Re: Postmodernism & Liberalism

Dr. Pithouse,
How many times in your life have you looked down the barrel of a
gun held by a police officer? How many times have you been beaten up
or lost a job because you refused to discriminate or bore witness to
discrimination? When was the last time in your life you suffered
actuall physical violence?
I'd bet my rent money you're white and straight. Am I right?
Straight but not narrow and white but racially sensitive right? So far
in my career, I've worked with inner city gangsters, autistics and gay
teens at-risk to suicide. Funny how it's always easy to get a job
working with people like that what with all the liberals just lined up
around the corner begging to do something useful.
Last week, I convinced a woman in my class who was being
routinely beaten by her alcoholic husband to take herself and her two
kids to a safe space. She is now in therapy. Last term, I convinced a
guy with a really nasty heroin habit to go into detox. You'd be
surprised how many people in trouble who think they have no options
will hang after class to talk even if their prof is a postmodernist
with his head up his ass and not a clue what's really happening in
this world. Some of them really do have no options worth talking about
but some of them can be helped.
Who are your students Dr. Pithouse? Who are you "educating" to
do what and to deal with what? What does a "liberal" actually do to
maintain that warm glow of self-satisfaction, that pristine pure
self-righteousness? Signed any good petititons lately?

---RICHARD PITHOUSE <pithouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Tue, 2 Mar 1999, TOM DILLINGHAM wrote:
> > I see no issues, merely a tired and cliched repetition....
> The paper's hardly brilliant but it is interesting to note that when
> devotees of the postmodern cult are confronted with its obvious
> with oppression (and in particular with what Anthony Richmond calls
> 'Global Apartheid') they usually reply in terms suited to a
> dismissing of yesterday's fashion. The implication of this type of
> response is clear: Postmodernism is more about being hip,
> sophisticated etc than about being right or, for that matter, just.
> It's no coincidence that postmodernism really took off when the USA
> defeated in Vietnam and Britian, France etc hounded out of Africa and
> Asia. It's also no coincidence that in South Africa former
supporters of
> apartheid tend to love postmodernism while its former opponents tend
> see it as nothing by a self serving and very convenient way of
giving a
> progressive gloss to what are in practice very conservative ideas and
> agendas. Postmodernism is the prefect prozac for people living through
> what Fanon called the crises of European man. But it doesn't do
much for
> the Palistinian who's just been evicted from his home, the Indian or
> Kenyan farmer whose just discovered that a multinational owns the
> 'intellectual property rights' to her seed, the African state paying
> of its revenue to Western banks, the Indonesian student stuggling
> a barbaric regime that's been nurtured and propped by by the West for
> years, the 20% of South African children who don't have access to
> sufficient protein for healthy development etc, etc,
> Postmodern thinkers have made many valuable contributions to theory
> the movement as a whole has been a neccessary corrective to all
sorts of
> metaphysical delusions and totalising tendencies. But the world is
still a
> fundamentally unjust place and those who believe that the days of
> marcropolitics are over should remember how stupid Daniel Bell's 50's
> comment about the "end of the ideological age" looked when the 60's
> around.
> I wouldn't be at all surprised if new stuggles quote (in the style
of the
> Zapitsitas) poststructuralists like Foucualt and maybe even
> like Laclau. But those thinkers who are happy for the western elite to
> hold the world to economic ransome, bomb whomever they feel like
etc, etc
> but argue that truth can only be a function of particular language
> are pretty much saying "we'll exploit you and bomb you but, sorry, its
> just not hip to talk to you." And that makes them part of the
> Said, Chomsky, Pilger etc expose some of the real nature of the world
> beyond the seminar room and some of the problems that a decent
> and professionally) theorist would take seriously. But if you're
> for serious academic challenges to postmodenism check out Christopher
> Norris, Terry Eagleton and Postmodernism and the Other by Ziardar
> (The real terrorists are *not* metararratives).
> Richard Pithouse
> Durban

"Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like no one is watching." Richard M. Nixon
"We are all Jews and we are all Germans." Michel Foucault
"The sympathy of the walnut for the human head that makes walnuts a cure for headaches and head wounds would be unknown except that the walnut looks like a brain." Michel Foucault

Get your free address at

Partial thread listing: