User talk:N-HH

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Cultural Marxism debacle[edit]

In case you didn't see my response on my own talk page, I agree with your comment there. But I gave up last year on trying to make any contribution to this on-Wiki debate as it was just too politicized and difficult (and burning up my time and energy for no gain). I did write some stuff in my own name on the Cogito blog hosted by The Conversation, if you're interested (the link will take you to Part 1 and there's a further link to Part 2), but I don't think there's much current prospect of getting Wikipedia to handle this topic well or fairly. Metamagician3000 (talk) 13:18, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, I did see your comment there, and read through the articles, which were interesting reading and gave good additional detail on the broader, arguably original use of the term (eg beyond what I could dredge up by trawling Google Books). I think both of us have concluded that there's not much hope of a more comprehensive and yet measured treatment of the topic here, despite all that. N-HH talk/edits 16:11, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps a philosophical discussion on what you guys believe is lacking in the way of substantive content from the current section would be in order? Recently I found this helpful 8 part series by Peter Thompson on the writings of The Frankfurt School [1] (who I contend were anti-fascists more than Marxists), and to my mind having read the series its still unclear what (if anything) defines "cultural Marxism" and there in lays the problem. The accusation on the right is that it constitutes an ideology, doctrine or plan. Where as on the left it's at best a post-hoc summation of objections to 'culture as dominated by economic interests' as can be legitimately extracted from The Frankfurt School's complaints about the Culture Industry (stemming from Gramsci's complaints about Cultural hegemony). I'm open to other opinions; especially from people like you guys who I believe are considerate and thoughtful creators of content.
User:Metamagician3000 I've read your 2 part article several times over; and I understand that you tie Cultural Marxism to "Crisis Theory", I assume in the psychoanalytic sense (and not as per the economic sense of Crisis theory). The psychoanalytic sense of the term is somewhat similar to Marx's Conflict Theory (I think that's the way you're using it); and in particular you seem to be saying that Cultural Marxism is the analysis of the limitations that a Culture Industry may put on individual self-expression (ala Schroyer's title). This I assume is distinct from the social limitations that the right may perceive as emanating from the Authoritarian social-left (hardline radical feminists, "tumblr progressives" ect). My problem with the right-wing usage; is that their desire seem to be found in critiquing what is now (in my view) a left-wing culture industry; but rather than agreeing that the Frankfurt School are still relevant regardless of which side of politics is dominating; they're instead attacking The Frankfurt School's critiques of the "Culture Industry" whilst simultaneously desiring (unsuccessfully) to adopt its analysis. A similar thing can be said of Mens Rights groups who attack feminism but desire to use terms such as "gender" and "marginalization" which have ostensibly been popularized through the mainstreaming of feminism as a discourse. This unfortunately puts the right side of politics at a notable disadvantage. But I digress; what do you guys feel the current section is not covering? What do you guys believe Cultural Marxism was in the academic sense? Can it be said that Cultural Marxism occurs when the minor half of a culture critiques the hegemonic major half? Or does a critique of hegemony have to be Marxist in order to constitute "Cultural Marxism"? Views, opinions, replies welcome. --Jobrot (talk) 10:35, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't really want to get into an extended discussion about what WP should do here, let alone a higher-level debate about what cultural Marxism or the Frankfurt School is actually all about in minute detail. All I would say is that since I am not up on what the wilder fringes of the US right thinks and says, I have always taken the term "cultural Marxism", as I have said, to refer to currents in Marxist thinking from the mid-20th century that focused more on culture and ideology, expanding on (or drifting away from) classical Marxist thinking re economic determinism. The simple Google books search I pointed to confirms that this is how the serious literature thinks: the books it throws up use this definition, while barely any even mention right-wing polemics or alleged conspiracy