Wednesday 28 March 2012

Extractive introjection & Arundhati Roy

What happens when I appropriate the affect proper to another to draw attention to myself? The psychoanalyst, Christopher Bollas, has coined the term 'extractive introjection' to describe this form of psychic confiscation and colonial control on the part of a parent or care giver.  In public discourse, something similar occurs when a person works himself or herself up into a state of rage or sorrow over the plight of some other group of people. Initially the move might appear to signal a superior sensitivity or higher sense of morality. However, the effect is the same as that of a parent who will not let the child experience anything for itself, communicate anything for itself, have feelings or emotions proper to its own circumstances, because the parent has asserted a monopoly over the child's experiences, feelings and communications.

Now it may be that there are certain rare medical conditions where the child's ability to experience things, feel things or communicate things is so damaged that, if the parent does not assert its right to be treated as if it did have experiences and feelings, third parties might fall into the ghastly sin of treating the child as less than human. Similarly, in Public discourse, it may be that there are classes of people who are 'invisible', whose voices can't be heard, and whose experiences and feelings are so devastating and overwhelming that a third party needs to act as their spokesman. Let us take the plight of Indian or Filipino domestic servants in posh areas of London. Some were mistreated by their employers. Their families back home were threatened. They were helpless victims of violence and exploitation. They could not speak out for themselves in public fora because their residence in the U.K was entirely dependent on their employers' whim and complaisance. Help came in the form of a local Church group which, working in concert with some concerned Filipino and South Asian women (not 'activists' necessarily), did something to remedy the situation. A Conservative M.P (supposedly the tool of the Capitalist class) backed this initiative and raised the matter in Parliament. The situation on the ground changed for domestic workers of this description. No one gained fame or garnered book sales or TV talk show appearances or boosted their political career as a result of doing the right thing by people who, in that instance, were not able to represent themselves. That changed. I understand that the support organization for these domestic servants- who are employed by overseas diplomats or high net worth individuals- is now led and managed by people drawn from amongst their own number, though, no doubt, other good people would be involved as is natural in any worthwhile project.
The agency and sense of self-worth of people in this line of work has been enhanced. There has been no 'extractive introjection'.

A quite different case- one in which an actor raised a hue and cry about an injustice suffered by people of a different gender and ethnicity- is that of Joanna Lumley's intervention on behalf of Gurkha soldiers unfairly denied a right to settlement in the U.K. This intervention was successful because Ms. Lumley was speaking up for, amongst others, Victoria Cross winners whose Himalayan dignity could admit no demand, like unto the one made of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, that grizzled warriors exhibit their wounds to win the country's favor. The savage smile of Ms. Lumley prosecuted her campaign with such blood thirsty civility and all terrorizing good taste that the Government quailed and none could, in foro conscientiae, upbraid them for a cowardice of which no man in England was not equally guilty. This too is the opposite of 'extractive introjection' being a tactic wholly savage and the polar opposite of everything essentially Civilized, Churchy, or in keeping with what is termed the Public Justification Principle by Collegial neurotics.

Worse than extractive introjection is 'Munchausen's syndrome' where a parent or care-giver actually inflicts hurt on the child so as to gain medical attention. As in the former case, the parent gets to look like a saint or martyr battling the world on behalf of their small defenceless child. The doctors are all callous bastards in the pay of Big Pharma. That is proved coz they keep saying there's nothing wrong with my kid. Well, I showed them! Obviously, since Big Pharma is actually controlled by like Globalized Finanzkapital which in turn is controlled by the lizard people from Planet X who have mind control powers, what happened is the doctors accused me of harming my own kid! How fucked is that?

Things like Subaltern Studies & Post Colonial literary theory & Arundhati Roy style 'activism' & Chomskian gob-shiterry is 'extractive introjection'. But it is the Munchausen syndrome of the politico-administrative class, which captures the interessement mechanism intended to tackle the underlying problem, which such 'extractive introjection' actually serves.

