Author Topic: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)  (Read 11116 times)

senorcorazon

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2008, 10:55:47 AM »
Oh, dear, why am I wading into this?

I equate Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein (and Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon) with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (and David Horowitz and Michelle Malkin).

Boil it, boil it, boil it and every one of them has the same argument: things are bad for you because of THEM.  You aren't happy because of THEM.  THEY are bad, and THEY prevent you from being good.  THEY are morally bankrupt and out to get you.

The only difference is who THEM is.  It's the reason that so many people on the extremes of so many positions used to be at the EXACT OPPOSITE extreme.  They're addicted to blame; who is getting blamed is almost an afterthought.

I would agree that Chomsky and Klein can be repetitive, but there is a HUGE difference between them and people who blame terrorist attacks on homosexuals, for example, or hurricanes on a gay pride parade. Sometimes overextending an argument about the dangers of free market systems is not the same as being a racist or a sexist. I read the Shock Doctrine and felt that she tried to squash too much into her overarching theory of all things, but try to refute her by arguing that Pinochet was justified in his behavior or that the United States has benefited from torturing people; making an argument a little too broad in order to make it digestible for a book is not the same as using religion or the media to get people to avoid talking about the state of their country or government. Sometimes BLAME is okay if it leads to accountability and to righting the system -- the problem is that we don't ever get to the accountability part, especially not for business or politics.

I too am confused as to why I've got into this turd-throwing thread.

todd

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2008, 11:04:43 AM »
Oh, dear, why am I wading into this?

I equate Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein (and Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon) with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (and David Horowitz and Michelle Malkin).

Boil it, boil it, boil it and every one of them has the same argument: things are bad for you because of THEM.  You aren't happy because of THEM.  THEY are bad, and THEY prevent you from being good.  THEY are morally bankrupt and out to get you.

The only difference is who THEM is.  It's the reason that so many people on the extremes of so many positions used to be at the EXACT OPPOSITE extreme.  They're addicted to blame; who is getting blamed is almost an afterthought.

No offense, but this kind of simplistic equivalency argument is one of the worst aspects of American politics today. Boiling them down to their essence is usually a misguided attempt by people without a firm grasp on the facts to justify their shaky understanding. Basically, it does exactly what Yesno said earlier:

Quote from: Yesno
Brandishing them with a disreputable ideological label just seems to me like a convenient way to justify not paying attention to them.

It's pretty easy to draw ideological parallels between people on the right and the left and just throw your arms in the air and say "It's all the same garbage!" But it's not. The two approaches yield different results. 

I'm not trying to call you out or start a fight or anything, I'm just saying I don't find that kind of argument useful. Because then the conversation turns into a distracting "Noam Chomsky is nothing like Pat Robertson!" mudslinging contest instead of a thoughtful analysis of each position individually.

Bryan

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2008, 11:14:36 AM »
Oh, dear, why am I wading into this?

I equate Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein (and Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon) with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (and David Horowitz and Michelle Malkin).

Boil it, boil it, boil it and every one of them has the same argument: things are bad for you because of THEM.  You aren't happy because of THEM.  THEY are bad, and THEY prevent you from being good.  THEY are morally bankrupt and out to get you.

The only difference is who THEM is.  It's the reason that so many people on the extremes of so many positions used to be at the EXACT OPPOSITE extreme.  They're addicted to blame; who is getting blamed is almost an afterthought.

I gotta say, from what I've read of Chomsky (i.e. only the easy stuff) this isn't true at all. He usually takes a pretty hard-nosed, fact-based analytical approach. The only reason it seems extreme is because of the terms of discourse in mainstream culture, which are, arguably, pretty extreme themselves.

