YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

September 5, 2016

Labor Day kvetch 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 5:59 pm
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Shutterstock.com/allyy

Shutterstock.com/allyy

This is what people are not talking about on Labor Day 2016. (For a related blog, see https://clarespark.com/2015/07/11/jobs-jobs-and-less-jobs/.)

  1. The notion that there was once an international Labor Day, celebrated on May 1, not the first Monday in September.
  2. The coalescence of the words “hard” and “work” (hardwork), also known as “the dignity of labor.”
  3. The disappearance of “the labor movement.”
  4. The Democrat Party as the party of Big Government and tamed unionized Big Labor.
  5. Worker health and safety.
  6. Anything having to do with “class” as an objective category to be looked at as either an expression of repressive class domination or as a more fluid category allowing penetration by the upwardly mobile ex-worker.
  7. Women’s work in the home as hard, skilled, often exhausting labor. (Gender differences are objective, not socially constructed).
  8. “Race” as a socially constructed category; i.e., apart from obvious physical differences between groups, the (racist) notion that mental and moral characteristics are inherited and predictable. This all-encompassing notion of “race” wipes away attention to different material (social) conditions that shape opportunities for advancement.
  9. Psychological warfare on behalf of social relationships over the dissenting individual.
  10. The idea that togetherness (or my neologism, “groupiness”) is the natural condition of humanity, which is ostensibly “unity;” (i.e., only bad politicians are divisive).

But they are talking about

ABC News photo

ABC News photo

  1. The presidential campaign of 2016, especially recent poll numbers and debate prep, and the fecklessness of Trump.
  2. (Waning?) NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand up during the (now sacred?) national anthem as an expression of free speech, hence constitutionally protected.
  3. Colin K’s pig-police socks.
  4. The black “community.”
  5. Apple’s upcoming release of the latest I-phone, watch, and play stations.

August 27, 2016

“Trump can’t win”

Viking gods tattoos

Viking gods tattoos

There are people who understand the ins and outs of “politics.” Don’t expect me to match the expertise of those glued to the ever changing map of party politics. On the other hand, since I started to focus on the big picture (such as the uneven transition from pre-capitalist societies to more developed ones, or the rise of fascism and/or progressivism in the interwar period and even before that), certain patterns became evident. This blog is about the issues in the 2016 political campaign that may be too obvious for the more attentive and practiced in “political” analysis.

In no particular order:

Race and racism. While in graduate school, I occasionally confronted liberal/red faculty with the (insulting?) question: Where is structural racism in current institutions? By the time I got up the nerve to ask, the faculty apparently knew to ignore me with silence and changing the subject. (The pro-union faculty should have mentioned at least the inner city treatment of minority children, but sectarianism precluded such an obvious answer, apparent to me now but not then, despite the UCLA History Department’s public emphasis on unequal treatment: they were all in for criticizing “white supremacy,” but mostly silent about any unsavory aspect of “the labor movement.”)

So it is hardly surprising that attacking the Democrat stranglehold on “the minority vote” should meet with resistance on the part of liberals. This last week was topped off by “trading insults” by cable news (including an indignant Fox), as if the Democrat Party was not threatened by the move of Republicans to court black and brown votes in the working class. Forget the ideology of progressivism that has sought to uplift individuals and discourses  in order to pacify and co-opt ex-slaves and immigrant masses, hence the shock that Trump would correctly label the Democrat candidate in impolite lingo.

Multiculturalism. Which brings me to the all too obvious fact that both political parties indulge in collectivist discourses built on an imaginary national unity in diversity: e pluribus unum. What has happened to the dissenting individual in this mish-mash of ideologies, indulged in by “moderates” of all stripes?

patriotic tattoo/pinterest

patriotic tattoo/pinterest

The moderate men. My proudest achievement in the study of modern history was the subject of quiet repression by the ever so “fair and balanced” moderates (who would never undermine what passes for “democracy.”) Enter Fox News Channel, the “moderate” answer to media monopoly by progressives. For Fox, “fair and balanced” seems to mean gaining the maximum number of eyeballs, while seemingly not taking sides. Since the guiding men of Fox cannot be too explicit in their bogus theory of balance (what has happened to the Enlightenment project of investigating and possibly clarifying disputed facts? Oh, I remember now, the French Revolution/science inevitably lead to communism (https://clarespark.com/2010/11/06/moderate-men-falling-down/).

