Thursday, January 22, 2015

The dialectic of culture and barbarism

Theodor Adorno in "Cultural Criticism and Society,":

  The more total society becomes, the greater the reification of the mind and the more paradoxical its effort to escape reification on its own. Even the most extreme consciousness of doom threatens to degenerate into idle chatter. Cultural criticism finds itself faced with the final stage of the dialectic of culture and barbarism. To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. And this corrodes even the knowledge of why it has become impossible to write poetry today. Absolute reification, which presupposed intellectual progress as one of its elements, is now preparing to absorb the mind entirely. Critical intelligence cannot be equal to this challenge as long as it confines itself to self-satisfied contemplation. (Prisms, 34)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sartre, on defeating anti-Semitism:

“The cause of the Jews would be half won if only their friends brought to their defense a little of the passion and the perseverance their enemies use to bring them down. In order to waken this passion, what is needed is not to appeal to the generosity of the Aryans- with even the best of them, that virtue is in eclipse. What must be done is to point out to each one that the fate of the Jews is his fate. Not one Frenchman will be free so long as the Jews do not enjoy the fullness of their rights. Not one Frenchman will be secure so long as a single Jew – in France or in the world at large – can fear for his life”

Finally, a Frenchman who answers that call in no uncertain voice:

Friday, January 09, 2015

Beinart's impaired sense of irony

Peter Beinart's tweeted complaint:
"Watching @FoxNews you would literally think rest of American media is portraying Charlie Hedbo killers as victimized + misunderstood".

Peter Beinart's first response to Paris murders (a few minutes after news of the massacre broke out):

"... France has a very large Muslim population, larger proportionally and in raw numbers than its neighbors. It's also done a relatively poor job of integrating its Muslim population into the larger society. There were riots several years ago in largely Muslim and immigrant areas around Paris.
So you have this combustible mix of this very toxic global Salafi jihadist ideology, with a lot of people who just have the same kind of resentment that people who are poor, unemployed, maybe [f]eel some degree of racism. "

From an interview with Andrew Bostom: 

[Q] Which are the most important antisemitic motifs in the foundational texts, as you see it?

[A] I think 5:82 is an important motif but it is hardly the most important. The central anti-Jewish motif in the Koran is found in verse 2:61, repeated at verse 3:112. This is where the Jews are accused of slaying the Prophets and transgressing against the will of Allah, and so they are condemned and cursed eternally. Verse 2.61 says ‘shame and misery’ are ‘stamped upon them.’ And this verse is coupled to verses like 5:60, and other verses about the Jews being transformed into apes and pigs, which is part of their curse. Verse 5:78 describes the curse upon the Jews by David and Jesus, Mary’s son. There is a related verse, 5:64, which accuses the Jews of being spreaders of war and corruption, a sort of ancient antecedent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. (Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas cited this verse during a diatribe against the Jews of Israel, in 2007.) More generally, the Koran’s overall discussion of the Jews is marked by a litany of their sins and punishments, as if part of a divine indictment, conviction, and punishment process.

[Q] Some would say the seventh century is a long time ago.
[A] These central motifs are still being taught. That’s the point