I will lend my voice to the chorus of people who have no real interest in an argument about this. But if your familiarity with Chomsky is mostly anecdotal, you should check out some of his lectures. They're cogent, and to me (in the context of my pinko prejudices) very convincing.

ericluxury

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2008, 11:33:06 AM »
Granted I know Klein mainly from hearing her in interviews and documentaries, but mostly from her followers (I went to college with many of them). However, that review of her seemed pretty right on with the problems that I've had with her (though more with the faction of political thinking that holds her up). The shrill-ness and blame corporations (and now neocons) for everything attitude, I think, blocks clear or useful thinking. Its a defensive stance that doesn't allow for either comprimise or priorities. Everything is part of a right wing cabal of people who apparently think exactly the same thing. Often, it doesn't matter what it is, but its definitely evil.

I agree with so many of the basic ideas that followers of Klein (ultra-left? I honestly am less comfortable with many of the political labels than apparently Klein is) about over-consumption and the limits on the use of military force.  But the rhetoric of conspiracy and black and white thinking has always left me cold. I might feel the same about TNR, but that doesn't mean their generally view of her failings aren't on the money.

yesno

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2008, 11:37:22 AM »
TNR is actually largely for spreading a number of distortions about what Chomsky believes.  In fact Christopher Hitchens wrote an article on that very point in the 80s: http://www.chomsky.info/onchomsky/1985----.htm

So I understand a suspicion of what they publish.  I've never truly understood where the "New Democrats" were coming from -- it never seemed to be about ideas to them.  In the Klein case, I think it's unwarranted, because I think she does engage in a lot of facile generalizations that need to be called out.

buffcoat

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2008, 11:58:39 AM »
I think I'll be done with this on this board.  I'd rather keep my political boards and my radio show boards pretty separate.*

I did want to respond to Bryan by saying I've heard and read a lot of things from Chomsky (and all the other people I listed with the exception, amusingly enough, of Naomi Klein - mea culpa).  And also to say that I disagree with Todd over the usefulness of "a plague o' both your houses" type arguments, but that I agree with him that further debate over their usefulness is probably not a wise thing to do.


*To that end, I am wondering why Philly Boy Roy has never weighed in on East Oak Lane's famous native.
I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!

Bryan

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2008, 12:19:19 PM »
Buffcoat: Fair enough.

Yesno: thanks for that link. Oh, for the days before Hitchens destroyed his mind with drink!

Fido

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2008, 11:17:05 PM »
Buffcoat: Fair enough.

Yesno: thanks for that link. Oh, for the days before Hitchens destroyed his mind with drink!

I met Hitchens when I was in college. A group of which I was a member of invited him to our campus to speak.  Which he accepted, and he was fascinating and brilliant. However, since this was almost 20 years ago, I can't for the life of me remember what he discussed. (This is not due to alcohol consumption, only age and the passing of time.) I do remember going out with him and a group of students to one of the few local bars, appropriately enough, and I distinctly recall feeling that none of us was his intellectual equal.  Not even close, and that intimidated me, probably more than it should have. 20 years hence, with all that Hitchens has written, there is no way in the world I would feel similarly intimidated by having a drink/drinks and a conversation with him. I would probably be focused on asking why the hell he has written some of the things he has. On the other hand, I've grown up a lot and have much more confidence in myself.

Fido

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2008, 11:26:39 PM »

Wait, I realize that I'm confused by this thread.  Is this the smackdown you all were talking about?





yesno

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2008, 11:32:24 PM »
I think Hitchens is a brilliant writer.  Just not a very convincing one.  He's a pretty good example of the immoderate thinker who ricochets from one extreme to the other.

Fido

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2008, 11:42:32 PM »
I'd concur with that assessment wholeheartedly, and would add that that's a combination that makes for great television, less so for great writing.

John Junk 2.0

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2008, 11:52:35 PM »
I haven't read anything by any of these people but I have a subscription to Harper's and I agree with buffcoat!

The End.

dave from knoxville

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2008, 11:53:46 PM »
Buffcoat, you get down off of that ledge RIGHT NOW

buffcoat

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2008, 04:07:48 PM »
Buffcoat, you get down off of that ledge RIGHT NOW

Wait, does this mean I'm the monkey?
I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!

Sarah

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Re: Naomi Klein smackdown (of, not by)
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2008, 04:09:09 PM »
If so, be flattered.