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Klavan On The Culture

Annals of the Academy: What Do The Professor Say?

November 13th, 2013 - 3:39 pm
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My schoolteacher daughter recently sent me the above video which her third grade students can’t stop watching and talking about. Given that it’s had over — get this — 200-million hits, I must’ve been among the last people to know it existed. If you’re wondering, it’s made by a Norwegian comedy duo named Ylvis, who apparently set out to make the worst music video ever. I find it very witty.

Watch it — and then read the paragraph beneath — which (and I swear this is true) is a description of a talk given this month at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center of the University of California at Santa Barbara by Patricia MacCormack. The talk, entitled “Ethics, Animality and Ahuman Theory,” seeks, as far as I can make out, to get us to stop, as they say, privileging our human condition and start thinking of animals as equal to ourselves. Really, read the whole thing:

This talk seeks to radically alter trajectories by which the term ‘animal’ is understood, both in nonhuman and human incarnations. It is founded on the urgent ethical imperative to think animality differently and beyond humanism in order to project ecosophical futures. It is premised on two key themes: an absolute critique and repudiation of speciesist discourse, and a desire to liberate subjectivity from human discourse and subjectification. The paper asks: what can the human be as its own animal, at once no longer fetishising non-human animals, and also giving up the majoritarian species category human toward ahuman theory — an ethics of absolute alterity? What takes us from human systems of thought, acknowledging ourselves as lives without the intervention of excluding and oppressive human discourse? The catalysts for this are limitless. Some examples could be found in certain forms of art encounters, libidinal events, abstraction, literary and filmic experiences, political activism, transgressive practices, ecosophical and chaosmotic becomings, any examples which take us to the outside. Ultimately the question of care toward material alterity, ethics and care is: “what makes possible our thinking beyond thought within a human episteme?” This question is one which must be addressed in order to truly liberate all organic bodies from oppression toward freedom of expressivity and becomings.

Now I discussed this with my dog Dash over a bowl of dead cow and she said, “That would be the stupidest thing I ever heard if I could understand what it said. But I can’t — I’m only a Golden.” I appreciated her humility, but I assured her her species was not the problem.

 

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Top Rated Comments   
Can we take up a collection to send the Prof. to the Serengeti where she can be encouraged to debate Animal Rights and Ethics with a hungry lion.

The part that troubles me most isn't the odoriferous male bovine internally processed plant residue. But the fact that some supposedly intelligent people are paying her (probably with our money) to teach this tripe to our kids. Does no one monitor and/or filter out this crap before we're required to pay for it? And pay for it twice once in cash and once in our mis- no, our MAL- Educated future generations.

Oh... I think it's a cute and charming video. I was probably about #1.75Mil to see it.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (13)
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Don't foxes make a high-pitched yipping sound like a small dog?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
With every fiber of my being, I plead with you to NOT DO WHAT I DID: a google image search of the lecturer.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
When my husband was watching the Denver vs Kansas football game, I noticed the T.V. screen showed a sign held up that read : "What does the coach fox say ?" Something about the video puts you back in touch with the happier moments of childhood. I love it.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Four points your column sparks for me:

First, even if this expert triumphed, and so got humans to stop being condescending to animals, there is not a single animal to whom she could show this triumph who would understand what she had done for it. Animals basically are programmed by Him to avoid threats, find food, and have kids. Not one animal has a capacity to comprehend political accomplishments done for it.

Second, if this expert triumphs, humans will drop reference to the one feature which greatly distinguishes them from animals – the part that survives death. Humans will stop mentioning the soul. Ignore the soul, and you can get more people to accept atheism. Get enough people to accept atheism, and human morality becomes animal. A true atheist has zero reason to act moral, since he believes there is no consequence for acting immoral. Once he dies, like an animal he will cease to exist. Hidden behind this expert’s words, is advocacy that humans stop acting moral and instead act like animals, which means doing literally anything immoral and unethical.

Third, why did He fill this earth with instinct driven creatures who cease to exist on death? Why not create humans, insects, some livestock, and plants only? I would love for someone to tell me how each creature helps the world keep operating, or can help humans live their lives. I assume every creature He created contributes somehow to helping the world continue or helping humans live. I never thought of that before reading your column.

Fourth, if this expert succeeds and gets humans to act like animals by doing anything they want, their only constraint will be the law. They will be free to be completely immoral and unethical, but will still have to obey the law. That makes one ask, what law do animals obey? I argue their law is instinct. No animal absent a disease which impairs brain function, will violate instinct. If this is true, it means animals actually are far more obedient to God than humans. They are programmed by Him to be unable to disobey what He limited them to doing. They must obey instinct when capable of doing so.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"libidinal events"

As Dick Martin would say, "I'll drink to that."
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Also, this: The Corporate BS Generator.

http://www.atrixnet.com/bs-generator.html

You could make a Social Psycho-babbel Generator that just pieces together liberal themes, and nobody would notice the difference.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Speaking of animals: That paragraph is the verbal equivalent of a dog licking its own balls. It's not about doing anything meaningful or productive, it's a self-obsessed way to feel special while actually being grotesque.

It's also a perfect illustration of modern liberal thought and education: Feeling rules all. Forget using words properly, forget clarity, forget well-ordered thought. How does something make you FEEL?

Stringing together complex-sounding buzz words makes people feel intelligent while they say absolutely nothing. If it were three-year-olds exploring a new language, it would be cute. Since it is adults who will receive advanced degrees, it is terrifying.

Love of theory is the root of all evil. Love of theory so complex that it cannot be expressed in actual English is another level lower.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any time that perfesser wants to live like an animal among the other animals, she's welcome to do so. I won't object.

If she wants to have lots of pets and treat them the way she treats humans (i.e., by dressing them up in cute clothes, having tea parties, and speaking well-nigh indecipherable gibberish at them), that's fine by me too.

By the way, Mr. Klavan, if you've just now been introduced to Ylvis, check out his homage to Massachusetts.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
And some will say that was written in English.
Funny. I speak English fairly well, and read it, too, yet it sounded more like someone making up useless words and just saying them, in no particular order.
Cornel West is a great practitioner of this fine aart.
We used to just call it bovine excrement, and leave it at that.
Say Hi to your doggy!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am crying. One part, laughter. One part, horror. I edit this academic jargon for a living. At the moment, that just hurts my head. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP, Dash!!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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