Hoc est enim corpus meum: notes on Obama’s identity politics

My comment on this bullshit, in which the author for a second rate East Coast magazine seems to claim to know the Southern working class:

This bullshit is false; it is simply not the case that Obama’s race or approval is the real issue for working people in the south. The manipulation of mass media, as Adorno and Horkheimer showed in Dialectic of Enlightenment, has perverse effects. It creates ignorance as a consequence of the instrumentalization of Enlightenment.

One well-known effect, the crudest, and one easily exposed in totalitarian societies, is the Big Lie, in which the general public is deceived. That this is still operational is shown by the fact that in 2005, 70% of the American public, who had been deliberately deceived to believe that “Saddam Hussein has WMDs”.

However, the self-deception of the users of the data is the real issue. This CLOWN knows Southerners as a statistical abstraction who when called by some pollster during dinner, will say what they are expected to say: they don’t like Obama because he’s from Kenya or the Moon, and they sure don’t like gay people.

The real story is of course that they are working a non-union manual labor job with a herniated disk that insurance (what insurance?) won’t cover, and if they apply for workmen’s comp or disability, they’ll be treated as a criminal and fired.

But as French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu showed in his NARRATIVE study of the pain of working class French people, you don’t get the real story by asking questions in a typical poll. In one example, a French woman without an advanced degree had created a creche and a women’s shelter in the rural south of France. Once it was a going concern she was eased out of managing it, and the job was given to a dame with a classy degree.

The French woman who’d done the dog work was thinking of voting for Le Pen.

Another woman complained about the “noisy” Senegalese in her neighborhood who were having wild parties. After sitting with her, the interviewer discovered the source of her anger. It was that the Senegalese were having wild parties with all generations present while she only had two children who never bothered to see her.

I do not believe that political pollsters use this type of in-depth and almost therapeutic interview, since they are so obviously filled with contempt, a contempt I believe derives from their education-indoctrination in the primacy of the representation over the thing and which is manifest in their contempt for Facebook.

Here, the idiot who wrote this article is clearly a product of this self-deception, this reversal of enlightenment, and this bullshit.

Had Obama delivered his race wouldn’t be an issue. Instead, he wasted his political capital through bipartisanship while his base was crucified on a cross of gold.

White and black men in their fifties are driving rigs in non-union jobs and, absent medical coverage and in view of the criminalization of applicants for workmen’s compensation and disability, they are doing so in constant pain.

White men and black men in their fifties are re-upping for tours of duty in Afghanistan in hopes of getting full military retirement benefits. They are humping in constant pain or fogged-in since increasing numbers of them have taken casualties, received first-rate medical care, but then drugged up (in a way in which the soldier cannot receive medication).

Franklin Delano Roosevelt drew the nation’s attention to the great-grandfathers of these men but today it’s politically incorrect to so much as say “the forgotten man” because to us use “man” to mean “human being” is sexist.

OK. The forgotten person who is either not a member of a fashionable subset of humanity, or, which is almost as bad, is a member of more than one conflicting subsets of humanity. The man with white and black ancestry. The woman who gets her strength from religion. The “sissy” gay man who even in the oh so very liberated and oh so very fashionable gay community is deliberately infected by the top dogs, and note that one of the finest gay spokespersons, Larry Kramer, has spoken out against this.

And what is FDR’s Forgotten ManPerson being told? That it’s great that homosexuals marry.

Most of these men truly don’t give a damn whether homosexuals marry, and don’t much like being told by the chattering classes that they hate it; they are quite frankly disturbed by such talk since the experience of homosexuality in the army and in trailer parks is one of male on male rape and nothing else. The PROBLEM is that in a just society, the unnecessary pain of the black and white heterosexual majority is being IGNORED. The PROBLEM is that if I draw attention to it, this makes me a gay-basher, because the rich have made the rest of us into gang members fighting over scraps.

C Wright Mills knew as long ago during the fifties that the PUBLIC of free men, and, after the 19th Amendment, free women, was transformed into a mass by mass media in which we the people are represented as our lowest common denominator whose pain means nothing and can be explained by defects of character.

The old way to get elected in the South was to yell “Nigra” in a crowded theater. Now, people only THINK they have gotten over Nigra politics. But the conceptual, second-order essence of Nigra politics is in fact two propositions: (1) you boys ain’t the problem and (2) that boy over there is the problem. Negative campaigning by the Republicans have refined this procedure, merely substituting an inchoate, female, government worker for the “Nigra”.

But any response that accepts the ontology of them v us and takes the disfavored part’s side is by the structure of the discourse born to lose. Blacks are a minority as are homosexuals, therefore the demographic commanding heights will be not so much actual white working people but their self-image.

Occupy is making a start by putting bodies on the line to say no, your ontology is wrong, the real division in this country is between the 72 year old who, like Cheney, gets a new heart two years after the customary cutoff date, and the 72 year old who’s using pain pills and Jack Daniels to support his grandchildren.

Christ said, hoc est enim corpus meum: this is my body, this is my blood. In another place he said you do wrong to the least of you you do it to Me. We all have to walk through the fire at some point or another and would be, in my opinion, well advised to keep that in mind.

Stop thinking, in other words, of statistical abstractions and start thinking of bodies. On an Outward Bound expedition I had a dream about the pile of garbage that I as an individual had created over the years. In an abstract mathematical sense, in other words, there can be an accounting, a reckoning.

Then there’s the amount of social pain we and our institutions (which are necessarily composed of bodies) that we cause. What I am envisioning here is a supercomputer totaling it all up. It’s a thought experiment. The reality is that compassion stops nowhere you ask me.

The southern working class, white and black, have been hanging on the cross since the end of Reconstruction. Martin Luther King saw this, and said so during the Memphis garbage workers’ strike. They shot him. Robert Kennedy saw this. They shot him. Even George Corley Wallace said this. They shot him. William Jennings Bryan saw this. They laughed.

Obama has only to cowboy up BEFORE the election and STOP playing identity politics. He needs to give a speech about the forgotten person, and help us to see her, sitting in the subway coffee house after getting fired from her teaching job. Help us to see him, sent out on a fishing boat in direct violation of “useless” government regulations without hydrostatic stability monitoring, and going down in a Perfect Storm.

This is itself an abstraction, the forbidden abstraction of the Victim we tell ourselves we will never be. Its symbol is the cross but I’m not Jesus-walloping here. I am only saying…attention must be paid.


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