Smartphone 2

“What about when you get lost? ‘Oh my God, everyone asks that! Like getting lost is the worst thing that can ever happen to a human being,’ she exclaims. ‘So let me get this right: in exchange for the maps you will give away your democracy, the mental health of your children, your own mental health – for a map? I will get you a map! We are free! If you want to be free, you can free yourself.'”

aus: Zadie Smith: ‘I get in trouble when I talk about the state of the nation’, interviewed by Lisa Allardice, The Guardian online, 26.8.23, im Internet.


26/08/2023 (17:20) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Planes 1

“‘We live on top of a monstrosity now,’ she exclaims; the environmental crisis is ‘the perfect analogy’ to 19th-century attitudes towards slavery. ‘When we say ‘How could they ever?’, how can we ever?’ she asks. ‘Are you going to get on a plane this summer? We do it all the time. How can we ever?'”

aus: Zadie Smith: ‘I get in trouble when I talk about the state of the nation’, interviewed by Lisa Allardice, The Guardian online, 26.8.23, im Internet.

Abb.: Einsendung zum Deutschen Karikaturpreis 2019…


26/08/2023 (17:03) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


“You are more than your myths. But to be the hope that the rest of us outside of Europe need, you must come to terms with history. The idea that Europe is a group of nation states that chose integration is a fatal myth. It is killing the future.

The European Union is the creation of failed or failing European empires. At the beginning is Germany. The Germans were defeated in 1945 after the most decisive and most catastrophic war of colonialism of all time. We remember it as the Second World War. Italy in 1945 also lost a colonial war in Africa and in the Balkans. Not long after, in 1949, the Netherlands lost a colonial war in the East Indies. Belgium lost the Congo in 1960. France, having been defeated both in Indochina and Algeria, makes a decisive turn to Europe in the early 1960s. … These are the powers that initiated the European project. None of them were nation states at the time. None of them had ever been nation states.

The same is true for the countries who first joined the European Union. …

When the European Union admitted east and central European states … it provided a home for the states that were created after the First World War …: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Baltic States … All six of them ceased to exist soon after. The history of nation states in Europe tends to be nasty, brutish and short.

The European Union today is an assembly of two kind of states: those that used to be at the centre of empires, and those that were on the periphery. In both cases, the question of what to do after empire has been answered – and then forgotten. …

Your myth that you as nation states came together turns your head away not just from the responsibility for imperialism, but also from the scale of your own achievement in recovering from empire. The story of the end of empire is not usually one of the affirmation of sovereignty and the rapid recovery of prosperity.

The European story is nice. It’s a nice story about innocent, small European nation states who, in their nice little way, realized that economic interests united them. It’s a nice story but it’s not history. The history of the twentieth century is that European powers, which had dominated the world for the previous half millenium, found themselves forced to pull back to Europe, where they created something new. …

It is not visible from inside but is very clear from the outside that the European Union strengthens the European state. The debate about sovereignty inside the European Union makes no sense. There have never been so many European states lined up next to each other, ever. The reason why they are so strong internally and externally is precisely the European Union.

It strengthens its members by making the maintenance of welfare states easier here than elsewhere. As an American, this is something I would like to report. One does notice the difference.

The European Union also protects the state externally: it is the most powerful buffer against the forces of globalisation that exists in the world. If you want to feel the difference, leave the European Union.

That was a rhetorical statement. Do not leave the European Union!

… Isn’t it interesting that you have enemies? And isn’t it interesting that they are always the defenders of a completely untenable status quo? Behind your enemies are the imperialists of an exhausted earth.

You have enemies because you have a future. Your enemies try to take your future away. Have you noticed how the future has almost disappeared from the horizon of politics? This is not an accident.

All your enemies – the Russian ones, the American ones, the Chinese ones, the ones whose sponsorship we don’t yet know – always attack you at your weakest point: your myth. They always attack your idea of nation states. They affirm your weakness and irresponsibility by affirming your comfortable myth. They see your vulnerability even if you don’t see it yourself.

This is where I’m going to conclude. You, Europeans are responsible of where memory goes. Memory of war, Holocaust, and European integration can tend towards reasserting a myth about small, innocent nation states that bear little responsibility for the past or for the future. Or memory can flow into history in which you ran the world for half a millennium, created something new in the second half of the twentieth century and now bare particular responsibility for how things turn out in the twenty-first.