Though more conservatives inhabit Fox than in the competition (network television, CNN, MSNBC) Fox must not be too obviously one-sided. I have been watching their election coverage with the eyes of a skeptical historian,  and wonder if their “moderate” alternative is to allege that Trump has only the slimmest chance of winning the Presidency.

I expect this trend (at alt-Fox) to intensify between now and November 8, 2016 unless Trump should take the lead decisively.

deathtattoo

 

August 19, 2016

What _____ “Community”?

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:20 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

communityThis blog is about 1. What the establishment means by “community”; and 2. How the New Left generation erased “class” in favor of “race” (a deviation from early 1930s’ Communist ideology and practice).

All the trendy movements since the late 1960s have collaborated in the New Left project: feminism (i.e.,“the woman’s movement” privileges gender above all, hence the tears rolling down the cheeks of many Democrats as Hillary Clinton clinched the nomination); Greens; rock ‘n roll (primitivism); and all the cultural nationalisms approved by “ethnic” minorities.

For instance, here I mentioned that the black masses/underclass have been left behind by their upwardly mobile families and friends (https://clarespark.com/2016/07/09/understanding-black-lives-matter/), but I didn’t mention the erasure of class consciousness in the so-called “black community”  (https://clarespark.com/2014/11/27/what-black-community/). Such a dramatic change from “class” to “race” didn’t happen overnight; rather it happened as multiculturalism’s took hold in the late 1960s under the tutelage of such as Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan and the white liberal establishment (and all social democrats), aided and abetted by the aging [Stalinist] generation suffering from a failure of nerve, supporting such nonsense as “white supremacy.”

Such a move blended well with New Left anti-war movements and student strikes. But their predecessors in the radical movement of the 1930s, would have condemned organicism (the blessed union of Man and Nature) and “race” as bogus terms, rejected by liberal and radical anthropologists alike as excrescences of far right nationalism (i.e., fascism). Above all, the few true red radicals among them focused on the lack of “community” in any sense, for there was a structural class conflict, impeding any community of interests.

Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal class collaborationist programs were termed “social fascism” until the Popular Front against fascism was instituted after 1935. The Reds partook of the post-Enlightenment innovation of “dialectical materialism” by which they meant that the enlightened working class would take the vanguard of social change; history was inexorably moving toward working class rule. The “mechanical materialism” of the big bad bourgeoisie was a ruse, but their technology would provide for all in the new dispensation.

Neither political party in the US will talk about this history. The “far Left” is now occupied almost solely by social democrats, arguably the most proto-fascist movement in world history.

“Welcome to the future” as the television commercial promises. “Race” and “ethnicity” have been rehabilitated.

Differ two.com. image

Differ two.com. image

August 13, 2016

There and not there: progressives make us crazy (2)

As seen in review of play "Double Bind."

As seen in review of play “Double Bind.”

(For the first one in this series, see https://clarespark.com/2014/09/08/why-progressive-social-psychologists-make-us-crazy/.)

I have been rereading old books of mine to see if I could still recommend them; the horror show today is by Ashley Montagu (born Israel Ehrenberg, 1901-1999), a very long book republished in paperback by Oxford University Press in 1974: Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race, and dedicated to the three Mississippi martyrs on behalf of civil rights for Negroes (“James Chaney, Andy Schwerner, and Mickey Goodman”—in that order, and with nicknames reserved for the two white guys).

This is how this particular progressive, super-prolix author puts us in double binds.

  1. (In no particular order) The hip reader of physical anthropology praises both competition and cooperation (“altruism”—an inborn trait, over the taught horrors of Social Darwinism—a capitalist deviation from the ideal).
  2. We are both shaped by particular [unique/incomparable] societies and individuals free to choose a better path, i.e., the collectivist progressive way.
  3. “Race” is out, while “ethnicity” is in no way a racist term. (This is a wild distortion of Huxley and Haddon’s We Europeans (1935) where they discard both race and ethnicity, preferring the ancient reference to “ethnos” as any particular population.)
  4. Hybrid vigor improves what has been mistakenly called “pure” races. (This may be an indirect way of being a racist, while posing as an anti-racist: some 19th C. crypto-racists played this game.)

Along the way, the lordly Montagu describes the unenlightened lower orders as “wild” and “coarse.”

For a detailed account of how the pseudo-science of social relations (sometimes known as cultural anthropology) prevailed over the wild and coarse pursuit of truth, see https://clarespark.com/2011/03/27/progressive-mind-managers-ca-1941-42/, and most of this website.

