Thursday, March 13, 2008


(w. apologies to allen ginsberg)

i saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Theory
running naked through academia thinking they were on a battleground
talking critical deconstruction whiteness queer play
wearing their lyotards and hiring their butlers
talking like people who'd never had to struggle for a meal
--even though many of them did--
in which their addiction to poststructural bullshit make them feel even guiltier for being poor
(poorness being an unacceptable category of discussion;
as well as a barrier to buying drinks for their cynical professors)
abandoning all faith in humanity except as text
abandoning all hope for liberation except in the mind of the mind of the mind
fighting only the safest but sexiest sounding fights
then turning away from real battles because of ontological purity
afraid to get their fingernails dirty
afraid to explain and justify their lives to people living in trailers
afraid to face their own complacency
telling themselves their next conference paper would liberate humanity
telling themselves discourse was reality
embarassed that their dead miner railworker soldier grandparents
might rise from the grave and ask them what the hell they were doing with their lives

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Buckley: Epidictic Obit Follow-Up

Two good pieces on William F. Buckley's life and death appear today: Patrick Martin's Marxist-oriented obit, which does an especially good job taking apart the bourgeois media's obsession with and gushing praise over Buckley, and David Michael Green's "tribute" to Buckley's spectacular historical wrongness. Both essays, coincidentally, share a common theme: Buckley not only missed history, but wanted to end history, to stop the clock, to preserve the inequality and privilege of his time, and even to return to a more hierarchical time. Green sums it up nicely:

So who do you think history will judge to have gotten this question right, eh? --Martin Luther King Jr. or Bill Buckley? One could say that Buckley's position was just about the most spectacular example ever recorded of the missing of a historical train. There was Ol' Bill (who actually didn't even have the excuse then of being old), standing on the (whites only) platform, watching the Morality Express go whooshing by.
But then, wasn't missing just such trains precisely the point of conservatism?

Dungeon Master Loses Hit Points

"In the Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest I," Fry asks the Professor's What If machine what would have happened if he hadn't been frozen. The machine produces a scenario that shows Fry narrowly avoiding being frozen. But because that didn't happen, and chain of events that never happened cause a rift in the time-space continuum. Fry is then abducted by the Vice Presidential Action Rangers, Al Gore, Nichelle Nichols, Stephen Hawking and Gary Gygax. They decide that to protect the universe, they must kill Fry. But when that causes another rift, they decide to freeze him after all. Fry breaks the tube before he is frozen, causing the universe to collapse in on itself. Fry's scenario ends with the group playing Dungeons and Dragons for all eternity." (

Here is Russell Fox's recollection of his adolescent Dungeons and Dragons experiences, in memory of the recent death of beloved D&D creator Gary Gygax.

In many ways, the political and ethical imagination instantiated by my participation in academic and public debate was conditioned by my experience with fantasy and science fiction comics, novels and roleplaying games. Moreover, those games were a lifeline to friendships and a social life for me. If there was a more awkward 13-15 year old on the planet besides myself, I never met them.

Gygax also, quite unintentionally, revived a somewhat dormant fantasy and science fiction craze.

Rest in peace, GG.