There is no question that Capitalism, or bureaucratic Socialism, or- indeed- any political ordering of Society, poses a threat to vulnerable groups of people. The literature of an earlier period went to the heart of the matter by focusing on what I might call the concurrency problem of the human heart. The Canadian economist, Stephen Leacock, summarised the Social melodrama of the initial stage of Industrial Capitalism in his essay titled 'Dead! and never called me mother!'- the reference being to the novel 'East Lynne' which came out in 1861. More generally, in popular literature of this school, which extends up to J.B. Priestley's 'An Inspector calls'-  the Capitalist understands too late that his salvation lies in ameliorating the condition of the workers. If the workers strike back at the Capitalists it generally turns out they kill their own brother or the 'good guy' or something like that. People have good hearts, it's just good intentions aren't coordinated properly; in any negotiation or interaction there is a concurrency problem. It appears there is need for a Messianic figure to, in the final words of the Old Testament, 'turn the hearts of the fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers' so as to avert Apocalypse.
I recall reading a play in Hindi class back in '75 about a young zamindar who orders his Estate Manager to invite all his tenants to a feast for his sister's wedding. The Manager naturally provides low quality food and sets a high 'nazrana' tariff on invitees, thinking it a good opportunity to boost revenues and recoup the money spent on the sister's dowry. But there is a new spirit stirring amongst the peasants. They boycott the wedding even though the Zamindar has managed to rectify the situation and provided good food for them and cancelled the 'nazrana' tariff.
The Estate Manager feels he has been vindicated. Yield the peasants an inch and they take an ell.

But the Zamindar sees he has not gone far enough.  No doubt, once Vinobha Bhave came on the scene, he would have given up his land in Bhoodhan- at least, that was the correct answer to the exam question on the play.
Though the Social concurrency problem of the heart is significant, incentive compatible mechanism design alone tackles the underlying issue.
Arundhati Roy knows that literature of the 'Dead! and never called me Mother!' sort, appeals to all classes of people in India and can easily be turned into movies- but, if she wrote that sort of thing, she'd  look bad in elite circles. So that's the charitable explanation for her hysterical 'extractive introjection.'

But why be charitable to that wealthy fuckwit?

Thursday 22 March 2012

Arundhati Roy- as Casteist agent of Robber baron Capitalism

This is a link to Arundhati Roy's latest rant- it's a little more paranoid than normal and, unintentionally, an advert for a new Scheme of Narendra Modi's which my broker really ought to have called me about.

This bit is hilarious-

Armed with their billions, these NGOs (she means those funded by Rockefeller, Ford, Gates and so on) have waded into the world, turning potential revolutionaries into salaried activists, funding artists, intellectuals and filmmakers, gently luring them away from radical confrontation, ushering them in the direction of multi-culturalism, gender, community development—the discourse couched in the language of identity politics and human rights 

What fucking revolutionaries are these you are talking about Ms. Roy? Cowardly little cockroaches are a threat to nobody. 'Radical confrontation' is a confrontation which Radicals lose, unless they win, in which case they sell out cheaper than the last bunch of crooks. The Naxalites fuck over the tribals more thoroughly than Sab pe Zulum and hand over mineral resources at a lower tariff.
The reason rich people set up Charitable Foundations has to do with buying prestige- essentially a rent but one associated with status rivalry within their own coterie. However, that prestige also operates as a barrier to entry. Essentially, after a certain point, even a successful thief has an interest in stuff like Civil Society, Property Rights, Judicial oversight and so on.
But they don't need to seduce 'potential revolutionaries'. People who can be seduced aren't 'potential revolutionaries' but 'potential canon fodder' or 'potential traitors'.  As for genuine Revolutionaries, history shows it is cheaper to let them be killed by their comrades especially because their bill for services rendered will only fall due after they get rid of the more expensive bunch of crooks you're currently having to deal with.
It is mid-level hacks, who didn't make it in the rat-race, who aren't mission-critical, working for organizations funded by the bien pensant rich, who coo and gush over 'activists, artists, intellectuals and film-makers'. But both types of parasite are wholly irrelevant, from the Socio-Economic point of view, and are merely engaged in a conspiracy to make each other feel important.

