Mel Gregg posted this to the CSAA email list. It is a speech delivered by a humanities academic to a Quadrant dinner reprinted in The Australian newspaper. Danny replies to Mel’s post in his usual bitingly accurate manner.
[;; Just like Yogie, the brown bear, here is “Wink, the brown eye” ;;]
Besides the modernist implications of ‘new’ in the ‘New Humanities’ tag — harking back to a time when time was actually history and not a contemporaneity that must scream past these ‘Old Humanities’ types like a mum’s taxi load of schoolkids withering in 40 degree Australian summer heat and annoyed their sticky hands are away from their Playstation toggles — I take it as a compliment that I don’t do any of the things listed by Associate Prof.essor of His.tory and Pol.itics at Uni.versity of Woll.ongong, Greg.ory Mell.euish (who is perhaps bitter that he has not moved into a Professor-of-History-and-Politics ivory tower at an established sandstone university? As if I give a fuck, but for some people ‘another tug in the listless bourgeois circle jerk’ is far more important than fucking). He writes:
Compare some of the key characteristics of cultural studies and the New Humanities.
The focus is on popular culture and everyday life.
You don’t need to be able to read a language other than English.
You don’t need to know about any society other than your own.
You don’t need to know anything about any time except the present.
You don’t need to know anything about religion.
I am not sure what he is ‘comparing’ this list of attributes with? Perhaps it is a fossilized, that is to say, hypostatic fine old-wine conception of how successfully successful humanities graduate can be plugged in to the contemporary colonial war-machine. Where we become evil Time Lords with the ability to disseminate the ideals determined by our own language, society, historical period and religion so they can be rough cut and sowed throughout time and space as if they were western democracy’s wild oats in our weaponised testical-Tardis. I apologise for not being part of this atemporal global sex machine that happily goes around fucking every fold that doesn’t immediately collapse and smooth itself out in the face of world war four’s faciality — Double-Yah! Yah! Yah! All such yes-men are paranoid Swedes. Yah! Apologies to the Swedes.
I can speak car-dude, so maybe that rules me out? Plus my archival work on hot-rodding goes back longer than 30 years. I am not stupid enough to even think about religion, so that one is cool. And! My own society? I wish! “Welcome to Glenselvania Waters — my own society.” Isn’t that a computer game already or what? (Of course it would rock to have one’s own society. Imagine the currency!?!? In celebration, I would have the face of anyone who died in the struggle to make this a better world, like all those right-wing politicians and academics, but only on bills larger than 100 Glenjamins, because only people with bills larger than a 100 in their platinum-card-filled dead-baby-seal wallets would give a fuck about fallen right-wing comrades.)
Besides the fact we work to resist the constitution of micro-social colonial-machines, I wonder why the old-fart refusal of ‘Contemporary Humanities’ (much more accurate than ‘New Humanities’) sparks up such ire in the eye of the contemporary ‘new’ breed of academics?
Anyway. Reading such vitriol can feel like you snuck into a metal-working shop where a 100 boilermakers have 9″ grinders on 100 pieces of conduit and you are afflicted from all sides by ultra-hot sparks of molten metal as if it were biodegradable confetti being flung at your newly married person as you exit the dainty overfilled church of John Howard’s nuclear family wet dreams where everyone is a nun wedded to conservatism as if you were in the MIDDLE of the bourgeois circle jerk parading as a hentai-specialist amateur internet porn star rendered comically caricatured big-eyed anime with wide-eye fascination and soon to be pink-eye infected as a Quadrant dinner load of semen flicks across your face missing the unsteady, but ready glass under your chin. The order: Be a good humanities academic! Not just a good academic, but an academic of the ‘good’ humanities. The right humanities. Make sure to catch the molten-metal/biodegradable-confetti/groaning-cum as it is sparked/thrown/jerked-off over your now inscribed soul. Have the Old Humanities found themselves a ready Other not just to fuck from behind and from the inside in impregnating old-school colonising glee, but cum over in right-eous ecstasy, right down to the last groaning orgyasmic shudder that ripples through the crowd at such Quadrant dinners when they attempt to out-wankerise themselves by giving each other a hand coming to rhetorical terms with the screaming-mum’s-taxi-load-of-kids contemporaneity and ‘Contemporary Humanities’? Today. “It doesn’t matter!” Maybe? Who knows? You get the itch from the clap. At least an itch to start a heroic feel-good-movie slow clap. Clapclapclapclapclapclap. Salute! Be upstanding to the outstanding one-eyed love-beast of Old Humanities’ one-eyed world view. Cheers, yeah. *Chink* Good speech! Bravo! *Chink* Cheers, yeah. Now drink that sticky glass.
I’ve got the A-Team tv show theme song playing, maybe just in my head, no, through the computer. Safe! Rock and roll. Go team! w00t!
Anyway. Both sides have their drawbacks. We argue the grass is greener on our side, but the Old Humanities think we are smoking it. Perhaps all the old-school old-boy back-patting is perhaps evidence — in an Empire-esque Negriandhardt-ish the revolution-has-already-happened or is-happening sort-of-way (but not ‘happening’ like the dude down at the Glebe markets wearing the t-shirt advertising The Motorcycle Diaries thinks the revolution is “happening, man” and a totally excellent situation to pick up first-year middle-class USyd Arts students to teach them how to fuck like animals on ekkies and half a coin of speed while all three of them listen to 180bpm happy hard core through three separate Christmas-gift iPods) — of the tremendous impact of ‘Contemporary Humanities’ on the contemporary humanities because it is, in fact, contemporary, and the back-patting is actually sorry souls SOSing each other as their already-dead-but-don’t-know-it-yet collectivity of corpses are ridden with the cancer of right-eousness that particularly afflicts their bellicose lungs and they are actually attempting to rattle loose and hock up a loogey, but only gives them the sour and slightly salty metalic taste of bewildered satisfaction and a 1000 plateaus of past Quadrant dinner masturbatory hentai semen.
I think that is my take on the situation. Their colonial-love-machine loves the smell of discursive napalm in the morning, but don’t realise that it is they who are slowly getting toasted-old-school-anthropology-sacrifice-on-the-spit-turning-roasted by the liquid-fire on-fire Contemporary Humanities.
[;; Wink exits stage left-field in slow motion to a crazily-obscure crazy-hip shuttle-bug tune that Tarantino will use in his 4th film or, at least, to the soundtrack of his teeth brushing in the morning as he mouths off to the mirror hiding his medication ;;]
[Fade to painted black.]