January 6, 2014

Speaking of things you don't see much anymore...

... and it's really hard to notice an absence, by the way, so it's important when anything like this turns up (and the observation is vulnerable if in fact you can point to the supposedly absent thing anywhere) — but here are 2 things that I've noticed have gone missing. One was emergent and got nipped in the bud. The other was rampant and now rare.

Emergent but nipped in the bud: "Microaggression." Last month, I told the story of the short public life of "Microaggression — the word that died," and I'm checking again this morning for signs of life. Seeing none, I proclaim it really most sincerely dead.

Once rampant and now rare: "Addiction." I've had an "addiction" tag for a long time, and I'm always on the lookout for things getting characterized as addiction, that is, things other than the obvious substance abuse problems. This is a rhetorical move, deployed to mute individual responsibility and to stimulate a response from The Community of the Caring. Back in September, I noticed that the Chinese government was pushing the notion that people are addicted to the Internet (to justify government suppression of free speech). That's a strong sign of the dubiousness of "addiction" rhetoric. And looking over a few years of the "addiction" tag, I think the great source of awakening to the bullshit that is "addiction" talk was the notion of sex addiction, which arose in the fumbling efforts at reputation repair in the very conspicuous cases of Tiger Woods and Anthony Weiner. When I dig back before that stuff, I see a lot of discussion — in the American major and new media — about internet addiction. That's in the 2005-2007-2008 period. Now, "internet addiction" talk is a Chinese government con.

22 comments:

David said...

There is micro addiction.

I know because I have many of them.

tim maguire said...

And you worked in one of the great lines of Hollywood musicals--she is not merely nearly dead, she's really quite sincerely dead.

Carol said...

Watch out, these words are trotted forth in preview mode, and then fully bloom a year or two later. E.g "income inequality."

I think the goal is to plant the seed, so that when the campaign begins in earnest, the target audience will say yeah I heard about that *problem* somewhere.

Ann Althouse said...

"Income inequality" is the Democrats' effort to reframe what the GOP calls "redistribution of the wealth."

Gahrie said...

I guarantee "microaggression" survives in the thesis statements of graduate students in victimology schools all over this country.

JRoberts said...

Professor, is "microaggression" sincerely dead or merely effectively dead?

Billy Bob said...

"I think the great source of awakening to the bullshit that is "addiction" talk was the notion of sex addiction"
-------
While I agree that addiction seems to be The Great Excuse by the Weiners and Woods of the world there is, in fact, such a thing as sexual addiction.

If our brain releases certain chemicals during sexual arousal and climax that feel good, then why can't the human brain become addicted to those chemicals in a similar fashion as one becomes addicted to other substances?

There are many support groups out there doing their best to help those addicted. Here is one example.
http://www.sa.org/

Ipso Fatso said...

Other things you don't see much any more: waterbed stores, video rental stores, record stores, and my prediction is that in the next 10 years there will be a 50% reduction in the "Greek Style" sit down restaurant, the place that is locally owned and serves breakfast thru dinner.

tim maguire said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Income inequality" is the Democrats' effort to reframe what the GOP calls "redistribution of the wealth."


They are related concepts, to be sure, but I don't think the cause and effect works out quite right.

"Income inequality" is the Democrats' attempt to respond to poverty without having a serious discussion as to what poverty is and what causes it. "Redistribution of wealth" is the Republican's attempt to demonize the Democrats' poverty programs.

campy said...

"Micro-agression" is not new, and it's not going away.

Michael said...

Addiction addiction is itself a bit sketchy. Give a monkey enough whiskey and he will become addicted. Not because he didn't get enough bananas when he was a baby monkey but because he ingested too much alcohol. Stop giving the monkey alcohol and in pretty short order he will be OK. He will not be shivering in detox. He will not be having the DTs. He will simply be missing whiskey for a while. Opiate addiction is much the same. Read Theodore Dalyrmple's book "Romancing Opiates" for more on addiction addiction.

Larry J said...

"Redistribution of wealth" is the Republican's attempt to demonize the Democrats' poverty programs.

So, telling the truth about something is demonizing? So, when then Candidate and Senator told Joe the Plumber that he wanted to raise taxes to "spread the wealth around", he wasn't talking about income redistribution?

Who knew?

Michael said...

Addiction addiction is itself a bit sketchy. Give a monkey enough whiskey and he will become addicted. Not because he didn't get enough bananas when he was a baby monkey but because he ingested too much alcohol. Stop giving the monkey alcohol and in pretty short order he will be OK. He will not be shivering in detox. He will not be having the DTs. He will simply be missing whiskey for a while. Opiate addiction is much the same. Read Theodore Dalyrmple's book "Romancing Opiates" for more on addiction addiction.

