Re: a dissident voice

wilkr (wilkr@INDIANA.EDU)
Fri, 10 Feb 1995 09:15:47 -0400

I find Rebecca Johnson's critique reasoned, logical and overdue.

I have to admit that I am thoroughly sick of anthropologists'
breast-beating about colonial complicity. As a long-time participant in
leftist movements and politics, the present discourse seems to me to be
typical of a long-term destructive tendency. To wit: attack the people
who will listen, not the people who are truly guilty.

If you want to point fingers at neocolonialism, I submit, the last people
you should be blaming are the generally powerless bystanders - academics
and writers, etc.. Why not look at multinational capital, at the
armaments industry, at the Republican National Committee (that raised
$18,000,000 dollars LAST NIGHT at one dinner - more than the annual
budgets of the top ten anthropology departments in the country, I suspect)?

Why not a concrete political-economy of colonialism, instead of bashing a
few intellectuals whose at the worst were paid agents or innefectual

I will tell you why. Those people will not listen and agree that they are
guilty. They will ignore whiny finger-pointing and get on with the
business of running the world. They are quite happy to see the
intellectuals wasting their time blaming each other and arguing

Another reason why is that this is sooooo easy! Blaming doesnt; require
knowledge, research or serious intellectual work. Merely fluency in the
latest trendy theoristic doublespeak.

Grump, grump, grump.

Richard Wilk Anthropology Dept.
812-855-8162 (voice) Indiana University
812-855-4358 (fax) Bloomington, IN 47405