Re: Robert Johnson: The Good

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Sun, 5 Mar 1995 11:06:11 +1000

Matthew S. Tomaso writes:
> I enjoyed Vance Geiger's recent post very much, but I think it begs a
> not-so-difficult-question - If there never will and never has been absolute
> equality should we not work toward it? I for one, fail to see the
> connection between the fact that life has always had power relations and
> one's goals of subverting them.

Yes, it's too much like "X is biologically determined, so attempts
to change X are futile" for my liking. (Perhaps most commonly seen
these days in the "patriarchy is inevitable, why fight it?" and "some
people are just dumb, trying to educate them is pointless" forms.)

The problem I have with Robert Johnson is not that he isn't fighting
for a worthy cause, or that his cause is somehow doomed to failure
-- it's that he is obsessed by it to the point where he insists that
everyone (where everyone includes a reified "anthropology") who isn't
with him 100% is against him. (This is a bit like the difference
between a sect and a cult: the cult consigns everyone outside it to
damnation; the sect is prepared to accept that other groups may seek
salvation by different routes.)

Danny Yee.