism, reason, and balance.

Needless to say, in the lead up to the well-written Slap, I wandered into an alternative universe, where Brian Williams’s oddities are of no concern, for he is drowned out by the toasts to the glamorous Kardashians, Madonna, and suchlike nonsense, some of it sinister for what it portends for the next election.

February 23, 2015

Depression in the next generation of artists?

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:36 pm
Tags: , ,
"Forlorn and Forsaken" photo by Barry Winters

“Forlorn and Forsaken” photo by Barry Winters

February 21, 2015

Oscar meets a Puritan and the Golden Calf wins

oscars-red-carpet---sandra-bullock-horizontal-large-galleryThis blog is about the Oscars and whether or not “Hollywood” is controlled by Jewish producers, agents, and other forceful types who will be effusively thanked and celebrated by gentile actors.

At stake is the question of the imputed Jewishness of those who notoriously have corrupted our country with materialism and its offshoots: designer gowns, jewelry, shoes, and purses. In what sense can the white slavers/magicians/sorcerers be considered Jews? How have they turned plain women into great beauties and femmes fatales?

The reader should know that I am reading Benzion Netanyahu’s books on myths spread about the origins of the Spanish Inquisition, a subject that engaged me ever since POTUS (that defender of “multiculturalism”) chastised critics of “radical Islam” for ignoring the horrors perpetrated by Christian crusaders and inquisitors.

Since my degree in history was awarded for my proficiency in the history of the modern period in American and European letters, I fled to some books on the crusades, and then the Spanish Inquisition, where I discovered, thanks to Bibi Netanyahu’s late father Benzion, that Jews were blamed by major Spanish scholars for inspiring the Inquisition; moreover that conversos/Marranos were believed to be crypto-Jews who had falsely converted to Christianity, and whose cunning, controlling ways thus infested the Middle Ages with the persecution of innocents.

Au contraire, said the meticulous Benzion N. The infamous conversos were indeed New Christians who had fully assimilated to a gentile world. Lay off “the Jews” advised this truth-seeking scholar.

What does this have to do with ‘Jewish’ producers, agents, etc. who have been accused by major leftists and Franfurters with corrupting the working class through “materialism”; i.e., via the “Jewish” control of mass media, thus thwarting their better (red) angels, which should have led the new industrial working class toward proletarian revolution, their supposed historical destiny?

The title of this blog contains the word “puritan,” a word used promiscuously by scholars and journalists, with a nasty antisemitic sub-text. Though the better scholars are careful to distinguish between “puritans,” attaching them to historical contexts (see http://clarespark.com/2013/08/05/evil-puritans/) many a social critic associates the word with kill-joy Victorian battle-axes, controlling mothers, conservative Judaism, and the right-wing of American politics. These excessively puritanical villains generate understandable revolt in their children, or so the argument goes in social psychology (if not among the better, mostly deceased, historians).

Pink performing at Grammy Awards; photo Matt Sayles

Pink performing at Grammy Awards; photo Matt Sayles

So on February 22, 2015, mostly women will be excitedly tuned in to the yearly Oscar ceremonies, and will be regaled with names of designers (“Who are you wearing?”), and if they are like me (at heart, a puritan), will feel depressed after the spectacle is completed, perhaps feeling dowdy and/or bored by the endless tributes to presumably Jewish producers, etc. by winning actors.

Here’s the rub: these ‘Jewish’ producers, etc. who have enslaved young actors to a phony set of values, are fully assimilated to the Democratic Party, just as Netanyahu’s conversos were to a hierarchy of Spanish Kings. But no matter who wields the Golden Calf Oscars, they will be viewed as race-traitors to the true faith, and who knows what that will be in the coming period? Currently it is “multiculturalism.”

oscars_cupcakes

[Update, post-Oscars 2-23-15; it was a boring, but weepy night and guilty white liberals were roused by the march on Selma, egged on by Oprah and the tearful Julianne Moore. Naturally, American Sniper got one measly technical award, despite the scaredy cats who promoted it chose to emphasize family and brave, torn soldiers rather than vindicating in any way the Iraq war. Once a doc celebrating Edward Snowden got an Oscar, it was clear why Obama cleans up when he comes to Hollywood to fund-raise. More: today on a local NPR station, the LA Times entertainment reporter noted the few women directors, including the one who directed Fifty Shades of Grey. That’s the state of race and gender relations in my town. This major industry is run by the brain dead.]

