So, there’s a very energetically written and on-the-surface well-thought-out think piece at Palladium. I read stuff like this from time to time to energize me, give me new ideas and to refine my thinking on such matters as productivity and the zeitgeist. Also, although I didn’t want to quit, I’ve had to quit my last jobs because they were either actively trying to kill me or had made it clear that they wanted a worker who would work more and comment less and I was just plain not working my way around to the boss’s way of thinking, not for a pay cheque that just barely made it over minimum wage. So I wanted to see what this guy thought was what.
After I read the piece, I looked up where his remaining relatives are in Vancouver, and they’re in ritzy parts of town. I just wanted to see if this guy’s attitude was groomed by intergenerational wealth. I can’t prove anything from addresses of course, so I guess I am forced to assume that he’s like me; he had a lot of advantages from his birth family and that they are comfortably placed in terms of acquired wealth. Difference between me and Wolf is that I mention mine, ie, that I would quite literally starve in the street if my parents weren’t supporting me at the moment. (Until the moment that I ended up living at Caspell Junction, I mean, because part of my intergenerational wealth is my healthy grown family and I can’t see Katie letting me live and or starve in the street.)
First paragraph BOLD MOVE quitting your job and looking for a life companion. In that economy? Anyway, one must admire an optimist. And he’s an engineer! practical, dynamic, responsible for maintaining civilization (The Great Leslie smiles and emits a photon! ting!)
Second paragraph, okay, now I actively am on guard against you, whoever you are, cheerfully and casually admitting that you negged your future wife the first time you met her. Perhaps she didn’t get your measure, but I think men who do that are crap in a can, and I am now reading your piece with my back up and a sour expression on my generally sour puss. Oh, Providence is on yer side is it pet, get back to me when she’s divorced you. As I can guarantee she will, if she isn’t planning on it already.
Third paragraph: okay, you’re the world’s most efficient and possibly classiest mooch and user, got it. Got your friends to pay for/ arrange your wedding, nicely done! Married a woman even more frugal than you are, score! It’s hard finding someone who agrees with you on the big issues. Well done.
Fourth paragraph: what in the entire fuck, dude. I shall ditto it in its entirety, because unpacking the assumptions therein is chewing through my cycles at a ghastly rate so I need it in front of me.
When I wasn’t lifting and courting, I was building a network of intellectuals interested in problems of governance from beyond the established liberal democratic paradigm. I didn’t know why it was interesting. In fact, I thought it was a vice. “This is bad for your career,” said the little wage-slave voice in my head, “you should be focusing on more lucrative projects.”
Okay. After preening about his sociobiological fitness, he says that he’s building a network of intellectuals interested in problems of governance from beyond the established liberal democratic paradigm.
Cool. That means OF COURSE that you’re consulting with Indigenous activists, academics, and knowledge keepers and
I’m a fat old white lady living in Burnaby, and you just cannot reasonably expect anyone who cares about ‘problems in governance’ –– without dealing with land theft and the practices of the Indigenous people of this place –– and this gentleman can’t be bothered to think or write about either.
The implication is that he’s only considering the thoughts of other white men when it comes to ‘problems in governance’. I mean WHAT DO YOU THINK a white man MEANS when he says NETWORK OF INTELLECTUALS? After ten years on twitter and twenty on social media I sure’s fuck know what it means to me, but I’m, you know, dark-hearted.
Lacks prove nothing, but don’t you think this absence is a teeny tiny suspicious? I’m on guard against his continued utterances with absolutely no further magnanimity, because he’s shown enough of his true self to appear about as convincingly genuine and smart as Boris Johnson.
“I didn’t know why it was interesting.”
This looks like “My most trivial thoughts are important.”
Yeah, dude, I often have that sensation as well. Keeping a blog since 2004 has fixed me for that. My most trivial thoughts are trivial. They may become important later, if they are integrated into something more important like a song or artwork or writing, but most of what’s in my head is junk. It’s true, something can start small and get important, but this sentence that he’s written also makes me think things like, “If you don’t understand what your moral purpose is, it’s hard to connect one random thing to another in a structurally sound, clear and useful way.”
“In fact, I thought it was a vice.”
OOf. Thinking in anti-capitalist ways is a vice, got it. Or you used to think that. Okay.
“This is bad for your career,” said the little wage-slave voice in my head, “you should be focusing on more lucrative projects.”
Paul used to say things like this to me whenever I was writing. Or he’d tell me to concentrate on poetry, since it was classy or something. Until Paul apologized for the ways in which he’d blocked my songwriting – 25 years in, and obviously too late – this was the real live voice I had next to me in bed at night, so I get where Wolf (the author) is coming from here. Some sympathy. But not much.
It was through those networks.
Okay Wolf, just confirming that it was a coterie of white guys that helped you, since you’re not mentioning how your intellectual cheer squad is made up in any way of marginalized people. Maybe it’s jam-packed with them, but in 20fucking22 you aren’t mentioning it, so, once again, it’s the lack, lack, baby.
Then more patting himself on the back… I’m not sure he can help himself …
Me ‘n’ my friends put a show on in the barn?
Anyway, if you want a transcript of what this guy sounds like? Not saying you do, but here it is. “Growing up in BC made me an environmentalist.” LOL NO DUDE IT MADE YOU A HIKER, British Columbians have the worst record in Canada for throwing grease down their drains and environmentally degrading megaprojects. “Growing up in Canada meant I didn’t have the American political paradigm” RISIBLE Then he says he was raised Unitarian. LOL I wrote a homily called the tyranny of nice specifically for self-deluding Unitarians, so now I have an even better insight into the kind of self-calming behaviour this guy is demonstrating.
And do you not find it interesting that he considers California to be the centre of the universe and FLEES TO BC for COVID? Okay, enough of picking on this poor mecheng.
Back to the main stage:
I’ma skip ahead to the parts that made my blood run cold:
His spirited defence of Elon Musk, raised rich by racist emerald mine owners. DUDE THIS IS NOT A STEP AWAY FROM NEOLIBERALISM, this IS NEOLIBERALISM.
and then this paragraph, which drove the breath from my body with its ableism and eugenics fluffing language
Yes, even the bane of Darwin’s faith—the humble ichneumon wasp that lays its maggots inside the living bodies of caterpillars to eat them from the inside and burst out on maturity like some alien xenomorph—is a beautiful creature with a sacred task. Like many parasites, its role in the great chain of being is to test the health and defenses of its caterpillar host population. Its predation weeds out the sickly, preventing the much uglier injustice of collective weakness and disease, and spurring the evolution of stronger and even more beautiful life. Even fearsome Nemesis, born from chaos via night and darkness, is ultimately the hand of God and the minister of justice. Even the supposed exceptions to justice prove its rule.
So COVID disproportionately killing disabled people is ‘spurring the evolution of stronger and even more beautiful life’. By his logic. Absolutely disgusting, and he DOESN’T EVEN REALIZE HE’S DOING IT.
Because if you asked him how he feels about disabled people, he wouldn’t say anything of the sort, certainly not while the mic was live, but he’s okay with using metaphors that would pinch out disabled lives without a backward glance AND HE HAS NO ONE IN HIS LIFE OR EDITORIAL CIRCLE WHO WILL CATCH HIM ON IT.
I tire of these efforts, so I’ll end with this. This man, well-intentioned, well-educated, and whiter than boiled chicken thighs on rice, has NO FUCKING BUSINESS setting himself up as an expert on governance.
Any more than I do…. which is why I don’t. I have opinions, but I’m not an expert.
Please, if you’re going to be supporting ‘alternatives in thinking about governance’ give your money to the people of colour who’ve DONE THE WORK.