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What’s wrong with ‘cultural Marxism’?

It’s cultural Marxism week at Spectator USA. The dialectic of Enlightenment, prodded by the Angel of History, has forced us to confront the false.
The dialectic of Enlightenment, prodded by the Angel of History, has forced us to confront the false consciousness of late capitalism and to choose between Eros and Civilization, socialism and fascism. Yay!If that sounds like drivel, it’s because it is.The meaningless bits in the previous paragraph are meaningful phrases in the mad Marxist dreamland of laugh-a-minute lefties Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Theodore Adorno, and that other one that Adorno wrote TheDialectic of Enlightenment with. Collectively known as the Frankfurt School, because between the world wars most of them worked at the Institute for Social Research, a Marxist think tank in Frankfurt.

The Frankfurt School invented the intellectual pestilences now known as Cultural Studies and Media Studies. They called their method Critical Theory or Social Theory.The gist of their interminable argument is that the reason the proles don’t join the revolution is that their thick heads are blunted by capitalist culture and sexual repression. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the New Left took it up, then populated the universities of America with vulgar Frankfurters whose pretentious, chippy warbling, instead of pulling down the boss class, has crushed enrollments in the Humanities, and produced generations of replicant professors who know nothing about their subjects, and not much about Marx and Freud either.
For the Nazis, the Frankfurter School and its vaguely Jewish exponents fell under the rubric of Kulturbolshewismus, Cultural Bolshevism’. You can see why the Nazis might have thought this.But you probably wouldn’t characterize the Frankfurter style in your local English department as Cultural Bolshevism, because that would imply an endorsement of Nazi social theory. For the same reason, Americans now say people of color’, because colored people’ evokes the social theories of Jim Crow.
And while we’re about it, we need an alternative to the phrase ethnic cleansing’, which has Soviet and Nazi origins. Here, the Frankfurters were right about the inadvertent consequences of speaking the language of tyranny in the name of freedom.Which brings us to Jordan Peterson and cultural Marxism’. Peterson uses cultural Marxism’ as shorthand for left-wing ideology in the Humanities.So does Douglas Kellner, a professional third-generation Frankfurter at UCLA; see Kellner’s potted history of the whole tedious business, Cultural Marxism and Cultural Studies’. And so did the Frankfurt School.
The phrase cultural Marxism’ might even precede the Frankfurt School. Marx had applied his ideas to culture; the germ of false consciousness’ theory lurks in Marx’s reflections on the French revolution of 1848 and his report on the Great Exhibition of 1851.The Frankfurters certainly didn’t invent the idea of a comprehensive Marxism of culture, either. The key ideas arose in the aftermath of World War One, from the Hungarian literary critic Georg Lukcs, and the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci.It was Gramsci who adopted the dreaded term hegemony’, probably from Lenin, and devised the strategy now known as the long march through the institutions’.The problem is that in the 1980s, a hostile theory of cultural Marxism’ developed on the right, and then spread right over the edge.
William Lind of the American Conservative and the Free Congress Foundationseems to have beencentral to popularizing the idea that multiculturalism and Political Correctness’ were the latest face of the Gramsci-Lukacs-Frankfurt program to destroy Western culture and the Christian religion’ by mobilizing what Marcuse called a coalition of blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals’.As with the Nazis’ Kulturbolshewismus meme, you can see what Lind is talking about, even if you dislike what he means.
The idea of political correctness’ has impeccably communist origins. The ideal of multiculturalism’ emerged from the Third-Worldist mood of 1960s’ Marxism-Leninist-Maoism.
But these are not coherent programs, and their subscribers, who struggle to organize a faculty meeting, don’t operate in organized terms. For Lind, however, the dots add up.Using Frankfurt theory against itself, Lind claims that the cultural Marxists brainwash us: Today, when the cultural Marxists want to do something like normalize homosexuality, they do not argue the point philosophically. They just beam television show after television show into every American home where the only normal-seeming white male is a homosexual (the Frankfurt School’s key people spent the war years in Hollywood).’All the names on Lind’s list of conspirators against the West and Christianity happen to be of Jewish background: Freud, Lukacs, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, and the man behind the curtain old Karl Marx’. In 2002, Lind even advanced his conspiracy theory before a receptive audience of Holocaust deniers.These guys were all Jewish,’ he said. Anders Breivik, the Norwegian neo-Nazi who massacred 77 people in 2011, pasted long sections Victoria, a novel of race-war against all in which white Christians expel the black population of Atlanta.Since the late 1990s, cultural Marxism’ has filtered into the mainstream from the racist alt-right. While a tiny number of academics have been one-upping each other with quotations from Lukcs and Adorno, millions of online racists have redefined its public meaning.
More recently, no one has been more influential in spreading its mainstream, non-racist use than Jordan Peterson.I think that Peterson, who has spent most of his life on campus in the Frankfurter-rich field of psychology, missed the fringe redefinition of cultural Marxism’, understood cultural Marxism’ in its original, Frankfurter sense when he started throwing it about.I also think that Peterson should have known better by 2016, when he posted a link on to a Daily Caller story titled Cultural Marxism is Destroying America’. Its opening sentence was: ‘Yet again an American city is being torn apart by black rioters.’ The author of this and more than 20 other Daily Caller articles was the pseudonymous ‘Moses Apostaticus’. In 2018, Jane Coaston of Vox exposed him as anti-Semitic conspiracist David Hilton.
This is the context in which I first read the words cultural Marxism’ in the early 2000s. Not from Marxist theory in the ivory tower, but from online conspiracy theorists.It had already become a buzzword for racists who have never heard of The Dialectic of Enlightenment. That is why I have never used it, even when attacking the influence of Frankfurt theory in the academy.
A neutral and more accurate term would be neo-Marxism’.Let’s face it: cultural Marxism’ hasn’t floated into common parlance among conservatives because they’ve suddenly developed a taste for the cod-Baudelaire musings of Walter Benjamin.It’s floated in from the racist fringe on the Internet, the same fringe from which terms like Zio’ have floated into left-wing parlance. This week, the Conservative MP Suella Braverman used cultural Marxism’ in a speech to a Euroskeptic think tank, the Bruges Group: As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism, where banning things is becoming de rigeur; where freedom of speech is becoming a taboo; where our universities, quintessential institutions of liberalism, are being shrouded in censorship and a culture of no-platforming.’Braverman is the brown-skinned child of immigrants from Goa and Kenya. She has a Jewish husband.
I am certain that she didn’t mean to invoke an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, or to render it kosher by alluding to it in respectable society. She was only speaking in memes, as politicians have to do, especially conservatives hoping to catch the Peterson crowd.
And it’s impossible to disagree with Braverman’s analysis, or her suggestion that some of the ongoing creep of cultural Marxism’ comes from that ongoing creep Jeremy Corbyn, whose long march through the institutions has been succored by online racism and conspiracy theorizing. But I’d be fascinated to know where a decent person like Braverman learnt to summarize her analysis in the catch-all cultural Marxism’.I imagine that when she apologizes, she’ll attribute it to false consciousness.Dominic Green is Life Arts Editor of Spectator USA.