February 14, 2015

Fifty Shades of Romantic Necrophilia

Lygeia and  her familiar

Lygeia and her familiar

Today is Valentine’s Day, 2-14-15, and the times are bad for romantic love, which is misunderstood by such culture critics as Lee Siegel in the Wall Street Journal, which devotes two pages to the subject, contrasting pop culture and high art, concluding that Beyoncé’s cynicism is worthy of emulation. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB20840515299319003486204580458140764862972. (Lee Siegel’s “The Truth About Romantic Love” 2-14-15.)

What no one, even most feminists are willing to examine is the ambivalent relations between adolescent and grown-up sons and their middle-aged mothers. For Freudian-derived attachment theory is out, having been thrown overboard by cognitive behavioral therapy. (http://clarespark.com/2015/02/08/steven-pinkers-reciprocal-altruism/. For evidence that the middle-aged mother is the target of S-M addicted males, see http://clarespark.com/2009/07/13/eros-and-the-middle-manager-s-m-with-implications-for-multiculturalism/.)

Without the embarrassment of developmental psychology, it is easy to applaud the broad popularity of the just-released homage to sadomasochism, Fifty Shades of Grey, which has opened almost as enthusiastically as American Sniper. And for some critics, financial success is just fine, and then they may drop the subject without reflection. http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2015/02/14/box-office-fifty-shades-of-grey-spanks-spongebob-with-30m-friday/.

But even recognizing the [middle-aged woman] as the creature to be silenced, is not enough, for the remarkable popularity of the novel and the movie is susceptible to class analysis. How many shop-girls or working class women or house-bound wives are not dreaming of an ever more elusive upward mobility, personified in the black Knight to carry them off in a private plane or helicopter to a life of luxury, notwithstanding the bondage and humiliation, even death in life that is submissively endured in S-M sex. After all, didn’t Edgar Allan Poe write “Lygeia,” the epitome of romantic necrophilia, to be updated with Fox’s The Following?

And is not Linda Darnell’s double corset one of the most popular clicks on my website? (http://clarespark.com/2009/11/07/dream-girl/)

WSJ 019026

But perhaps the scariest image I have found today is in the Spring Fashion Magazine of the Wall Street Journal. The model is propped up against a painted tree (http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/tgen/painting-tree-trunks-white.htm), thus allying her with the latest Nature-preserving identifications. But to me, she is yet another Lygeia, especially the come-hither gesture combined with the blood-red shoes. Is she an image of the male’s own death?

Wyeth: Spring 1978

Wyeth: Spring 1978

Gone is grandma’s lacey Valentine; in comes a new era of the femme fatale/male double, enticing though dead to the world.

February 11, 2015

The Illusion of National Unity

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 4:02 pm

clarelspark:

Since many conservatives remain gripped by nostalgia for a traditional America that never was, I am reposting this brief statement as a rebuke to “culturalism,” unmasked in recent blogs.

Originally posted on YDS: The Clare Spark Blog:

Max Beckmann paints Paris 1931 Max Beckmann paints Paris 1931

In this brief blog I will address those still potent divisions that the “turn to culturalism” has masked. I will, as usual, reject the inheritance of the “organic nation,” or the misnamed cultural pluralism that goes by the name of “multiculturalism,” as well as such terms as “national identity,” “group identity” or “zeitgeist.” All these terms are the effluents of German Romanticism, or the “Aufklärung” as it is misleading named. The German” Enlightenment” is a misnomer for it asserted itself against the all-too “bourgeois” “mechanical materialism” of the French and English Enlightenments.

No one with even a passing knowledge of US history can imagine that we are a unified entity unless they are chauvinists who revel in the notion of American superpower status, as opposed to celebrating the good sense embodied in the American Constitution, with its checks and balances, separation of powers, and frankly…

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February 8, 2015

Steven Pinker’s “reciprocal altruism”

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 9:20 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein  reading together

Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein reading together

For a short biography of my subject, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Pinker, and a summary of his book here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blank_Slate.
I have been reading large chunks of Pinker’s The Blank Slate (2002), and find it unreadable and so undocumented in its huge claims that I have resisted writing about it. But from what I have read, I can make the following assertions. [Nothing of what I say here should be taken as a criticism of neuroscience; rather I am complaining about what looks like a misappropriation of science for political purposes. “Nature” should never be conflated with forms of human organization.]

