Friday, March 16, 2007

The Ideology of Echo La La

Lallation is rough going in a public discussion. It fills multiple volumes of books (and audio tapes for listening while driving) by many of our most popular public intellectuals. Our universities could well give out doctoral awards on the basis of nothing else but lallation. I first encountered lallation when I applied for a job as a lyric writer for Enya. Turned down for that, then obviously the phud was a non-starter. Damn, damn, damn, and double damn.

It gets worse. There is political and religious lallation. The Ideology of Echo La La.

The Ideology of Echo La La? Yes, dear reader, it's a close relative of the "Ideology of Duh!" But it's completely different.

No, really.

Echolalia is what most of us call parrot-talk. These days it passes for critical discourse, especially if one is a social scientist, and I think it's been proven to a statistical near certainty that sociologists are the first and worst paragons of it's use as an intellectual tool. [See: Jack and Jill Ayne, Clinical Studies of Brain-damage in Social Scientists, with particular emphasis on sociologists. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 2007, p. 1.]

Echolalia is a full-blown ideology. Here's what it is and how it work;

An unimaginative social scientist needs a doctoral thesis that will impress a committee of unimaginative social scientists. He writes what they write. He's not stupid. The stupid ones are those who pick up the ideology as it hits the classrooms and campuses. It is there that the Ideology of La La grows into what it is today.

From the oral defence by a sociologist one hears: I hate Bush.

By the ways of echolalia, it gets repeated endlessly till it seems the most natural thing on Earth, even if all it is is a simple repetition of a few words and phrases.


Hear it once and then it's all over the school.


Do you hear Leftist cliches and Muslim whinging? It's the sound of the Ideology of Echo La La.

So, dear reader, you can see that though it's related to the "Ideology of Duh" it is completely different. We do get pretty damned sophisticated around here sometimes.


Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, social scientists are absolutely taken with Bush hatred. Just look at all the dissertations they’ve produced on the subject! Errrr…,nah, let’s keep this discussion free of empirics.

I would suggest you think about the possibility of selection bias in who ends up studying in the field of social science. Students offer enter a field with a predisposition toward a certain kind of ideological message. I doubt many student radicals became student radicals because of what they heard in a classroom or from a professor.

dag said...

"I doubt many student radicals became student radicals because of what they heard in a classroom or from a professor."

I know it's not fair of me to highlight the statement above but I'm doing because I'm a mean-spirited guy.

"Yes, yes, social scientists are absolutely taken with Bush hatred. Just look at all the dissertations they’ve produced on the subject!"

Oh, mate, I am beyond redemption. Anyone with any sense of pity would have allowed for you having a bad day, a cold or cancer or something that prevents you from thinking straight. Maybe, a decent and humane person would argue, you're beinng eaten by an aligator as you desperately type a comment here. But what do I do? I highlight it, having not a speck of pity.

It's no wonder my friends all hate me.

truepeers said...

Gentle people,

Understanding resentment, as such, instead of trading it, is the key to all this.

Don't expect many dissertations on Bush Derangement Syndrome, per se - that would be too much of a challenge to the academy for it to allow; but I expect BDS to influence many dissertations.

Anyway, if one hates Bush, it would actually be pretty hard to focus on him for the years it takes to write a doctoral thesis. Resentment is delusional and if it is too much on the mind one eventually loses control of things and touch with reality. This actually happens, in degrees, to many if not most academics for reasons they don't yet understand. So, the usual thing to do is to focus on putative victims of the one you hate, thus moderating one's resentment by shifting the focus, and also leaving resentment unexamined as such.

I was sad to read that even Charles Taylor, Canada's most celebrated humanistic academic, at the recent news conference to announce his 1.5 million US dollar Templeton prize, couldn't help taking a shot at Bush's use of the term "axis of evil". Bush was scapegoating his enemy, says Taylor, by misappropriating religious language or experience, and this is the real evil we need to explore. You would think a man of Taylor's age and learning and status would be above that kind of comment on such an occasion, especially since he went on about our need to better understand our scapegoating impulse - subject of his ongoing research. But I guess he is still too righteous at heart. Is it Bush hatred, or perhaps Taylor's ordinate, or insufficient, Christianity to blame? It will be interesting to see what reading of Rene Girard, Taylor eventually comes up with.

