Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I think Pollitt gets a few things wrong here -- but yes, this was a great man.

Just saying.

... in comments Phila calls Bourdieu's writing "engagingly jaundiced and no-nonsense." That's exactly right.

This is an oversimplification, but one of PB's core ideas is that people are usually out to "profit" in some way in any social situation. Sometimes they do this in very strange ways, but that's what they're doing. When you start from this point of view -- and remember that this logic applies to yourself as well -- it keeps you focused as an observer not just on what people say, but what they are really doing by saying it. How are they profiting by saying that thing in that situation?

It sounds cynical, and it sort of is. But then, when Bourdieu starts talking about something like "the fundamental principles of intellectual freedom," as he does in Rules of Art, it has a genuinely bracing effect. You know you're getting it straight. A lot of theory, especially in literature, talks about concepts like "liberation," about throwing off the chains of repressive ideologies. Bourdieu rarely goes there, bit when he does, he is not talking abstractly. He's talking about the real world. That's powerful.

Also, his theory comes out of his research. His research doesn't come out of his theory. That is just goddamn refreshing.

Anyway, anyone interested in a down-to-earth, more or less "plain language" sample of his ideas might like ON Television, his polemic against TV talking head "journalism." It's meant for a wide audience (it's actually the text of a talk he gave for French TV).

Like the new digs, and the new name?

Just a few notes on housekeeping: for a few days I'll be previewing comments, for obvious reasons. Then I'll probably put in Haloscan. I will not comment on the recent insanity in any public forum. Not interested. (Well, I might in Eschaton threads, but mostly I won't.) Troll policy: I'll ban and delete at the drop of a hat, much in the same fashion as I rock house parties. As for the title of the blog, it has a Secret Meaning. The first person who can guess it wins a Valuable Prize.

But now, gay marriage:
Jo-Ann Shain and Mary Jo Kennedy will celebrate their silver anniversary in January and by then they hope that they will be legally married.

The two Brooklyn women are among the plaintiffs in a court case to legalize same-sex marriage. The Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, is hearing oral arguments on it today.
They won their case in one court, lost it then on appeal, and now it's at the final step. To tell the truth, I'm not too optimistic about their chances; Spitzer, who personally supports gay marriage, nevertheless as Attorney General found that as a matter of law it violates NY's constitution. The law will need to be changed, I expect -- and Bloomberg supports this:
Just this past week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during his Sunday radio address that the definition of marriage should be out of the hands of government. Bloomberg said he would follow the court's decision if it deems the marriages legal - and if it doesn't, he said he would lobby state legislators to change the law to legalize same-sex nuptials.
Ah, NYC, where party partisanship is still fucked up. Anyway, I'm not clear on whether this will require a change in the state constitution or not (seems like it would), or even how that is supposed to happen, procedurally.

Anyway, Newsday had a picture of two of the people involved in the lawsuit, a lesbian couple from Brooklyn:

Can you imagine the Moral Apocalypse if these two dangerous characters were to be afforded their full civil rights? Scaaaaaaary....

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