1. In his endorsement of “behavioral economics” Pinker echoes Cass Sunstein, who endorses the same vague method of doing economics, based, the reader gathers, on a scientifically revised view of human nature. Heredity, not environment and Locke’s discredited “experience” define who we really are as a species.

2. Neuroscientists have rescued us from the polarization brought on by the rightist “Tragic Vision” and the leftist “Utopian Vision.” Their key discovery: old views of “human nature” neglected the universal propensity for “reciprocity.” Out the window go “The Blank Slate,” “The Noble Savage,” and “The Ghost in the Machine” (Descartes’ mind-body dualisms). Sociobiology, bereft of “nature red in tooth and claw,” rules.

site of behavioral economics

site of behavioral economics

3. There are two kinds of feminists: “gender feminists” (bad) and “equity feminists” (good). On this “hot button” issue, the moderate Pinker swings over to “classical liberalism,” cutting out the crazies to his Right (family-centered social conservatives) and Left (the “social constructivists” who dominate Women’s Studies, and who incorrectly insist that rape is about power, not mixed up with sex). He places among the gender feminists man haters like Dworkin and Mackinnon, but also lesbians and feminist celebrities such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem who want equal outcomes, such as no more glass ceilings or equal pay, for sociobiology explains that there are innate sex differences; this reminds me of my zoology textbook in college, describing males as rational, while women are irrational. Those rejected activists are opposed to conservatives who believe that father-headed nuclear families with traditional wives and mothers will prevent social problems (treated in his chapter on “Children”) He has his good feminists (e.g., Christine Hoff Summers), who criticize the excessive gender feminists who deny female “nature.” (I am sorry to be so vague, but this is a short and confusing section in a long book; he names lots of names, but cites no studies discrediting, for instance, androgyny.)

4. Forget Freud and his gloomy prognosis of “everyday unhappiness” based on instincts for sex and aggression, and the need for instinctual renunciation for the sake of relationships. Pinker is an advocate for the “peaceful instincts.” (I.e., conflict resolution). Freud has been dumped into the same ash heap as “social constructivists”, modernists, and postmodernists who spurn objectivity, unlike Pinker & Co. Also discarded are attachment theorists, and expert advice to parents, all of which are bunk, for it is “the peer group” that socializes our children.

5. Because of inborn (or pragmatic?) “reciprocal altruism” Pinker clearly abhors income inequality, and, reading between the lines (!), he supports income redistribution, higher taxes, a war on poverty, and of course Green projects, very much like his hero, the moral philosopher Peter Singer, who, like Pinker, is in touch with real Nature. “Reciprocal altruism” as understood by New Dealers and other social democrats: “We will give you, the lower orders, welfare and other inducements not to grab your pitchforks or to cut off our heads.” Progressive sociologists called this “preventive politics,” while fretting over crises of deference. (See http://clarespark.com/2010/06/19/committee-for-economic-development-and-its-sociologists/.)

6. There is no such thing as the “individual.” That construction is an outmoded laissez-faire and unprogressive tic. We are defined by our relationships, specifically by “interactions” with other creatures and institutions. I.e., Pinker is in agreement with the “moderate” New Deal line laid down by prior Harvard professors and socially responsible psychologists (such as Henry Murray and Gordon Allport. See http://clarespark.com/2009/12/12/switching-the-enlightenment-corporatist-liberalism-and-the-revision-of-american-history/, http://clarespark.com/2014/06/11/karl-marx-on-individuality/, retitled “Individuality: the impossible dream?” and http://clarespark.com/2011/03/27/progressive-mind-managers-ca-1941-42/. ) With the advent of such as Professor Pinker we have transcended vulgar empiricism, though his book does not show us where in the brain, or in the human genome, or in rational assessments of self-interest, “reciprocity” might reside. This is a problem.

