Exchange with Walter Benn Michaels

Actually if some version of the first two paragraphs you wrote below were in your piece that would seriously make the point.

Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 20, 2011, at 7:08 PM, John Halle <[email protected]> wrote:


You’re right of course.

But notice that the student group had nothing to say about Peretz-which is in line with your take on “anti-racism” as basically a racket to create and protect careers of foundation bound pseudo lefties. They’re always ready to bash some hapless redneck freshman (or the closest thing to it we have here) when he blurts out something stupid.

But they’d never say anything about anyone who has real power and potential influence over their careers.

Also, though I’ve never been a big one for reformist liberalism getting Martin Peretz banished to the intellectual equivalent of Siberia seems to me desirable on aesthetic grounds if nothing else.

But yes, no doubt he will be replaced with a hedge fund manager, corporate lawyer, party hack or some such creep.



On Feb 20, 2011, at 1:58 PM, Walter Michaels wrote:

Hi John —

Well, on the one hand, I agree with this. But, on the other, you’re not making a lot of progress when you replace the racist rich guys on your Board with the more usual antiracist rich guys. I mean it ‘s the role they play in reproducing and exacerbating the American class structure not their (nonetheless unacceptable) tolerance for the occasional wealthy racist that makes places like Bard, Brandeis and Harvard conservative.


On Feb 20, 2011, at 10:51 AM, John Halle wrote:

Hi Walter,

Thought you might be interested in and maybe have some comments on this piece which i’m sending to counterpunch. (Who knows whether they’ll publish it. Alex is pissed off at me.)

More or less overlaps with your take on racism/diversity, though here the point is that how charge of racism is selectively applied so that those with real power and influence aren’t the targets.



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