Saturday, October 29, 2005

Adorno. He's so dreamy

There are times I really love Theodor Adorno. Interestingly, there are passages in his writings that could pass for a really smart article in National Review. I'm not sure if conservativism has come around to pomo & marxian analysis (it certainly has in some instances; witness the classic, if simplified, Kuhnianism of ID proponents: science is an institutional formation, rather than a discipline whose boundaries are shaped by an internal logic, etc.), or if Adorno has always been latently conservative. Perhaps it's that the most annoying forms of leftism have appropriated the language of Heidegger. If that's the case, then Adorno's scorching hatred of Heidegger would be structurally aligned with conservative critiques of annoying leftism. At any rate, this passage from The Jargon of Authenticity is great:
The jargon channels engagement into firm institutions and, furthermore, strengthens the most subaltern speakers in their self-esteem; they are already something because someone speaks from within them, even when that someone is nothing at all.
That's a pretty cutting, and accurate, description of identity politics in its stupidest form, that of the "recovery of the authentic voice."