Tuesday, January 17, 2012


First off, a stunning bit of ignorant, self-absorbed buffoonery from the master of such things, Bernard-Henri Lévy. In an aggravatingly uncritical article by Benjamin Wallace-Wells about his role in the Libyan intervention in New York magazine, BHL drops this clanger attempting to explain his aggressive defence of Dominique Strauss-Kahn after his arrest:
One day in Paris, when we are sitting in the lobby bar of the Right Bank five-star Hotel le Bristol, I ask Lévy what had motivated this response. “Principle,” he says, gravely. “Principle.” I ask what the principle was. He sighs. “Class justice,” he says. “Twenty years ago, class justice was to be gentle with the rich and terrible with the poor. This was a problem. When you are a rich man, you can escape justice. When you are a poor man, stealing a fruit—how do you say, a ­pomme?—you went to jail. Today there is a reversal of the process. You have a lot of people who, if you are rich, powerful, and white, do not care if you are guilty or not guilty—you are guilty by principle. It is exactly the same but reversed. And for me, I cannot, I cannot—it is as unbearable as the other one.” 
First off, if BHL really thinks that the situation has been reversed in the last twenty years, that rich people no longer escape justice, and poor people no longer go to jail for stealing apples, he deserves to be deprived of the power of speech. Is this really what European pseudo-leftist neoliberals believe, that twenty years of their own tireless political posturing has successfully solved the problems of "class justice" to such an extent that things have gone too far, necessitating a movement of class justice in defense of the rich? If this really is his view of "class justice," we should consider it terrifying that his dysfunctional moral compass is allowed to exert such an influence on public discourse.
This is also exactly what Brecht was thinking about in his comments on Grosz that I quoted earlier, where he speaks of the common tendency shared by himself and Grosz to more readily forgive injustice perpetuated by the proletariat rather than by the bourgeoisie. BHL shows his roots here: his inability or unwillingness to transcend his own privileged economic position, to see the full social schematic that is class relations. We see here only the myopia of contemporary humanitarian discourse, a misguided faith in the rights of the individual, regardless of class or social situation. This course of thinking serves and has always served to cloak an underlying ideology in defense of capital.

Secondly, some wisdom from Fidel Castro, one of the few to be honest regarding yesterday's national holiday:
"The dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. are thousands of light years further away than the nearest inhabitable planet."
He also bemoans the inability of today's technological advances to solve the most pressing problems:
"Is it not obvious that the worst of all is the absence in the White House of a robot capable of governing the United States and preventing a war that would end the life of our species?"

Finally, let it all float away with the art of Ann Steel:

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