[KB] Temporizing of essence. Re: anti-immigration rhetoric

wessr at oregonstate.edu wessr at oregonstate.edu
Mon Nov 28 20:46:58 EST 2016

One use of Burke's "temporizing of essence" is to talk about the  
present indirectly by talking about the past (nativism, make America  
great again, etc.).

Nativism today may be seen as a use of "temporizing of essence" to  
take up a reactionary position in the identity politics of our time.  
Today's temporizing may distinguish European immigration (our essence)  
from non-European immigration (not part of our essence).

Viewing these matters more broadly, one might ask if identity politics  
in our time distinguishes our period from earlier periods. Or maybe  
identity politics took a different form in earlier periods.

Just a few thoughts--


Quoting Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu>:

> Clarke Rountree: I wonder how far back this film set civil rights  
> reforms! The country had to wait for Bull Connor to see the true  
> villains (as opposed to BOAN's black predators). (For those who  
> don't know, there is a scene in BOAN where a black rapist threatens  
> a white woman, who saves her purity by leaping from a cliff.)
> -------
> Using an old distinction between "propaganda" and "agitation":  
> Movies & other art works can be _excellent_ propaganda (pre-Goebel's  
> meaning) -- that is, they can _deepen_ and invigorate those who  
> _already_ accept the work's ideological/theoretical premises, but  
> they make poor _agitation_ -- i.s. reach and change those who have  
> no prior agreement with the work's premises. In this context, BOAN  
> undoubtedly improved the morale of racists & Klansmen, but I doubt  
> it made any new converts to that ideology: it wouldn't have worked  
> as agitation.
> Now Wilson _did_, in fact, damage the lives of many African  
> Americans, not by showing that film but by forcing almost _all_  
> Blacks out of Civil-Service positons, and before his administration  
> many of them had achieved such positons (by getting high scores on  
> Civil-Service tests). And on another note, he also of course dragged  
> the U.S. into one of the most senseless wars in human history. In  
> that connection William Jennings should be remembered not for his  
> buffoonery in the Scopes Trial but from his principled resignation  
> as Secretary of State when he realized that Wilson was intending to  
> go to war (even at a time when he ran for reelection on the slogan,  
> He kept us out of war.)
> Carrol
> _______________________________________________
> KB mailing list
> KB at kbjournal.org
> http://kbjournal.org/mailman/listinfo/kb_kbjournal.org

More information about the KB mailing list