A Tragedy of Manners | Angela Nagle

A Tragedy of Manners; Angela Nagle; In The Baffler; WHEN?
Teaser: Trump and the new age of anti-PC transgression

tl;dr → Manners are a contested space by which actions valorize the hegemonic power valences of the universalist tropes; they are a tussle among the grand ideologues. The author problematizes the domain and limns the transgressive dialogue towards a synthesis which ultimately resulting in the thesis of the conceptual conundrum while at the same time  preserving the original order, thus standing in opposition to itself with both metaphoric as well as rhetorical stances. The lede is buried. To wit:

<quote>The problem in our current, unacknowledged controversy over manners is that while both sides seem to implicitly accept [value] premise, they have directly opposing views of what our system of manners should be doing and what values it should be normalizing.</quote>

Book

Angela Nagle; Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right; Zero Books; 2017-06-30; 136 pages; Amazon:1785355430: Kindle: $10, paper: $16+SHT; previously filled.

Mentions

  • seismic shock, means “big”
  • Donald Trump
  • cultural anxiety, means racism, coded racism, encoded racism, latent racism.
  • ping-pong style search
  • British Burkean conservative Peter Hitchens
  • in Buckleyite fashion
  • Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, 1820.
  • Sittlichkeit
    • a German word (they have words for everythig)
    • an epithet a term of art
    • definition: the ethical life
  • progressives, the good people.
  • the outmoded, prissy-sounding language of manners
  • pride of place
  • the debased rhetoric plotting out
  • metaphorical usage.
  • <quote>the battle over “political correctness”</quote>, a metaporical usage
  • <quote>ongoing war over speech on college campuses</quote>, a metaporical usage
  • <quote>understood through the lens of</quote>, a metaporical usage
  • liberal free speech rights
  • strategic considerations
  • the free speech wars
  • rights under attack from the state
  • <quote>The same basic paradox assails all spheres of political and cultural confrontation</quote>,
    in which “a paradox” does “assail”
  • [They] abjure
    [They] instinctively abjure reckoning
  • The Decivilizing Process
  • gleefully presided over
  • a mass rejection, the mass rejection
  • a liberal sense of
  • political correctness
  • a renegotiation of propriety
  • a pluralist multi-ethnic modern society
  • accommodating
  • admiration
  • transgression
  • straight-talking style.
  • taboo-breaking
  • an unlicensed brand of
  • right-wing cultural subversion, right-wing cultural subversion
  • repressed snobs
  • pearl-clutchers
  • stereotyped view
  • elitist cultural authoritarians—the storm troopers of the liberal language police.
  • renegotiating
  • the very profound question of
  • magnum opus
  • uncomfortable
  • hardy coterie of academic defenders
  • interconnected collective socialization
  • transition into modernity
  • basic lessons
  • collectively negotiated network of self-constraints
  • socialized people into repudiating
  • the governance of public life
  • self-restraint
  • bodily functions
  • the repression of sexual and violent impulses
  • the very fabric of civilization
  • the liberationist ethos of
  • the sixties New Left
  • <quote>the movement spelled a</quote>, a metaphorical usage
  • <quote>a total breakdown of manners and self-restraint in a “permissive society”<quote>, is a hyperbolic usage
  • that critique gained force
    criticism has force, a metaphorical usage, to be sure.
  • wider declensionist narratives
  • neoconservative historian
  • Gertrude Himmelfarb
  • Victorian England
  • to contend that
  • the post-sixties West would be unable to withstand
  • the chaotic force of modernity
  • Western civilization
  • <quote>on the brink of nothing less than total “demoralization,”</quote>, a hyperbolic usage
  • polemicists, Neocon polemicists
  • few dour and cultured leftists, the few
  • Lewis Lapham
  • Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • the youthful adherents
  • Trumpian, the Trumpian right
  • an allied preoccupation
  • civilizational, civilizational collapse
  • the permissive society
  • quasi-Trumpian supporters
  • the anti-PC resistance
  • Camille Paglia
    • is neo-Freudian
    • Sexual Personae
      , a tome
    • is formidable
      she herself, for her own account
  • most ambivalent and qualified arguments
  • the left-leaning [arguments]
  • celebration of decadent culture
  • exponents, [civilization's] key exponents
  • Oscar Wilde
  • <quote>rescued aesthetic insights in the face of<quote>, a mixed metaphorical usage.
  • largely self-administered cultural collapse
  • a related critical register
  • degeneration theory (Degeneration Theory)
  • Max Nordau
  • Oswald Spengler
  • <quote>shape the tone and content of<quote>, a mixed metaphorical usage.
