Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Friday, August 16, 2002
Randy Andy has posted a little piece by la Paglia on the Arab-Israeli conflict. I've often enjoyed what Camille has to say, but I've found her tone and incessant offering of identity credentials ("I speak as a pagan lesbian pornographer of Italian Catholic heritage who voted for Clinton and was a member of the radical 60's generation back in the days before I surpassed Sontag . . .") increasingly offputting. I think this was the last straw for me. Here's how her present comment concludes:

Because of my own massive lifelong influence by Jewish-American culture - in the arts, media, and entertainment industry as well as law, science, and medicine - I have concluded that, for me, only one moral imperative is possible: to support Israel.

Well, that's persuasive. It sounds like a confession of what so many Arabs and Europeans already believe. You might as well announce, "Because I've been brainwashed by the Zionist puppet masters who control the U.S. media and government, I can't help but support Israel." I think Camille's gotten way too used to announcing her aesthetic and political views as gospel, and isn't bothering to distinguish between them. As though her views should command assent simply because they're her views, regardless of how she arrived at them. She needs to take a couple years off from punditry and write books that studiously avoid use of the word "I". (Like maybe that always-forthcoming second volume of Sexual Personae.) Or maybe she's been kidnapped and replaced by an Arab propaganda operative. In any case, this is not the kind of "support" Israel needs.

The real problem, of course, is this notion that the validity of one's views depends not on the reasons one marshals in their support but on the "authenticity" or "legitimacy" of one's perspective, based on group affiliation. For all her in-your-face bashing of postmodernism, Camille has bought its most basic and pernicious tenet hook, line, and fisherman.

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