theories. The texts cited in the Metamagician's split essay point in a similar direction. I don't think debates around the current US use of the term should dominate WP coverage or clog up the Frankfurt School page with the pretty cranky views of fringe right-wing figures. Fascist, Zionist, neoliberal etc are all flung about as insults, sometimes with insinuations that such people are trying to secretly take over the world, but we don't let that trump the standard, academic and taxonomical uses of these terms. For example, "neoliberalism" does not redirect to a subsection of the Mont Pelerin Society page that then discusses conspiracy theories about shady figures trying to impose capitalist and market domination. Equally, some of the right-wing fringe think Democrats are communists, but that isn't given prominence on pages about communism.
Again, as I've said, my view is that there should be a standalone "Cultural Marxism" page. It should simply and factually explain the broad use of the term to cover the intersection between culture, cultural studies and Marxism, and the various schools (Frankfurt, Birmingham) and individuals frequently assigned the description. Then it should note that the term has been adopted/employed, especially in the US, by the right (not just paleoconservatives btw) as a general pejorative to criticise those it sees as trying to undermine "western values" via multiculturalism, political correctness etc. In some cases, beyond that, its use is associated with a more complex conspiracy theory relating directly to the Frankfurt School. I wouldn't argue against having a separate page for each concept – analogous to Fascism and Fascist (insult) – although I think they can stand together as sufficiently related, especially as there is probably not as much material as with fascism. Much of the detail about the views of Lind, Weyrich etc should be on their pages (and presented as "this is what these people thought/think", not just as "Criticism").
As for definitions and sources, here are some thrown up by the Google Books search (apologies for any duplication; I have tried to avoid the more obvious ones that have come up before):
  • Cultural Marxism and political sociology (Sage, 1981): "the culturally oriented Marxism that emerged in the 60s and 70s"
  • Perspectives in Sociology (Routledge, 2015): has a heading "The rise of 'cultural Marxism'", which refers to "the attempt to develop Marxist theories of art, painting, the novel and so on"
  • Political Science for Civil Services Main Examination (Tata McGraw-Hill Education): ok, not the best source, but it has a formal entry specifically defining the term, "a form of Marxism that adds an analysis of the role of media, art, theatre ..."
  • Understanding Education: A Sociological Perspective (Polity, 2009): "It is commonplace to talk of two Marxist approaches – sometimes labelled structural and cultural Marxism ..."
  • Handbook of Cultural Sociology (Routledge, 2010): has a heading "Cultural Marxism and the space of postmodernism", which refers to "the tradition of cultural Marxism, pioneered by George Lukacs and the Frankfurt School [which] transcends the deterministic base-superstructure model"
  • Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics (Greenwood, 2005): describes British cultural Marxism as "an unorthodox theoretical tradition that acknowledged the semiautonomy of the cultural realm"
They might draw the boundaries in slightly different places (just as writers do, for example, with fascism), but these are multiple books all discussing and defining broadly the same thing, and there are many others. It should be possible to present this information, and information about the more polemical use in the US, factually and soberly, without content becoming about proving what nonsense any of them are supposedly talking (even if they are) and without subsuming it into a subsection on the Frankfurt School page, when the topic is much broader than that. N-HH talk/edits 12:02, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I like those quotes (particularly that last one which further clarifies "British Cultural Marxism"), although one of them (the Tata McGraw-Hill source) is a citogenesis risk as it's cribbed from a Wikipedia draft. I'm glad you're not totally against having a separate page for each concept, as at this point that's my preference. Also, I agree with your appeal to pre-existing standards on Wikipedia such as the Fascism/Fascist (insult) pages, or the Moon landing/Moon landing conspiracy theories pages. Again; thanks for your input on this, and I'll have a run at creating a draft that's just for the academic concept in the near future (hopefully within the next month or so). Thanks again --Jobrot (talk) 14:01, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm glad to see this discussion taking place, but to be honest I don't think I can add to it at the moment. I put in quite a lot of time on-wiki early last year, when I was immersed in thinking about this, but I just don't have time to spare for it right now or in the months coming up. I do hope the work I did during the debates (if it hasn't since been lost and salted) and in that two-part article provide some pointers. You both seem to have put in some good thinking (some of which I'd need to consider more carefully). Btw, it's not as if I'm very emotionally invested in this particular topic, but I worry about Wikipedia getting caught up so much in current culture warring going on elsewhere, and turning into a battleground for it. This was a case where I was hopeful that some kind of reasonable outcome could be achieved to avoid that.
I'm putting this page on my watchlist in a stalkerish way so I can follow what's going on, but I doubt that I'll be able to take part. Metamagician3000 (talk) 07:57, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
I think I've said my piece on this now, and am also unlikely to get too involved in any ongoing work (nor tbh to want to host too much further discussion). Even if it were going to be simple, I don't have the time really, and my experience of editing in controversial topics is that, unfortunately, many contributors here are more interested in scoring or making points, and too focused on relying on commentary and opinion for content, and often not well informed about the context and history of the terms and topics being covered. It just makes everything too much of a struggle, and happens over and over again. N-HH talk/edits 08:47, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, this is what I have so far; User:Jobrot/sandbox/Cultural_Marxism_(culture_studies) I'm just not sure what to do with it (if anything). I suppose the next logical step would be to put it into draft space and see if any other editors want to make further improvements and clarifications. I've only really covered The Frankfurt School and Birmingham School as my introduction to this topic has been through them. At least there's some much needed levity near the end there, and perhaps it foreshadows just how perverse the topic can and has become. I'm still unsure as to whether the term warrants a formal page; as it still feels like an informal WP:UNDUE term to me. --Jobrot (talk) 10:26, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
By the way whilst researching the term Cultural Marxism I came across the term "Critical Marxism" being used as interchangeably to Critical Theory as seen here, I also came across the term "British Cultural Studies" here - which isn't too far off "British Cultural Marxism"... and then there's the report of Frederic Jameson's desire to reconceive of Cultural Studies as "Cultural Marxism" that can be read here - so I've become fairly convinced that "Cultural Marxism" was simply an interim term for "Cultural Studies" a contender for that neologism which was later discarded. So far I've seen little evidence that this isn't the case; leaving the whole debacle to be a glitch in historical linguistics that's been taken advantage of. But make of that what you will. --Jobrot (talk) 10:42, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
I'll have a look at and a think about the draft when I get time to do it more than briefly. As for the terms, "cultural studies" doesn't have to be Marxist (indeed the comment about Jameson is an acknowledgement that it isn't), and it's a mucher broader term, surely. I don't think it can simply be said that it's two different terms for the same thing (which, WP not being a dictionary, would indeed have meant there's no need for a separate page). Topics overlap, or one topic can be a sub-topic of another, without the different terms used for each being synonymous. As for "critical Marxism", it's not a phrase I've heard before. A quick look around the web/Google Books suggests it's a confluence of adjective and noun that is not used that coherently or consistently – sometimes it does relate more directly to critical theory and/or to what we are discussing as "cultural Marxism", at other times, it's just a rough phrase to cover any form of unorthodox Marxism or Marxism that was critical of the USSR. N-HH talk/edits 11:24, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
A quick look around the web/Google Books suggests it's a confluence of adjective and noun that is not used that coherently or consistently – sometimes it does relate more directly to critical theory and/or to what we are discussing as "cultural Marxism", at other times, it's just a rough phrase to cover any form of unorthodox Marxism or Marxism that was critical of the USSR.
