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Identity crisis April 12, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Very interesting Zero Squared (Zero Books) interview with Norman Finkelstein, not about Palestine and Israel but about academic freedom. I sympathise with parts of his case and not with others. But he makes the point about …

…an academic left that has become utterly detached from the real life struggles of real life people.

His point was in relation to the focus on transgender as against autism or those with other disabilities. And if I understand his argument it wasn’t that the rights of the former weren’t to be upheld but that there was a discourse which largely ignores the latter.

I more than half agree that there’s possibly an over-focus and that a broader egalitarian approach might be more positive, but I would say that there’s an issue here which is necessary to parse out. That issues of sexuality will in this society seemingly always gain more interest, prurient and otherwise, than other issues.

He calls it a fetish on the left but there’s a further issue that that ignores it is also a fetish on the right. And always was. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that the very recent reality that oppression against those who are lesbian or gay was codified into law is seemingly somewhat forgotten in these discussions.


1. Aengus Millen - April 12, 2017

You’re right on the money here. I thank god that I am probably in the last generation (in the west) that experienced and bore witness to hardcore homophobia but that doesn’t mean we can just ignore these issues. Transgender people are still horribly mistreated and deserve our support and activism. I like your point on the way this is understood on the right. The point to me is that not providing funding and awarness to issues surrounding autism and disability is part of the larger capitalist unwillingness to put money into services. The hatred against lgbtq people runs deeper on the right which is why lgbtq people end up experiencing their hatred much more viscerally. I note that republicans in North Carolina are trying to recriminalize same sex marriage in flagrant violation of federal law.


WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2017

Would entirely agree with you Aengus.


2. Dr. X - April 12, 2017

Where’s the link? And having encountered Finklestein in the flesh, I think his take on academic freedom is a lot more nuanced than you might think.

Didn’t stop the anti-Deutsch showing up, but that’s what happens when Norman F. comes to town.


WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2017

His thoughts on academic freedom are quite nuanced – absolutely, and I rather liked his approach overall, and in a sense the OP doesn’t seek to address them, simply point out my thoughts on the specific comment he made re issues of sexuality and why it’s not just the left who fixate on them by a long shot.


Michael Carley - April 12, 2017

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