Reaction to a friend posting the Tobias Wolf Essay Heart of Whiteness:
ME: Ridiculous. Enough Cultural Marxism, please.
HIM: no idea, frankly, what cultural marxism is or is supposed to be, but since you’re asking so nicely and politely, i’m sure tobias wolff will heed your request for him to cease sharing his personal thoughts and feelings with you.
ME: Cultural Marxism is a secular religion in which straight white men have been assigned the role of satan. It aims to weaken the pillars of Western Civilization through obscurism, cultural reletivism, and pseudoscience.
Look, I’ve met Tobias Wolff several times while I was at Stanford and I like him. Maybe it’s hard to stay away from this ideology when your in academia. Universities are the new churches. Professors are the new priests. Heretics (like me) are denounced with the same fervor heretics have always garnered.
Wolff’s essay asks Europeans to feel guilty for impure thoughts at a time when targeted, deliberate physical violence toward whites is surging. Where are the racism police when there are “knock out games” or “polar bear hunting” or “get whitey night” or when Zimbabwe forbids sale of land to whites or when S. Africa’s President appears on television singing a song about killing white people?
I’m happy to respect anyone who respects me, but this is a big load of BS.
HIM: To put it very simply — he’s just telling you or anyone who would like to listen, as to the way he feels on a certain important issue. I’m not sure you or I or anyone who are not them are in any position to tell other people how they should feel. I don’t see him asking me to believe him or share his feelings. I, for one, don’t share his feelings. I wasn’t born and didn’t grow up in America. I just understand and appreciate people’s impulse to tell other people honestly what they think or how they feel. As for your definition of cultural Marxism — with all due respect, this, to me, is just a shallowly loud and largely meaningless, Rush Limbaughesque word combination. Religion? Whose religion? Where’s the church and who are the adepts? Who assigned white men the role of satan? Who’s aiming to weaken Western Civilization?.. Look, with all due respect, and I know you are a smart man, but — this is so imprecise and murky and label-bound and, in all, intellectually weak, I don’t quite know how to continue this conversation. All I can sense is that you feel put on and aggrieved, and that is your right, of course: to feel that way. Anything goes, so long as we don’t start telling people that the way they feel is dishonest or insincere or a product of some weird cultish brainwashing, etc. We — you, I — shouldn’t be telling other people to shut up about how they feel. They deserve the right to feel differently from us. To deprive them of their right to express their feelings on some certain salient issue would be totalitarian of nature. You don’t have to label anything with some meaningless booming catchphrase (cultural marxism, emotional fascism, psychological confucianism, sexual stalinism, culinary calvinism — come on; that’s a bit juvenile). You can’t argue with people’s honest feelings. All you can do is say — look, I don’t share your feelings, I don’t feel the same way — and then move on.
ME: :) You use a lot of words to calls me wrong and stupid. And to call him legitimate bc his are ‘honest feelings’ –as if mine aren’t.
At least I presented evidence of what I perceive as gross hypocrisy. You could have addressed it in between calling me wrong and stupid. :) I’m not offended btw. Honestly. Just amused, disappointed. This is how heretics are always treated by the priests.
If anyone wants further reading: http://www.amazon.com/Explaining-Postmodernism-Skepticism-Socialism-Rousseau/dp/0983258406
HIM: Roman. This is not the kind of talk I can engage in: heretics, priests… That’s on you. Let me be as succinct as I can: your feelings are just as honest and valid and legitimate as any other people’s — just so long as you don’t question the honesty and validity of other people’s feelings. Do you see the difference? Tobias Wolff was talking about his own feelings. Your feelings were about his feelings being dishonest. Ok, Roman, signing off on this conversation now.
ME: I question accuracy — whether this essay accurately represent the real world or not. :)
Your comments lead me to another point, however, one straight out of Stephen Hick’s book — does truth exist? Does language have meaning? Or has post-modernism finally achieved Focault’s vision that language is devoid of meaning and merely a struggle for power.
I would think and hope that writers would be offended by Focault’s idea, but judging from how you seem to prefer feelings over truths, accusations (Rush Limbaughesque – ha! good one!) over evidence, from how you denounce heretics without addressing their concerns, I fear the worst.
STEM disciplines aside, academia has abolished truth. There is only a power, and whatever bullshit anyone wants to spout in its pursuit.