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April 26, 2006



Lets get busy…

Not a 'neo-con', how about a bottom-inspector?


This was great. A potted history, all the way up to foucault


Cheers, I'll look that up.

Another interesting piece was Billy Bragg and Norman Tebbitt discussing whether the BNP were hard left or hard right. The conclusion was that fascism was independent of left/right leaning.

And I think there is something to say about that in this case too. Bottom Inspectors are alive and well in the relativist camp too. And in fact appear to be even more evangelical and certain of the rightness of their case than many absolutists, which reflects the massive complexity of the issue.



You could flip a lot of this round. As so much of the thought that is labeled ‘relativist’ (mostly post-structuralist) was conceived as a reaction to oppressive regimes- political and academic. That’s why I’m attracted to it- justice-making opportunities. It provides a space for difference and critiques authoritarian institutions and structures.

Same could be said for the ‘newness’ project. That’s why the avant-garde, progress and innovation have all been found to be ‘suspicious’. As it is these imperatives that place the planet in such do-do.

What do ya think? A third space perhaps, ‘Il y a toujours l’Autre?’


As you say, there are possibilities in both. But, as I've mentioned, I think attitudes to truth perhaps follow 'Stages of Faith'... Relativism is a reaction to the dogmatic, oppressive, imperialist version of absolutism. But I think we can pull through that to a more helpful form, that retains the searching, questioning of relativism, but also retains that hope and vital 'otherness' of absolutism.

That 3rd Space I'd call 'Stage 5' - which is the Conjunctive stage. Which matches your 'always other' quite nicely.

Mike R

"My problem with the relativist's position is that - as Strauss hints - it inexorably leads into difficult corners where people are not prepared to believe anything at all. That Auschwitz was wrong. That abuse is bad. And that worries me."

This is the problem that Jean Baudrillard has run into with Simulations and Simulacra. He got into a lot of trouble a few years ago, because he was compelled, logically, to argue that the Gulf War (and all its attendant atrocities)didn't happen.

Far better to take the line pursued by Noam Chomsky, who's seminal work in the arena of language has lead him to be an extremely active force for good in the political arena.

I do have more to add, but I can't miss Ronnie O'Sullivan's match against Graham Dott just now.

barry in la

nothing about the post, although it is very interesting, just a note of comiseration on united's loss to chelsea today--actually got up at 4:30 to watch it live here in la--what can you say? next year? Hopefully Ferguson has a plan for renewal up his sleeve

Mike R

You got up at 4.30 to watch football?

Snooker. Now THAT's a proper sport.

You can't call football a proper sport.

Derrida would appreciate Snooker.


How can anyone doubt absolute truth when you've just been done 3-0 by Chelsea. Pah. Hope Taggart knows what he's doing. Cos I've no idea. How about a midfield Sir? Oh no, no one wants to live in Manchester.

At times like this I'd like to be a relativist. Or a darts fan. Come on Mike, THAT'S true sport.

Mike R

Snooker requires mental ability, agility, concentration, a knowledge of physics, and determination - the ability not just to pot a ball, but to make the cue ball return exactly where you want it, whilst thinking three shots ahead.

Darts and snooker aren't even in the same league.

And giving 11 men 90 minutes to get a ball into a net doesn't really seem like a challenge by comparison. Especially when if, let's say, they don't manage to do so, they get a bit more time to do it. Why would I watch that exactly?

Mike R

...But to return to the subject in hand.

I think what's bothering me about this discourse, is that of course we want to do the morally right thing, in terms of acknowledging oppression and trying to make a difference to injustice, but so far linguistic debates tend to send us in the other direction, as Kester has suggested in the original post. There simply isn't really a language of moral imperative - in fact it appears to go the other way. The problem is that we know where we want to go, but we have no idea of how to end up there. As I have suggested, Chomsky has some interesting things to say, and someone has dug out a rather interesting quote from Foucault on our blog by way of Pete Rollins' blog.


There's only one true english sport....

Fox-Hunt-Sabatuer Hunting. Bring the elephant gun and release the hounds.

Mike R

We don't have Coyotes in England. The nearest we have to the Coyote is the Fox, which seems to be the English trickster figure.

Interesting then, that the fox is treated as vermin, and hunted by the upper classes as "a great day out."


"I have a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a fox, Baldrick."

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