  • a whole new wave of
  • right-wing alternative media.
  • Part and parcel of
  • declensionist revival (on the right)
  • progress, the idea of progress, the very idea of progress.
  • urgency of [Trump’s] appeal
  • mounting conviction
  • the West
  • rapidly degenerating
  • the rubric of, under the rubric of
  • as administered and championed by
  • cultural liberals
  • Circa 2015
  • 4chan’s /pol/ ‘board
  • a meme, the phrase; the widely-shared meme.
  • the meme, the phrase: “Come on it’s (the current year)”
  • naïve progressives
  • John Oliver
  • questioned, [X] questioned, to question
  • the arbitrary insistence
  • <quote>moving forward in time<quote>, a metaphorical usage
  • superior values.
  • More recently [than circa 2015], which would be the twenty months of 2016 & 2017.
  • the meme, the phrase pair:
    • “$DATE1: $statement1” contra “$DATE2: $statement2”
      where $DATE1 + 30 < $DATE2 && value($statement1) > value($statement2)
    • e.g. “1970: ‘I can’t wait for flying cars/space colonies/a cure for cancer’” contra 2017, an image of a man who identifies as a dog or an adult baby.
  • contemporary identity politics, a representation of contemporary identity politics
  • the political message, the political message is clear
  • claim of dichotomy:
    • either progress itself is a myth
    • all of
      • [we have] stopped progressing
      • [we have] started regressing as a civilization
      • [we are] now intractably sinking into a decivilizing process.
  • Question: You Call That Art?
    Answer: what else could it be? The null hypothesis?
  • An audience
    • looser,
    • right-leaning,
    • online,
  • a meme, the critique-of-progress
    • e.g.Cathedral Gothic Art contra Contemporary Art
    • sarcastically caption: e.g. “progress” or “art then . . . art now.”
  • absurdist
  • <quote>knitting with wool from her vagina</quote>, activities attributed to Casey Jenkins
    which begs the question of how wool got in her vagina; would that be a used tampon?. Juvenile, if true.
  • vastly overrated modern art
  • long been a preoccupation
  • almost a cliché
  • the declension narratives
  • the declension narratives of the right (the third? usage).
  • Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, 1976
    honorific: <quote>one of the founding texts of the American religious right<quote>
  • a polemic work, a polemic work of art history.
  • the right-leaning suspicion
  • contemporary art
  • the faux-populist refrain, some variant of the faux-populist refrain
  • “my three-year-old could do that”, an epithet.
  • Roger Scruton, an erudite conservative critic
  • “cult of ugliness”, attributed to Roger Scruton.
  • The young subcultural online right
  • <quote>mourns the death of the ideal of beauty as an extension of its critique of progress</quote>, a mixed metaphorical usage.
  • the hordes of online left-baiters
  • judgments of personal beauty, of women.
  • before-and-after cultural documentation; the transition, the purported transition
    • nice, well-adjusted-looking young women
    • and (or)
      • feminism
      • the ravages of studying the social sciences.
  • exemplar, a hated exemplar: Lena Dunham
  • modern cult of ugliness
  • <quote>channeling the latter avant-garde aesthetic sensibilities of shock and transgression.<quote>ongoing an action attributed to of the [members of the] modern cult of ugliness.
  • confrontationally corpulent nudity, an ongoing action attributed to Lena Dunham.
  • outsider art, contra insider art
  • <quote>[The Nazis] waged war on “degenerate art”<quote>, a metaphorical usage; to wit, National Socialist German Workers’ Party waged actual war as well, such war being one the second most famous policy-based activity for which they are known..
  • Weimar avant-garde, the vibrant Weimar avant-garde
    • a crusade
    • years of reactionary writing
    • modern art beiing
      • ugly
      • Jewish
      • destructive to European traditions
  • …affecting a transition from art to Nazi policy to Donald Trump’s stylistic fluorishes, we see what you did there.
  • Trump’s own famous style
  • fanatically mimicked
  • right-wing culture-jammers
  • a certain avant-gardish notoriety
  • <quote>images so stomach-churning and morally repugnant they “can’t be unseen.”<quote>, an epithet, a passive characterization.
  • The new youthful rightist movements
  • the modern aesthetics of shock and transgression
  • the alternation:
    • horrified critics
    • prolific producers
  • <quote>Trumpians [as a self-conscious class] their leader’s id-driven defiance of the harsh constraints imposed by strict liberal etiquette and sexual mores</quote>
  • [the] coarse “pussy grabbing” comments
  • <quote>the general conditions of cultural decline ushered in by the liberalism of the sixties<quote>
  • Trumpians are not rightist trolls; c.f. <quote>To them and to the rightist trolls</quote>
  • Wherein the shock of throwing X is a pushback against Y
