Sunday, April 28, 2013

What You Can't Make Up

Louis Proyect, unrepetant marxist, moderator of the Marxmail chat room, and a man who imagines himself to be some sort of genetically modified organism, seamlessly combining the acquired? inherited? implanted? traits of a radio shock jock and Marxist militant with his senior citizen ranking as one grumpy Alter Kocker, didn't have a very good day yesterday, Saturday, April 27, 2013.

First, he decided he would attend the Historical Materialism conference being held at NYU.  Attending almost anything at NYU, an institution that in relation to the lower Manhattan communities in which it resides makes Robert Moses look like Jane Jacobs, is a mistake and will, or at least should, induce nausea, vertigo, fever, and rash in those lacking proper immunization.

Then, while performing his usual trick of misrepresenting the analysis Robert Brenner has offered for the origins of capitalism in Britain, and the reason British agriculture was able to support a  productivity of labor, a population growth, a commercial and, sooner rather than later, a manufacturing network superior to other countries in Europe, some professor, a mere academic mind you, had the temerity to act like... well like a militant,  and actually "interrupt" our Howard Stern/James Cannon/Billy Crystal fusion candidate, suggesting Howard/James/Billy "get to the point."

Can you imagine?  Oh the outrage!  The audacity!  The arrogance.  Oh, the horror, the horror!  Oh, the humanity! The humanity! (that last part boiling up from memories of films of the Hindenburg disaster). 

Well, Louis wasn't about to allow that to go least not for more than 8 hours or so because at around 9 PM, Howard/James/Billy decided he'd get in touch with another member of his DNA recombinant fusion ticket,  Arnold Schwarzenegger.  And so he posted this:

Dear Professor Chibber,

I have established that you were the person who interrupted me during the discussion period during the workshop on Neil Davidson's new book on the bourgeois revolution this morning at the Historical Materialism conference at NYU. I didn't quite hear what you were saying, but it sounded something like "What is your question...get to the point."

Of the three workshops I attended today, not a single chairperson said something along those uncharitable lines. By and large, people made much longer comments than me and far more in the name of some sect--the sort of thing that wastes time.

It was all the more unexpected to hear this from you since you were not a chairperson, number one, and number two you were going to be speaking at a closing plenary session on Sunday night to an audience of hundreds. Frankly, I thought it was very petty for you to interrupt me in that manner considering the power you exercise both at NYU in your capacity as associate professor and as someone who has written dozens of articles in places like the HM journal or NLR on the questions under debate. You couldn't wait for me to complete my 3 minute intervention while you have had the opportunity to defend your ideas on the Brenner thesis to a broad swath of the left community owing to your hard earned intellectual capital as a recipient of many highly coveted and prestigious awards.

I honestly don't know why you walked out immediately after making your remarks because I would have liked to take them up with you face to face. Don't worry, I have no interest in taking them up with you any further since I have said all I have to say at this point on the Marxism mailing list. My only advice is not to pull this bullshit on me ever again or you will truly regret it.

Yours truly,

Louis Proyect

Short version:  "Fuck you, asshole."  and  "I'll be back."

Me?  I particularly like the the "take them up with you face to face" part.  Why?  Well, years ago, when I used to periodically appear  on Proyect's list only to get unsubbed or unsub myself, Proyect and I carried on, behind the scenes, a nasty bit of e-correspondence where I repeatedly offered to give him the opportunity to say to my face what he, apparently, only would say from behind the screen of his computer.  Louis wasn't in touch then with his inner Arnold, or his implanted Arnold, then so he declined my offers as immature, childish, worthy of a high-school lunchroom, etc. etc. etc., which, by the way, they were.  Why, once, I even journeyed up to his neighborhood, rang his doorbell to invite him to the nearest Starbucks where over espressos, or milk and cookies, we could settle our differences properly, like adolescents, Starbucks being the closest thing approximating a high-school lunchroom.  Alas, Louis wasn't at home.

Anyway, I've mellowed over time, with age, and with two outstandingly dazzling beautiful brilliant granddaughters.  Have I told you about my brilliant beautiful granddaughters?  Plus I figure I've got a limited number of civil wars, throwdowns, punch-ups left in me, and I want to save them for when they really count-- like maybe getting one in smack on the gob of someone big and more than just self-important, like maybe Henry Kissinger.

But Proyect... nah....there's just no percentage in it.  I mean I've debated him on a few lists about his studied mis-apprehension of Brenner, his slavish me-tooing of Peak Oil-ism, etc. etc. but really, when you get right down to it, I've been called worse things by people better than Proyect so I'm not going to waste my Metrocard on a trip to his neighborhood, that's for sure.

But what's got into our Alter Kocker?  Steroids, you think?  Can't be.  Makes the joints brittle.  Ask ARod.  Or Canseco.  or Giambi.  Odds are, for Louie to throwdown like that, Chibbers must either be confined to a wheelchair or legally blind. OR.......or Louie is just peacocking like he tries to do when making his so-called interventions, or writing his movie reviews, or moderating his list.

If only I had known that all it takes to put our Louie, Louie in a fighting mood is a bit of heckling, well back in the days before I mellowed, and before I had two dazzling, brilliant, beautiful granddaughters (did I mention my granddaughters?), I would have followed Louis around from conference to conference heckling to the best of my ability. 

And you can take that to the lunchroom.

High School Class of 1965

April 28, 2013

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