Tag Archives: Henry Giroux

Effluvia : Or My Last Ten Posts on Facebook

8 Feb

 

Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria,

Philo of Alexandria,

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” ..

 

 

 

 

1 “Count me in the resistance…

“I am Spartacus… “I am Spartacus”, I am Spartacus,” I am Spartacus …”

2.  Is there still such as thing as mail order brides? If so, how do I order one from Iowa?
3.  MY MAN!

4. Earlier today I posted an article by Jay Postman, Neil Postman’s (author of Amusing Our Selves to DEATH)son reviewing his father’s thoughts on Orwell’s dystopian view. Now comes Henry Giroux explicating both Orwell and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World— be warned there is some heavy lifting, but that’s what’s required to the scourge of the Bedlamite regime—

“What will American society look like under a Trump administration? For Huxley, it may well mimic a nightmarish image of a world in which ignorance is a political weapon and pleasure as a form of control, offering nothing more than the swindle of fulfillment, if not something more self-deluding and defeating. Orwell, more optimistically, might see a more open future and history disinclined to fulfill itself in the image of the dystopian society he so brilliantly imagined. He believed in the power of those living under such oppression to imagine otherwise, to think beyond the dictates of the authoritarian state and to offer up spirited forms of collective resistance willing to reclaim the reigns of political emancipation. For Huxley, there was hope in a pessimism that had exhausted itself; for Orwell optimism had to be tempered by a sense of educated hope. History is open and only time will tell who was right.”
5. GO PACKERS!!!
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6. Jay Postman points out his father’s [Neil Postman] prescience:
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.
…Our public discourse has become so trivialized, it’s astounding that we still cling to the word “debates” for what our presidential candidates do onstage when facing each other. Really? Who can be shocked by the rise of a reality TV star, a man given to loud, inflammatory statements, many of which are spectacularly untrue but virtually all of which make for what used to be called “good television”?

7.  You missed this, didn’t you? How could you?

8. For what its worth, this year marks the 100 anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and next year the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Chicago Police Riots—
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9. I agree with Emma Baccellieri,

“Most of the pace-of-play changes proposed would shave a few minutes off per game, if even that. People who aren’t watching baseball probably aren’t going to start if the average game drops from 3 hours to 2 hours and 45 minutes. The pace-of-play conversation is likely only going to keep picking up steam from here, but it’s worth questioning why it’s a conversation we’re having in the first place. “
10. The Brit Speaker of the House of Commons is a Jew…what verbal turds will flow from the 140-digital-characters mind of The Bedlamite?

 

THE BLACKEST FRIDAY

21 Jan

 

 

 

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Illustration courtesy of Anthony Russo

 

 

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”*

Paying attention to the shit stream of information, polls, false news, Facebook hysteria and hand wringing and thankfully, eloquent opining on the forthcoming Bedlamite Reign (which is now at hand) it would seem that a great many of my fellow citizens are dismayed.

Include me in.

HL Mencken’s apparently prescient observation not withstanding, that such a nightmare should come to pass is a shock to the system. As it happens I have
spent some time (when not diverting myself from the impending darkness with literature (textual and filmic) watching the confirmation hearings ( being extremely thankful for Senators Warren, Franken and Saunders) and attending to the small circle of observers who I count on for spirited (and yes, humorous )commentary. That group includes Charles Pierce,, Chris Lehmann, Keith Olbermann, Andy Borowitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, George Scialabba, Rebecca Solnit, Henry Giroux and on occasion, Gail Collins. One wonders what Molly Ivins and Christopher Hitchens would have made of the evolution of neoliberalism.

 

Theme song for Dark Times

There is also Howard Zinn’s half century of dissidence  which offers many clues as to how he would view current events. One of the principles he held dear is expressed in this articulation of  Edmund Burke’s remark on activism.

History is instructive. And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper. Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger sort of flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.

