Michael Dorfman’s Essentials

Robert Anderson discussion

Michael Dorfman this is because of your White-hetero-cis-male imperialist privileges, you know 🙂

Robert Anderson Really? I’m male and hetero but not white yet am bored by the entire pseuodoctivist discursive construct.

Michael Dorfman Robert Anderson so this is because of your privileges too 🙂 This neoliberalism wants to strip ‘privileges’ of the 99% and identity politics is the ultimate weapon of class warfare to do so.

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman Identity politics is a symbolic attempt by academics to asuage white guilt. It empowers only those “others” who choose to posit themselves as victims and grants them undeserved power thereby disempowering those voices in the marignalized community who don’t play the guilt game. In social reality it accomplishes virtually nothing. Pedagogically it limits discussion in the classroom to simply bahsing or at best an academic mosh pit. It’s a sham — a feel good machine for the privileged who experience guilt due to their cultural position.

Gabriel Noah Brahm
Gabriel Noah Brahm Robert Anderson May I quote you, Bob?

Michael Dorfman Robert Anderson well. now everybody has his identity politics, the last genderqueer is coming out the closed, deindustrialized, outsourced, downgraded, freetraded and colonized by neoliberalism Whte, heterosexual cisgender Americans, also observant religious ones, the most marginalized group in the Western culture, All this is according to transgressive psychoanalysis and Judit Butler-Laclau radical queer critique. ANd victimhood is the new supremacism

Robert Anderson Gabriel Noah Brahm Sure I’ve been dying to say that for ages.

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman But what actual purpose does it serve? Once we say “OK lookie here more Otherness” then what? It certainly doesn’t provide a critical thinking apparatus for our students. But it does allow for discourses to be labeled as fashionably “transgressive” gain both academic and actual capital. We can continue to expand the otherness bubble ad infinitum. But to what end? What’s the point? It’s The New Criticism reconfigured in Leftist clothes.

Robert Anderson And if Laclau is so concerned with privilege why does he wear those suits?

Michael Dorfman Robert Anderson otherness isn’t something we are but something we continually do. This is performative. In fact, White Americans more and more feel, act and vote as a racial minority. Race doesn’t produce racism, but the other way around.

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman Funny as I recall race is a construct of science and diffference (which is actually that to which you refer) is a culural articulation of this scientific observation. If race is perfoemative then please explain why I don’t get a sunburn. Otherness exists because consciousness uses the “other” to construct itself (See: Hegel). Honestly only one who does not occupy the margins of culture could make such an assertion. I don’t “do” other. I AM other to The Dominant Discourse (See: Terdiman). If I didn’t know better I’d think you’d just suggested I wasn’t black.

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman Have you read Phenomenology of Sprit?

Michael Dorfman Robert Anderson OK, fair enough. Then otherness isn’t something we are but something we continually do or others do to us. Racism once was about Blacks, but I fought in Israel against racism toward Palestinians and Russian Immigrants, and there is an issue with “not Black enough” Recently I found old copy of Daily Worker, with the article of Angela Davis, about death of Malcolm X “Black fascist… lived by the sword, died by the sword” 🙂 So this isn’t really academic, and not about a classroom, or white guilt as self-comfort

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman Ah but it is. What we are really talking about is the failure of Enlightenment Stuctures such as race, gender et al. We’re talking about a way in which consciousnedd perceives

Michael Dorfman I did read Hegel, but this was in the Soviet university with their cramming and ideological dogmatism, so I’m not a big maven on Hegel
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Robert Anderson
Robert Anderson Socil Reality by carving it up instead of construction something. We’re talking about the failures of Post modernism and Deconstruction. We’re talking about a philsophical crisis. Nothing could be more academic than that.

Robert Anderson
Robert Anderson Go bak to Of Lordship and Bondage where the notions of The Dialectic and Otherness originate.

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman I’m curious though why Identity Politics and not Intersectionality Theory?

Michael Dorfman Once for an interview, I asked Derrida, how he would teach Deconstruction for schoolkids, and he didn’t have a real answer 🙂 So this isn’t really academic, but more political. Identity is a powerful thing, very important part of human personality, but identity politics is the dark side of identity like Stalinism is a dark side of Socialism. Lordship and Bondage – are about class, but we don’t have a class language in America, so everything is discussed in race/gender language.

