master remains master. In our current social context,
philosopher Slavoj Zizek writes, the “boss” is friendly.
We call him or her by first name, and “he [or her] shares
a dirty joke with us,” In Defense of Lost Causes.
Nonetheless, he or she “remains our master.”
Domination operates when we are in a state of denial:
are not only obliged to obey our masters, we are also
obliged to act as if we were free and equal, as if there
was no domination - which, of course, makes the situation
even more humiliating.
rise of capitalism itself, Zizek explains, accounts for
this “paradox” in social relations. Domination denies
itself as domination. Capitalism, as an ideology, is effective
in that we cannot even name The Master, that is,
capitalism, itself. Our function as cogs propelling the
furthering of capitalism’s success is ignored. We maintain
the appearance of “freedom and dignity” when, in fact,
things exchanged on the market are superior to us, people.
are we going to teach our children to say no or yes to?
is a videogame now called the Call of Duty, a product
of the U.S. Activision company in which the player is
encouraged to assassinate former Cuban President Fidel
Castro during the Missile Crisis in 1962 (Havana
Times.org). According to the IPS (Inter Press
Service), the videogame “encourages sociopathic attitudes
in U.S. children and adolescents,
the main consumers of the games.” What could not be accomplished
some 200 times (that is, the assassination of Castro)
in reality is sold as a commodity for U.S.
children to absorb as play.
is in play?
Hedges, refusing to shirk reality and serve a neo-liberal
agenda, has not been “excluded and prohibited” altogether,
is one of the few voices we are able to see and hear -
at least on YouTube. In his lecture promoting his new
of the Liberal Class, he establishes how the liberal
class has offered itself in the rise of capitalism starting
with their silence as Reagan’s gift of deregulation to
corporations opened the door for a corporate coup.
liberal Clinton followed, attracting, Hedges says, corporate
money while he carried out draconian legislation that
effectively “decapitated” Black Americans and stifled
the working class and poor. In the meantime, corporations
began giving money to the Democrats in parity with the
Republicans, Hedges adds. Thanks to the liberal administration
Wall Street took the power making a mockery of the so-called
“power of the people.”
the rise of the Tea Party, anger of “the people” is deflected
from Wall Street to the government, Hedges argues. Along
with their anger at government, the Tea Party point to
the liberal and progressive class, whom they rightly register
as the party responsible for selling workers out to corporate
is at play - but the death of the liberal class? I concur
liberals are in denial about everything - including their
own demise! I am reminded of the sheriff (Ed Tom Bell)
Country for Old Men played by Tommy Lee Jones
who, after understanding that the hunter of capital had
a peculiar way of sending humans to their death, asks
the rhetorical question, “Who are these people?”
death, destruction is a matter-of-fact, indeed, joyful
venture with its own logic. “The crime you see now,” Sheriff
Bell recognizes, is “hard to even take its measure.”
not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be
willing to die to even do this job. But, I don’t want
to push my chips forward and go out and meet something
I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at
hazard. He’d have to say, ‘O.K., I’ll be part of this
Call it! Heads or tails?
hunter, disturbed by having to work, even ever so little,
to make the store owner succumb to his logic, grows impatient.
He is just doing his job!
Call it, please! Just call it!! Heads or tails?
at play, asked the storeowner. I need to know what’s at
Everything! Call it!
later the wife of the already pursued and dead, who could
not himself hold onto the money to lift his family from
poverty, realizes it is hopeless to play this game and
questions its logic. It makes no sense, she said. I don’t
have the money. You don’t have to kill me, but I know
you will kill me anyway and, besides, I knew you were
here - even in the bedroom.
Sheriff Bell resigns to a state of resignation. Defeated.
Maybe another younger generation will come along
in retirement, recalls to his wife “dreams” - in which
he, a child again, sees his father in the dark but carrying
a horn of fire. He, the Sheriff knew that when he reached
this darkness, the father would be there - with the fire,
casting the light like that of moonlight into the darkness.
But then the sheriff woke up!
we have anyone left to teach our children what to say
no or yes to?
primary functionaries at these institutions, the liberal
class refuses to question their connection and function,
their lives as lived in the capitalist system that excludes
and prohibits even them from pursuing justice. The liberal
class today are just doing its job - assisting
an unjust ordering of people. As functionaries, the liberal
class continues just doing their job of producing
cogs for the Master, excluding and prohibiting
anything that has to do with the promotion of life.
is pervasive, and in this environment of denial at so-called
educational institutions, fear of reality ensures that
no education takes place because the goal is not to have
sites of where free inquiry into reality can happen. Resignation
and hypocrisy is the solution.
for example the post-racial union policies in which the
idea of “seniority” is meant to represent a democratic,
non-racial, non-discrimination model for the hiring and
firing of college teachers. The largest city college in
Philadelphia is proud of this system. It represents fairness.
Take a look around the auditorium at a meeting of English
faculty. The majority in the room are white and male.
Look a little harder. See a few Black or Latino or Asian
faculty. A handful. Over 300 faculty, however, are seated
in this auditorium.
are the leaders of the AFT local union? Do you need to
in with over 20 years of teaching experience and a PH.D
and watch how younger, fresh-from-grad-school teachers
Oh, but seniority! Everyone starts at the bottom!
racial demographic does the hiring?
is a question that cannot be asked. It makes the liberals
feel uncomfortable with you. It suggests you are trouble.
It suggests you refuse to be in a state of denial. You
refuse to define freedom as the privilege, thanks
to liberal class, to be a consumer of goods, a holder
of plastic and debt.
refuse to play! - they mumble under their breath). Oh,
but seniority! Everyone starts at the bottom! (Smile).
There, you can be harnessed and subjected to surveillance,
if you should attempt to bring reality into our environment.
(Smile, again). We are just doing our job!
better like it - or else! Because not only, as Zizek writes,
is it expected that the Master is ignored,
but we are “obligated to obey” the Master by responding
without question to the functionaries. “We are…obligated
to act as if we were free and equal, as if there were
no domination - which, of course, makes the situation
even more humiliating.”
is the logic of the capitalist market in control of thought.
will teach our children what to say no or yes to? Certainly
not the cowards at these so-called educational institutions
who kill resistance! Resistance is made powerless! While
the liberal class of educators and college/university
administrators do their jobs, the corporations and increasingly
the U.S. Defense Department ultimately dictate to our
children what to say no or yes to.
Call it! Heads or tails?
Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate
in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Click here
to contact Dr. Daniels.