Draft of a manifesto written in defense of a group of people that did not ask for my defense, using words they would not use and engaging people they ignore.
[descending into Mobile, AL – turbulence – warming sunlight a pale stripe against a cloud tundra]
The resistance to being theorized, examined, abstracted…isn’t this a basic sort of dignity?
We are not your intellectual playthings. Perhaps you see something publishable, a critical opportunity, but we reject your representation and demand our autonomy. We might not have read your recent darlings (Rancière, Agamben, etc.), but you have not lived our lives either. We refuse to meet on your terms within your own idioms – prejudged by your theoretical dogmas.
While you wring hands over what it all means, we are trying to change the world, build relationships and communities. Are we naive? Possibly. We prefer a world of naive dreamers to cynical observers. Keep your beloved “criticality.” Hold it close to your heart and tell us what you feel. We are friends, not “colleagues” and we choose to embrace humane values and each other. We offer a different vision. Against the professional hegemony of academic intellectualism we offer – trust, love, sentiment, passion, egalitarianism and sincerity.
We won’t live our lives in “quotes” and think being thought silly is preferable to the safety (and cowardice) of the knowing wink. In short, we reject the antiseptic posturing of the theoretical class. We welcome the messiness of lived human experience – all the stuff that resists intellectual appropriation and is routinely dismissed as petty, mundane, insignificant.
We are gamblers, believing in the value of risking everything for the sake of our “foolish” dreams and schemes.
Feel free to stand aside and critique yourself into a corner, into passivity, but save your elitist judgments for your fellow bibliographic temple builders…your heartless (and gutless) intellectual fundamentalism is not welcome here.