My Blog Week: July 24 to July 30
A Word on the Week
Agitprop (part one)
Western culture, from the end of WWII, and prolifically in the 1960s and 70s, embraced pop psychology. Ideas of the unconscious mind, of latent and repressed tendencies, got whipped to a consumerist froth by thrillers, both novels and movies. These notions, with their jargon, and the attachment to them by pseudo-authorities, led the public into a number of bad habits.
One was a belief in the hidden—mostly in hidden motives, creating a folkism that face value behaviors are untrustworthy (although readers of serial killer yarns have digested a lot of “hidden personalities” and “hidden memories”, as well). Another, working closely with the first, is the belief that honesty, grounded in authenticity, is terribly important, that polite exchanges are based on lies, that when people say please and thank you, or “thoughts and prayers”, the words are meaningless, with no committed feelings behind them. And that people who express themselves dishonestly must be outed.
These are the pop-psych fundamentals that fuel the “You have a duty to understand me!”/”How dare you claim to understand me?” paradox we’ve seen so much of in social media melees.
By heightening the emotional investment we culturally expect of passing transactions, we diminish our ability to humor and tolerate foibles. Wanting to be not just a good person, but an example of a good person, is a foible of ego.
Vice President Harris fell into controversy this past week, for describing herself to a sight-impaired audience, and announcing her pronouns. The first seems exemplary; the second is worth getting a handle on—we will see pronouns amplified to inflict maximum damage (to Democrats) before the 2022 midterms.
Assignment one: have a good grip on how many voices in public tussles are trolls in the first place, and not voting constituents; and don’t decide immediately after a Twitter session: “This is what people think!”
As to the role the issue is playing in the public discourse, here’s an exercise in perspective. Suppose it became a thing—for celebrities, adding to their social media profiles; for politicians, giving speeches and chairing meetings; for influencers of various stripes—to state Pregnancy Status.
“I am not.” “I am.” “I might be.” “I am post-menopausal.” “I was born without a uterus.”
Etc. You might think this would be right-wing craziness…but it could come as easily from the left. All that’s needed is a formula of rhetoric, and the representation that Pregnancy Status Statements are a show of solidarity for women oppressed by Red State governments.
The rhetoric would be: “They want to body-shame women into silence, they want to stop us from publicly discussing our reproductive rights. If confronting pregnancy makes them uncomfortable, then we say—
You can see, the argument might even be a little tempting to a liberal. So let’s say it plainly, Pregnancy Status Statements would be a terrible idea.
On Monday, The Sword Decides!, terms bitterly come to between Giovanna and her sake-of-appearances husband. Tuesday, “Queen’s Knight”, the latest Eight poem in the Chess series. Thursday, a reissue of an Uncollected Poem, “Away Like Dust”. On Friday, “The Resident” (which has grown into a novella at the least), ended its first chapter, with Desander learning suggestive things from Teconieshe, about Claudine. Saturday, a Rattus reissue, “Now to Steal”.
Images on my posts sometimes have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: July 24 to July 30