07 April 2006

Stupidity as revolution

Concerning the new Flarf battle spawned by this blog:

Being uneducated or, as Chris says, un-self-educated does not make you a revolutionary proletariat. Being ignorant is stupid, period. Being ignorant enough that you become appropriated into a Flarf PC joke means you are ignorant, a classless affliction. Ignorance is always a choice.

Accorded to my notions of class consciousness Flarf ranks somewhere near riding in the back of a pickup truck. Subject to wind patterns, noises, sights etc., less introspection, but you may see something or be part of something unique and of that precise moment of your perceiving.

As Clumsy Marxist Rants go my favorite is still Martin Tempralis’ in the 1961 essay anthology The Pooh Perplex:

"Scarcely less central a symbolic character than Rabbit is Owl, the pedantic plutocrat who resides at ‘The Chestnuts, an old-world residence of great charm, which was grander than anyone else’s.’ A spelling champion and a master of flowery, empty rhetoric, Owl is the necessary handservant to the raw acquisitive passion of Rabbit, which badly needs to be cloaked in grandiosities. The friendship of these two intellectual thugs is a perfect representation of the true role of ‘scholarship’ in bourgeois-industrial society: the end purpose of Owl’s obscure learning is to spread a veil of confusion over the doings of the fat cats, to cow the humble into submission before the graven idols of ‘objective truth’ and ‘the Western tradition,’ and to rob the proletariat of its power to protest. What could be more meaningful than the fact that Owl has stolen the very back tail from the back of Eeyore, the most downcast, bounced-upon member of society, and has converted it into a doorbell? When Pooh comes to retrieve it he is not offered so much as a lick of honey. Rabbit, the industrial manager, at least understood that one must give a subsistence in exchange for the worker’s largely unpaid toil, but Owl, the ‘pure’ scholar who confesses to be innocent of the ways of the world, excuses himself from even this much elementary compassion. The trahison des clercs is the correct name for this sort of thing." (23)

Followed by this from editor Frederick C. Crewes:

"Questions and Study Projects

"1. In our Freshman English courses we try to show that everyone, within very broad limits, is entitled to their own opinion on any subject. Do you feel that Tempralis was entitled to his 1939 opinions about Pooh? Why not?

"2. Tempralis seems obsessed with ‘fascism,’ doesn’t he? Look up this difficult word in your dictionary and explain its meaning to the class."

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