The only way to resolve the double bind is to retreat into mysticism over anything so banal as materialism.

MontaguAshley

August 6, 2016

Krauthammer diagnoses Trump, long distance

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:01 pm
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New Theater Hitler as narcissist, 1936

New Theater Hitler as narcissist, 1936

Read these short entries first. http://www.mediaite.com/online/krauthammer-diagnoses-trump-beyond-narcissism-has-infantile-hunger-for-approval/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trump-and-the-fitness-threshold/2016/08/04/b06bae34-5a69-11e6-831d-0324760ca856_story.html

I used to revere Charles Krauhammer as Fox’s resident genius, until I saw the homage documentary designed (?) to debut CK’s collected essays (Things That Matter); that “documentary” produced a blog that focused on CK’s search for unity https://clarespark.com/2013/10/26/krauthammer-fox-news-channel-and-the-search-for-unity/. This search for coherence in a polarized polity would suggest that he is an organic conservative, despite his claims to be a moderate, which would align him with other “moderates” on Fox News Channel. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Krauthammer), In other words, CK is a mystic, not a scientific materialist, as his medical training would suggest.

I learned from the Wiki entry that CK had indeed never been in independent clinical practice as a psychiatrist (he is board-certified), but had gone on from being chief resident in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (three whole years as a resident!), directly into politics, working for the Carter administration in “psychiatric planning.” (Wiki also states that CK contributed to DSM III, though they are not detailed.)

In other words, CK had little experience in clinical practice, yet he is a respected diagnostician of persons he seems not to have ever closely examined. (I have written extensively about another Harvard graduate, a Jungian: Dr. Henry A. Murray, who, like CK, made long-distances inferences about major figures; for instance, Murray testified at the trial of Whittaker Chambers, opining that Chambers had a “psychopathic personality” (based on reading! and linking him to CK’s highly respected opinions. (On Murray’s methods see https://clarespark.com/2012/03/26/henry-a-murray-and-the-tat/.)

Just as CK has labeled Barack Obama a “narcissist,” Dr. Krauthammer judges Donald J. Trump to be unstable, and more than a bit mad. Oddly, Adolf Hitler was judged to be a nutty criminal/psychopath by Dr. Henry A. Murray and assorted Stalinists, though none of these had any professional (psychiatric) relationship with the object of their scorn. Dr. Murray went so far as to infer that Hitler must have had Jewish blood, setting the stage for later Harvard social psychologists (https://clarespark.com/2009/12/13/klara-hitlers-son-and-jewish-blood/).

Dr. Krauthammer famously switched political allegiances mid-career. But his haughty opinions on the Republican nominee’s mental states, bear comparison with those of other “moderate men” seeking to be “fair and balanced.”

July 29, 2016

Hillary the driven

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 6:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Telegraph.co  UK image

Telegraph.co UK image

This blog is a guess at what makes Hillary run. And why she wore a (mannish?) white pants suit during her acceptance speech at the DNC.

So much is obvious, but this blog attempts a peek into her psyche, extrapolated from mine as another good girl with anger issues.

There is something uncanny about HiIlary’s do-gooding, while at the same time undermining her credibility with easily discoverable errors. Like many high achievers, she seems determined to recreate the perfectly happy family writ large. Bill Clinton drove home this theme, by emphasizing his wife’s early prowess as the Great Mother of us all, thus vindicating Hillary’s welfare state (achieved by soaking the rich with their ill-gotten gains).

Remember the part about Hillary lining the drawers in their first tiny home? Chelsea Clinton mentioned drawers too, recalling the day by day notes that her mother left for her, to make sure that Chelsea had a perfect, detail-oriented mom while she was on the road, changing the world by aiding those less fortunate.

Who said that women can’t have it all?

But beneath the smiling surface she shows anger that powerful pundits will publicly admit, like Brit Hume, complaining about her stridency and hectoring tone. I will compare her rage (?) to the feelings experienced by other women driven by the imperative to hold the family together; at the same time, achieving upward mobility as an “independent” woman, and a slightly different political stance from her lower-middle class family (her parents were Republicans, and she began life in their steps). It is one hell of a balancing act.

For a full-appearing biography see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton.

The testimony of her husband and daughter attempted to vindicate Hillary as the steady presence that inspired them. If their appreciation rang hollow (except to the Democrat faithful, the television camera straying to women weeping), the remarks of Bill and Chelsea suggested compulsive perfectionism in Hillary.