  • <quote>the shock of throwing off liberal etiquette is a pushback against the civilizational decline brought on by those Baby Boomers who threw off their own set of constraints.</quote>
  • Baby Boomers
  • the culture of trolling
  • the culture of style-defining spaces
  • 4chan is
    • a culture of trolling
    • a culture of style-defining spaces
  • [such culture] [is only] a franchise of the far right
  • the fetishization of trolling as
    • “counter-hegemonic”
    • taboo-breaking
  • leftish writers; a characterization, an honorific, an epithet.
  • the sixties view
    • is that systems of personal constraints were the cause of society’s ills rather than the cure.
    • is anti-Freudian.
    • is descended from Rousseau.
  • confused, backswitching narratives of cultural decline
  • <quote>the legacy of Elias sheds an invaluable light</quote>, a mixed metaphorical usage.
  • a body of work about the “decivilizing process”
  • something different than
    • the declension narratives of the right
    • the declension narratives of the left
  • something similar to
    • a communitarian sense of society.
  • the definition [f decline]
    • shorter chains of social interdependence
    • a decrease in
      • in taming of aggressiveness
      • mutual identification
      • the gap between child and adult standards
    • a reliance on external constraints to curb
      • violent impulses
      • unruly impulses
    • an increase in
      • the free expression of aggressiveness
  • Cas Wouters
  • the post-sixties management of manners
  • a less morally constrained time
  • <quote>“a highly controlled decontrolling of emotional controls”<quote>, attributed to Cas Wouters [clearly he too, had no editorial supervision].
  • The Shock Doctrine
    as used here used conflates the argument of Naomi Klein with the critical theoretical implications of public and individual reactions to works of ironic performative criticism as “art.”
  • the memes, the memes of the right
    <quote>the irony-drenched “come on, it’s the current year!” memes of the right</quote>
  • the call to action
    the calls to reject modernity,
    <quote>the merely retrograde calls to reject modernity</quote>
  • Robert Hughes diagnosed
    • an active action
    • claimed: art culture lost 1890→1980
      • Ebullience
      • Idealism
      • Confidence
  • The Shock Doctrine is, and was
    • <quote>the trademark culture-seizing ebullience of modern Western art<quote>
    • the “shock of the new”
    • once heralded the future
  • <quote>[the shock doctrine] was <snip/>a central battleground<quote>, a mixed metaphorical usage.
  • thrashing out the meaning of progress
  • Robert Hughes mourned, an action on his part.
  • the modes, the modes of expression,
    <quote>the nasty, negative, and nihilistic modes of expression that today also paradoxically repulses and characterizes the aesthetic sensibilities of the youthful online right, depending on subtler distinctions of whose rules it is transgressing.</quote>
  • Establishment conservatism, as a self-conscious class.
  • the Trumpians, the Trumpians preside
  • a ghost-dance revival of the very recent past
  • “Make America Great Again”
    • a mission
    • a call to action
  • the legions of the alt-right
  • an imminent nightmarish future
  • <quote>a civilization already dropped off the cliff</quote>, a metaphorical usage.
  • “America is already great!”
    • The centrist insistence
    • The stupendously ineffectual rejoinder to Trump trademarked by the Clinton campaign
    • has an alternative
      • is anemic
      • is uninspiring
      • [is] <quote>a strange kind of end-of-history politics that holds GDP and the gradual liberalization of cultural attitudes as the incontrovertible measure of secular millennialism.</quote>
  • secular millennialism, as measured
    <quote>the incontrovertible measure of secular millennialism</quote>
  • generational living standards
  • the technological affluent future
  • claimed: alt-right memes will have [continued] appeal under the conditions specified.
  • …the rhetorical transition, abruptly, back to the subject of manners. We see what you did there.
  • something about manners
  • an extremely fraught renegotiation
  • …the  rhetorical transition, something about McDonald’s corporation and progress and Nazi Germany and Elias’ thought:
    • The corporate slogan
      of McDonalds, the golden arches of McDonalds
      “A modern and progressive burger company.”
    • Norbert Elias
      • a German
      • a Jew
      • fled Nazi Germany
      • mother died in Auschwitz
  • civilization
  • equals restraint
  • a delicate balance
  • atrophies
  • all is lost
  • <quote>We’re now in the midst of an extremely fraught renegotiation of the values expressed in our system of manners.</quote>
  • the controversy [teach the controversy],
    <quote>our current unacknowledged controversy over manners</quote>

