“Understanding Karl Marx”

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010 • no responses - be the first

Excerpt from UC Berkely economist Brad DeLong‘s lecture on Marx:

Karl Marx had a three part intellectual trajectory. He started out as a German philosopher; became a French-style political activist, political analyst, and political historian; and ended up trying to become a British- style economist and economic historian. At the start of his career he believed that all we had to due to attain true human emancipation was to think correctly about freedom and necessity. Later on he recognized that thought was not enough: that we had to organize, politically. And then in the final stage he thought that the political organization had to be with and not against the grain of the truly decisive factor, the extraordinary economic changes that the coming of the industrial revolution was bringing to the world.

And another:

Marx is mostly an economist and economic historian, but he is also part political activist–and also part prophet.

Read or listen to DeLong’s full lecture here.

h/t Ezra Klein
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D’Souza & The Right Wing

by TKOEd • Monday, Sep 13, 2010 • no responses - be the first

Offered without comment:

All of which to say is there’s no need to parse the ethnic origins or political philosophies of Obama’s parents to understand the ideology of Barack Obama. He is a center-left Democrat who supports mainstream Democratic policies. But some conservatives don’t want to talk about policy. They are unable to engage in an argument with liberalism on substantive terms; they know only argument by epithet.  They want to talk about the fact that our blackety black president is blackety black. It has been two years since a black man was elected president of the United States, and for a group of conservatives clinging to their cultural superiority, this was a moment of apocalyptic existential crisis, a moment that refuted all they had come to know and understand about themselves, about black people, and about this country. D’Souza is writing for them, the same kind of audience he has always written for

More here.

Added:

This is a MUST read.

Camille Paglia Screams For Gaga (& Her Fans) To Get Off Her Lawn

by TKOEd • Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 • 2 responses - join us

Camille Paglia has a “profile” of Lady Gaga in this week’s Sunday Times (UK). Though I agree with a lot of what Paglia has to say here about Lady Gaga (her points about Gaga being compared to the likes of Madonna, and even worse David Bowie, are very good), I take issue with a couple of her assertions.

1st off I don’t get why Gaga needs to be sexual in Paglia’s eyes. Aren’t women sexualized enough in pop culture? One can argue that for a woman to become a huge star while simultaneously being asexual is a triumph, and a sign that younger folks are possibly beginning to move past America’s obsession with sex.

This line is particularly problematic:

Gaga’s fans are marooned in a global technocracy of fancy gadgets but emotional poverty.

Paglia seems to give no other evidence for her statement besides people putting more of their personal selves in public.

There is also an enormous amount of “get off my lawn” aspect to what Paglia is saying. She just sounds like an old person who doesn’t get all these weird things, and people some young people are into. Paglia even calls Gaga rude for wearing shades during an interview. Sure it’s a bit rude, but Gaga is a rock star after all. Not the 1st one with an affinity for shades & she certainly won’t be the last.

People like Paglia will never understand why some young & not so young people love Gaga. Gaga isn’t for her. If Paglia would have stuck to the points about Gaga as in artist, especially her point about Gaga’s corporate backing, she would have really hit it out of the park.

One more thing the idea of Paglia as “America’s foremost cultural critic”, as the Times (UK) calls her, is pretty laughable. I don’t know who is, but I know she ain’t.

If someone is going to critique, and attempt to tell people why someone like Gaga is popular it probably shouldn’t be someone who’s 63 years old. I was just talking about the hegemony of old people in positions of power on twitter. It’s not just about politics. It’s about academia, journalism & many other areas. I don’t think we need to push older folks aside, but we need to be much, much less dismissive of young(er) people. They/we know a lot more than folks older than us give us credit for. A lot of our leading thinkers & revolutionaries were in their 30′s or younger when they made names for themselves and/or their organizations.

(h/t Danielle Scruggs)

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