Altruism is natural

Altruism is natural

It possibly de trop to point out that Locke was buttressing ordinary people and discrediting illegitimate authority with his emphasis on “experience” as a reproach to innate ideas as promulgated by Platonic Guardians. But Steven Pinker is one of the latter, and so he writes lots of popular books to keep the lower orders in their place, all the while instructing them in the latest form of politeness.

February 3, 2015

Jews not killed for “just being Jews”?

SammyrunThis blog continues http://clarespark.com/2015/01/18/is-antisemitism-rational-or-irrational/. I add to the prior blog that such historians as Deborah Lipstadt (in Beyond Belief) have alleged that Jews were killed for “just being Jews.” This is true insofar as all Jews, including the most assimilated or atheistic, are viewed by their enemies as a illegitimately powerful “race” inexplicably surviving and thriving for thousands of years. But as a statement directed at a broad audience, it requires a more complex and contextualized elaboration. (This blog will be different from my previous discussions of antisemitism thanks to my son-in-law Maimon Chocron, whose emphasis on Jewish survival and astonishingly rapid upward mobility, seen as “unnatural” by antagonists, sent me off in unanticipated new directions.)

Briefly, “the Jews” always represented a threat as declared by rulers/demagogues: intellectual combativeness, revolutionary socialism, finance capitalism/the power of money (for Hitler, the real force behind the Soviet Union), modernity, Woman, globalism, the madness induced by urban life, the “anti-race” (Hitler) which means they were internationally cohesive and allegedly not loyal to their “nations” of temporary residence, or worse, “unnatural” and hostile to Nature itself, and to the natural order of things.

And the natural order of things is “The Great Chain of Being,” in which each of us knows her or his place. “It ain’t natural” to defy, let alone “dominate” the Great Mother Nature. “Natural harmony,” like “the [tightly woven] social fabric,” must be preserved, at all costs. No wonder Jack the Ripper was surmised to have been a “low class Polish Jew” Aaron Kosminski (as reported in The Independent).

Aaron Kosminski: 19th C image

Aaron Kosminski: 19th C image

In other words, whereas peasants from Southeastern and Central Europe could immigrate to America and gradually climb up the class ladder, Jews seemed to their envious fellow-immigrants to be uncanny; how was it possible to go from poverty to great riches and cultural power in one generation? This is memorialized in Budd Schulberg’s popular novel What Makes Sammy Run. They must be greedy crooks, right? as shown in Once Upon a Time in America (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time_in_America). After all, Budd’s father, B. P. Schulberg was not an immigrant. Wikipedia doesn’t even see him as Jewish: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._P._Schulberg. For a very recent review of Schulberg’s novel (accurately condemned by the CP for anti-Semitism), see http://inverarity.livejournal.com/265552.html.

Moreover, Herman Melville, born a Protestant, invited eternal damnation in Moby-Dick when he referred to the pure and placid face of Nature that only masked “the charnel house within.” For this blasphemy (and others) he was furtively read as a Jew or “Hebraic” by leading critics, such as Henry A. Murray and Charles Olson, while one more daring Princeton professor titled his book Melville’s Quarrel With God. To argue with God is tantamount to deicide.

Evan B. Harris, White Whale and Shells

Evan B. Harris, White Whale and Shells

For these reasons, I rank “intellectual combativeness” (a.k.a. the close reading of texts and political moods) to be the key to Jewish success in America. Returning to “Hollywood,” first generation immigrants read the populist/progressive mood that prevailed in their adopted country, saw that upper-class Protestants were busily uplifting the masses to stave off socialism in America, and such as Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer made movies that catered to popular taste—a backwoods, country taste that Budd Schulberg would hold up to ridicule in A Face in the Crowd, or that Ben Urwand would mock in Sergeant York. See http://clarespark.com/2012/07/03/andy-griffiths-greatest-performance/.

Jon Lomberg's harmonious Great Chain of Being

Jon Lomberg’s harmonious Great Chain of Being

For such reasons, I view antisemitism as both rational and irrational. Jews, as either capitalists or communists, are seen as strange and unfair competitors (the pseudo-“rational” component of antisemitism), while the feelings of Jew haters (the irrational part), contain the residues of ancient, medieval, and modern hostilities.

