Monday, October 05, 2015

"Privilege" Aplenty!: "Nuclear Family Privilege"

   The thing I love about Salon is that they publish this stuff with, as it were, a completely straight face. It makes McSweeny's look like The Congressional Record. Embarrassingly, it took me a long time to catch on. I thought Salon was merely a cesspool of trendy, muddle-headed, liberal-ish lower-middle-brow clickbait...when, in fact, they're clearly pretending to be a cesspool of trendy, muddle-headed, liberal-ish lower-middle-brow clickbait in order to "perform" (as the elitterati might say) a kind of complex commentary on that sort of thing...
   Incidentally, this does seem like an occasion for raising an issue that we obviously need to deal with at some point. I write, of course, about not-being-driven-to-distraction-by-moronic-cultural-fads-like-"privilege"-mongering privilege. Think of all the time, attention and energy people like us waste being annoyed by idiotic nonsense like this, when other people pass by it with nothing more than a fleeting feeling of revulsion... And they are oblivious to their privilege in this regard! What good is our pain if others cannot be made to feel guilt for not feeling it??? To what end do we...oh...hold on...dammit... I've got to get ready for class. Which reminds me that I also need to write sometime about having-prepared-your-lecture-over-the-weekend-when-you-were-supposed-to-instead-of-putting-it-off-until-Monday-morning privilege... Not to mention having-remembered-to-buy-orange-juice-privilege...that being something I particularly want to emphasize this morning, and something I sincerely hope you'll feel guilty about. Every time someone forgets to buy orange juice, those of you who didn't forget benefit...

4 Comments:

Blogger The Mystic said...

We may need to keep on hand the following stock reaction to these articles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

9:29 AM  
Anonymous rotgut said...

How should I credit you when I use "having-remembered-to-buy-orange-juice" privilege?

I'm as annoyed by this stuff as the next guy (maybe not as annoyed as you, but annoyed nonetheless.) But isn't there a strain of non-crazy liberalism that leads to something in this general ballpark? The Rawlsian idea that differences between people are arbitrary from a moral point of view seems to get us pretty close. I don't deserve my non-forgetfulness that leads to my greater consumption of OJ. That is an unearned benefit I get because society is structured so as to benefit those with good memories. It might be justified if those inequalities benefit the least well-off, but it is still a kind of privilege. (Happily, Rawls never--that I remember--used that term in that way.)

It's been a long time since I've actually read or thought much about Rawls, but I do seem to remember this stuff and it does seem to jibe with privilege-mongering. Maybe Rawls was not non-crazy.

10:26 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Well, rotgut, I don't think there's any denying that accidents of life grant us benefits and constraints regardless of our own merit, and Rawls probably agreed with that, but the "privilege" thing is problematic nonetheless given that it stems from the pretense that all such accidents can or should be ironed out.

We gotta be able to deal with some unearned disadvantages as human beings, and we shouldn't make it our political mission to ensure that no one ever experiences any.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Don't try to make me get serious about this crap, 'gut... I'm on a roll...

Actually, I think I basically agree with what the Mystic said--I understand everybody shows up with and acquires a whole panoply of advantages and disadvantages...

It's really the silly / inaccurate term 'privilege' that I'm bitching about... Well, along with the silliness of (and I'm not making this term up) "privilege theory"...

Anyway, I don't particularly have anything interesting to say about this. We all end up with advantages and disadvantages... Some are so great that it makes sense for us to try to tamp them down / temper them / mitigate them... Some not so much...

My father was a violent psychopath. That sucked in a million ways, screwed me up, held me back, knocked me off track all over the damn place. It sucked. I'm envious of people who grew up in sane, stable families, but IMO it is dumb as shit to describe that situation as: they had non-psychopathic- father- privilege. Rather, they were lucky. Or, more accurately, I was unlucky. Is luck "a kind of privilege"? I don't know. The things are similar. But 'luck' or 'advantage' is more accurate, and doesn't form a part of a contentious theory according to which everybody who wasn't unlucky benefits from people like me being unlucky...

Meh. Me no sleep good, then me overcaffinate. Me no think so good.

You could be right.

1:59 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home