Wednesday, November 20, 2002

From the Culture supplement to today's Vanguardia is this paragraph from a commentary by Ana Nuño on a novel by one François Emmanuel, a--no, you're wrong! So was I. He's Belgian. Anyway, the plot of the book is that the narrator, an industrial psychologist with the French subsidiary of a German firm, is assigned to treat the boss, who has freaked out. Nuño's text is in italics below.

The plot develops, cleanly and linearly, this analytic process (Oh, great, another French...well, Belgian novel that takes place on a psychiatrist's couch) and, at the same time, introduces another motif that ends up becoming the obsessive self-exploration of the narrator-psychologist: the discovery of a hidden truth that concerns not only the boss, but the whole company. This hidden truth, which the author never explicitly mentions, allows us to relate the logic of the business world--with its restructuring plans, its search for maximum profit, and its increases in productivity--with the universe of the Nazi concentration camps, the brutal form taken by the bureaucratic rationalizationation of the largest systematic business of the destruction of human lives in History. WHAT? The logic of capitalism is that of the Nazi concentration camps? Is this chick smoking better dope than I am, that stuff that you take one hit of and instantly see how to rearrange the world, or is she on a crazed ditchweed headache high? The Nazi concentration camps were first cousins of the Soviet gulag, honey. Oligarchical collectivism and all that. Totalitarianism. Not capitalism. Socialism. Remember, the Nazis were National Socialists, not National Capitalists.

...(This is the first) work of fiction that explores the survival in our world of the logic that made possible the death factories of Auschwitz and the other extermination camps. A logic that continues its labor among us, hidden among the folds of the most poswerul and apparently innocuous instrument of creation and modification of the world: language. Must be a crazed ditchweed headache high. She's going off on a Chomskyan tangent, as Chomsky believes that language is the most important tool that the capitalist oppressors use to keep the rest of humanity enslaved. I'd shout "Run for your lives," but for some reason the article comes to a dead end here, so there's no more Chomskyan crap. Vocabulary note: "Chomskyan" means "a person whose ideas are within the current of linguistic and philosophical thought founded by Noam Chomsky." Steven Pinker is a Chomskyan. "Chomskyite" means "a person who is a political follower of Noam Chomsky." Those morons in Rage Against the Machine are Chomskyites.

Also, here we go again with "hidden truths". Spanish leftists, and a lot of Spanish non-leftists, are Gnostics: they believe that there's a hidden structure behind everything. Secret powerful forces run the world and manipulate everything. Everything happens for a reason, though we may not understand that reason; the powerful do, however. Nothing is true, since all knowledge is manipulated by those in charge. It's all one vast conspiracy, and the Americans / Jews / oil companies / arms manufacturers / CIA / cattle mutilators / crop-circle aliens / los que tienen muchas intereses are behind it. This is, of course, straight-out paranoia, and it's a distressingly common way of thinking in Spain, and I think in the other Latin countries as well.

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