[eDebate] in defense of lost causes

Kevin Sanchez let_the_american_empire_burn
Wed Jul 1 11:25:03 CDT 2009


(arrg, my previous post was erased in transit - wasn't trying to make
any deep point by leaving a post titled 'the big lie' blank.)
_

in reply to,
http://www.ndtceda.com/pipermail/edebate/2009-June/079077.html
_

if you're unwilling to respond to legitimate counter-arguments to
your thesis on iran, then you're guilty of the very 'bogus pretense'
you accuse me of, jack. what's more, reese erlich's article is dated
the 29th, so i couldn't have posted it before monday. (you missed
the boat on this one; no shame in admitting it when you're wrong.)
_

stroube cites a two sentence-long snippet from an interview with
foucault that he apparently translated himself to refute my claim
that foucault was never a structuralist. nevertheless, when i cited
a much longer passage to demonstrate the importance of marxism
on foucauldian praxis,  it was reduced to "foucault's mentioning the
proletariat and exploitation in a quotation". (foucault does more
than merely mention the proletariat, of course; he places it firmly
in the driver's seat of all revolutionary struggle, arguing that any
struggle against power enters as a natural ally of the proletariat -
a fairly significant proposition for an alleged post-marxist.) why the
double-standard in reading the two excerpts? why do you have no
problem ascribing the utmost significance to foucault's 'death-bed
clarification' that heidegger was his biggest philosophical influence,
yet a famous conversation with deleuze is discarded as tangential?
(...is the only real difference that *i* cited one while *you* cited
the other, jack?)

in any case, the foucault quotation hardly helps to characterize
foucualt as 'a conventional structuralist': what other structuralist
from that era analyzed 'the birth of structuralism in terms of the
structure itself'? and for foucault to say he adopted 'a structuralist
*style*' _is consistent_ with his self-characterization to rabinow
and dreyfus: while "he agreed that he was never a structuralist",
he was perhaps "not as resistant to the seductive advances of
structuralist vocabulary as he might have been" (page xii, beyond
structuralism and hermeneutics, 1983).

(i'm NOT saying one has to agree with foucault's self-assessment
here; it's quite possible he's eschewing a label that suits him. but
shouldn't the fact that he never considered himself a structuralist
be our starting-point? ...or do we not have to concern ourselves
with what foucault said about what he wrote because there are
'many foucaults'? ...can we now appreciate the slippery slope we
risk when we begin with the notion of a foucault that's okay with
contradicting himself? we can throw out statements like foucault's
'death-bed clarification', for example, on the grounds that 'that's
just what *that* foucault thought on that particular day'.)

when read against foucault's (almost stroube-esque!) 'forward to
english readers' in front of 'the order of things' (1966), the matter
is somewhat settled as it now lays,

"In France, certain half-witted 'commentators' persist in labeling
me a 'structuralist'. I have been unable to get into their tiny minds
that I have used none of the methods, concepts, or key terms that
characterize structural analysis."
_

(i like civility, but i've been willing to let it slide at times if there's
substance underneath. i've defended jack stroube's passion to
others for nearing a decade on the presumption that there was
a method in the madness. i'm no longer convinced of that. and
perhaps i do owe those who've been on the receiving end of his
rants an apology. still, no one is sadder than me to see him as a
lost cause.)
 
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