In the three critical questions – of ecological panic, state destruction, and dehumanization – the European Union has more power than any other entity at this particular moment in time. You can follow the myth into a past that wasn’t, or you can follow the history into a future, which is uncertain, but is at least real. The myth will lead you into comfort, then fragmentation and humiliation. The history will lead to pain, but it will also lead to responsibility and power.

Schuman spoke of a living Europe: ‘Une Europe organisée et vivante.’ He spoke of a Europe that would create: ‘Une Europe créateur.’ Schuman spoke of Europe that could serve the peace of the rest of the world. And as a non-European, asked to address Europeans, this was for me especially significant.

You are more than your myths. For those of us on the outside, you are also a source of hope about the future.”

aus: Timothy Snyder, Judenplatz 1010, A Speech to Europe, 13.5.2019, im Internet.

Abb.: Scopatore: European_Empire_Coat_of_Arms, althistory, im Internet.


09/08/2023 (21:23) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


“The critical race scholar who references postmodernism most explicitly in her work … is Kimberlé Crenshaw, a founder of critical race Theory and the progenitor of the concept of intersectionality. Intersectionality began as a heuristic – a tool that lets someone discover something for themselves – but has long been treated as a theory and is now describes by Crenshaw as a ‘practice’. …

She … uses the metaphor of a roadway intersection to examine the ways in which different forms of prejudice can ‘hit‘ an individual with two or more marginalized identities. … This … approach allowed for ever more categories of marginalized identity to be incorporated …, adding layer upon layer …

[Her 1991 essay] ‘Mapping the Margins’ provides the means: openly advocating identity politics over liberal universalism, which had sought to remove the social significance of identity categories and treat people equally regardless of identity. …

The number of axes of social division under intersectionality can be almost infinite – but they cannot be reduced to the individual. (People often joke that the individual is the logical endpoint of an intersectional approach that divides people into smaller and smaller groups – but this misunderstands the fundamental reliance on group identity. Even if a person were a unique mix of marginalized identities … she would be understood through each and all of these group identities, with the details to be filled in by Theory. …). …

However, there is nothing complex about the overarching idea of intersectionality … Nothing could be simpler. It does the same thing over and over again: look for the power imbalances, bigotry, and biases that it presumes must be present and pick at them. It reduces everything to one single variable, one single topic of conversation, one single focus and interpretation: prejudice … Theory … always assumes that, in every situation, some form of Theoretical prejudice exists …

All this ‘sophistication’ keeps intersectionalists busy … under an overarching metanarrative of Social Justice, which seeks to establish a caste system based on Theorized states of oppression. …

[This] is markedly different from the activism for universal human rights that characterized the civil rights movements … [which] sought and seek to equalize opportunities by criminalizing discrimination, remedying disenfranchisement, and defeating bigotry by making prejudice on the grounds of immutable characteristics socially unacceptable. …

Critical race Theory and intersectionality are characterized by a great deal of divisiveness, pessimism, and cynicism. … [Its] hallmark paranoid mind-set, which assumes racism is everywhere, always, just waiting to be found, is extremely unlikely to be helpful or healthy for those who adopt it. …”

aus: Helen Pluckrose / James Lindsay: Cynical theories, Durham, NC: Pitchstone 2020, S.123-129.

Abb.: Jim Chuchu, Mural, 2014, im Internet.


25/05/2023 (23:50) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Queer Theory

“Queer Theory … regards the very existence of categories of sex, gender, and sexuality to be oppressive, … wholly as a product of how we talk about those issues. It thus ignores biology nearly completely. …

The word ‘queer’ … refers to anything that falls outside binaries (such as male/female, masculine/feminine, and heterosexual/homosexual) … To be queer allows someone to be simultaneously male, female, or neither, to present as masculine, feminine, neuter, or any mixture of the three, and to adopt any sexuality – and to change any of these identities at any time or to deny that they mean anything in the first place. …

There are biologists and psychologists advancing knowledge of how the sexes differ (or do not differ) biologically and psychologically on average, how sexuality works, and why some people are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender – but their work is not welcome by queer Theory. On the contrary, such knowledge is generally regarded … as [a] … violent way to categorize and constrain …

Queer Theory…’s founding figures are Gayle Rubin, Judith Butler and Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick, all of whom draw heavily upon Foucault. …