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A hotel room with exactly the right ‘chi’ – 5 crazy travel expense claims done in SA

The beauty of business trips is that you can expense most things to that super handy company credit card – even if sometimes you have to come up,In the US, there have been some pretty wacky items expensed on business trips – llamas, a human skull and a helicopter ride – but don’t think it’s just the Americans that are crazy.

SEE: This is what it takes to be a woman in the competitive MICE industry South African business travellers have their own little array of interesting items and requests, and entertainment and production specialists at Flight Centre Business Travel.The entertainment industry is not a 9-to-5 industry. It’s late hours, last-minute needs, group arrangements and VIP service within a restricted budget, explains Estment. Expense reports are notoriously boring, both for the traveller and the travel manager. However, once in a while an expense will be claimed like the ones below – that will have the travel manager sit up and take note, especially when working in the entertainment sector.

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The United Houma Nation: The Culture of Louisiana

He explained to me that pow wows happen throughout the United States year-round. They are an ornate, intimate declaration of America’s first culture.They are an ornate, intimate declaration of America’s first culture. Today was a celebration of both a family reunion and a festival of culture.”We are the largest tribe in Louisiana of over 17 thousand plus, that is spread out between six different parishes and we have 11 districts that we represent,”  says Chief Creppel.The position of Chief requires campaigning and is an elected position with a four-year-term.  Above all of that it holds a lot of responsibility.”I’ve been Chief for eight months now and it’s like a rollercoaster ride. It’s my responsibility as a United Houma citizen to make sure our children learn.That way they can teach the other kids and keep our culture going.” says Chief Creppel.Each tribe of indigenous people are unique, but the native Americans of Louisiana are especially unique in the ways they have historically provided the foundation of Louisiana’s culture.The crawfish is the war symbol of the Houma tribe and it is thanks to them, that the overall cajun/creole population knows about the taste of crawfish.
It is also thanks to them, that we have the file’ for our gumbo.  It is a common misconception that all native people’s lived in teepees, like the indigenous people of the plains. The Houma’s ancestors lived in the swamps and bayous in palmetto hut villages.Chief Creppel remembers the stories growing up of the old ways, sayin “my grandmother and grandfather raised me in the bayous in lower Lafitte.Our people use to dig out canoes.  Last year at jazz fest I did an demonstration of a dug out canoe.I learned that from my grandfather passed on down to me.  We can’t be anybody else, other than who we are.It’s our job to go out and educate people to let them know that we were the first people here. We are still here and we are not going anywhere and we’ll be here until the end of time.”If you want to be like me and experience a belly full of Native American tacos, and in doing so, experience some Houma Nation culture for yourself, there will be a booth at this year’s jazz fest.Related storiesNew Orleans Artist Sheleen Jones Immortalizes HeroesUptown Super Sunday was indeed super!

