Museology &
ZKPVI - Nettime reader
    Mieke Gerritzen
    Lev Manovich
    Geert Lovink
    Michael van Eeden
    Lev Mnaovich
    Richard Barbrook
    Ted Byfield
    Tilman Baumgaertel
    Geert Lovink
    murph the surf
    Pit Schultz
    RTMark Admin
    Sebastian Leutgert
    Luther Blisset
    Alexei Shulgin
    Dr. Future
    Felix Stalder
    James Stevens
    Francesca da Rimini
    Mathew Fuller
    Andrew Ross
    Simin Pope
    Phil Graham
    G. Lovink & T. Druckrey
    Mathew Fuller
    Pit Schultz
    Felix Stalder
    Alan Sonheim
    David Cox
    text warez
    Slobodan MarkoviŠ
    Vinton G. Cerf
    Patrice Riemens
    nettime digestive system
    Reihold Grether
    Felix Stalder

Jesse Hirsh

    Brian Carroll
    Brian Holmes
    CTHEORY Editor
    Brian Caroll
    Pit Schultz
    Brian Caroll
    McKenzie Wark
    Olia Lialina

2000.08.25. - Phil Graham, Rudeness as a public service

Subject: Rudeness as a public service
From: Phil Graham
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 22:50:56 +1000

Some people say that I have very rude manners when I write.

I take that as a compliment.

In a period of human history when every malicious and pernicious intention is couched in the most polite, sanitised, technical and obscure language, rudeness is a public service.

Hitler called sanitised language "coordination". He called the mechanical murder of millions of people "the Jewish question", "question" meaning here much the same as "issue" means today. He knew very well what sanitising public expression meant: the closure of thought; the effective creation of a one-track public mind devoid of memory, context, and content.

His nominalist propaganda lackeys painted a picture of diversity and vibrant cultural life where homogenous and homogeneous piles of corpses were the model.

After all, the nominalist dogma says: "everything is relative".

Thus the ugliest statement of all: "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

It is as if, without people, beauty could not exist.

It is as if beauty were an attribute of perceptions.

The statement "She perceives beautifully" does not at all imply the existence of beauty. It is hardly even sensible.

That is because the statement grammatically presents "beauty" as an attribute of someone perceiving, as an adverb of perception, not a quality. It does so in a far more clear and direct manner than that sacharine platitude of nominalist dogma.

"She sees beauty" is somewhat more sensible, but it also implies something in which the ineffable quality of beauty inheres, or in which it perhaps hides.

If, as the pop-culture of the 70s said, "everything is beautiful in it's own way", then a pit of corpses miles deep might indeed be an expression of a vibrant cultural life. Certainly, some significant amount of efficient and concentrated energy is implied.

The purpose of sanitising public language is to cleanse it of the horror it expresses.

Today Hitlerian "coordination" is called "political correctness" or "rational debate" or "dialogue" or "negotiation" or "stakeholder relations" or "public relations" or some other equally disgusting and authoritarian name.

It is really just an attempt to close off meaning before critical debate can start.

That is why "terms of reference" is such a significant expression today when political personnel investigate issues of the public good.

In Draconian Greece, the "terms of reference" were set by means of deliberative rhetoric designed by sophists. Then they adorned the remaining narrow set of terms (words, definitions, issues), which had already been decided beforehand, or which were undecidable from the start, with epideictic rhetoric, so transforming them into a distorted caricature of open debate.

That is our "democratic" inheritance: Draco, not Socrates.

Now, as then, polemical, unexpert, and dissenting terms that stray from the "terms of reference" are disallowed or discredited: they are artefacts of a dirty, inexpert, and disorganised reality.

Rudeness is a public service. So is humour. So is memory. So is meaning. So is thought.

The totalitarian is happy to remove all of these from public access.

Mass mediated propaganda is the means by which that is achieved today.

I can hardly see how propaganda is necessary to democracy. Therefore the propagandist is more likely by nature to be inclined towards authoritarisanism.

And so rudeness is a public service.

Opinions expressed in this email are my own unless otherwise stated.
Phil Graham
Lecturer (Communication)
Graduate School of Management
University of Queensland
617 3381 1083