Many women who strive to be as good as a man suffer from the same syndrome. By obsessive attention to detail combined with a smiling façade, we attempt the impossible (to be all things to all people).

Ivory soap ad, 1940s

Ivory soap ad, 1940s

Were the media not so undereducated regarding the woman problem, by turns tearing her down or building her up as a Superwoman, they might note that HRC makes errors that are easily discoverable. It as if, oddly, parts of her want to be discovered as a fraud and punished, even as she projects these qualities on her rival for the presidency, while she retains her Eleanor Roosevelt-style image of Ivory soap purity.

July 25, 2016

Jews vs. atheists: the Wiki-leaks hubbub

image by Eleanor Davis

image by Eleanor Davis

Yesterday (July 24, 2016) Fox News Channel was excited about the email wondering about Bernie Sanders possible “atheism” (a stance that would have sunk Dems in Southern Baptist country).

Being a connoisseur of anti-Jewish subtexts, I pricked up my ears. This blog will comment on what was said, and what was not.

First, the possibility that Bernie Sanders, an alleged “socialist,” might have a lingering “Jewish heritage” is by itself a racist assumption. “Heritage” would only make sense if all Jews, no matter how red, retain the mental and moral characteristics that much of the non-Jewish world attributes to all Jews.

While I can’t see into the Sanders psyche, as a “democratic socialist” he would surely hold to the view that “religion is the opiate of the masses.” But this would not be the case if Jews are a race (transmitting ancient beliefs through heredity). Second, some “Christians” believe that Jews and [Hebraic] Protestants are similarly heretics, notwithstanding the celebrated “Judeo-Chistian heritage” that supposedly rules the land. Third, it has been claimed by one influential social psychologist (Dr. Henry A. Murray) that religious pluralism weakens the hold of religion on the mass mind.

But most striking to this writer is the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation from the DNC was not met with cries that she too is a Jew and the first Jewish female congressperson from Florida (her Wikipedia biography shows no signs of her being an observant Jew.) That would make her a typical American assimilated “Jewish” liberal, the perfect scapegoat for the miscreant DNC: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debbie_Wasserman_Schultz).

debbie-w-s

July 18, 2016

Materialists v. organic conservatives

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:20 pm
Tags: , , , , ,
Thinkstock digital image

Thinkstock digital image

The most common question I get from readers is “what do you mean by ‘organic conservative’ versus ‘materialism’? I tried to explain here and elsewhere (https://clarespark.com/2015/01/23/what-is-an-organic-conservative/ and https://clarespark.com/2012/09/08/what-is-a-materialist/.

These antitheses may be associated with some as “science” versus “religion” or Democrat versus Republican, but these terms are not necessarily opposites (e.g., “moderates” may be New Dealers/Big Government advocates).

For instance, a materialist may be someone who focuses on the reliability of our senses with implications for eventually finding objective truth.

Put simply, a materialist is not necessarily a revolutionary socialist, for “dialectical materialism” is a Hegelian mystical conception, not to be confused with the empiricism of John Locke. And materialists may be religious, in the sense that they do not await for realistic contact with the world only as a heavenly reward for good behavior in this life.

Whereas organic conservatives may found in the Red-Green movement, or, perhaps surprisingly, among ‘traditionalist’ Burkeans: they do similarly rely on mystical bonds in order to achieve social cohesion. In many cases, mystics are on the lam from the machine, finding solace in idealized Nature.

mysticism

Materialists like this writer find social cohesion/social peace, if at all, among individuals who share the same interests. A historian must look at all irreconcilable conflicts within the individuals, groups and/or institutions under study, whether these exist among sibling rivals, parents and children, men and women, economic groups, or nationalities. Few of us live long enough to master a ‘holistic’ view of the past, while part of that quandary is owing to the secrecy of those who wield power over others.

Unresolved is the existence of “race” as an objective division. Frantz Fanon and Ashley Montagu continue to confront one other, with “diversity” intended to validate [socially constructed] “race.” Cultural nationalists are convinced that all histories, including warfare, can be explained in terms of race and exploitation, while other [organic conservatives], like supporters of the United Nations, embrace unity in diversity, once known as e pluribus unum. I prefer the physical anthropologist Montagu who agrees with my dissertation adviser, Alex Saxton, that while physical variations are obvious, mental characteristics vary from individual to individual. This does not sit well with the propaganda disseminated by both political parties.