Pantheon

  • Peter Hitchens, a British Burkean conservative.
  • James Burke, a theorist.
  • William Buckley, a theorist.
  • Lena Dunham, a performer; was born, lived in New York, her family members work as artists, work in the arts.
  • Norbert Elias, a scrivener; performed landmark research.
  • Sigmund Freud, a theorist.
  • Gertrude Himmelfarb, historicist, a neoconservative
  • Robert Hughes, a theorist, upon the domain of art
  • Casey Jenkins, a performer; (ahem, is female); has a vagina
  • Lewis Lapham, a leftist, by trade; is dour, is cultured.
  • William Gibbon, a scrivener
  • Max Nordau, a theorist; branded: Degeneration Theory.
  • John Oliver, a performer, of satire; is naive, is progressive (good).
  • Camille Paglia, a theorist; is formidable, she, herself.
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau, a theorist.
  • Francis Schaeffer, a theorist.
  • Roger Scruton, a theorist; is conservative, is erudite.
  • Oswald Spengler, a theorist; branded: Degeneration Theory.
  • Donald J. Trump, boffo, a data subject, the data subject.
  • Slavoj Žižek, a philosoph, a Marxist.
  • Oscar Wilde, a practitioner; is an exponent.
  • Cas Wouters, a theorist; following the theory of Norbert Elias.

Referenced

  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, 1820.
  • Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process, 1939.
  • Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776.
  • Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, 2007.
  • Camile Paglia, Sexual Personae, 1990.
    honorific: a tome.
  • Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, 1976.
    honorific: <quote>one of the founding texts of the American religious right<quote>

Argot

The suitcase words
  • Avant-garde, The Avant-garde
  • Baby Boomers
  • Burkean
  • Buckleyite
  • Declenscionist Narrative
  • Decivilizing Process, The
  • Descent Theory
  • Freudian, neo-Freudian
  • Left
    • New Left
    • The Left
  • Right
    • Alt-Right
    • The Right
  • Sixties, The Sixties
  • Shock Doctrine, The
  • Trumpian
  • West, The West

Previously filled.

The Power of Positive Publishing | New York Magazine

The Power of Positive Publishing; Boris Kachka; In New York Magazine; 2013-01-06.
Teaser: How self-help ate America.

Mentioned

… roughly in order of appearance.

