A few things
First off–I’ve received an unconditional early acceptance to the Michigan State American Studies doctoral program–which means that, no matter what fruit my other applications may reap, Saints, Anonymous is now a certainty!!! I don’t think I could possibly overstate how excited I am! I hope you’ll all be there for the finished product, a few years down the line… Meanwhile, I’ve got to get seriously to work on the Gwen Stacy clone paper I want to present at McGill University in March–the proposal has to be in by Monday. I’ll post what I come up with on the blog Sunday night!
Also, Eve Tushnet has turned in some fine work on Watchmen, and John Jakala has posted some cogent remarks on the piece… Personally, I don’t have much to offer for now, because it’s been about fifteen years since I looked at Watchmen, but I’ll say this–Eve, you’ve succeeded in making me want to re-read the series, and I certainly will, as soon as I get a spare half-day and twenty-five bucks! Thank you!
And to Jim Kalb:
Clearly, we’ve reached an impasse. We’re throwing “multiculturalism” at each other like the hot potato that it is. You claim that identity politics are somehow the brainchild of some “liberal elite” scheme to break down the traditional culture that you claim to belong to; while I maintain that this very same phenomenon is the product of a culture war between blocks of traditionalists (led, in each case, by small cadres of “lobbyist popes”)–each of whom (perversely) equate individual rights with group rights.
In a consistent liberal state, there is no place for group rights. We can blame prejudice and xenophobia for the fact that “group rights” have, historically, been necessary in the united states (& in other liberal countries)…
You don’t need Affirmative action programs in a colour-blind state. You don’t need hate-crime legislation unless you’ve got the KKK. But the fact is that these things do exist, and steps have been taken in order to improve the lot of the individuals within the affected groups… But only a traditionalist/conservative could approve of “multiculturalism” as a good in itself. Any time a human being chooses to describe themselves as anything but a “human being”, liberalism has been thwarted. I agree with you Jim, when you say that “identity politics” are a sign of ill health in a state–but I blame continued intolerance for sustaining this plague. I blame “culture warriors”. In short, Jim–I blame you!
But let’s put all of that aside for a moment. As you say, “Identity politics” are a daily fact of life in Western liberal democracies. And what do you propose to do about this fact? Presumably:
1. shut down immigration, or reduce it to the point of insignificance; or bring in 1920’s style quota laws that would only allow the “right kinds” of immigrant into the state–and by the way, Catholics (like my Italian, Irish, and Quebecois forebears) were always near the bottom of those lists, my friend!
2.browbeat the people who are already within the country’s borders into accepting the wisdom of the ages, as interpreted by you.
Do I exaggerate?
And what’s my solution?
The liberal solution?
I think we’re just gonna have to keep working on it. Breaking up these little cliques in the High School Cafeteria of the State, and discouraging the kind of “entrenched traditionalist” bullying that fosters the disaffection that breeds political multiculturalism.
I guess you like your way better Jim–but do you even for a moment believe that it has a hope of succeeding? I believe my way does…
Good night friends