Saturday, October 17, 2009

Translating Kinsella #3 (Updated)

Once again, for the benefit of the spin impaired and the Kinsella challenged, a summary and translation of the week that was in Kinsella land.

Thanksgiving weekend marked the release of Narcissiev 2.0 (the imperious and arrogant Liberal leader gets a bit of a makeover to appear more modest, compassionate, a kind of newfound sympathy for the poor and working class folk). If I didn't know better (you know, Kennedy's open support for Bob Rae and all), I'd think he'd taken some lessons from Gerrard Kennedy on how to manipulate the public into thinking you actually care about poverty rather than votes.

The work week begins with a shot at the NDP, who apparently weren't quick enough to layout the possibility that Harper will attempt to engineer his own government's defeat with the HST. What Warren doesn't tell you, however, is that the only reason this is now a very real possibility is that the Liberals' ill-timed attempt to bring down the government, their failure to bring anything to the table, and their incessant internal squabbling have offered Harper an opportunity at forming a majority government the next time Canadians go to the polls. If Harper is secretly licking his lips to have an election, we have no one but the Liberals to thank!

Which brings me to the overspun phrase of the week in Kinsella land: "less unpopular". When Kinsella refers to the Conservatives having become "less unpopular" what he really means is Liberals are free falling and Conservatives are steadily edging toward a majority. I ask a similar question that I asked last week. If Harper is reviled, and the Conservatives are less unpopular, what does that make Ignatieff and the Liberals? Wouldn't that make Ignatieff the profoundly reviled leader of a grossly unpopular party???

Not to worry, Kinsella's week was only beginning, and he quickly found a bone to chew on for the remainder of the week: Conservative pork barreling and a politics of arrogance and entitlement. Now, all decent people should be indignant at the Conservatives' deployment of tax payer dollars, especially when Harper railed so strongly against the Liberals when they engaged in likewise cynical and disingenuous politics, while running on a platform of accountability and transparency).

However, here's my question. Does a man who brazenly puts on his website that he ran the war rooms of Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty not sound stupefyingly hypocritical when claiming to be aggrieved by Harper's Conservatives? Relegating the Sponsorship scandal aside and to the past (although let's face it, the not so distant nor the not so irrelevant past which today's Liberals want us to think it is), Kinsella has present ties with the McGuinty Liberals.

McGuinty Liberal governments have been arrogant and corrupt to the core and plagued by scandal after scandal. The recent eHealth boondoggle was only the most recent and largest (to date that is) of the reckless and grossly negligent use of public treasury by the McGuinty Liberals. McGuinty's governments have deployed "slush funds", and have been repeatedly scolded by the auditor general for lacking transparency and accountability in their accounting practices and their disbursement of public treasury. McGuinty governments are no less arrogant nor any less filled with overweening entitlement than Harper's Conservative government. McGuinty Liberals may appear a little more contrite when caught acting grievously negligent with our money, but don't let that fool you. From a Liberal point of view, it is not pork barreling that is wrong, it is getting caught; for that may cost them the only thing a Liberal values: YOUR VOTE!

As someone who very carefully observed and documented the negative attack by Kinsella et al on my now MPP, Cheri DiNovo, I have to say that perhaps even more dismaying than the kind of politics exhibited by Liberals, was the lesson drawn by Liberals. For this young brood of Liberals, which takes their cue from Kinsella (the Cherniaks, the Bowie's, Derek "Born with a Tail" Raymaker etc.), the chilling lesson was not that attempting to destroy a person's long earned reputation and good name is wrong, but that their error was the way in which they attempted to defame and dishonour this person in public. As they claimed at the time, they should have just released "the information" to media and let the media run with it and not they themselves.

Update:
Michael Narcissieff v2.0 codenamed TIN MAN FINDS HEART seems well under way. Seems that having not managed to dupe adults, "Miky" has opted for a longer term strategy (pretend you're Mr. Rogers, snow the kids with your false pretense and hope they vote for you when they're older). Problem is, in the couple of photos I've seen from this ridiculous photo-op, the children haven't appear the least bit impressed. As far as the announcement is concerned, Stageleft has the best riposte. What's next, a raise the minimum wage campaign, an outcry for affordable housing, for increasing welfare and disability benefits. Remember when Ignatieff sought "real" reform on employment insurance to protect workers. Well he quickly abandoned that when he thought he might have a shot at winning a forced election. Not even a child is fooled by Ignatieff's recent LEFT TURN.

