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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Confession time « Previous | |Next »
March 3, 2003

I have a confession to make. I agree with Christopher Pearson.

In his 'Online canons guard bards' column in the Weekend Australian (March 1, 2003, p. 2) he---wearing his hat as a member of the Australia Council---calls for the works of Australia's out-of-print poets to be available on an internet archive.

What a great idea: ---a national archive to preserve our cultural heritage before it has been forgotten. Why not include the out of print plays as well?

Common ground between lefties and righties? That puts a bit of sand in the wheels of the blog world eh.

Rest assured. Its not all confession. My mood is not one of contentment from complicity with the neo-cons.

My heart lifted, nay soared, when I came across the scornful tone of the brooding, bunyip professor who, he leds us to believe, lives near a bilabong. He is having a go at eastern liberal journalists reading Cicero and other Roman writers. He sees all of this self-education as a bit of a joke and he pokes fun at them.

The dark passions driving the neo-con 'attack the enemy now' polemics is alive and well. You can see it in the writing.

The good Professor wraps his words in scorn to makes us merry with laughter. Its an old trick: using expert academic knowledge to pour contempt on the other. Only the trick has a new style: ---a polemical humour that is a parody of the rhetorical tradition.

Many of his readers celebrate the writing. Yet the self-conscious, light heartedness of the writing has become false and bewitched. It has a certain dullness to it. Why? Because the good professor has been taken in hand by the new culture industry, and the light-heartedness has become sadistic mockery.

Buried in this writing is a tacit political claim that the cultural heritage is not for civilizing the hoi polloi. That humanist tradition has been trashed along with the need for a liberal education in a democracy. Its pull up the drawbridge time and take refuge behind the walls. Those inside the walls will keep the classical treasures for a select few: ie., those who the wisdom and esoteric knowledge to understand the truth content of the classics. These texts are too dangerous to be left in the hands the children of democracy living on the plains below. They might get the wrong ideas from reading Cicero, and they may not accept the good professors interpretation of these texts. We cannot have his authority being challenged can we?

No sir, I do not believe the Bunyip's comic line about living by the bilabong, being open to nature and caring for the animals. It is a life in the castle, which centres around the joys of masturbation and firing arrows from the turrets at democracy. The virtual professor may celebrate personal freedom and detest the dictates of the (liberal) culture industry, but he sure hates green. Its enough to turn him red and fire off his arrows.

When I read the conservative arrogance towards their enemy---the Other as uncouth, barbarian scribes of the liberal press--- I laugh at the laughter they cause. I laugh at the absurdity of this form of merriment and entertainment. What is remarkable is all that effort that goes into deploying the techniques of rhetoric---the moving force of eloquence--to savage and wound liberal journalists. It suggests that the conservative webloggers are fingering liberal journalists as the cause of a civilized liberal order going all hollow in the centre.

The big thesis, 'demented liberal journalists are the cause of catastrophe', provokes my laughter. But it is also laughter about despair at the decay of liberal values and the dumbing down of the content of rhetoric. Unlike the classic rhetorical writers, the new rhetorical writers rarely engage with ideas.

The trashing of rhetoric by those who profess to defend and guard it indicates just how much conservatism has been colonized by a cynical reason blinded by being on the pleasure machine of violence, death and destruction.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:51 AM | | Comments (4)




Didn't read.

T"he trashing of rhetoric by those who profess to etc"

Learn to write, idiot.

Hi Andrea,
I did try to break up the text into front page and back page but it didn't work.I'm not good on the tech stuff. However, I had another go this morning and it worked like a treat.

But the post is probably still too long for you.

I do enjoy the longer posts on your Spleenville, which is a very fine weblog. It is the work of someone far more experienced than I.

Hi Amos,
welcome back. I missed your cyptic comments. Its been a weak or so since the last contact and I have missed you so.

And I work so hard to attract your attention and gain your acknowledgment of my presence in the bloggosphere.

I will work on acquiring the skills of eloquence that you demand.

As an aside. Maybe you could ask the good professor of the bilabong to gtive a course in classical rhetoric so that we might all learn something.