Promoting Passivity 01

‘The Beer Went Mad’

Lynn Truss, in her ranty book, Talk to the Hand – which tries to do for everday personal interactions what her earlier book did for grammer an speling – quotes some remarks on their actions given by convicts to the cultural conservative and prison shrink Theodore Dalrymple:

‘The beer went mad’

‘The knife went in’

‘Something must have made me do it’

‘My trouble came on again’ (this uttered by a serial church burglar and arsonist).

He characterises remarks like this with the useful phrase ‘locutions of passivity’. Continue reading “Promoting Passivity 01”


On “Political Correctness”

Letter to a Friend who Bandies this Term

I think that you would strengthen your case (whichever one it happens to be) if you refrained from using the ridiculous phrase ‘political correctness’. I know that I’m not the only person whose first feeling on seeing this is that I will not bother to read whatever text contains it. Because the use of that phrase usually signals a voice which, comically, echoes that victim-stance of which it so often complains and whines that ‘white, het, middle-class  men can be victims too’. This usually boils down to the speaker pretending to feel  oppressed because of disapproval of sexist comments re women, and use of words like ‘nigger’ and ‘shirt-lifter’. Its use is so often prefaced by ‘I’m sorry, but …’; followed by something like ‘I know it’s politically incorrect to say so, but there was slavery in Africa  long before Europeans got there’ – as if the speaker were being a brave heretic, whilst actually mouthing a commonplace (which also obscures the main point). I choose this example for you because of your odious apologetics for slavery. However, I do feel somewhat as you do regarding this sensibility which this phrase tries to capture –  what follows is a first attempt to try to work this out.

What seems not to be noticed by people who use the phrase is the bizarre fact that ‘politically correct’ is the only political label which is solely used pejoratively of someone else. All of the following may be used neutrally, pejoratively, or accepted as self-identity: liberal, socialist, communist, stalinist, trotskyist, nationalist, anarchist, fascist, national-socialist, racist, feminist, masculinist, conservative, reactionary, pacifist … and doubtless others which don’t come to mind at present. But no-one will say, except ironically:  ‘I’m Politically Correct’. There is surely something very strange about this asymmetry. Continue reading “On “Political Correctness””

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 Archers’ and culture-criticism

The Archers and Conservatism’s alienation from ‘Time present’

It is sometimes remarked that in the present time it is difficult to be a Communist; it is less often noted that it seems to be as difficult to be a Conservative – by which I mean that sensibility which speaks through such writers as the philosopher Roger Scruton, the historian Andrew Roberts, and the commentators Theodore Dalrymple and Peter Hitchens. The purpose of what follows is to demonstrate the strangeness of Conservative alienation and to suggest the outline of an explanation for this. I do so by focussing on Peter Hitchen’s distaste for The Archers.

  Continue reading “‘The Archers’ and culture-criticism”