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September 12, 2007

Territorial Pissings

Thanks to Larry Craig's decision to keep on keepin' on, my column this week, "Wide-Stance Sociology," remains at least somewhat au courant. Thank you, Senator!

It would have been better to have run it within the last couple of weeks, but I already had pieces lined up -- first, an interview with Peniel Joseph about The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual by Harold Cruse, then a podcast with Richard Kahlenberg, author of the biography of Al Shanker. (My review of which will be out elsewhere at some point.)

One week, a discussion of Black Power; the next week, a discussion of the New York City teachers' strikes against Black Power. It might seem as if the scheduling here were deliberate -- and there will be at least a couple of people who decide that this implies something or other. If only I could claim to be that organized.

Speaking of podcasts, there's another one available of my discussion of the LaRouche "movement" (read: "cult of personality") on the radio in Los Angeles last month.

There is pretty strong evidence now that the group is undergoing severe internal strain, with some older members in revolt against the caudillo, who is having to push very hard now to assert his authority within its ranks. I don't have time to write about it now. But suffice to say that a certain amount of internal material has leaked out -- some of which has ended up online, while other bits circulate among those of us who, as the term of art goes, "monitor" the group. (I've written about them on and off for years, but somehow never gotten one of those big checks that the International Synarchist Conspiracy supposedly pays out.)

The Internet is not a medium good for the kind of information-control built into the culture of such groups. The LaRouchies have responded with a campaign of what they call "MySpace Jokes" -- the labelling of which is helpful, since otherwise it would never occur to anyone outside the cult to imagine that they could be funny.

They only make sense, if that is the word to use, in terms of LaRouche's odd psychological doctrines. They really aren't meant to amuse outsiders anyway. The real intent must be to control member access to the web by making it seem potentially dangerous. Chances are, someone who doesn't make quota in fundraising is accused of "MySpace syndrome."

This cartoon is interesting given the horror of women expressed in the guru's early psychobabble documents. The combination of misogyny, anti-Semitism, obsession with suicide, and cult of genius in this outfit resembles nothing else so much as Otto Weininger's Sex and Character, which I've written about here and here.

Posted by smclemee at September 12, 2007 5:54 AM