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“this is not a detached dissertation but an exploration of my origins, an indirect attempt at self-definition” —Octavio Paz

Liberalism Today, with tangents

Long story short: when I asked why, my Aunt said she got rid of broadband because she didn’t know how much “memory” it used on her computer, and thus installed AOL instead— this story reminded Sam of the recent AOL lawsuit settlement, in which AOL “‘vigorously denies any liability in relation to these allegations’ [and] has agreed to settle the claims to avoid the ‘undue burden and cost of further litigation and to resolve an ongoing matter'”(*). Essentially, “Shut UP and we’ll pay you! We’re losing anyway.” I responded sarcastically, “Damn capitalistic bureaucracy!” and rounded the corner to head to the water-fountain saying quasi-sarcastically, as an afterthought to no one, “And assorted other ‘liberalisms…'”

Now I know the horse has rotted away and been beaten into a pile of skeletal debris by now, but this is a perfect example of how fluid language is, how it can carry multifarious meanings playing on all different both auditory/vocal and semantic/textual levels. It is also a perfect example of how (this horse it still rotting— sorry) the extreme conservative movement has been so successful: by redefining ‘liberal,’ a word already carrying several definitions ranging from “showing or characterized by broad-mindedness” to “a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform.” And now including the recent definition that shares a cabin with “Commie” and its ilk. I was reminded of a passage that struck me as particularly poignant (and prescient, though I’m too young to judge the political climate of 1996— especially the national status of a movement in which I was involved almost exclusively— I am not willing to risk venturing forth my shaky and incomplete conception of the past thirty or so years of political history) from the Derrida reader I picked up recently: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Derrida, Tangents

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