Today is the 1 year Anniversary of Translation Exercises

I don’t have a topic-specific column today, but I wanted to mark the day. I’ve been happily surprised at how TransEx has taken off during the past 12 months. I’ve found my readers’ online engagement compelling, provocative, thoughtful, infuriating, but always motivating me to write more, engage more, think more.  Thank you for returning, reading, commenting, and continuing your engagement. I hope to keep blogging as much in the upcoming year, but alas, I return to full-time teaching, which will present some inevitable constraints on my time.  We don’t have a national election to fuel outrage and indignance, but I don’t doubt that there will be plenty of grist in other sectors of US and international politics.

Here were the top 5 (most read) columns of the past year on Translation Exercises:

Pollitt’s Perplexity about Pundits on Ron Paul
The Progressive Retreat from Obama: Who is to Blame?
Emily Hauser’s Disgusting Indifference to Women of Color
Mosques, Temples, and Theaters: We Need to Change the Script
White Privilege, American Privilege: Does It Make Sense to Be More Concerned with Rights at “Home”?

The least read columns (excluding reblogged or minor 1 paragraph posts) were the following:

Abdulmutallab, POTUS, and Al-Awlaki: NPR Stenographers and Post-Assassination Apologias
Illegality and Idiocy: Only One Can Be Solved for Sure
John Knefel: Adnan Latif Wrote to his Lawyer About Why He Wanted to End His Life
Indefinite detention: Business as usual. What now?
Election Year Redux

As we mark the beginning of the second term of the Obama Administration, I will continue to analyze some of the implicit concerns that underlie national and global politics. These include the new multicultural players in the system of white supremacy that is driving our domestic racial/political/economic polices, as well as global imperialist policies. Thinking about contemporary politics requires engaging with race—both in its old historical sense of whiteness as well as in its unconventional (but very important) sense of power and inviting black and brown folks to carry out white supremacist goals. This is also true with regard to feminism. The contributions of a number of white feminists has been to perpetuate systematically racist, misogynist (with regard to women of color) policies in the name of “universal” liberalism (see the above posts on Katha Pollitt and Emily Hauser).

As well, I hope to continue writing about problematic media analyses, and of course, the latent assumptions in national security issues regarding the GWoT, torture, incarceration, drones, and other troubling issues.

But really, over the next year, I want to think about what seems to be a remarkable—perpetual–obsequiousness to those in power. It is a noteworthy feat of contortionism—to watch the kissing of buttocks as it is displayed by those who are supposed to be political pundits, journalists, academics, so-called intellectuals, political representatives. But I also plan to include in this analysis some segment of the liberal/left public at large that reveres all policies statist—whether engaged in by a Republican, Democrat, white or black or brown.

We see the endorsement of morally reprehensible statist policies in the embrace of films like  Argo–despite its latent cultural imperialism and celebration of the CIA, as well as the opposition to criticism of the role of torture in Zero Dark Thirty–always in the name of art. We see the reverence in the embrace of the state-driven murderous policies such as illicit drone strikes, the insistence that Israel has a “right to self-defense” as it engages in systematic bullying and massacres of Palestinians. We see the embrace of US-led persecution of whistleblowers from John Kyriakou, Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange. And above all, we see the embrace of a murderous regime as led by a Black president, and his “pluralist,” liberal, feminist cabinet.

An effective criticism and challenge to a global imperial, lawless, regime begins from challenging some of the most uncomfortable assumptions on the part of a “well-intentioned” left: assumptions having to do with the tensions over national security, civil rights, a “progressive” political, racial and feminist agenda–which occludes the rights and plights of folks of color even as an elite multi-racial group leads the lawless agenda.

As always, I welcome your thoughtful comments. Do tell me if there’s something that you’d like to read more about on this blog–and if it’s in line with my interests, I’ll try to respond.  Again, thanks for the repeated readership and support. I look forward to continuing to think with you during the next year.


3 thoughts on “Today is the 1 year Anniversary of Translation Exercises

  1. Professor Sheth:

    Am Elated to hear that you will be focussing on the obsequiousness to those in power. Believe me: such obsequiousness is the ubiquitous currency of choice in the Imperial Capital (with notable exceptions, such as Mark Weisbrot and Dean Baker at the national level, and the 24-hour vigil at Peace Park, across from the Imperial Palace, at the local level).

    It should be clear to all that Washington, DC is the last place where democracy in any form will be allowed to break out within the imperial homeland. I wish someone could hold up an historical mirror to whites in the capital to show them what Northern Whites circa 1775 were saying to those in power (i.e. in “Mother England”). It wasn’t pretty; it wasn’t civil; and it wasn’t obsequious. It was, however, principled speech, and that’s why the Declaration of Independence is still worth reading. But, could you show whites (and even African-Americans in power in the local and Federal government) what the implications today would be of Thomas Jefferson’s ideals? Obsequiousness would not be one of them.

    If we can get one small victory from this – such as an ending of the CIA’s power to drop drones – it will be worth it.

  2. Dear Falguni,

    Happy Birthday. Owing to today’s post, I now realize that I have been traveling for eleven out of the past twelve months on this healing path of sanity that you call “Translation Exercises.”

    As capitalism looks for endless sources of accumulation, it extracts the life both out of humanity and our planet. How this contrived system relates to and negates your fierce defense of humanity might be of interest to your readers. The alternatives to capitalism, too. Your guest bloggers have, I think, broached these themes.

    Nevertheless, whatever you decide to explore, I am always grateful.

    In solidarity,
    Corning, NY

    • Thanks for the kind words, Michael! Happy to know that you are a still a fellow traveler–handn’t heard from you in months. It’s been a long but satisfying slog…I will do my best to keep it real, and do continue to send me feedback if you’re so inclined. It’s heartening to have supportive (and not necessarily agreeable or agreeing) readers.

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