Anyway, what Taylor said about scapegoating might lead some to think he is a Gnostic, as per this analysis of Eric Gans, if you will allow me to refer back to and continue the comments in Dag's Thursday post on Taylor.

Anonymous said...

It’s not mean spirited at all to highlight the statement (though an ignorant mind might think it). It really isn’t a novel argument. There are conservative-leaning academics before me that have toyed with selection issues to explain student political dispositions in the social sciences (e.g. business oriented students choose economics; radicals choose women studies, and so on). In other words, the critique that student opinions are being shaped by the professoriate can only be partially true because it misses one of the most important steps in the process (program self-selection by students).

truepeers said...


No doubt the primary thing is the existential experience that leads one to leftism, liberalism etc. This is a question we all too easily forget in a rush to confront ideologies on a logical basis. We must learn better how to discuss the nature of experiences in the West that lead so many of our young "intellectuals" into self-hating ideologues.

Yet it is the ideologies of the universities that help structure and compound these youthful experiences as the professional intellectuals' symbols filter through society and help construct an intellectual, institutional, professional, and esthetic environment that becomes much of a person's lived experience.

The openness of the universities to Gnosticism in all its ongoing forms of symbolization creates the environment where the kinds of experience that lead young people to seek out the latest in Gnostic ideologies of immanent worldly salvation are seen to be normal (not that anyone in them has much faith in the "normal"). And this only makes youth's experience of existential crisis into a life-long project of infantilized "resistance" to "the system", or whatever, a project whose symbols will trickle down to the next generation in their high schools, on tv, books, internet, etc, making a living culture that constitutes much of youth's lived experience.

dag said...

Peers writes: "...the professional intellectuals' symbols filter through society and help construct an intellectual, institutional, professional, and esthetic environment...."

NA writes: 'Students often enter a field with a predisposition toward a certain kind of ideological message. I doubt many student radicals became student radicals because of what they heard in a classroom or from a professor."

I suspect, at thhe least from epirical evidence, that there are some with an innate proclivity toward communalism and a hatred of Humanity. From one social paradigm to another that proclivity will be expressed differently, while the majority of people will find a mean to conform to regardless.

When the authority of our intelligentsia rests on the shoulders of such as Chomsky and Said and Moore, then we find, and we certainly do, those in the suburbs following the norm within the mean. How many MBA.s unthinkingly parrot the cliches of the age in condemning bush and America and Israel? By popular count, a majority in the West. Why, (if what I calim is true)? Why are friends and family in respectable postions in business and academe caught up in anti-Modernist cliches at the dinner table most evenings? Because like social people anywhere they mimic the intelligentsia of the time and place. Parrot talk. Regardless of ones feelings toward this or that, public presentation moves with the flow of public ideas in most people, which is why it is essential that we meet in public to demonstrate weekly that we resist the flow and demand respectable behaviour and discourse from our fellows.

Most people believe what most people believe. It's positive and essential that people get along in a nation or group of nearly any kind. It is a horror when they combine in collusion to perpetrate injustices and atrocities for the sake of social conformity and personal gain. Make no mistake here; we stand up weekly in public to announce our disgust toward anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism and institutional misogyny and dhimmitude and a vast range of other outrages against Humanity, outrages too many professional apologists are paid to gloss over, to obfuscate, to deny in public forums, such as universities,men such as John Espostio, for example. When he or a figure such as Charles Taylor, and others in positions of intellectual authority betray the trust, then it is for those of us in the public body to resist as effectively as we can. We do our parts by meeting in public to announce our revulsion, if only by sitting openly in public. To suggest that the intelligentsia has no impact on those who encounter their ideas at any hand removed is preposterous.

Students and workers do not live in atomic bubbles. When the intelligentsia is corrupt, so too becomes the body politic. Yes, even MBA.s and physicists fall victim to social conformity. To pretend that all people or even many or even a significant proportion of a given nation are critical intellectuals is nonsense writ large in crayon. There are leaders and there are followers always. It is when the leaders are dishonest or insane that the people suffer. It is then that the people must resist and find new leaders. Now is the time to create new paths to the future, whether those be further Modenity or a return to traditional and proven paths is not important, only that the failure of our day's ideological programmes be abandoned for nearly anything else, and hopefully nothing empiric but rational and common. We actually discuss such things at our meetings. And you are welcome to join us.