Gahrie said...

What kills me about the "income inequality" debate is that it focuses on two groups who don't have incomes (the poor and the super rich) and the actual people earning incomes are the ones who actually get screwed.

tim maguire said...

Larry, exactly what assumption are you making about my attitude based on my post? For god's sake, lighten the fuck up.

Meanwhile...nobody is against the rich paying more in taxes than the poor and few are against a graduated income tax. The problem with the term "income redistribution" is not that it is wrong, but that it is sloppy terminology because it logically encompasses a behavior most people wielding it for advantage are actually fine with.

n.n said...

Redistributive change is recycled change is change with a diminishing return. Since it is typically unbacked by productivity, it has an unfortunate, or perhaps fortunate, depending on your perspective, side-effect of sponsoring corruption of both the benefactors, the beneficiaries, and the exploited producers and laborers.

Carol said...

"Income inequality" is the Democrats' effort to reframe what the GOP calls "redistribution of the wealth."

Doesn't change what I wrote. They trot these terms out tentatively at first, see how they fly...put them away for awhile, bring them back, and pretty soon the low information voters think it's their own idea. "Yeah, income inequality! That always bothered me...that's the ticket..."

kentuckyliz said...

Why would income inequality be a problem? People produce different levels of value in the marketplace.

Why don't we pay everyone doctor's salaries? Let's make the minimum wage the maximum wage. There's your income equality. @200k per year whether you push a broom or perform brain surgery.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

And looking over a few years of the "addiction" tag, I think the great source of awakening to the bullshit that is "addiction" talk was the notion of sex addiction,..."

I think the reason it is so easy for males to think that they can be addicted to the pleasures that sex naturally can give them is that good males tend naturally not to want to be too immersed in their own sexual pleasures. Sexual pleasure tends to be a more selfish pleasure for males to want (compared with other pleasures). And emotions affect everything, including probably intraejaculate sperm selection. Accordingly, if a male is too focused on his own sexual pleasure when having sex, sex will be less beautiful and his children may well turn out more selfish. But, of course, sex or even fantasizing about sex can be very pleasant for males (as one would expect since it is a more selfish pleasure for males). Anyway, addiction is sort of similar because when one is being affected by an addiction or has been affected by an addiction, one should will oneself to not focus on the pleasure from the addiction, even though of course when being affected by the addiction the pleasure is there. But they are entirely different phenomena--one being natural to how one naturally is, the other a result of feelings created directly by externally introduced brain chemicals or their analogues (as opposed to nutrients, which the brain can naturally craft brain chemicals out of as it sees fit).

There are a few sexually pleasant things, like forcing a girl naturally desirous of you to be true to herself by not having holy, loving feelings else, which actually can be something a male should not only accept but enjoy (wallow in). Sometimes pleasures are such that they cause right behavior in areas which people have no natural tendencies to want to be good about. Young girls if not screwed up are especially attracted to morally good males, not because young girls are especially moral, but because girls, compared with women, are naturally especially sexually pleased by moral goodness in males. Goodness doesn't compel males to want girls wanting them to be true to themselves, but it's good that girls be themselves, and if a male wants girls wanting him to be themselves because it is more impressive to other girls to be wanted by girls being themselves it's good that he be that way (at least if marriage is not desired) notwithstanding he's likely to be that way more from wanting the sexual pleasure of more girls in bed than from his seeing the beauty of girls being themselves. These are the easiest pleasures for good males to think are sexually addictive--the sexual pleasures that may seem too hard to not want to enjoy, which yet in good males are enjoyable and something he should enjoy. This particular case can make a male think that having sex without having loving, holy feelings is some sort of primitivity that is sexually addictive to himself, which if it makes him seem bad to himself actually can cause him to be in general less pious (and thus less holy) than he otherwise would have been.

Broomhandle said...

Blind and crazy would have been more succinct.

annk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
annk said...

Not so fast with the microaggression obituary, at least in the academy:
http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2014/01/coming_soon_to_a_campus_near_y.html

"The arrival of micro-aggression mania on campus is a god-send for under-employed PC folk. Happily for them, racial micro-aggression easily applies to every campus grievance group save, naturally, white males. Publication-hungry academics can submit research to journals like Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology (among others) always anxious for cutting-edge indictments of whites. In the meantime, stamping out this unconscious hostility will require armies of skilled campus counselors and newly hired administrators to apply insights from this burgeoning exorcise-the-devil industry. And, conceivably, textbook publishers may want to hire grievance group leaders to scrutinize textbooks and certify them "100% micro-aggression free" (the parallel is the Kosher certification). That micro-aggression can never be fully cured is but icing on the PC cake."