13 comments:

kirbycairo said...

While I agree in general with your sentiments here, I must disagree with one point. It is not the Liberals that we would have to thank if the Conservatives were to win a majority, it is the profoundly ignorant Canadian voters who are accepting an agenda of hate and corruption. The NAZI party came to power through the ballot-box. We love to create elaborate stories about politics but if forty-plus percent of Canadians are willing to buy the hateful agenda of Harper and his bullies we have no one to thank but those ignorant enough to fall into this ideology.

Derrida said...

Thanks for your comment. While I agree in general with your sentiments, I too must disagree with one point. I agree that we have a largely ignorant electorate (particularly our young adults) but I wouldn't want to underestimate the role played by the economic system and the entire political system of power in creating and perpetuating that ignorance. Our electoral system is a slap in the face of real democracy.

The Liberals, as the party that helped create an ideology of its natural right to govern (this harkens back to monarchical power relations) is anything but blameless. In fact, while both should be blamed for not being a real viable option within a thinking democracy, I believe the Liberals are actually a hair's width worse than the Conservatives (which is why I pick on them more).

You see, the Liberals are every bit as disingenuous, cynical, arrogant, contemptuous of the electorate, in the pockets of big business, committed solely to brokerage politics and vote getting, etc. Moreover, they do it with a smile and pretend they care, pretending they're a non-ideological party of pragmatic governance. Brokerage politics is as purely ideological as it gets. Personally speaking, the choice between the Conservatives and the Liberals is a question of where one prefers to be stabbed: in the front or in the back. I'd rather avoid it altogether if I could.

Fight for real democracy and recognize the profound limitations of capitalism, which may have finally outlived its usefulness.

Ti-Guy said...

At least the Liberals don't ask you the question you fear the most: How do you define deconstruction?

Heh.

Derrida said...

Ti-Guy,
Nice as always to hear from. Your provocative and engaged manner makes me think you're only posing as a Liberal, but if you're truly a Liberal you're amongst the last remaining intelligent ones of your kind.

Truth be told, I'm actually more of a fair weather deconstructionist. Some days I'm enamored by it, others I'd rather tap into my Marxist Leninist side. Regarding your question, about which the last thing I'd feel is fear, deconstruction as an anti-essentialist philosophy begins with a critique of the very arrogance surrounding definition, and particularly any definition that doesn't announce itself as at the very least provisional. Deconstruction begins with an attack on the the very impossibility of the complementarity inherent in the construction X IS Y. In short, deconstruction finds the verb "to be" repugnant and odious, if for no other reason than its arrogance.

Ti-Guy said...

There's truly something malign about your approach to inquiry and critical thinking. But then, I've never met an obscurantist who isn't deep down, a misanthrope. There's much to be said about being wary of essentialism, but to insist that it, through its authoritarian imposition, always distorts meaning is to make even basic understanding impossible.

There is absolutely nothing redeeming about that.

Derrida said...

A misanthrope and proudly anti-humanist. You're right also that whatever I am, I am unrepentantly and irredeemably that; committed only to provisional truths and the impossibility of ever arriving at final meaning. I don't really see anything terribly contentious in that. Is falsifiability and the provisional nature of hypotheses that not basis of even the scientific method? In fact, I can't think of any committed essentialists wary, reticent, or otherwise. And I still maintain the verb "to be" as copula and essential equivalence is heinously arrogant. I find my position strangely reverential and humbling because the vigilance is eternal and indestructible.

Ti-Guy said...

Yes, it's all fascinating and interesting, but in the meantime, people need jobs, private and public goods and services and meaning in their lives. It's a capitulation on the part of intellectuals to eschew those prosaic considerations simply because they will prove to be ultimately, unsatisfactory, something which I imagine will only become known for certain at the end of time. Which, needless to say, you and I will not be around to witness.

Derrida said...

Who's eschewing??? Me eschewing? Remember, I'm an activist and one day hope to be a community organizer :) I don't know why you presume theory or intellectualism, or philosophy or even obscurantism to be incompatible with prosaic, quotidian practical consideration. Regardless when I'm feeling lazy, I simply tune into my inner Lenin to spur me into practical action.

You allude incidentally to two of the great misconceptions about deconstruction. One is the old canard that deconstruction is ahistorical and apolitical. One need not only a passing acquaintance with the French intellectual scene of the 1960's and 70's, or to take a cursory look at Derrida's biography to realize that such an assertion is patently unsustainable.

Second, is the unfounded fear that we might just deconstruct our way out of meaning altogether. Deconstruction is not solipsism, nor nihilism. It simply presupposes a double movement in all of textuality: a compulsive meaning making and yearning for closure coupled with the inevitable failure of this desire for closure which only iterates more meaning. In the beginning was not the word but supplementarity. If anything the issue is not loss of meaning but of surplus of meaning.

Yes people need jobs and services, but above all they need dignity and recognition. Perhaps it's time to revisit the very system that both sustains and destroys the very dignity of humanity. Capitulation, by the way, would be to resign oneself to capitalism as ineluctable and necessary.

Ti-Guy said...

You allude incidentally to two of the great misconceptions about deconstruction.

When did I do that? Believe you me, if I could say anything specific about deconstruction, I would.

It simply presupposes a double movement in all of textuality: a compulsive meaning making and yearning for closure coupled with the inevitable failure of this desire for closure which only iterates more meaning. In the beginning was not the word but supplementarity. If anything the issue is not loss of meaning but of surplus of meaning.

What does this mean, he asked, sweetly?

Derrida said...

By suggesting that deconstruction is anathema to dealing with real immediate historical pressures and to providing real meaning in people's lives (as opposed to flights of fancy and intellectual obscurantism that marks deconstruction), you are pointing to a common charge leveled at deconstruction. I would simply say that is either an ungenerous and/ or uniformed understanding of the legacy of deconstruction.

As far as the little fun I was having with you with that little outburst of obscurantism, I was simply reassuring the reader that humans will never stop making meaning (compulsive sign making may humanity's distinct selective advantage). I was addressing the fear levied at Derrida early on that deconstruction will lead to the ned of meaning. Secondly, I was referring to the deconsctructive critique of ORIGIN as stable authoritative and privileged source of meaning. Much like the view that in provide a context to something that one is providing a stable, privileged, undeconstructible source of meaning for the TEXT. The context is no less TEXT (i.e. woven, spun, etc) than the text itself.

Ti-Guy said...

I would simply say that is either an ungenerous and/ or uniformed understanding of the legacy of deconstruction.

I'll take ungenerous.

Derrida said...

I'll bet, especially when the misspelled alternative (uniformed) makes you an apologist of Derrida's.

Still, generosity towards Derrida wouldn't be such a bad thing, since I can't think of anyone who has displayed more generosity in reading than Derrida. When Derrida "read" someone's text it was always with the greatest sense of care, reverence and respect. He took the time that was demanded of any deconstructive reading (first you become intimately familiar with the primary text and the secondary texts usually texts attempting to pin down some final meaning of that text; then you apply the slightest bit of pressure on the seams of the text where it is straining hardest to keep itself stitched together and the text deconstructs itself from there). Thus, even though Derrida handed back to a lot of writers a reading they would rather have forgone nor could have foreseen, in doing so he always did it with integrity and out of generosity.

One of the most ungenerous and arrogant critiques of Derrida's I've witnessed was a graduate student who, during a seminar on "Plato's Pharmacy", questioned whether Derrida had actually read Plato. Not only had Derrida read Plato (he was fully conversant with ancient Greek, having fully digested Plato and his commenters), he laboured into the undecidability of Plato's text to produce a new and unrecognizable deconstructive reading of The Phaedrus. That's ethics, generosity, and love rolled into one.

Ti-Guy said...

I'll bet, especially when the misspelled alternative (uniformed) makes you an apologist of Derrida's.

I take it that typo was another instance of text "doing the pushing?"

Sorry, life is too short to spend time analysing the obscure to come down to claims that are usually silly or at best, trivial.

My real beef with deconstruction, by the way is that it has ruined the humanities to the extent that anyone with half a brain will pursue pure and applied sciences, which privileges only one way of knowing and which serves to strengthen technocracy and the brand of capitalism you despise so much.