I said pretty much the same thing about Cultural Marxism during the 2014 AfD, specifically: "The term [cultural Marxism] is being used as synonymous and interchangeably with early Cultural studies; a much more notable topic"). Cultural Marxism seems reducible down to "What people who have read Marx believe about Culture" and judging by placing quote marks around "Critical Marxism" on google books; it may even have a greater number of valid sources than there were for "Cultural Marxism". If so, this means I'll be trapped defending the current set-up for some time, which is unfortunate and not the outcome I wanted when I started working on this new draft. Still at least now I've learned a bit about The Birmingham School, not a complete waste of time. --Jobrot (talk) 14:31, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It's often a fine line between a genuinely discrete and relatively coherent topic, and what is simply the attachment of a generic adjective to a generic noun, often with multiple meanings, but I'd argue that that "cultural Marxism" passes, while "critical Marxism" does not. Also, as I suggested, I do not see cultural Marxism and cultural studies as synonymous, even though there is an overlap. There are non-Marxist approaches to cultural studies, and some thinkers often described as "cultural" Marxists predate and have little to do with cultural studies.
I'm not sure I'd looked at the Encyclopedia of Social Theory cited as the first reference on the draft before, but the full entry there both makes the above pretty clear and, as a tertiary source, offers a good example of how to treat the topic as a coherent whole. It also makes clear that "cultural Marxism" is more than simply what people who happen to have read Marx happen to think about cultural issues: it explicitly says, I have been arguing all along, that it is a distinct trend within western 20th century Marxism focused on culture as much as economics, which utilises "Marxian theory to analyze cultural forms in relation to their production, their imbrications with society and history, and their impact and influences on audiences and social life". Anyway, perhaps this should continue, if at all, on the talk page of your draft, especially when it comes to substantive comment on it? N-HH talk/edits 15:59, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Yep sounds good. Just to clarify (for further discussion on talk) I'm saying Cultural Marxism is Cultural Studies, not the other way around. You definitely don't have to be a Marxist to participate in Cultural Studies... but I suspect that there's nil difference between Cultural Marxism and Cultural Studies - especially as Cultural Studies came from schools of thought that held Marx as a pre-existing influence. It's my view that once Marxism is removed from Marxist economic factors and applied purely to culture; it no longer qualifies as Marxism and becomes simply; Cultural Studies. --Jobrot (talk) 16:26, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Sorry but I don't quite follow much of that. The statement that A is B but B is not A doesn't really make sense (unless, more precisely, you mean simply that cultural Marxism is a subset of cultural studies, but does not make up the entirety of it, as discussed). But in that case, as I said, there are thinkers described as "cultural Marxists" and elements of Marxist theory related to culture that predate the concept and the term "cultural studies" – as the piece cited (which btw appears to be a book version of this essay, which I believe has come up in previous discussions; it was also probably wrong of me to describe it above as a tertiary source, which I did simply on the basis that it was in an Encyclopedia-type collection) makes clear when it discusses Marx and Engels themselves and then Lukacs etc. So it's not even a wholly enclosed subtopic anyway.
As for suggesting that Marxism as applied to culture is not Marxism, as you say that's your view, but that's not what the term itself or the texts generally say, and it's the latter that matter. That's the point: it is a development from "classical" Marxism, and hence a form of Marxism, but with a different, or additional, emphasis. Terminology has to be understood and used as is in authoritative sources, not how we think it ought to be applied ourselves. Anyway, I'd rather this stops on this page now, and the points posed above don't really need a clarifying response. I don't much like hanging around on my own talk page, even for constructive discussion (as opposed to the occasional complaints I suffer). N-HH talk/edits 20:18, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Have updated the draft accordingly. --Jobrot (talk) 03:33, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

