As Evgeni pointed out a couple posts ago, Levi Bryant is misrepresenting his reasons for no longer engaging with me on the blogosphere. Yesterday, one of Levi’s followers on twitter, Joe Clement, alerted Bryant to an article that might support his “wilderness ontology” thesis against the criticisms I leveled at it two days ago:
However, on Levi’s twitter page Bryant indicated that he was no longer interested in talking to me, suggesting that it had something to do with my post exposing some of the origins of Heidegger’s ontological meditations on the environment in Nazi ecology.
@joepdx i’ve long given up discussion with him. When someone calls you a Nazi because you talk about ecology he’s jumped the shark
Of course, I never called Bryant a Nazi. The real reason that Bryant chose to stop talking to me is decidedly more embarrassing, as he expressed it to me in an e-mail from May 27, about a week before I even posted the article about the fascist fetishization of nature:
Between your highly insulting and patronizing comment about my education (http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/dark-objects/#comment-50541) on my blog and your post mocking my work and scholarship on your blog yesterday I’ve decided to cease discussion with you.
I dealt with this little incident of crybabyism in a separate post, “On Hurt Feelings: The Case of Levi Bryant’s Missing Sense of Humor.” But this wasn’t the first time that Bryant had banned me from his blog. Back on April 13, I received an e-mail from Levi informing me that he wasn’t going to post my comments over at his blog anymore. We had just previously been debating the question of the Left’s role in critiquing vs. “producing” ideology. His reason for banning me? He explained:
I have opted to no longer post your comments. I do not approve of how you have both interacted with the other participants on my blog and with me. You have engaged in a monologue rather than a dialogue that has been rather disdainful to other positions equally informed by Marxist thought. Moreover, over at your blog you have hosted discussion with one of the most well known trolls of the theory blogosphere, Evgeni Pavlov, who has spent years attacking me online, suggesting that I know nothing about Marx (I have quite an extensive background) and shooting spitwads from afar. This calls into question the genuineness of your interactions. Ergo I choose not to make my blog a platform for your interactions.
After repeatedly asking him to be reasonable and pleading my case with Bryant, he continued to respond:
I banned you from my blog for hate speech.
Let me get this straight, Ross. You came into my living room, made ugly slurs about women, homosexuals, african-americans and environmentalists and then proceeded to host a snark fest on your own blog with one of the most belligerent and unfair trolls in the theory blogosphere, all the while mocking the bonafides and earnestness of the Marxists that participate in that living room, and you believe that ****you**** are being persecuted because others don’t care to continue discussion with you or host you in their living room? Yes, yes, you’re so oppressed that others don’t care to carry on discussion with a pompous, insulting, homophobic, sexist, racist, know-it-all who wishes to pontificate to everyone else without bothering to listen. Once again, good luck with your revolution. Somehow I think you’ll have a hard go of it if you continue to engage in this religious fundamentalist, belligerent, behavior that refuses to listen and honor others with dignity. Pardon me, I have to get back to body building, hormone injections, and hair color treatments in between worshipping neo-pagan gods.
And finally, he explicitly compared me to Rush Limbaugh, which seems to be one of his signature terms of abuse:
You presented these emancipatory political movements in extremely ugly and stereotypical terms worthy of Rush Limbaugh. The fact that you continue to portray these vibrant and diverse movements in this reductive light only confirms the point. Nor was I alone in evaluating your remarks in those terms. A variety of others responded along similar lines. You might think you’re providing relevant commentary, yet micro-fascist sensibilities immediately exclude themselves from discussion. Your form of Marxism seems not to have learned anything from the last one hundred years of political theory and thought on these matters, repeating the worst tendencies of Stalinist sensibility and general disdain for life. There’s nothing critical about your critical theory. It is religious fundamentalism through and through.
So let’s tally things up, shall we? Bryant compared me personally to Rush Limbaugh, accused me of “hate speech,” and then claimed that I repeated “the worst tendencies of Stalinist sensibility.” As for me, I merely pointed out that many of the motifs of his “wilderness ontology” can be seen as reflecting Heidegger’s late ontology of “pathways” in the Black Forest, searching for the “clearing.” And then I further pointed out how this was symptomatic of some of the prevailing tendencies of Nazi ecology. That’s all I did.
Bryant didn’t appreciate that I was pointing out specific places in which he was contradicting himself. My comments stood in the way of his rather careless philosophical improv act, and called him in for accountability. That’s why he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore.