Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Radical Posturing

“Sure, I know this isn’t the time for a gender war; I know I should be concentrating on the class war.”
(Zoe Williams, “The old school lie”, The Guardian, 28th February 2006.)
For pretentious middle-class flatheads such as Zoe Williams, urging on class war seems like an exciting and authentic thing to do, and so long as it does not halt the supply of couscous or novels or documentaries on the plight of inner-city children, over which they might shed a very visible tear, then all is well. The last thing they would wish is that a mob of proletarian idealists should take them seriously and burn down their toddlers’ nurseries. That would be ghastly, and not what they mean by class war at all. What they mean by class war is the chance to stir up trouble from what they believe is a safe distance and to say silly and frivolous things that sound all daring and bold—but at no obvious risk to themselves. It is a game they play to bring meaning to their empty lives and to demonstrate to one another that their lives have authentic meaning after all—and to demonstrate above all that they care about something other than themselves. It is ultimately a dangerous game, for sure, but they are far too busy indulging in their vapid pastimes of reading novels or talking at one another at dinner parties to take the time to study anything that might bring them an understanding of this.

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