Saturday, August 05, 2006

Evening the playing field

Stealing voz.

It's been a matter of great concern at YO! of late, but Jasmine and Peony have been doing a damn fine job of unmasking and rehabilitating the evil-doers. We’ve even touched on it, more than once, right here in the Parlour.

And, speaking of right here in the Parlour and stealing voz, I’ve been amazed at how much of the latter has been attempted in the former. Not pleasantly amazed, of course, but, given my perverse and wrongheaded penchant for pattern recognition, I’ve noticed a certain taxonomy.

Yes, think of this as a folio in progress, a scribble of field notes:

The Pedant.

Not even a glimmer of surprise here, given his never-ending, annually renewed supply of naïve disciples. Syllabus writ in stone, resting on long-faded laurels, what better domain for the silencing of voz than fair academe?

His tactics are amusing and rife with the hurling of “correct sources”, “informed [read: his] thought”, tangential argument and hysteria. What might be awe inspiring to cowed freshmen inspires little but giggles to those with a mind and a library of their own. There is, after all, good reason and history for the term “ivory tower”, and he would do better to remain there, surrounded by sycophants of similar low self-regard.

There are also those who, for one reason or another, cannot hold forth from properly recognized hallowed groves, but they often act as Shadow-master or Ghost behind the Throne, issuing forth tract and doctrine.

The Pedant steals voz by stifling or supplanting.

The Politician

Unlike the academic, the hack has no ego problems, other than the fact that his own inflated sense of self-worth tends to quickly suck all the air out of any room he enters. Convinced that he is the best and brightest, he is driven to make sure that everyone around him is equally convinced.

He must weigh in on every conceivable issue, and word count is everything. His stratagems are numerous and, like him, ever shifting. Refocusing subject, whether subtly [by, for example, cherry picking an opponent’s argument and running with a single comment] or unabashedly; theft [“yes, as my dear colleague so aptly restated my point”; denial [as in, he never said that or, in the age of video loops and hard drives, he was deliberately misinterpreted] and all the rest of his tired gambits.

Their habitats are wide-ranging, and their messianic self promotion fills our airwaves, bandwidth and archives.

They steal voz through artifice, pomposity and brute force.


These are the feverish ones, the ardent followers, unquestioning acolytes at an altar they did not create. Quick to detect doctrinal error, they act as classroom snitch, hall monitor, trusty.

When they’re not busy doing rude slapdowns on the Page [and abundant thanks, once again, to Jasmine and Peony for having sequestered and rehabilitated the False Web Administrator, thus lessening, if not entirely ending, said slapdowns], they’re contorting themselves, pretzel-like, in an attempt to explain and justify today’s Holy Writ. Phrases such as: “…(we) can only wait for the answer and continue to offer what political support is requested…”

This is a hallmark of zealots of any nature: the hierarchical nature of doctrine and follower. Right Doctrine exists above, far above them, and they exist but to serve it. Theirs, never, to “reason why”. Theirs, unfortunately often, “to do and die”. Since they have fashioned their entire moral, and often professional, universe on blind obedience to a particular set creed [although it, the creed, unlike the parishioners, IS allowed to shift], any questioning, no matter how minor, would indeed be tantamount to death.

So the zealots steal voz by turning it in, damning it, screaming at it.

And, yes, we have seen, and see, all the above, many times over, everywhere.

Even in Parlour, Library and YO!


Anonymous said...

Unhallowed groves. Right. What fun it would be to get the "archivist" in a little one to one.

Spark said...

er, not sure what to say about this, is it a pro or an anti image warning:

Two States as One Nation Bad Ass Boy Seeks Perfect Girl For Transatlantic Cliched Transgressive Stunners

Voz, In Deed will out

Would anyone like to talk about the War on Terror?


irlandesa said...

Indeed, In Deed.

I rather enjoyed the pic. Nice to know I'm not the most transgressive one on the block.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how quickly one can turn from being a "very dear friend" whose contribution was published in the Library by the editrice herself, to being quoted as a textbook example of a feverish zealot and "unquestioning acolyte", stealing voz at the parlour by "turning it in, damning it, screaming at it."


irlandesa said...

Dear Tess:

Thanks for your note. First, let me clarify that the article was sent to me by a dear friend, not the author, while the author is someone whom I've always deeply respected and admired. And I placed the article in the Library because I indeed thought it was, mostly, a calm, reasoned response to thoughtful critique. Until that closing line which I quoted, which I felt illustrated the current fundamental disconnect: even when we don't understand, or participate in, decision-making, it is, nonetheless, our duty to accept and wait for further instruction:

"Right Doctrine exists above, far above them, and they exist but to serve it."

I am afraid this still feels, to me, like a profound contradiction of zapatismo and of the decisions taken at the formative OC encuentros.

While the entire issue of consensus building within a broad organization of organizations is complex and challenging [unlike in the autonomias with their smaller numbers and tradition of consensus-making], I believe it is of paramount importance, both from a moral perspective and a strategic one.

For an exceedingly thoughtful and informed discussion of this question, let me refer to you a series of articles in the CML-DF site which I noted in my Sweeping the Parlour post. In one of them, the author carefully examines the consequences and basis of the current tactical [and strategic] decision.

I simply believe that the above referenced form of discourse is much more useful, and consequent, both to the movement and to ourselves, than unquestioning and passive obedience.

Thanks and cheers.