 

Keith Olbermann has been cvertainly been around the media block. Currently, he is affiliated with GQ ( yes, the slick Conde Nast glossy) and his outpost in cyberspace is entitled The Resistance (which is a good a rubric as any, I suppose). Forgoing his penchant for bombast, Keith recently offered this bulletin to Trump supporters

 

William Greider, in the Nation in a piece called “Donald Trump’s Presidency Will Be a Fiasco for Donald Trump” mordantly suggests a note of hope;

… If Americans wanted a performer to run the country, why not pick George Clooney? Instead, we got a slightly demented carnival barker with gilded hair and a bloated ego. The fright and gloom are understandable, but I have a hunch Donald Trump has already peaked. He won’t go away, of course—he will be Mr. President—but the air is already seeping out of Trump’s balloon. The president-elect has amassed a huge inventory of dubious promises, and I expect this powerhouse of American politics to get smaller and less influential as the broken promises pile up…

…his governing vision, it was usually limited to 140 characters. His longer speeches, if you listen closely, are always about the same subject—the greater glory of Donald Trump. We still don’t know how much Trump knows about governing. Or how much he cares…

 

 

 

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The Fortiefifth President of the United States

 

…President-elect Trump doesn’t seem to understand that governing is a team sport. It requires complicated cooperation and fluid policy arguments. Small details produce awesome differences. In other words, for Trump, it’s boring. Trump is a big-picture guy who treats the politics of governing like it’s high-stakes mud wrestling. And it’s all about him. He shows little interest in or knowledge of policy specifics and spews gratuitous scorn and ridicule on his opponents…

…Now he is to be our president, and Trump’s “magical realism” is about to collide with the hard earth of mortal politics. The president-elect and his staffers are already busy trying to distance themselves from some of his more explosive promises, hoping they get forgotten in the excitement of a new party’s taking power….

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Rebecca Solnit in the London Review of books (From ‘Lying to Leering”:

Trump was the candidate so weak that his victory needed the disenfranchisement of millions of voters of colour, the end of the Voting Rights Act, a long-running right-wing campaign to make Clinton’s use of a private email server, surely the dullest and most uneventful scandal in history, an epic crime and the late intervention, with apparent intent to sabotage, of the FBI director James Comey. We found out via Comey’s outrageous gambit that it is more damaging to be a woman who has an aide who has an estranged husband who is a creep than actually to be a predator who has been charged by more than a dozen women with groping and sexual assault.

The pride of Providence Rhode Island Henry Giroux warns (warning Henry uses big words explicating a dense theory of pedagogy —he is nonetheless worth reading)

The United States stands at the endpoint of a long series of attacks on democracy, and the choices faced by the American public today point to the divide between those who are committed to democracy and those who are not. Debates over whether Donald Trump was a fascist or Hillary Clinton was a right-wing warmonger and tool of Wall Street were a tactical diversion. The real questions that should have been debated include: What measures could have been taken to prevent the United States from sliding further into a distinctive form of authoritarianism? And what could have been done to imagine a mode of civic courage and militant hope needed to enable the promise of a radical democracy? Such questions take on a significant urgency in light of the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Under such circumstances, not only is the public in peril, it is on the brink of collapse as the economic, political, and cultural institutions necessary for democracy to survive are being aggressively undermined. As Robert Kuttner observes:

“It is hard to contemplate the new administration without experiencing alarm bordering on despair: Alarm about the risks of war, the fate of constitutional democracy, the devastation of a century of social progress. Trump’s populism was a total fraud. Every single Trump appointment has come from the pool of far-right conservatives, crackpots, and billionaire kleptocrats. More alarming still is the man himself – his vanity, impulsivity, and willful ignorance, combined with an intuitive genius as a demagogue. A petulant fifth-grader with nuclear weapons will now control the awesome power of the U.S. government. One has to nourish the hope that Trump can yet be contained. Above all, that will take passionate and strategic engagement, not just to resist but to win, to discredit him and get him out of office while this is still a democracy. We can feel sick at heart – we would be fools not to – but despair is not an option.”[1]

Trump’s willingness to rely upon openly fascist elements prefigures the emergence of an American style mode of authoritarianism that threatens to further foreclose venues for social justice and civil rights. The need for resistance has become urgent. The struggle is not simply over specific institutions such as higher education or so-called democratic procedures such as the validity of elections but over what it means to get to the root of the problems facing the United States. At the heart of such a movement is the need to draw more people into subversive actions modeled after the militancy of the labour strikes of the 1930s, the civil rights movements of the 1950s and the struggle for participatory democracy by the New Left in the 1960s while building upon the strategies and successes of the more recent movements for economic, social and environmental justice such as Black Lives Matter and Our Revolution. At the same time, there is a need to reclaim the radical imagination and to infuse it with a spirited battle for an independent politics that regards a radical democracy as part of a never-ending struggle.