January 30, 2015

HBO’s “Night Will Fall”

nightadHBO, with the supervision and assistance of Brits (Helena Bonham-Carter narrated, and the Imperial War Museum played a part), threw a bone to “Zionists” this week by airing a documentary about an unfinished film about the Allied liberation of death camps in Germany and Poland. The news value was ostensibly that the film that Sidney Bernstein had put together to provide “evidence” to dubious Germans was shelved owing to the Cold War. The title “Night Will Fall” refers to the final words: should the world choose barbarism of the type shown throughout the doc, civilization will be kaput, hence “night will fall.” (As if we are already civilized.)

Algemeiner, a Jewish website and newspaper, criticized the television offering by noting that the word “Jew” was omitted, but then went on to say that other victims of Nazi barbarism were neglected, such as gypsies and homosexuals, thus minimizing the power of antisemitism in Nazi Germany, especially after the failure of Operation Barbarossa. (Algemeiner also neglected to mention the mentally ill or “socially disabled”, emphasized in Michael Burleigh’s and Wolfgang Wipperman’s The Racial State); see http://tinyurl.com/k2bwbph.).

survivors

Actually, there was no doubt that Jewish deaths were the subject of the film, for there were so many scenes of corpses and interviews with Jewish survivors, that I suspected a possibly sadistic motive to the filmmakers. But the all too obvious necrophilia was not the worst flaw in the documentary.

Although it was mentioned that survivors in the British and American zones of conquered Germany were herded together, with many wishing to go to Palestine, there was zero discussion of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry (1946) that inspected these camps and the British Mandate too, but disappointing Harry Truman, who wanted 100,000 refugees to be admitted to Palestine, as it was then called. For it was the British Labour Party’s Foreign Secretary, the arguably antisemitic Ernest Bevin, who put the kibosh on that idea, against the recommendations of the Committee! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_Committee_of_Inquiry). As Wiki tells you, the Brits then turned over the problem of Jewish immigration to Palestine to the United Nations, but it is questionable whether they ever intended to abandon the Mandate (see http://clarespark.com/2014/05/17/miracle-man-ralph-bunche-saves-the-un/), for a Jewish state of the kind achieved in the war of 1948 frustrated their desire for an air base in the Negev that would compensate for the evacuation from Egypt and the imminent loss of India.

Perhaps the reader will dismiss my last paragraph as irrelevant to the project of the film. But it is less arguable that the HBO claim that the Allies were clueless about death camps until 1944, is a blatant cover-up of the historical record. It is true that there were doubters, owing to the existence of German atrocity reports during WW1, but by 1942 at the latest, there was no doubt that the Jews of Europe were being murdered. (See http://clarespark.com/2013/12/07/ben-hecht-v-ben-urwand-the-un-jewish-left-and-assimilated-jews/, also http://clarespark.com/2009/12/13/klara-hitlers-son-and-jewish-blood/.)

Finally, in one sequence, women are shown eagerly looking for new clothes as women are wont to do; this supposedly started the process of “healing.” I found this offensive; survivors notoriously never heal, and their family relations, should they be so lucky to have families, usually suffer accordingly, as any psychologist will tell you.

Orwell complained bitterly about the lies perpetuated by journalists and other authorities after the Spanish Civil War. HBO’s contribution to Holocaust Remembrance Day only confirms the notion that the Holocaust is unrepresentable, at least by liberals and leftists.

holocaust-01

January 29, 2015

“Bibi” and the human nature debate

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 3:06 am

clarelspark:

With Bibi Netanyahu becoming more and more controversial, I thought that this blog would clarify why his enemies are out to get him. It is modernity versus the Middle Ages, all over again.

Originally posted on YDS: The Clare Spark Blog:

CNT poster 1937

Recent historians are acknowledging that the transition from pre-capitalist societies to capitalist societies is prolonged, tempestuous, and violent.  At the bottom of all the fights between political factions in our country (the U.S.), can be discerned sharp differences over the precise content of “human nature.”

For instance, in David Horowitz’s recent book Radicals (2012), he concludes that progress (linked by him to utopianism and perfectionism) is a leftist/fascist illusion; that human nature is evil, and the best we can expect in the route to amelioration is “compromise.” He thus marks himself as a moderate man, and is aligned with some of the figures most criticized on my website, notwithstanding DH’s strong support for Israel and opposition to jihadist Muslims. (For instance, Harvard Magazine is promoting “The Case for Compromise” in its Summer 2012 issue.)

