I’m busy so, instead of writing my own stuff, I’ll just point at the efforts of some other bloggers.
This at Fisking Central is a point worth making over and over again:
Utopia doesn’t refer to a better world; it’s used to describe a perfect world.
Belief in human perfectability—and its accompanying rejection of all that is imperfect—is not aspirational. That’s ideology. It may be part of the human condition but at best it’s just untrue and at worst it’s totalitarian.
UPDATE: Shuggy piles in too.
Holyhoses Bob is teaching media studies, a discipline I’ve defended in the past. That doesn’t mean I’ll defend many of the people teaching it. Bob, however, is probably good at it, given that he makes a reasonable go of compressing the entire emergence of popular music into one short blogpost. It’s not perfect, but could you do better in the same space?
(This month, Sound On Sound printed a sweet interview with Les Paul about how he had to invent multi-track tape recording to make his and his wife’s version of How High The Moon. I’d be happy to email you a copy—for pedagogical purposes of course.)
In contrast to media studies, Freudian psychology is a monumental con, a multi-layered pseudoscientific cult so rich in deceptions and so damaging to real scholarship that it doesn’t deserve even a measured and insightful entry in an online journal like Mick Hartley’s, but he’s obviously a big softie.
James Hamilton, who comments beneath that piece, is (as someone like Instapundit might put it) blogging up a storm lately at More Than Mind Games. There’s so much interesting stuff to read there I don’t know what to link to.
We should Unashamedly Embrace Utopia
We should be, without hesitation or embarrassment, utopians. At the end of the twentieth century it is the only acceptable political option, morally speaking. I shall not dwell on this. I will merely say that, irrespective of what may have seemed apt hitherto either inside or outside the Marxist tradition, nothing but a utopian goal will now suffice. The realities of our time are morally intolerable. Within the constricted scope of the present piece, I suppose I might try to evoke a little at least of what I am referring to here, with some statistics or an imagery of poverty, destitution and other contemporary calamities- But I do not intend to do even this much. The facts of widespread human privation and those of political oppression and atrocity are available to all who want them. They are unavoidable unless you wilfully shut them out. To those who would suggest that things might be yet worse, one answer is that of course they might be. But another answer is that for too many people they are already quite bad enough; and the sponsors of this type of suggestion are for their part almost always pretty comfortable.
There is more than one sort of utopian and more than one sort of anti-utopian. Those who tend to be most seduced by utopias, *and* more repressive of utopias are not the people that offer a bold vision of a future remade but those that seek to impose a fictitious past on a reluctant present i.e. they are reactionaries.
And don’t get me started on Marxists, Will. I only talk to Norman “no mates” Geras because no one else will.
Nice shorts he has tho’. Ralph Lauren — is the brand still ‘of the moment’?
(No gay shorts joking from me — yet).
[…] PooterGeek contains extended scenes of moderate fantasy menace « A Weekend Trip To The Recycling Centre […]
Thanks for the mention.
[…] Via things magazine, I discovered an article in the Archinect about how when the people of the virtual community Second Life are given freedom to build whatever they want they recreate suburbia.The author of the piece broadcasts his own prejudices. I hate shopping as well, but I winced at this: [L]ike most utopias, [Second Life] is currently threatened by the all-encompassing allure of shopping. […]