  • Dwight MacDonald; Howtoism; a book; 1954 (not listed in Amazon)
  • Best Sellers in Self-Help; a list; on Amazon
  • Charles Duhigg; The Power of Habit,
  • Paulo Coelho; The Alchemist, a novel
  • Susan Cain; Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, 
  • Will Schwalbe; The End of Your Life Book Club, a memoir
  • David Pelzer; A Child Called “It” ; a memoir
  • John Gray; Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex; original publisher: Harper?; reprint publisher: Harper; 2012-04-03; 368 pages; kindle: no, paper: $0.01+SHT.
  • William Shinker
    • publisher of Gotham Books
    • discovered (?) John Gray; Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
    • publishes books on “willpower” and “vulnerability”—“self-help masquerading as ‘big-idea’ books”
  • Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hanson; Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • Ted Turner
  • Daniel Kahneman
  • Poor Richard’s Almanack
  • Dr. Spock.
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Norman Vincent Peale
  • The New Age
  • New Thought
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Sigmund Freud
  • William James
  • Me Decade
  • Harper & Row relocates it’s religion division to San Francisco in 1977.
  • Esalen
  • Human Potential
  • Hazelden clinic
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • the recovery movement
  • Melody Beattie Codependent No More
  • Linda Loewenthal
    • editor, Harmony Books, a self-help publisher
    • references the recovery movement boom as “my awakening to the power of naming something.”
    • “An increasing segment of the market wants to read about the synthesis of different modalities.”
  • Esther Margolis, Newmarket Press, a self-help publisher
  • Suze Orman
    • Merrill Lynch
    • advice to the unemployed
    • middle class home economics advice via Newmarket Press
  • Deepak Chopra
    • Tufts
    • Boston University
    • meditation
    • Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old; Harmony Books; 1993.
  • Oprah Winfrey
    • attributed as “by 2000″
    • book promotions
    • Eckart Tolle, The Power of Now.
    • Rhonda Byrne; The Secret,.
    • The Corrections, a novel.
    • The Road, a novel.
  • Malcolm Gladwell; The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference; Abacus?; 2000; Black Bay Books; 2002-01-07; 301 pages; kindle: $10, paper: $1+SHT.
  • Eckhart Tolle; The Power of Now; 1997
    • 3000 copies
    • best seller after Oprah promo
  • Rhonda Byrne; The Secret,; Atria Books/Beyond Words; reprint; 2006; 198 pages; kindle: $12, paper: $2+SHT.
    tl;dr => a magical-thinking throwback to New Thought; an Oprah promotion
  • Greg Brandenburgh
    • ex-Harper San Francisco.
    • “What you’re looking for is to publish on conditions that are chronic and incurable,”
  • Heather Jackson
    • an editor, Harmony Books
    • demographic of interest: “the worried well looking to optimize, to make their lives that much better.”
    • Example: Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek.
  • Timothy Ferriss; The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich; Harmony; 2007-04-24; 320 pages; kindle: no, paper: $0.01+SHT.
  • life-hacking
  • inefficiency remediation
  • essayistic self-help
  • Caroline Sutton
    • on essayistic self-help “Somebody’s gonna kill me for saying this, but I think it was The Tipping Point,” Gladwell’s 2000 argument for the power of social connections, which made it safe for techies and business types—and, more generally, men—to read about bettering themselves. “The whole idea of showing that there is a counter­intuitive way of looking at information, to make you understand yourself in a completely different way—that’s been game-changing.”
    • Hudson Street Press of Penguin.
    • was at Random House.
    • “I think it’s important to offer out a promise to the reader, It’s a kind of quintessentially American thing.”
    • Concept: big idea science
    • “TED, is sort of like the new Oprah.”
  • Daniel Goleman
  • Toni Burbank
    • editor, Bantam Books.
    • <quote>a veteran self-help guru</quote>
    • Daniel Goleman; Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ; 1995.
  • Sharon Begley
  • Positive Psychology, a subgenre
  •  Like so many movements of the past, it began as the province of professionals pursuing greater knowledge or maybe better policy—until it was brought down to Earth by
  • Gretchen Rubin

Opinement

The snide commentary of Boris Kachka in the article.  Quoting…

  • …books on “willpower” and “vulnerability”—“self-help masquerading as ‘big-idea’ books.”
  • Today, every section of the store (or web page) overflows with instructions, anecdotes, and homilies. History books teach us how to lead, neuroscience how to use our amygdalas, and memoirs how to eat, pray, and love.
  • Instead of …
    • Instead of regulation, we have that new buzzword, self-regulation;
    • instead of an ambivalence over “selling out,” we have the millennial drive to “monetize”; and
    • instead of seeking to build better institutions, we mine them in order to build better selves.
  • Universities now devote faculty to fields (positive psychology, motivation science) that function as research arms of the self-help industry.
  • [J]ournalists schooled in a sense of public mission turn their skills to fulfilling our emotional needs.
  • But since self-help trails with it that old shameful stigma, the smartest writers and publishers shun the obvious terminology. And the savviest readers enjoy the masquerade, knowing full well what’s behind the costume: self-help with none of the baggage.
  • Linkbaits
  • The “recovery” system named everything, defining every problem as a personal illness to be conquered
    • toxic parents,
    • women who love too much,
    • obesity,
    • excessive shopping,
    • “codependency,” which could potentially encompass any human relationship.
  • The guru has given way to the data set—as explicated by journalists eager to break the constraints of a shrinking medium by pitching their discoveries directly to the masses. And where yesterday’s healers had their Esalen Institute and ­Hazelden, journalists and scientist-writers have lecture circuits. “TED,” says Sutton, “is sort of like the new Oprah.”

Via: backfill