Notes on Conspiracism

Peter Knight’s, Conspiracy Culture – From the Kennedy Assassination to the X-Files

This asks the question as to how the prevalence of conspiracism relates to the Postmodernish sensibility. This is not so much as a review, but a few notes on conspiracism.

Richard Hofstadter’s ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’ (in The Paranoid Style in American Politics – and Other Essays) written just as the modern version was really taking off (1963) takes the clinical notion of paranoia and uses it as a lens to examine the practice of conspiracist thinking. A rough summary of his thesis is that major sections of the American population had come to feel dispossessed of a nation forged in the two great struggles of a democratic-popular revolution and the war against the slave-owners. The ‘paranoid’ response to the feeling of dispossession has been that, rather than attempting a serious analysis, it constructs: ‘conspiracy as the motive force in historical events. History is a conspiracy, set in motion by demonic forces of almost transcendent power’. It’s a good read and points out things which, once pointed are obvious (but certainly didn’t occur to me), such as that ‘a fundamental feature of the paranoid style is the imitation of the enemy’, eg the Ku Klux Klan’s taking on aspects of Catholicism. Continue reading “Notes on Conspiracism”


Jung and the (In)Comprehension of Gender

I once attended a series of drama therapy workshops. As I entered the room one of the other participants – an ex-follower of the Bhagwan Shree Rajnesh – exclaimed ‘Oh good, we need some more male energy’. I looked behind me, but couldn’t see any. This remark expressed the core of Jung and his appeal: to reify gender-difference, and to do so in terms of ‘energy’. What this Bhagwanite saw – rather what she expressed – was not actually existing persons of a certain gender, but ‘energy’. This cameo points to that mystification of the real which is at the centre of the crypto-religion of Carl Gustav Jung.

I will nor be talking about ‘feminism’ so much as about the relevance – rather, irrelevance – of Jung for thinking about gender. The reason for doing this is, in part because to many he has seemed relevant to feminism. Though he has seemed relevant to feminism in a way which he has not to what preceded it, ie Women’s Liberation. The latter phrase refers to a material category and to a political process; the former to an essence and to theories from or about that essence. There is, of course, no question but that some women have found Jung’s vision attractive. Here is a typical expression of that attraction:
The primary appeal of Jung’s psychology to women … is that it is a ‘meaning-making’ psychology … Analytical psychology offers a balance to an overly rational, materialistic world … Jung defined the feminine largely in terms of receptivity …Jungian women feel .. receptivity is a quality much needed in the world, and that it is a form of empowerment

(WEHR Jung , p6)

One of the interesting features of this passage is its slippage from the category of ‘women’ to that of ‘the feminine’.

Continue reading “Jung and the (In)Comprehension of Gender”

‘The Incredible Bleeding Woman’ – Incredible, Indeed

Marisa Carnesky is a performance-artist, whose latest work is discussed here:

It’s a familiar tactic of a certain kind of charlatan to fabricate a position which hardly anyone holds (a ‘strawman’) and then construct an opposition to this phantom so as to seem so correct. It’s a common tactic of masculinists (‘all feminists are man-hating whingers’) and pro-caps (‘socialists want the State to control everything and to make everyone equal’). Dr Carnesky seems to seriously believe that: As women we’ve internalised a misogynist culture that has tabooed menstruation and said it is dirty. Really ?

The comments to the Guardian article are worth reading. I was especially struck by the argument that the claim that co-resident women tend to synchronise their cycles is no better than an ‘urban myth’. I’ve long taken it for granted that this synchronisation was what happened, and that more or less everyone was aware of it. The argument seems quite technical and involves statistical stuff which is beyond me.

I should fess up that I’m a tad prejudiced re Carnesky because of her insistence on using the word ‘synchronicity’ – a word which carries the stink of the patriarchalist pro-nazi C G Jung.

I’m also less impressed than I was by the work of Chris Knight, which is part inspiration for her project (see FB ‘Radical Anthropology Group’). That’s not because I have really done any work on his theory (an astonishing and audacious Historical Materialist account of the origin of human culture which puts women at the centre of ‘the human revolution’); but because the more I’ve seen of him, the more he seems to me to be a deluded Labour leftist from Central Casting.

The Odious Phrase ‘Climate Change Denier’ -An Emblem of Liberal-bigotry

The phrase ‘climate change denier’ clearly references the phrase ‘Holocaust denier’. The meaning of the latter is someone who denies the existence of the Third Reich’s extermination campaign against European Jewry. The occurrence of this campaign is not a matter of theory, it is as evidenced as anything in history: by visual and documentary material, by the personal testimonies of hundreds of thousands of its victims and witnesses. There is no serious issue as to the occurrence of the Holocaust. Certainly there are serious issues around it: the extent of the knowledge and acquiescence of the mass of the German population in this; whether this campaign was part of Hitler’s plans before the outbreak of war, or was constructed during it; whether this was a uniquely dreadful crime, or was on a spectrum with the slave trade, Stalin’s gulags, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of the Tasmanian natives; what categories to use in its explanation – industrialised killing, the Enlightenment, a long tradition of anti-semitism, the NSDAP’s use of ‘Jewish finance’ as a surrogate for anti-capitalism.

The case of ‘climate change denier’ could hardly be more different. For a start, let’s note that the relatively clear notion of ‘global warming’ has slipped into (whilst being contained within) ‘climate change’. The notion of ‘denialist’ refers both to those who do not believe in the occurrence of these putative meteorological events, and to those who reject the theory that human action is the major cause of these, and even, EVEN, those who are sceptical of these claims. For convenience, let’s use the phrase ‘the anthrogenic theory of putative global warming’ (ATPGW).
Continue reading “The Odious Phrase ‘Climate Change Denier’ -An Emblem of Liberal-bigotry”

‘The Salt of the Earth’: Aesthetically Marvellous, Politically Toxic

For a trailer, see
This is an (aesthetically) marvellous movie on one of the world’s great photographic artists. I first knew of Selgado from an expo at The Photographers’ Gallery in the mid 80s of his astonishing photos of the Serra Pelada open-cast goldmine. For a while I’d been feeling that nothing new would happen, photographically …. his images were like nothing I’d ever seen ! Who would have thought that in the late 20th C men would labour, of their own choice, in conditions that Athenian Greeks would have recognised ! I’d never seen those photos at such a high enlargement, and I was astonished that their quality held out – then I realised that I shouldn’t have been surprised, because the negatives were 35mm format, which is, of course, the medium on which movies (until digi) were encoded.

Continue reading “‘The Salt of the Earth’: Aesthetically Marvellous, Politically Toxic”

Bad News for the Greenazis

A while ago I attended a focus group for a public utility which is seeking to fine-tune its next business-plan. This was interesting for three things which I had expected and one thing which I had not expected, and was delighted by. the event was a fine example of the manipulation of consent and of the use of Warmism as a tool for this.

  Continue reading “Bad News for the Greenazis”