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Thoughts Thought While Walking Back To Our Hotel With A Bag of Burrito Bols - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Thoughts Thought While Walking Back To Our Hotel With A Bag of Burrito Bols
The less legitimate a particular form of cultural expression seems, the more likely that its defenders will resort to autobiography as a way of securing for it a legitimacy that proves remarkably resistant to attack. "It moves me," means, "I'm not moving aside for you or the standards you force on others." In the end, most people who consider themselves modern are unable or unwilling to assert that the personal experience of another human being is invalid. To make that claim would be to breach a code of interpersonal conduct that goes deeper than the standards of taste. This is not to imply, however, that people who wish to make that sort of claim are without weapons. Even if they feel compelled to admit that they can't ever know the pain or pleasure of another, they can still wage war on the manner in which personal experience is articulated. When someone declares that confession is "dangerous" or "common" or "easy," the implication is that these adjectives also apply to whoever is doing the confessing. Individuals who deploy this strategy are able to avoid the appearance of subjecting human lives to a hierarchy of significance -- in which this person's experience matters a lot, this one's not so much -- while still managing to reassert the necessity for hierarchy. This is a classic bait-and-switch of art criticism, which recuperates the ad hominem attack that it pretends to abandon at the portal to objectivity. More often than not, this approach operates on the plane of ideology, so that its practitioners are blissfully ignorant of what they are, in fact, doing. That's why you find so many self-professed liberals going out of their way to constrain the freedom of others. The fear of a world without a clear delineation between legitimacy and its opposite is a powerful motivator. We all struggle with the need to know what belongs and what does not, whether we're considering the offspring of sexual or artistic reproduction.

Mode: chipotled
Muse: Skylar playing on the bed

3 comments or Leave a comment
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: July 12th, 2005 02:47 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Uh ... does that mean someone has been saying liberal things about kdotdammit's writing?

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 12th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I was actually thinking of more general issues surrounding the reception of blogging, along with the nature of writing about popular music, but, yes, since I'm very much in the space where her unhappiness at feeling judged, regulated, confined etc. is paramount, it can also apply to the specificity of her situation.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: July 12th, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

this is very long, unwieldy

It's funny (no, not funny but a sort of synchronicity I guess) that I was just thinking yesterday, as before while strangely talking to the soon-to-be-ex-roommate, as before, about how two and a half years ago I was trying desperately to understand how ethical imperatives could be thought of in relation to assertions about preference, taste. Taste as power play, you know. And then I read this and I thought again how I had to keep coming back to how seeing taste as having more to do with power than it seems may (yes) be crucial but reducing ethics/power to mere taste could (yes?) be dangerous. Something deeper, yes--to both attack and the critique.

So is the question (for I have no answers) how do I critique without wholesale dismissing the subject position of those whose behavior I find seeks to destroy/delegitimate subject positions of others? And does it (how does it) matter if those others are individuals I value personally, individually? If I say someone's behavior is unjust, how do I not imply their point of view is less deserving of protection than those I would protect (my own, another's) by leveling critique? Or is this unavoidable in claims to justice, and the question then how do I always see myself thus implicated when it is so very very hard to ever--let alone to always--see myself amid my seeing, naming of things as they seem?

Seems now perhaps the discourse of defense keeps me, my ethics, stuck in a vicious circle with offense maneuvers. Too exhausted presently to think of what alternatives might be. And I didn't even say the little bit I meant on autobiography... :)
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