Michael Dorfman Why not Intersectional Theory? Intersectionality may be abused as identity politics too. Don’t sure about academy, but in real life Intersectionality will not be completed without including White men 😉

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman Exactly. While not the case in it’s current form Intersectionality leads to true inclusivity which (I believe) is where Culture needs to be heading. Identity Politics atomizes Social Reality. Intersectionality creates a new form of unity. White males MUST be a part of the cultural converstion or all that will have been accomplished is the flipping of the social equqtion — a dead end.

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman You do know Derrida went to a school run by Heidigger?

Robert Anderson I see identity as a discursive construct. Nothing more.

Michael Dorfman Robert Anderson 🙂 Im not so old for Heidegger 🙂 , but yes, In the early 80s I studied with Derrida in Paris and we hosted him when he visited Israel in 2003

Michael Dorfman Robert Anderson discursive construct – yes, but this is a very powerful one, the myth, that people believe in without reservations

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman I don’t think it’s actual belief though. It’s more like what Baudrillaird termed “hyperreality”.

Michael Dorfman Robert Anderson well, “hyperreality’ of nation identity (nationalism?) demolished all great empires of the 20 century, put an end the Soviet totalitarian Socialism and time after time defeated American imperialism, like Korea, Vietnam, created all modern European nation-states, with pretty comfortable life, hight social capital, and social responsibility. So this is a very real ‘hyperreality’ though

Robert Anderson When the chair of the naacp in Portland is black only because she defines herself as such. When my racial credentials are questioned on because I don’t fall in ideoleogical and political lock step. When Black Studies by and large means Urban/Southern/Descendants of Slaves — at this point blackness is arbitrarily if not nonreferential. A sign open to interpration and thus detached from referentiality. At that point yes it is hyperreal unless (directly contrary to the position you appear to wish to take) one engages in essentialism.

Robert Anderson And there’s a levelling effect in which you engage (Foucault derivative?) that’s problematic. Korea is simply not Vietnam unless one collapses the Asian Other. There are a myriad of versions of Capitalism in Europe. In short Germany is not France. And “social responsibility seems (at least to me) tropologically related to the notion of “The White Man’s Burden”. It a sameness which doesn’t exist. To say what you say is to stand above not within.

Robert Anderson Hyperreality exists for those who experience Culture rather than merely observe it.

Michael Dorfman Well, Well, I carefully listen to you, Robert However I cannot enter into discussion about Blackness and race, because I came from a different world, where the race didn’t exist, at least in American terms. Thank you, for opening my eyes of these aspects, because I read a lot of African-American studies, and there are wery interesting for me materials for comparing with servitude slavery and forced labor, and many other issues of my interests, but it also looks like rigid ideological constructs as I know from very different places.

Michael Dorfman Robert Anderson on social responsibility, so I can see, how in modern America, that becomes a banana republic of the multinationals, one can see social responsibility in such Redyard Kipling’s term 🙂 BUt in more sovereign and socialist societies all those concepts of the welfare state, socialized medicine, common prosperity aren’t bad words, although they undermined by implementation of neoliberal corporate globalization with their shock doctrines, austerity and so on

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman In terms of Black Studies rigidity would be an understatement. All critiques of the methodology (most notably Shelby Steele and to some degree Gates) have their race cards taken away. But Baurdrillaird’s term specifically is applied to America in the book with the same title. Eurpoe is quite different where things such as “Culture” are referential. But here in the U.S. the culture is one of signs which may have been grounded at one point (although I doubt it) but now exist detached from the referent —- free floating as it were. Trump and his obsverse reflection Black Lives Matter are negative reactions to this social reality.

Michael Dorfman well, thank you, I know something about Baurdrillaird hyperreality, but I have to make some serious research to level the field. Can you give me some references, because I haven’t read these authors

Robert Anderson Michael Dorfman Shelby Steele (an old book that upset many during its time) The Content of Our Character. Baudrillaird is important because he is attempting to emulate D’Tocquiville”s Democracy in America in America. His Ecstasy of Communication while not explictly on the U.S. can be seen as fleshing out the theoretical frame. Gates actually has a PBS show where he galled many by doing a show on African American Slave Owners (who some wish did not exist as it problematizes the historical narrative they have constructed). You must be familiar with Gates’ Race Writing and Difference — I;m reasonably sure Derrida has an essay in it (my favorite is the concluding essay by Lyotard)

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