Racism is real, but “race” is a social construction; if you are a proud materialist, put those commas back!

July 9, 2016

Understanding “Black Lives Matter”

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:33 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,
Prince obit in Nation

Prince obit in Nation

[Update: 7-12-16: Nothing in this blog should suggest that I agree with the premises of black nationalism, and certainly not BLM. But I do deplore those who underestimate the condition of black persons; though many have climbed the class ladder since the early 20th century (the Niagara Movement, 1905)), the black masses have been left behind.]

It would be very easy to join with conservatives who are indignantly denouncing black nationalism (Black Lives Matter, Nation of Islam, Black Panthers) as controlled by white leftists (or worse). This blog is about my rejection of this political strategy (despite the pervasive antisemitism in these all-black, separatist groups), spiced with my own life experience as a Jewish woman born in 1937.

What prompted this statement was Sean Hannity’s program 7-8-16, where he was covering the Baton Rouge demonstration (live), and kept asking his local Louisiana surrogate to ask the protesters why they were supporting Barack Obama, given the record of black unemployment, etc. or if they were not ignoring “the presumption of innocence” rule that should have led them to understand that their demonstration was inappropriate. He also kept urging the surrogate to denounce Black Lives Matter (for their chant “Pigs in a blanket….”).

The demonstrators (all young and black) were having none of this, and I think I know why, for I found Hannity’s long-distance confrontation with the protesters to be wrong-headed, unempathic, and gross.

My father volunteered for the Medical Corps in 1942, and, as he was a pathologist working at various army bases in Texas, Missouri, and California, we followed him around. In school after school, I was the only Jewish girl amid a sea of white Christians. The teachers took me under their wings, and made me the teacher’s pet, so I was sheltered from the rejection of my fellows.

It was not until after the war when we lived in a veteran’s housing project that I felt the wrath of white boys (and girls?) with Italian, Irish, and Polish names. I bonded with some, but was chased home one afternoon by a gang of Elmhurst boys, one of whom was brandishing a knife. My mother confronted the principal of P.S. 13, one Lillian Eschenbecker (a German name!), who pronounced that I was like a shiny red apple, appetizing “on the outside, but rotten to the core.”

I have forgotten much of my life, but that incident will always be with me, for the rest of my scholastic career, I was most comfortable among other Jews, male and female alike. But I turned my righteous anger against myself, and have symptoms to this day.

For other mature white people lacking empathy with angry, bottled-up residentially segregated blacks, railing against [white] authority or millionaire actors and musicians, may I recommend that you read 20th century black authors, who have turned to fiction to express their maddening rage and longing for solidarity?  I remember reading Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Chester Himes, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, noting their candor– alongside of wistful desires to be accepted by a larger whole and not just as “gladiators.”

Once, at a big UCLA conference in the humanities, I turned around to face a packed room of faculty and students, pleading for integrated, not just the trendy separatist, classes in women’s and ethnic studies.  Famous honcho Hayden White came up to me to ask (ironically?) if I was on the job market, while other big shots (all white tenured professors) mocked me for imputed racism and un-hipness.

At this point in my life, I have experienced enough injustice to understand the cry of “no justice, no peace.”

I wish that I had had similar instruction when I was young and foolish.

July 8, 2016

White elite enabling of Black Power

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 6:50 pm

In light of the media coverage since Dallas, read this before blaming Black Lives Matter. Recent liberal elites set the stage for black power/cultural nationalism.

YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Christopher Edley debates affirmative action with Charles Fried, Harvard Law Bulletin (Spring 2004)

These materials are taken from my unpublished ms. “Eros and the Middle Manager.” Some of the quotes have already been posted in my memoir of Pacifica Radio and also in Rough Ride Through The Culture Wars, but the material from Yale is new to the website. For an index to all my black power blogs, see https://clarespark.com/2010/07/15/index-to-black-power-blogs/. But also see a recent blog that shows how the moderate men demonized pioneers and frontiersmen as the worst racists, whose legacy haunts us today: https://clarespark.com/2014/01/08/the-frontiersmansettler-as-all-purpose-scapegoat/.

[From Black Studies in the University: A Symposium, edited by Armstead Robinson et al (Yale U.P., 1969), a transcript of papers presented at a conference organized by the Black Student Alliance at Yale, late spring 1968, and featuring among its speakers Harold Cruse and

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