Sunday, January 15, 2017

Judith Butler Agonistes

Hat tip American Thinker and Campus Watch

A.J. Caschetta has a profile of UC Berkeley professor, Judith Butler in American Thinker. Butler came to speak at UC Irvine a couple of years ago which gave me a chance to ask her a question during the q and a as well as send her a follow up to that question in a letter, to which she never responded.

I will dispense with any comparisons to Edward Said, the late darling of Islamic apologists since I'm not qualified to comment on that. Suffice to say that given her quotations as put forth by Caschetta, Butler to me is a prime example of how (for many) getting a PhD can educate you out of the last ounce of common sense one might be born with.

“This book interrogates the agonistic and open-ended corporeality and conviviality of the crowd as it assembles in cities to protest political and economic dispossession through a performative dispossession of the sovereign subject and its propriety.”
-Judith Butler

I think I got the word, "cities". More to the point, however, I would like to hearken back to that day in 2015 when Butler spoke (against Israel) at UC Irvine. During the q and a, I described some of the anti-semitic expressions uttered by other anti-Israel speakers on the UCI campus and finished by asking her if it might give her some doubt that she was backing the right side. I specifically mentioned Washington DC-based imam Mohamed al Asi, who said, "You can take the Jew out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the Jew" (2001). To that, Butler, who comes from a Jewish family, replied, "That's what my mother used to tell me." At that point, I had already returned to my seat and had no chance to ask a follow up.

To make up for that, I sent her a nicely worded letter which gave the rest of al-Asi's quote regarding Jews.

"We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly with other human beings." (I doubt if her mother ever told her that.)

I also asked her to add her name to a letter I had co-authored and signed by other UC faculty expressing concern over campus anti-semitism. I never received a response.

Butler unfortunately, is more than willing to sign letters trying to silence the voices of those with whom she disagrees, like Milo Yiannopoulos, for example. She has just recently added her name to a letter to her university and signed by 11 other UCB professors (now 102) asking that Yiannopoulos' scheduled February appearance at UCB be canceled.

Which leads me to one final question: If Butler is such an intellectual, how come she knows so little about the the American principle of free speech?

No comments: