Thursday, November 21, 2013

We Can Act If We Want To. If We Don't, Nobody Will. And You Can Act Real Rude, and Totally Removed, and I Can Act Like an Imbecile

Jacob Bacharach:

You see, the point of shouting Ray Kelly off the dais isn’t to get rid of “stop-and-frisk,” which these students are sophisticated enough to understand as merely symptomatic of greater injustices and inequalities in American life. No, the point is to get rid of Ray Kelly, to make the point that he has nothing to say that’s deserving of public consumption, that he is a wicked fellow who ought to be drummed from public life, his opinions, like those of most of us, to be shared grumpily over beers with no one to listen but the other cranks and kooks drinking in the middle of the day. The point is to shame Brown University—admittedly, a difficult task, since the university in the form of its administration is, as noted, shameless—for inviting the weasely little fascist onto the stage in the first place.

The post would be otherwise forgettable were it not for the fact that Freddie deBoer shows up in the first comment to challenge the complacency of such would-be radicals. Jacob — in keeping with his "Great Refusal" ethos, borrowed directly from pseudo-philosopher Herbert Marcuse, consisting of gestures of futile defiance rooted in impractical moralism, where the impracticality is the entire point, indeed, a badge of honor — cheers the students for refusing to respect the bourgeois liberal aversion to unruly mobs shouting down public speakers. Freddie points out that such actions barely qualify as Pyrrhic victories, that they demonstrate impotence rather than power, and that much of what passes for leftism now is in fact a pathetic acquiescence to that reality — they've settled for taking pride in "winning" such meaningless skirmishes on campuses and in the twitosphere, winning like Charlie Sheen. Freddie is saying, essentially, that it shouldn't be good enough to be satisfied with such a smug, nihilistic response to injustice. At Jacob's former blog, this would have probably gotten Freddie mocked for being one of those naïve shmucks with lingering faith in the system who want to be told what to do to achieve this or that goal. Now, though, Jacob simply responds by saying "I think we agree." Eh? No, I'm not sure you do.