This last week I carefully read George Orwell’s famous work Homage to Catalonia (1938). It…

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January 23, 2015

What is an organic conservative?

Gene  Wilder as young Frankenstein

Gene Wilder as young Frankenstein

I congratulated a well-known conservative journalist for bringing up “multiculturalism” as an obstacle to defeating jihadism. His (misunderstood) response shocked me, for he declared that he was defending a “common culture” against the presumed divisiveness of “multiculturalism.” Some organic conservatives (including “liberals”) will agree with admirers of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk. For who does not long for “order” and a route to uniting divided families, polarized political parties, and the fragments of our memories and consciousness? The longed for “union” is glamorous, even glitzy.

Such responses, however, alarm me, for I had taken it for granted that this conservative journalist would prefer intellectual and religious pluralism/diversity to the implicit racialism that underlies the term “multiculturalism.” I don’t know if he sees the racialist underpinnings of the now hegemonic pseudo-solution to racism, one that was invented by [covertly racist/German nationalist] German Romantics in the late 18th century to stave off the “mechanical materialism” they saw looming in the French Enlightenment. The French pox was an epistemology that led inexorably to worship of the Goddess of Reason that noted academics condemn today, irrationalist social democrats that they are, despising Jacobinism and its guillotine, you know, the guillotine that to the Gothic mentality resembles a printing press. (I am not nostalgic for Jacobins, but rather favor Condorcet, the Girondist, who was hounded to death by Jacobins.)

German printing press, 1811

German printing press, 1811

But America already has a common culture, and we didn’t need Edmund Burke to invent it, nor the Frankenstein monster to scare us half to death. That common culture is embodied in the social contract that separates church and state, and that guarantees the freedoms in the First and subsequent Amendments to the Constitution, not to speak of the property rights that enable economic growth and equal opportunity. Indeed, the very structure of the American Constitution, with its checks and balances, its separation of powers, enables us to agree to disagree. For conflict is normal and productive, unlike the dogma of “tradition” (unless that tradition favors literacy, numeracy, skepticism and close reading of texts). (Perhaps that is what the conservative journalist meant by a “common culture.” I sent him this blog and he agrees with me: his notion of a common culture is “secular and civic” and he firmly stands behind the First Amendment.)

Standing apart from these vanguard institutions are the dragons devised to scare us by less attractive conservatives like Mary Shelley, the author of the timeless Gothic thriller, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Her message, typical of all reactionaries, is reiterated in the popular Showtime series Penny Dreadful, where Victor Frankenstein is an actual character intended to remind us that the evil within us is too powerful to achieve the goals of the American and French Revolutions with respect to human rights. (See http://clarespark.com/2014/06/25/penny-dreadfuls-sinister-significance/.)

Frontispiece to 1831 edition of Frankenstein

Frontispiece to 1831 edition of Frankenstein

It is not only far-Right conservatives who prefer the Terror-Gothic style of social organization, wherein mystical bonds are the source of social cohesion, not the rule of law and individual human rights, including property rights. Social democrats and even revolutionary socialists are just as eager to resuscitate Edmund Burke when it suits them. (On Edmund Burke’s frantic response to the French Revolution, inverting freedom and obedience, see http://clarespark.com/2011/09/17/edmund-burkes-tantrum/.)

Consider the abandonment of class or gender interest as an analytic category by today’s academic leftists. Gone with the wind are the days when revolutionary socialists forbade any social analysis that ignored “class struggle.” We are all multiculturalists now, Trotskyists and Stalinists alike. (See http://clarespark.com/2011/03/26/race-class-and-gender/. Underneath that shift to social democratic tactics is organicism brought about by the worship of the administrative state, the one that brought us permanent divisiveness and opened the gates to barbarian hordes.

All we fallen angels have to look forward to is the apocalypse. Goodbye Areopagitica; goodbye Paradise Lost. When I was a small child, I made a crayon drawing of a “happy harem girl” lacking sharp elbows. Perhaps I was more clairvoyant than Clare Spark.

Amazon ad for Frankenstein

Amazon ad for Frankenstein

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