Everybody knows this already.
I suppose, if I were downtrodden and could get a bunch of guys to go kill for me till I get to be declared the Revolutionary Commissar of whatever- cool, I'd just do it. The reason I haven't is because I can't get a bunch of guys to go kill or rape or just plain steal for me- not me, obviously, I mean the Sacred Revolution which will purify our land which has been raped and sodomized and subjected to cunnilingus and like Narendra Modi was watching and taping the whole thing on his i-phone and then someone cut open its belly and dragged a foetus out of it and sang Vande Mataram or dunno like Valmiki Ramayana or something equally Fascist while sodomizing the said foetus, which was just quietly reading Noam Chomsky and underlining portions in the text and writing 'How True!' in the margin even though it was being brutally raped and sodomized and its belly was being cut open so a yet smaller foetus could be dragged out of it, and the person doing the raping and sodomizing and illegal abortion (due to the fetus was female) was receiving the Police Medal for Gallantry while simultaneous accepting the Magsaysay Award and like the Western Media was standing right there, I was next to them, and I said 'Dear Western Media see that sodomized foetus reading Noam Chomsky over there? Its belly is being split open. Will you not please please publish an article about this heinous misdeed?' That's what I said to them, and guess what? They turned around and said to me 'Sorry Ms. Roy. We have orders from Head Office. No negative reporting on India due to Indians are using money nowadays. Since people who use money get caught in 'cash nexus' they are agents of Capitalism. Hence we can't say anything negative about them- even though they are clearly Indians and not White at all. Have a nice day.'

Roy isn't an economist and so can't be blamed of falling far short of the high standard for reckless disregard for the truth set by Subramaniyam Swamy or Amartya Sen. Furthermore, reading her makes me bullish on Tatas and Essar and Vedanta and the Ambanis though in the case of at least two of them I have good reason to be very bearish indeed.
Has Roy been paid to thus boost Indian Corporates? Well, indirectly, I suppose she has. But only indirectly.
Stuff about the fundamental right to property, subsidiarity, transparency, good governance through proper mechanism design- the boring stuff- unfortunately is happening in India and it is unstoppable because every robber has a tipping point after which he turns into a Law & Order men. Well, that isn't true, but in aggregate its is. Nations have a tipping point. Nothing to do with 'Radical confrontation'. How is it radical to go to the Law Court to assert your statutory rights? Advocates have an adversarial relationship but no one is 'confrontational' to the Judge except in movies.

It is true that a bunch of second rate and politically irrelevant hacks, dilletantes, and poseurs make a noise about whatever shite Roy makes a noise about but- so what? Under her problematization, what, or where, is the countervailing power which makes her interessement worthwhile?

Me? You? We're supposed to take on the Ambanis? Fuck we're supposed to do? If Roy is right we should be cashing out gilts and betting the farm their scrip will rise.

This is Roy's compassionate charity upon Dalits-
Young Dalit scholars who accept grants from the Ford Foundation cannot be too harshly judged. Who else is offering them an opportunity to climb out of the cesspit of the Indian caste system? 
Ms. Roy- who currently is judging Young Dalit scholars harshly if they take a grant from the Ford Foundation? If it is a non-Dalit person of Indian origin, then I must tell you the judgement impugns not the scholar in question but the person making it. I don't believe any Dalit is saying that people from their own community should forego advantages availed off by others. After all, the Dalit scholar may study Engineering or Medicine or something useful rather than Post Colonial or Subaltern shite.

Bottom line- this lady is 'one of us'. Sadly I'm no longer 'one of us'. Casteist shitheads like Roy turn my stomach. For this ghastly sin, I bet the karma God will curse me with a penurious retirement.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Ghalib ghazal 214

وحشت کہاں کہ بے خودی انشا کرے کوئی

ہستی کو لفظِ معنیِ عنقا کرے کوئی 

حسنِ فروغِ شمعِ سخن دور ہے اسد

پہلے دلِ گداختہ پیدا کرے کوئی

vaḥshat kahāñ kih be-ḳhvudī inshā kare koʾī
hastī ko lafz̤-e maʿnī-e ʿanqā kare koʾī

ḥusn-e furoġh-e shamʿ-e suḳhan dūr hai asad
pahle dil-e gudāḳhtah paidā kare koʾī

                              Now lost to Self Loss are the Sahara's rolled gold scrolls of Rhyme
How, as Phoenix, entail Existence to the Parrot beak of Time?
Asad, Conceptive beauty imparts a Candescence far indeed!
Must, as wicks, bardic hearts first burn all they bleed?

Where now is that Dark, Backward and Abysm of Clime
Whose Phoenix is the sugar-fond Parrot of Time
For Love spoke The Word, Ataraxia attacks
Smoke, thou memory bird of melted wax