Is my reality actually real, or is it privileged?
I just finished listening to an utterly fascinating interview on a blogradio with a man named Allan Johnson. I’m very interested in hearing what others think of it as well. Rarely have I heard a man with such patience and empathy so clear in his very voice, let alone his words; he actually had me quietly sniffling at one point due to the tragic nature of one of his examples, in fact. I found some of his comments startlingly perceptive — that sort of lightbulb-over-the-head feeling you get when you think: Yes! That’s it exactly — and I didn’t even realize I knew that, let alone how to verbalize it so piercingly accurately!
A bit more information from Dr. Johnson’s website, which is also full of interesting information:
Allan G. Johnson is a writer and public speaker who has worked on issues of privilege, oppression, and social inequality since receiving his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan in 1972. He began this work in the 1970s with a focus on men’s violence against women. After 30 years of college teaching, he now devotes himself entirely to writing and public speaking.
Here’s what the blurb on the blogradio’s webpage said:
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HOUR Allan Johnson will discuss his new book about domestic violence, “The First Thing and the Last” — and if I can tempt him a bit, we’ll get into unraveling the knot of privilege, power and difference which causes social inequality and oppression.
You’ll need to jump forward to about minute 63, as the interview starts after that. Now I really want to read his book! Unfortunately my local library doesn’t have a copy, and Interlibrary Loan’s only copy is already checked out, which means I can’t get on a waiting list for it. Gracious, I may have to be patient — what is the world coming to? :)
If you listen to the interview, or get your hands on a copy of the book, please let me know your reactions as well? Thanks!
Ah, I understand; this is realism a la postmodernism, not actually truth. Thanks for the explanation! :)
Simulacra and Simulation is a work of modern philosophy. A fairly thin volume, it is incredibly *dense* however. The basic thesis is thus: There is a point at which the simulation of a reality becomes the reality. ‘Simulation’ in this sense can mean a perception, or a construct — “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” for humorous example, or more seriously, the “oppressed hegemon” — how any number of Christian groups in the US claim that they’re being persecuted when they are in fact the largest single demographic on the *continent.*
Thank you for commenting, Jonathan! I’m immensely pleased the interview interested you too. One question, though: what is Simulacra & Simulation, please?
I also found interesting comments regarding ‘living in reality.’ I am finding many things fascinating in terms of my current slogging through ‘Simulacra and Simulation.’
“Why can’t partnership be the norm?”
Interestingly, this line of questioning — leading up to the US response to Al Quaeda’s attacks — brought to mind a number of conversations on Slacktivist and a term that I learned there but which was actually developed by a professor whose computer I fixed.
The term is ‘kyriarchy.’ It reflects our society’s obsession with dominance, in that everyone everywhere must somehow be ‘on top’ of someone. It was demonstrated in the term ‘…but at least I’m not X.’ It’s a web of interconnected perceived dominance, and it perpetuates dominance and oppression as an ‘acceptable’ social norm. ‘At least I’m not colored.’ ‘At least I’m not gay.’ ‘At least I’m not transsexual.’ ‘At least I’m not an illegal immigrant.’ ‘At least I’m not a woman.’ And so on and so on ad infinitum. Not all dominance is equal, of course. A wealthy white cisgendered heterosexual man (I am reluctant to call such a person ‘neurotypical’ but it is becoming increasingly and disturbingly accurate) does not feel that problem and does not have to say ‘but at least I’m not X.’ So there is a hierarchy there. But society has woven an intertangled web where dominance and oppression is accepted. That needs to change. BADLY.
Interestingly, he touches obliquely on “socialize sociopathy” where sociopathy has been institutionalized. He is also absolutely right that we are still living in a rape culture, and that the little wriggling and nitpicky details and definitions in rape law in a way legitimizes or regulates rape.