May 09, 2013

Unconsciousness Sometimes Seems the Best Choice

I'm a good person. Mostly. I don't deserve to have horrible things happen to me. Mostly.

I was making my morning rounds. I perused some news stories, read a review of the new Gatsby film -- at which point I realized I was voluntarily choosing to subject myself to horrible things. Enough of that!, sez I. Let's read Tarzie! That should be diverting.

And I saw this. Innocent lamb that I am, I followed the link to the Corey Robin article. And I read it. (I didn't claim to be a healthy person. I said I'm a good person. Mostly.)

Because he enticed me as he did, I am compelled to conclude that Tarzie is a thoroughly rotten human being. It's my own fault. He's not named "Rancid Tarzie" for no reason.

As for the Robin piece: I was reading along, thinking how tiresomely predictable it was, when my eyes grew wide with disbelief as I took in this passage:
No, the connection between Nietzsche and the free-market movement is one of elective affinity, at the level of deep grammar rather than public policy. It will not be found at the surface of their arguments but in the lower registers ...
"the level of deep grammar..." Jeepers. Do you need a pressurized diving suit to descend to that level? "in the lower registers..." Robin seems overly preoccupied with going deep and low. Funny that he mentions Freud in his piece. "Funny" may not be the most accurate word to describe this torturous characterological quirk. ("Quirk" is a decidedly polite term for the problem at issue.)

Whenever I read passages like that, I always have the same question; I apologize in advance for the use of highly technical philosophic terms. The question is simply: What the fuck does that mean? And I always marvel at the ability of professional bullshitters to spew reams of pretentious, vacuous verbiage, just as I rock with laughter at the transparency of the attempt at intellectual intimidation. "I speak of THE LEVEL OF DEEP GRAMMAR. That is how smart I am, you stupid piece of excrement! I am brilliant and supersmart, far smarter than you. You should take instruction from me, and be grateful for it!" The article is filled with similar passages; read it all if you need to punish yourself severely. (Given Robin's preferred method of argumentation, it's amusing that he accuses libertarian theorists of "ideological mystification." I believe our friend Freud referred to that as projection.)

When I am assaulted by carefully cultivated obfuscation of this kind, one judgment (among others) forces itself upon me: "You, sir, are an unmitigated asshole." I am aghast that people can make a good living ladling out such lumpy crap.

I noted one other aspect of Robin's article; in fact, it's impossible to miss. In the course of his not-that-long piece, Robin manages to pimp the following: his essay in The Nation (which Robin says is "long"; no, I will most definitely not be going there); the paperback version of his book (it's "now available"!); and the conference in Luxembourg at which Robin is "presenting." And Robin informs us, oh so casually, that he wrote his post from Luxembourg; that is just how special he is. You're not presenting at a conference in Luxembourg, are you? That's because you're a dumb shit.

That's a lot of self-pimping for a single post. Someone is indeed expert at marketing and selling -- and it's not only the monsters of libertarianism that so bedevil Robin.

It's a funny old world.