"fuck you" and other peculiarities of this list

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Thu Jun 1 11:21:53 MDT 1995

At 10:40 PM 5/31/95, LeoCasey at aol.com wrote:

>1. It was rather offputting to be introduced to the list just as the Dana
>Thorpe controversy went full throttle. As someone who spends my teaching day
>with inner city young people, and in this context has acquired a different
>appreciation for the power of different types of language, I have a problem
>with the level of discourse at times. This is not a question of censorship,
>or of moral prudity, and certainly does not need long and extended
>philological analyses of PC language. Quite simply, I just find it very
>crude, and reflective of a certain low level of rhetorical expression, to
>have to descend to phrases such as "gives me a hardon" to express a
>sentiment. Maybe I just want a respect for elegance in political language.
>But it is disconcerting to go from engaging young people in discussion on the
>need to express themselves in terms with more power than "fuck you" to
>finding those with the ability to do so simply choosing not to do so. (And if
>you are around discussion where 'bitch' and 'nigger' are two of the commonest
>terms, and see the consequences of this discourse, you acquire a respect for
>the power of language.)

As the guy who first uttered the magic expletive, I've been amused to see
the tortured, tedious debate over them "develop." I'm not unfamiliar with
language; in fact I make my living, such as it is, by writing. At first, I
mulled over a thoughtful response to Dana T's ignorant eruption, but then I
decided that two words of one syllable were all that s/he deserved. If you
don't like that, well....

>3. Over the course of the years, I have gone from being a somewhat
>unorthodox, Gramscian Marxist to a radical democratic (some would call it,
>post-Marxist perspective). I don't recognize many kindred voices in these
>discussions. Is there room on this list for such a viewpoint?

Actually, I thought Marxism was largely about political economy, or a
critique of classical PE. Of course one can discuss culture and the psyche
using Marxian style and technique, I thought what made Marxish discussions
of those things Marxish was their connection to material/social reality,
i.e., PE. So it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to see a "Marxism" list
discuss Marxian concerns. Perhaps you could start by explaining just what
"post-Marxism" and "radical democracy" are. They seem like utter mush to



Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at panix.com]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax

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