Philip Cross[edit]

The gentleman with the rather disconcerting dislike of Seamus Milne makes an appearance here. --BowlAndSpoon (talk) 08:05, 25 October 2016 (UTC)

ArbCom Elections 2016: Voting now open![edit]

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Personal attacks[edit]

I'd like to respond substantively to your comments here, but best I can tell you personally attacked me by calling me a "credulous and biased idiot with page ownership issues." I understand your argument there, but could you please strike that language and perhaps replace it would a more constructive analogy? --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 21:10, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Sigh. That comment was not addressed at you, nor do you have any reason to think so other than another user's random assertion that it was. It was in fact a generic "you", and the whole point was to offer up an exaggerated claim about a hypothetical "you" in order to debunk the bizarre and fallacious argument, being deployed on that page by another editor, that the existence of such a claim automatically proves the worthlessness of any attempted refutation of the claim. Thanks. N-HH talk/edits 21:13, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
Well it reads as a personal attack on me, even if you didn't intend it that way. You could replace it with any number of exaggerated claims that didn't purport to criticize your fellow editors. Please do so. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 21:17, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
Your advice is, as they say, noted, although I have absolutely no idea why you're saying it reads as if it was directed at you. Anyway I'm not going near that page any more as it has serious ownership and bias issues (which is why that phrasing came to mind to use in the example) and it's waste of time getting involved. The one or two actual edits I've made to the page itself have been more or less entirely reverted by our mutual friend – who happily insists by contrast that all their preferred edits are indispensable, and who has almost certainly been on WP longer than you seem to be assuming from your conversation with them, albeit with a different account – and then you [sic] just get bogged down in pointless circular debate on talk, as ever. Conversation closed here too, for similar reasons. N-HH talk/edits 21:24, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

"Russian influence" title[edit]

The title of the article Russian influence on the 2016 United States presidential election is such an egregious breach of WP:POVTITLE. It's possible Russian intelligence really was involved - the more concrete statement that "they are one step removed" from the hackers involved I find far more plausible - but to just state here that Russia did this, and only qualify the knowledge later in the article, is a terrible disservice to readers. -Darouet (talk) 01:47, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

Ha, I suppose you could argue it still leaves open the possibility of meaning "none", or "not much". Unfortunately any objectivity has gone out of the window on this topic in the real world and here on WP, which of course ultimately relies on real-world sources. I like to think that not being American I can view this latest obsession with Russia with a bit of detachment. The problem is that pretty much everyone in the US, from all parts of the political divide, seems united in wanting to blame the Russians for everything, and every assertion about alleged Russian malfeasance suddenly becomes an agreed fact, even among those who disagree about most other things. There's not much space for those taking a more sceptical line IRL or on WP (who also frequently get abused as "Putinbots" etc, even when they have nothing remotely to do with Russia or Putin). N-HH talk/edits 11:15, 12 December 2016 (UTC)
I think that if the sources are treated carefully, which should be standard practice anyway, the most egregious aspects of this can be avoided. I've found for instance that in many of the articles that cover police shootings in the U.S. - highly charged, controversial topics - conflict can be resolved by careful attribution, recognition of sources, and of what's also unknown. That approach would work on US-Russia articles as well, but it would require a critical mass of editors dedicated to this kind of assiduous sourcing. Right now, it's all too often a POV-shark-feeding-frenzy. -Darouet (talk) 20:24, 12 December 2016 (UTC)
Okay on the RT feed going to C-SPAN 1. But watch this story as in the same day, CIA director confirmation hearing in the Hart Senate Office building, the power was cut to a single room when Senator Mark Warner started discussing Russian hacking of our systems as well. It could be a coincidence, unlikely though, the power was cut remotely and it took over an hour to get it reenergized. See: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-fg-russia-cspan-interruption-20170112-story.html This is quite irregular coinciding with so much else that is bizarre in the states right now, so be on the lookout for further explanation in the days to come. It's too strange to be a fluke that they happen the day after a Russian dossier dropped. At this hour these events are still unexplained and this is nearly 24 hours after the event, in the District of Columbia, the city of the United States Federal Government. Jasonanaggie (talk) 09:17, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Er, okay, although this all seems a little close to paranoid conspiracy theorising. More importantly, as far as WP is concerned, regardless of what individual contributors believe, material needs authoritative sources to confirm its relevance and reliability. The NYT report about this, as noted, expressly says it is unlikely to be a deliberate hack of any sort, but a technical error. So it's not relevant to a "Criticism" of RT section nor should it be presented in such a way as to suggest it might be a hack. Finally, as also noted, the page doesn't need any more random images dumped in it. N-HH talk/edits 09:48, 13 January 2017 (UTC)