Rubin asserts that we should believe sex, gender, and sexuality to be social constructs, not because it’s necessarily true, but because it is easier to politicize them and demand change if they are social constructs than if they are biological. … For Butler, gender is wholly socially constructed. … For [her] … the very existence of coherent and stable categories like ‘woman’ leads to totalitarian and oppressive discourses. … For Sedgwick, then, a binary understanding of sexuality forms the basis on which all binary thinking rests. Furthermore, all such thinking is false. …

Queer Theory differs fundamentally from the liberal feminism and LGTB activism that preceded it. Claims that queer Theory is the only way to liberate those who are not heterosexual or gender-conforming are belied by the success of universal liberal approaches both before and since. …

People generally do not appreciate being told that their sex, gender and sexuality are not real, or are wrong, or bad. … The idea that homosexuality is a social construct … threatens to undo the considerable progress made by lesbians and gay activists in countering the belief that their romantic and sexual attractions are a mere ‘lifestyle choice’, that could … be … prayed away. …

It doesn’t help people who wish to have their sex, gender, gender or sexuality accepted as normal … by arguing that considering things normal is problematic.”

aus: Helen Pluckrose / James Lindsay: Cynical theories, Durham, NC: Pitchstone 2020, S.89-110.


17/05/2023 (12:32) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Deconstructivism 2

“Jacques Derrida … in 1967 … introduced … [the] concept ‘deconstruction‘. … Derrida rejects the commonplace idea that words refer straightforwardly to things in the real world. Instead, he insists that words refer only to other words … ‘There is nothing (read: no meaning) outside of text’. …

The author’s intentions are irrelevant, … due to Derrida’s adaptation of Roland Barthes’ concept of ‘the death of the author’. Consequently, since discourses are believed to create and maintain oppression, they have to be carefully monitored and deconstructed. …

The most common postmodernist response to this …, [is] to read ‘deconstructively’ by looking for internal inconsistencies … in which a text contradicts and undermines itself. …

In practice, deconstructive approaches to language therefore look very much like nitpicking at words in order to deliberately miss the point.”

aus: Helen Pluckrose / James Lindsay: Cynical theories, Durham, NC: Pitchstone 2020, S.40-41.


16/05/2023 (17:33) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


Abb.: Text von mir, Foto aus dem Internet.


14/05/2023 (23:20) Schlagworte: EN,Notizbuch ::


“A man does not have roots, he has feet.”

Riad Sattouf, zitiert durch Adam Shatz, mit dem Hinweis, das Zitat sei ursprünglich von Salman Rushdie. In: Adam Shatz: Drawing Blood. A French graphic novelist’s shocking memoir of the Middle East. The New Yorker, 12.10.15, im Internet.


26/01/2023 (1:47) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


“Shakespeare’s Hamlet said: ‘To be or not to be, that is the question.’ But that is no problem. We all want to be. The real problem, biblically speaking, is how to be and how not to be.”

I would say to young people a number of things, and I have only one minute. I would say, let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do, everyone, our share to redeem the world, in spite of all absurdities and all the frustration and all disappointments. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to build life as it if were a work of art. You’re not a machine. When you are young, start working on this great work of art called your own existence.”

aus: Abraham Joshua Heschel (1972) zitiert durch Arnold Eisen in Krista Tippett interviewing Arnold Eisen: The Opposite of Good Is Indifference. On Being 2008/2017, im Internet.


24/01/2023 (15:05) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Individualism 2


“… I came across these words of Jewish philosopher Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel: ‘I would say about individuals, an individual dies when he ceases to be surprised. I am surprised every morning that I see the sunshine again. When I see an act of evil, I am not accommodated. I don’t accommodate myself to the violence that goes on everywhere; I’m still surprised. That’s why I’m against it, why I can hope against it. We must learn how to be surprised, not to adjust ourselves.’ …

I have no idea how to realise that. Be surprised. Don’t accommodate yourself to evil. Show solidarity, grow. And yet: Live, enjoy life. Find your own way …”

aus: Kübra Gümüsay: Sprache und Sein. München: btb 2021 (Originalausgabe 2020), S.93/94, Zitat im Zitat aus Krista Tippett interviewing Arnold Eisen: The Opposite of Good Is Indifference. On Being 2008/2017, im Internet.


24/01/2023 (13:42) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::
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