[Marxism] Obama

Daniel Koechlin d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Sat Oct 10 16:25:34 MDT 2009

Well, I'm feeling unusually happy this evening (remember it's 10 PM 
European Time, my kids have just gone to bed after a long bedtime story 
involving Goldilocks and three bears ... I know, they should have gone 
to bed earlier, probably 9PM, but it's Saturday and therefore I'm a bit 
more "understanding" with the kids. Although my wife doesn't see it that 
way and strongly disagrees. I've sneaked down to the cellar to unbottle 
another bottle of red wine, and turned on the computer which is also in 
the cellar. My wife is going to be raging. By the way, she thinks many 
of my postings on this list are booze-fueled. She thinks I get kicks out 
of insulting innocent Americans over the internet while under the 
influence. She is wrong of course. ) and therefore I will only comment 
on the preposterous 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Giving the nobel peace prize to the likes of Obama, an Amerian president 
IN OFFICE, is simply making a mockery of the whole notion of peace.

Must I remind you that Nobel prizes have been refused by some eminent 
recipients ? Gandhi refused such an honour, as did Sartre (for literature).

Apparently the final short list (what's the US word ? the "cut list" ? 
No, that can't be right... English is not my native tongue and therefore 
I am always thinking in a foreign language, which is a bit of a nuisance 
when it comes to expressing oneself in front of US intellectuals) 
included Chinese dissidents and African trade unionists.

Well, is Obama more deserving than a Chinese dissident who fights on a 
daily basis for workers' rights in sweatshops ?

Let's look and see. In my own humble opinion, Obama will expand the use 
of military force in such places as Afghanistan. His presidency will 
result in the immediate deaths of circa 11 000 people, give or take a 
thousand, and depending on how you estimate direct involvement.

You know I'm a Council ("Left-Wing"/""Anti-Leninist") Communist, right ? 
It all reminds me of the situationist/Vanneigem's analysis of "the 
society of spectacle" (ie. the tendancy to have everything decided by 
the elite, then chaneled through the media for daily consumption by the 
working class). But according to Situationism, there is a twist : "the 
media must re-use elements of true working class consciousness and 
present them in a harmless light to their audiences". This is the basis 
of the individual's alienation under capitalism.

So Obama was sold as the "NEW", "GREAT "CHANGE" in politics, not only in 
the US but also in the rest of the world. I'm an English teacher in 
France, and this year (September 2009), all my pupils knew the verb 
"can". And they all responded by "YES ! WE CAN !". Of course, the lazzy 
students got it all wrong when I gave them their first test : "He cans 
speak in English", "I want to can speak in English", "He will can speak 
in English", etc.

As I explained to (the few) students who were listening : CAN in English 
cannot take an -S ("He cans do it" is wrong; "He can do it" is 
preferable), CAN cannot be followed by TO ("We can to swim" is 
incorrect; "We can swim" is preferable) and CAN cannot be preceded by 
WILL/SHALL/MUST/MAY/MIGHT/SHOULD ('He must can swim" is incorrect = "He 
must be able to swim" is preferable).

I must say my pupils were disappointed with my stringent limits put on 
the use of the verb "can".   One black student actually told me I was 
racist, because I imposed such grammatical limitations on CAN : "You 
don't want us to say 'Yo ! my sis Yo ! She cans talk a good English. Yo! 
But Snoop Dog, yo ! He will can make truth told be ! Yo ! He will must 
can do against the police ! Yo !".. I promptly phoned his parents and 
had him apologize to me in person. This is when I discovered that his 
father is quite an influential biologist who works for the French CNRS 
(the French equivalent of Harvard) and is specialized in anti-bacterial 
resistance. Well, this phone conversation was of course followed by two 
hours detention in which the kid's task was to write a short-story in 
English (not involving violence or sex) in which the verb CAN appeared 
exactly nine times.

Petty vengeance ... But he's a good kid, and after our verbal sparring, 
I believe we will get on just fine. As long as he learns his homework by 
heart (yesterday's, Friday's lesson, included such expressions as "I am 
determined to ...(do)... / He is proud of ..... / He boasts about .... / 
He claims to ... (be) ... / despite ... / He objects to ... / ... given 
that .... / .... because .../ ... since ... / ... as .... /  (given 
that/as/since/because) it is raining heavily, we will not got to the 
forest /  he fails to .../ obviously (he is  obviously ...) / fired = 
laid off = dismissed and hired=taken on=employed). If he FAILS TO learn 
his lesson, then OBVIOUSLY, DESPITE all his pleas, I  AM DETERMINED TO 
give him a bad grade, GIVEN THAT he has been warned.

But more importantly, I won't let anybody accuse me of racism. That's an 
age-old ploy to get anything past anybody.

Well, it seems my bottle of red wine has been drunk. I am beginning to 
blather about matters that have nothing to do with marxism. Again.

More information about the Marxism mailing list