For Ric Caric
Yesterday, as most of us were focused on the terrible news of Christiana Hendrix’ death, and saddened by Jeff’s grandmother’s passing, Ric detailed his complaints against PW in particular and conservatives in general in a longish comment to Jeff’s post about Maha’s rhetoric and what it reveals about her. None of us likes especially to be mischaracterized, unless it is to be taken for greater than in fact we are, so I’d like to apologize up front for any unwarrantedly dismissive or hurtful comments that I’ve made, weenie that I am.
Ric’s recent post on his family of Potter-maniacs I found charming, Ace’s imputations notwithstanding, and I salute Ric (with my hand) for his obvious love for and dedication towards his immediate household, particularly given his understandable animus toward his father and brother, both deadbeat dads, it seems. I find his anger justifiable, so I wouldn’t count him as a hater on that basis.
Having said these things, though, I wonder why Ric feels that every topic we treat of here must somehow pertain to him and to his beliefs. If Maha chooses deliberately (I would guess) to mischaracterize my argument urging that we defend our principles of expression against Islamists and their apologists in the Western press–or to insist that we continue to have the right to enunciate the fact that certain varieties of Islamic ideology, deriving their impetus from scripture, call for the subjugation of non-believers and the universal spread, by the sword or its modern equivalents if necessary, of Islamic empiry, or merely defend the right of American citizens to be able to report perceived threats against their lives without fear of lawsuits–then I don’t personally feel the need to defend myself against the calumny, because it doesn’t address what I have said or who I am. It is possible, certainly, to employ psychology to determine that, in fact, one or one’s beliefs are the intended target of virtually any utterance, as absurd as that is. So, detached from any context apart from gender theory, it is certainly acceptable to state categorically that conservatives have repressed closeted yearnings to ingratiate themselves to the paternal authority figure who allows them access to the world of true manliness, for example, when deep down, they are nought but weenies. It is also possible to take part in academic disputation that seeks to demonstrate, predictably and dully, that Jesus’ crucifixion was the responsibility of a masculinist ethos, thus by implication excluding “the feminine” from any blame, in the ongoing and extraordinarily tedious project of raking all virtues towards femininity whilst simultaneously turning masculinity into a cosmic dumping ground for all ills. Whilst helping oneself to an enormous krater of undiluted smug, one can then grill, if that is one’s choice, a tofu dog, contemplating with satisfaction the heroic self-abnegation that one has practiced against the slings and arrows of outrageous slander one has suffered in one’s academic department by speaking truth to power. “Indeed,” one wonders, “why cannot everyone be more like I?”
Or really, for that matter, like Albus Dumbledore? For it is manifest that had George Bush bothered to read Harry Potter (rather than that dreadful Bernard Lewis), he would have understood from the example of the Headmaster of Hogwarts that he really wasn’t cut out for this presidential thing. In the glorious tradition of such immortal titles as, “Jesus, CEO,” Professor Caric now intends to give us a treatise demonstrating that we need a Dumbledore in the Whitehouse, rather than a . . . Whomping Bush. And the lofty perspective afforded him by the view from the Owlery (even higher than an ivory tower) will reinvigorate his academic cogitations even as it fills his coffers at Gringot’s with gold. Well, Godspeed, Ric, but don’t you think that some of what Harry Potter seems to say supports our views here?
For example, this Dolores Umbrage: is she not a caricature of the small-minded, officious bureaucrat who attempts to control by fiat the thoughts and actions of her “charges”? Does she not attempt, like the administrations of many colleges and universities, I might add, to determine which forms of assembly are acceptable and which are not? Are those who recognize the manifest danger they are in encouraged to leave it to the authorities to take care of it? Do not those authorities, with the connivance of the press, attempt to pooh-pooh legitimate concerns? Or who is to say what is a valid or invalid application of the fiction to “real life”?
And as I engage your concerns, Ric, I would like to ask why you think Maha found it necessary to mischaracterize my argument in order to make her point.