Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Liberal Waterloo by Zizek

According to Zizek in a recent article "The Liberal Waterloo", (accompanied by a hilarious graphic of Kerry-as-Napoleon), we "must now finally confront the underrated mobilizing power of American Christian fundamentalism. Because of its self-evident imbecility, it is a much more paradoxical, properly postmodern phenomenon than it appears."

This observation is as correct as it is late. Talk about Monday morning quarterbacking!

A few more prescient scholars did analyze this very phenomenon of the mobilizing power of US christian fundamentalists -- about 10 years ago. One of those people is Linda Kintz, my ex-prof at the U of Oregon. Her book is one of the most important ever written about American christians today. _Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions That Matter in Right-Wing America_. You can buy it online here:

Kintz's complex take on this involves reactionary but understandable emotions in a world of alienated commodification -- and ultimately the appeal to a patriarchal gender division of so-called "family values" and anti-liberalism. This isn't of course the only study. More standard political and sociological analysis is not hard to find -- much of it from links in the page above. Journalists have for a long time noted that the Bush victory 4 years ago was managed by fusing together two separate strands of very different political animals: the religious right and the neo-conservative imperialists; the Ashcrofts and the Cheneys. They formed a coalition through mutual solidarity (while holding their noses from the stink) out of the political opportunities that each camp realized they would gain only through cooperation. The elites of each side deliberately set out for a new hegemony, fusing together the aspirations of each. The formed the mass of church-goers into a political machinic assembly, using the rhizomatic network of the evangelical pulpits.

It's perhaps more clear to many of you if we translate this from its postmodern terminology back into an older idiom. Propaganda, opportunism, and false consciousness. Isn't it interesting that no matter how you slice it, the capitalist WASP is still in power?

Check back in a couple of days for one of my modest proposals about how to overcome this problem, something that Zizek doesn't offer.


At 1:35 AM, Blogger Zlomislic said...

Forget Zizek


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