I’ve had a number of students over the past few days ask me for my opinion of the events in Ferguson, MO. They register shock when I tell them I don’t have one. “You see,” I say, “Ferguson is not my place. I don’t have intimate knowledge either of it, or of the events there. In the absence of such knowledge, any opinion I have is going to say more about me and my concerns than it will about Ferguson.” We live in a world that resists judgment when we have intimacy, but encourages it when we don’t.
(Jeffrey Polet, emphasis added)
“Resists judgment when we have intimacy” evokes the new Categorical Imperative: Be Nice.
“Encourages [judgment] when we don’t [have intimacy]” evokes the execrable habit we’ve developed of letting “news” media whip up two-minute hates so we can feel good about ourselves – you know, good like the Pharisee: “God, I thank you that I am not like that racist pig Darren Wilson in Ferguson.”
But as our local two-minute-hatemongers have shown is, an anonymous owner of a Confederate flag can become a lightning rod, condemned by one piece of circumstantial evidence of being an atavistic racist.
* * * * *
“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)