08 January 2007

Your own personal blogging puppet

(This was originally going to be entitled, "Your own personal blogging whore", but I decided that's perhaps a bit too irreverent, even for me.)

As I seem to have built up a bit of a regular audience, and as it's the time of year for coming over all expansive and generous, I thought I would try an "open for requests" approach. If it works, I might do it again.

So, if you have a suggestion for something for me to rant about from my own idiosyncratic perspective, please let me know.

Here are some possibles: Chapman Brothers, climate change sceptics, management consultancy, string theory, parallel universes, blood porn (ask), compulsory medication.

But anything considered. No, really, anything. Madonna, Iraq (yawn), astrology, indie rock, EastEnders, Foucault, endogenous growth theories, whatever.

One reader (Paul) has already made a suggestion in a comment on the Germaine Greer post, i.e. are variations in average pay between men and women due to innate gender differences? Not sure if I shall be brave enough to tackle that particular PC hot potato. We shall see.

Go on, pull the strings of the blogging puppet. You know you want to.

Offer closes 31 January 2007. Only one suggestion per reader. Winners will be notified by blog. Offer open to anyone over 6, excluding employees of mediocracy PLC or any person professionally connected with this offer and their immediate family. Fabian Tassano reserves the right to withdraw or amend any part of this promotion due to circumstances arising outside his reasonable control. He is not responsible for any third party acts or omissions.


Mitchell said...

The history of your association with Celia Green, how Oxford Forum works, and related matters.

In particular, I'd be interested to know whether you agree that, e.g. "People are, mostly, very interested in other people but in a negative and destructive way, which is usually rationalised as benevolent or altruistic", to quote a recent formulation of Celia's; because it is this and similar propositions which have always been the main stumbling block for me, when considering her psychological ideas. Her description of higher-level psychology - its attitudes and the motivations behind them - has always made perfect sense to me, nor would I deny that displaced hostility towards impersonal limitations is a real and radically underremarked factor in ordinary psychology. But the idea that the mental lives of the "sane" are actually dominated by such impulses is, I think, wrong. I think it's more that people are simply oblivious of those considerations which would make living an ordinary life intolerable, and of the reasons for thinking that resignation to such a state of affairs is invalid. To be sure, this state of oblivion is socially fostered (discussion of such unpleasant matters is avoided, and there are widely available pseudo-answers for anyone who does become troubled) and instinctively cultivated. But I think that the interest of adult human beings in other adult human beings mostly derives from (i) the practical vicissitudes of staying alive (ii) the satisfaction of relatively banal appetites, mostly emotional; and that beyond that, there is often a considerable amount of interpersonal goodwill, but it is employed toward ends which, from a higher perspective, appear either ineffectual or counterproductive.

Mr Anonymous said...

BBC News 24 regularly links to Wikipedia.

Please severely slate wikipedia as a Maoist disinformation project.

Fabian Tassano said...

Interesting suggestion, Mr Anonymous, but isn't part of Wiki's appeal the fact that they give more weight to alternative cultural viewpoints, i.e. conservative and libertarian, than the mainstream media does?

Mister Anonymous said...

It provides cultural viewpoints?

Because it permits any semi-literate nerd to join the cyber-maoist mob of 'editors' of a 'radical encyclopedia' whose 'radicalism' consists in the fact that it expresses a consensus of semi-literate nerds. And it permits them to feel "empowered" by being on their way towards some paranoid 'world-wide control over knowledge' - knowledge being just the commodity which Wikipedians are quite impotent to produce. And so on.

Fabian Tassano said...

Let me see if I've got you so far. You think that:

- the majority of people who create/hone Wiki articles are nerds of limited sense and literacy;

- Wiki is radical only insofar as it permits people to write about stuff who aren't really informed enough to be writing about it;

- Wiki editors are on some dubious and undesirable mission to control/redefine knowledge.

I agree there is a certain amount of illiteracy on Wiki, though surprisingly little, considering. Also no doubt a few factual errors. But overall, it strikes me as pretty damn useful, particularly for getting a definition or brief overview.

For example, I just consulted Wiki on the term "Maoist". Going by that (which confirmed what I knew about it independently), it seems Maoism is not that different from Marxism-Leninism, except possibly in stressing the role of the peasantry, rather than the industrial proletariat, as an instrument to be used by communist politicians for gaining dominance.

Could you please either (a) explain how my understanding of Maoism is wrong, (b) elucidate how the term applies to Wikipedia, which may be described as 'populist' but hardly as 'communist' - the latter term requiring (in practice, notwithstanding any claim to the contrary) the ability to invoke the state apparatus.

By the way, are you by any chance an academic?