Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fragment 208

My objections to post-colonial theorists are objections based not on race, but on objections to their reasoning.
The Awakening is criticized by black feminists for suppressing the stories of black women, focusing on the liberation of one (white) female: “The great unexamined story, one far more disturbing than the fiction privileged in the text, is the narrative of sororal oppression across race and class.” absurdly writes Elizabeth Ammons. But this is precisely the story not told by Chopin. Why should she have told this story: why should it have interested her? So that she could be counted a liberal black feminist too? To make the resenters happy?

It seems to me to be the strangest and falsest and most wrong-headed critical strategy: to criticize a book for what it is not, for what it leaves out. It is based on a fundamental ignorance –even dislike- for the basic process of artistic creation: the selection and combination of telling detail for an expressive end. One simply cannot include the whole world.
The supposedly democratic, liberal bias of this type of criticism is in fact a form of intolerance: Chopin is being criticized because she is different from her critics, because she is interested in subjects other than the oppression of black women. The same strategy is used by the same group to criticize Conrad. Heart of Darkness is not about black Africans, so it’s a bad book, runs their argument. If the resenters had their way, a ghastly uniformity would be imposed on all artistic expression.
One might as well reject Matisse simply on the grounds that he is not Picasso.

(However, if one critises such PC theory openly, one lays oneself open to the charges of racism, much the same way that if one criticizes Isreali policy towards the Palestinians, one lays oneself open to charges of antisemitism. Chucked shit sticks.)

My glorification of Western culture is not based on racism. One might call it rather, culturalism. It simply is superior. Cultural relativism is simply hypocrisy at 3,000 feet. Where are the African tribes who have designed and built aeroplanes from scratch?

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