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Women’s March 22 January 2017

I could, of course, go on. Hopefully  you have overcome your despair (to which more than a few of my acquaintances have succumbed )and availed your self of useful social media and serious activist organizations to contribute to  coalescing resistance, Otherwise, to quote Edmund Burke:

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

Power to the Peaceful

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  • HL Mencken

Chomsky’s 13th 

9 Nov
Noam Chomsky [photo: Oliver Abraham]

Noam Chomsky [photo: Oliver Abraham]

I recently made mention of the Haymarket Books Noam Chomsky collection (12 titles) and it makes sense to acknowledge a recent volume published in City Lights Open Media series, Because We Say So . Its the third in that series by Chomsky, collecting thirty short pieces written between 2011 and 2015 for the New York Times Syndicate and News Service, on such pressing subjects as climate change, Edward Snowden, nuclear politics, cyberwar, terrorism and the Obama Doctrine.Naturally no U.S. papers publish Chomsky’s reports.

Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky

Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky

The inestimable dissident scholar Henry Giroux introduce this volume

Chomsky incessantly exposes the gap between the reality and the promise of a radical democracy, particularly in the United States, though he often provides detailed analysis of how the deformation of democracy works in a number of countries that hide their diverse modes of oppression behind the false claims of democratization…
…Chomsky has been relentless in reminding society that power takes many forms and that the production of ignorance is not merely about the crisis of test scores or a natural state of affairs, but about how ignorance is often produced in the service of power… he points to the efforts of the financial elite and their marketing machines to atomize people so they will be complicit in the destruction of the commons. Drawing on his expansive understanding of history, Chomsky cites the political economist Thorstein Veblen’s emphasis on “fabricating wants” in order to not only manufacture ignorance but also define consumption as the major force in shaping their needs…. Chomsky has been telling us for over 50 years: Resistance demands a combination of hope, vision, courage and a will- ingness to make power accountable, all the while connecting with the desires, aspirations and dreams of those whose suf- fering is both structurally imposed and thus preventable…Throughout his commentaries, he demonstrates that it is not only democracy and human decency that are at risk, but survival itself. In do- ing so, Chomsky makes clear that the urgency of the times demands understanding and action, critique and hope. This is a book that should and must be read, given the dire times in which we live. For Chomsky, history is open and the time has come to reclaim the promise of a democracy in which justice, liberty, equality and the common good still matter.

wearemany

Noam Chomsky will be a participant in Building Sustainable Security,A One-Day Conference on Saturday, November 21, 2015. This conference will explore three pillars of sustainable national and world security:

• A fairly-shared global prosperity based on economic, social, and racial justice
• Emergency action to address climate change and build a new, fossil-fuel-free energy system
• A Foreign Policy for All based on even-handed diplomacy, ending our disastrous military interventions, abolition of nuclear weapons, and reclaiming war resources for the urgent needs that face our world

Disposable Futures: Dystopia the Neo Liberal Reality

5 Aug


DYSTOPIA IS THE DOMINANT IMAGINARY FOR NEOLIBERAL GOVERNANCE AND ITS NARCISSISTIC REASONING—HENRY GIROUX

DISPOSABLE  FUTURES by Brad Evans and Henry Giroux

DISPOSABLE FUTURES by Brad Evans and Henry Giroux

Dystopia is the dominant imaginary for neoliberal governance and its narcissistic reasoning—Henry Giroux

DISPOSABLE FUTURES The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle by Brad Evans and Henry A. Giroux (cover illustration by Isaac Cordal)

I am going to risk assigning the valence of “importance’ to this book as its conclusions leap past the news cycle’s reportage on state sponsored war on minorities, jarring statistics on gun deaths, the dissonant revelations on the incarceration industry in the World’s leading jailor and the USA’s exceptional death merchantilism and explores the undercurrent of violence that allows for such dystopia

Etienne Balibar (Violence and Civility) opines

Beginning with Primo Levi and ending with Deleuze, Evans and Giroux map the radical transformation that has affected the representation of cruelty between the 20th and the 21st century: from ‘exceptional’ status, associated with the ultimate figures of state sovereignty, it has passed to ‘routinized’ object of communication, consumption and manipulation. This is not to say that everything is visible, only that the protocols of visibility have been appropriated by a different form of economy, where humans are completely disposable. To counter this violence in the second degree, and preserve our capacity to face the intolerable, a new aesthetics and politics of imagination is required. This powerful, committed, exciting book does more than just evoke its urgency. It already practices it.