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Throw Throw Burrito is a card game that weaponizes Mexican food

From the makers of Exploding Kittens comes Throw Throw Burrito. It’s a card game that is quite civilized until one of the players picks up a foam burrito.
Its a card game that is quite civilized until one of the players picks up a foam burrito and throws it at another player.
It is the fourth card game from former video game maker Elan Lee and digital cartoonist Matt Inman, the creator of The Oatmeal. The family-friendly game has blown past its $10,000 Kickstarter goal in a day and reached $820,000 with 29 days to go in the crowdfunding campaign.
Lee is the former chief creative officer at Xbox, but he quit four years ago to create the tabletop game Exploding Kittens along with Inman. The game raised an unprecedented $8 million via crowdfunding, and to date it has sold more than 8 million copies, Lee said in an interview with GamesBeat.
Inman created the hilarious art for the game and helped promote it on his comics web site, The Oatmeal.Above: Throw Throw BurritoImage Credit: Exploding KittensLee and Inman’s company, also called Exploding Kittens, is at the forefront of the tabletop game renaissance, which is now the fastest growing segment of the entertainment industry with the global board games market size expected to reach values of over $12 billion by 2023.
The Exploding Kittens game also got a paid mobile version that is also consistently a bestseller.Their work in tabletops is the exact opposite of the usual migration from a debut on digital platforms and expansion to tabletop, Lee said.
Bloomberg ran an article recently about board games becoming Wall Street’s new way of networking.Exploding Kittens leads sales in the tabletop card game category worldwide, and it still holds the record for the most backed project ever by more than two times through crowdfunding platforms and is among the top-selling toys and games across Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

Once they collect three key items, players can start hurling foam burritos at each other. Since its so physical fights can break out as many as eight times per game it becomes fun to watch the game.
While our other games had animals, we realized we had to depart from animals, Lee said. None of us felt comfortable with throwing an animal.But the most fun for us was throwing food.Above: Elan LeeImage Credit: Exploding KittensThe team tested different objects, and they even took a trip to China to examine materials.
The people at the factory seemed quite puzzled at the Americans throwing things at each other for product testing, Lee said.This kind of game is similar in spirit to Exploding Kittens and the companys other games, Bears vs.
Babies and Youve Got Crabs. Lee said he wanted to make games that lure people away from their screens and back to each other.
The company of 22 people comes up with these games in part by shutting down for four hours to play games.Above: Matt InmanImage Credit: Exploding Kittens For us, the mission is what does the next step in tabletop games look like? Lee said.
Its an important theme. What happens when you lure people away from screens push them toward each other.
Our games are not designed to be entertaining, but to make the people who play them entertained.Kickstarter contributors will get their games in September and a general retail release is targeted for the holidays.

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Canada Issues Level 1 Travel Advisory When Visiting the USA

February 26th, 2019 – The Government of Canada has issued a Level I Travel Alert regarding the ongoing measles epidemic in the United States.
For example, notices at this level may remind travelers about routine vaccinations, highlight the importance of hand washing, or recommend protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.Measles does not naturally circulate in Canada; however, cases have been reported in travelers to Canada from countries where measles is a concern. An infected traveler can spread measles to groups of people who are not vaccinated in Canada and cause an outbreak.
In Canada, the measles vaccine is part of the routine immunization schedule. Canadian travelers are at an increased risk of measles infection if they: have not had measles, orhave not received the age-appropriate recommended doses of the measles vaccineWhen traveling outside Canada, you may be at risk for a number of vaccine-preventable illnesses.
This website lists countries who have been identified as a ‘risk’.You should consult a healthcare provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel.This is an opportunity to:review your immunization historymake sure your provincial/territorial vaccination schedule is up-to-datediscuss any trip-related health concerns you may haveassess your needs based on where you plan to travel and what you plan to doYou may need additional vaccinations depending on your age, planned travel activities and local conditions. There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada.
It is important for travelers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available. Some countries require proof that you have received a yellow fever vaccination before allowing you to enter the country. Canadians are encouraged to enroll with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home. The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad.
We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. Moreover, do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada.Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be traveling away from major city centers. Separately, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans visiting Canada should ensure they are up-to-date on routine vaccines, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

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