From Disposable Futures, “Beyond Orwell “Pp.  209-210

Obama’s recent speech on reforms to the NSA not just serves as a text that demands close reading but also as a model illustrating how history can be manipulated to legitimate the worst violations of privacy and civil rights, if not state and corporate-based forms of violence. For Obama, the image of Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty is referenced to highlight the noble ideals of surveillance in the interest of freedom and mostly provide a historical rationale for the emergence of the massive spying behemoths such as the NSA, which now threaten the fabric of U.S. democracy and collect massive data on everyone, not just terrorists. Of course, what Obama leaves out is that Paul Revere and his accomplices acted “to curtail government power as the main threat to freedom.”Obama provides a sanitized reference to history in order to bleach the surveillance state of its criminal past and convince the American public that, in Michael Ratner’s words, “surveillance is somehow patriotic.” Obama’s surveillance state is just the opposite, and the politicians such as Representative Mike Ford and Senator Dianne Feinstein are more than willing to label legitimate whistle-blowers, including most famously Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Jeremy Hammond, as traitors while keeping silent when high-ranking government officials, particularly James Clapper Jr., the director of national security, lied before a senate intelligence committee.

In case it has escaped your notice the histories of violence project is currently developing a series of visual histories on key thinkers and their important concepts on violence.

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http://www.historiesofviolence.com/#!arendt-banality-of-evil/czcc

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http://www.historiesofviolence.com/#!fanon–wretched-of-the-earth/c1bhw

If you are observing or at least acknowledging the anniversary of that sorrowful day in 1945, consider these remarks by Henry Giroux

The 20th Century is often termed the “Century of Violence.” And rightly so, given the widespread devastation of an entire continent during the two Great Wars; the continued plunder and suppression of former colonial enclaves; the rebirth of extermination camps in the progressive heart of a modern Europe; the appalling experiments in human barbarism that decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the torture and symbolic acts of disappearance so endemic in Latin America; the passivity in the face of ongoing acts of genocide; the wars and violence carried out in the name of some deceitful humanitarian principle. This legacy of violence makes it difficult to assess this history without developing profound suspicions about the nature of the human condition and its capacity for evil.

One of the particular novelties of this period was the emergence of dystopia literature and compelling works of art that proved integral to the lasting critique of totalitarian regimes. Indeed, some of the most appealing prose of the times was not put forward by recognized political theorists or radical philosophers, but the likes of Yevgeny Zamyatin, H.G. Wells, George Orwell and Aldus Huxley, among others, who managed to reveal with incisive flair and public appeal the violence so often hidden beneath the utopian promise of technologically driven progress.(1) Dystopia in these discourses embodied a warning and a hope that humankind would address and reverse the dark authoritarian practices that descended on the 20th century like a thick, choking fog.

Notes on Henry Giroux: # 2

3 Jan
The Violence of Organized Forgetting by Henry Giroux

The Violence of Organized Forgetting by Henry Giroux

Radical critic Henry Giroux and scholar has been on my radar for a number of years. With Barbara Ehrenreich, the late Joe Bageant, Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky he has formed a part of a useful palliative for my fears that advocates for social justice were sinking into predictable and useless sloganeering.Giroux’s new book,The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City lights)should with any winds blowing in a favorable direction, garner him some new readers. Bill Moyers, no raving radical,opines, “Giroux refuses to give in or give up. The Violence of Organized Forgetting is a clarion call to imagine a different America–just, fair, and caring–and then to struggle for it.” Here is a citation from the last chapter, “Hope in Time of Permanent War”, of Giroux’s new opus, which after the events of the past few months resonates loudly…

Democratic hope is a subversive, defiant practice that makes power visible and interrogates and resists those events, social relations, and ideas that threaten democracy and the public spheres necessary to practice it. Hope at its best pro- vides a link, however transient, provisional, and contextual, between passion, vision, and critique, on the one hand, and engagement and transformation on the other. But for such a notion of hope to be consequential it has to be grounded in a pedagogical project that has some hold on the present. Hope becomes meaningful to the degree that it identifies agencies and processes, offers alternatives to an age of profound pes- simism, reclaims an ethic of compassion and justice, and struggles for those institutions in which equality, freedom, and justice flourish as part of the ongoing networks, strug- gles, and solidarities for democracy everywhere.

Yet such hopes do not materialize out of thin air. They have to be nourished, developed, debated, examined, and acted upon to become meaningful. And this takes time and demands what might be called an “impatient patience.” When outrage and conscience are rendered silent, crippling the mind, imagination, spirit, and collective will, it becomes almost impossible to fight the galloping forces
of authoritarianism that beset the United States and many other countries. But one cannot dismiss as impossible what is simply difficult, even if such difficulty defies hope itself. Bauman is right, once again, in arguing that “as to our hopes: hope is one human quality we are bound never to lose without losing our humanity. But we may be similarly certain that a safe haven in which to drop its anchor will take a very long time to be found.”26 The future of American society lies in opposition to the surveillance state at home and its seamless connection to waging constant war and acts of aggression abroad.

Here’s a illuminating conversation between Giroux and Bill Moyers:

THE BEST BEST BOOKS LIST -2014*

21 Nov
The Man Who  Loved Dogs by Leonardo Padura

The Man Who Loved Dogs by Leonardo Padura

After I'm Gone by  Laura  Lippman

After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

Forgiving the Angel by Jay Cantor

Forgiving the Angel by Jay Cantor

The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito  Gadzano

The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by

ou

Everything I Never Told by Celeste Ng

I'll Take You  There by Greg Kot

I’ll Take You There by

The Exile's Return by Elizabeth de Waal

The Exile’s Return by Elizabeth de Waal

\

Fourth  of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

We Are Not  Ourselves by  Matthew Thomas

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Young God by Katherine Faw Morris

Young God by Katherine Faw Morris

Euphoria by Lily KIng

Euphoria by Lily King

Hold The Dark by Wiliam Giraldi

Hold The Dark by Wiliam Giraldi

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Perfidia by James Ellroy

Perfidia by James Ellroy

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

The Narrow Road to  The Deep  North By Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to The Deep North By Richard Flanagan

The Next Life Might  B e  Kinder by  Howard Norman

The Next Life Might Be Kinder by Howard Norman

Zone of Interest by Martin Amis

Zone of Interest by Martin Amis

The Untold by Courtney Collins

The Untold by Courtney Collins

Men Explain Things to Me by  Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Something Rich and Strange by  Ron Rash

Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash

The Violence of  Organized Forgetting by Henry Giroux

The Violence of Organized Forgetting by Henry Giroux

*Because I say so?

Notes on Henry Giroux: # 1

12 Aug
The Violence of Organized Forgetting by Henry Giroux

The Violence of Organized Forgetting by Henry Giroux

Radical critic Henry Giroux and scholar has been on my radar for a number of years. With Barbara Ehrenreich the late Joe Bageant, Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky he formed a part of a useful palliative for my fears that advocates for social justice were sinking into predictable and useless sloganeering.Giroux has a new book,The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City lights) which should with any winds blowing in the right direction garner him some new enthusiasts. Bill Moyers, no raving radical,opines, “Giroux refuses to give in or give up. The Violence of Organized Forgetting is a clarion call to imagine a different America–just, fair, and caring–and then to struggle for it.” Setting aside his quoting* James Baldwin in 2014 (James who?), here’s the opening to Chapter One

America—a country in which forms of historical, political, and moral forgetting are not only willfully practiced, but celebrated—has become amnesiac. The United States has degenerated into a social order that views critical thought
as both a liability and a threat. Not only is this obvious in
the proliferation of a vapid culture of celebrity, but it is
also present in the prevailing discourses and policies of a
range of politicians and anti-public intellectuals who believe
that the legacy of the Enlightenment needs to be reversed. Politicians such as Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich along with talking heads such as Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Anne Coulter are not the problem. They are merely symptomatic of a much more disturb-ing assault on critical thought, if not rational thinking itself. The notion that education is central to producing a critically literate citizenry, which is indispensable to a democracy, is viewed in some conservative quarters as dangerous, if not treasonous. Under a neoliberal regime, the language of authority, power, and command is divorced from ethics, social responsibility, critical analysis, and social costs.

My kind of talk. More to come.

 JAMES BALDWIN  circa 1958 (photo Mottke Weisman)


JAMES BALDWIN circa 1958 (photo Mottke Weisman)

*People who remember court madness through pain, the pain
of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people
who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of
the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence.

Currently reading The People in the Trees
by Hanya Yanagihara (Anchor)