Did Denis Robert and I listen to the same podcast? Kay was very critical of the right and somewhat critical of the left conspiracy theorists. I take Kay for what he says and how persuasive he is and don’t automatically write him off as biased because the paper(s) he writes for don’t exactly fit my political persuasion. This was one of the best interviews in a long time.
No, you apparently did not hear the same podcast.
Kay seemed to me to almost entirely focused on conspiracy theories from “the left” when he stated and restated 911, Iraq, Afghanistan (2x, not again and again, and again) as the examples of topics for conspiracy theories. This seemed to continue until well past the 20 minute mark. In the remaining minutes jabs to the right were criticisms of what seemed to be a narrow group of (Ron Paul) Libertarians, and finally the birthers. So i can see how the other poster might not agree that Kay was very critical of the right and somewhat critical of the left.
And to a person that would call oneself a “progressive” or liberal, it would seem odd for Kay to focus on how the left has a “responsibility” for the flourishing of conspiracy theories side by side the influence of AM radio and Cable News (Fox maybe?). As best i could transcribe and paraphrase what he said—
“They talk about AM radio, they talk about Glen Beck on the right and how the right has become amenable to conspiracy theories. I did think it was important to my book that the left is not blameless here.”
“And i did give some examples, i think it was in chapter 9 of my book, of showing scholars who had attended conferences and voiced full fledged conspiracy theories, whose theories were even published in journals. You can say this is a fringe phenomenon ... and to the extent they were popular they are not popular now .... yet to a certain extent a whole generation of scholars especially in modern languages and the liberal arts more generally was raised on the idea that you should give some deference to other peoples construction of reality. Especially if those people come from a different social class, or from a different race.
So there has been some resistance, at least in some cohort of scholars, to really emphasize the idea of a single reality and to debunk people who clearly depart from that. There is a little bit of romanticism of people who have so called alternative narratives.
I encountered this when i went to law school, in the mid 90’s, although even by then it was dying out a little bit then. So i think its influence is less than - say - talk radio and cable news, but there is a certain faction of the intellectual left that i think were influenced by this a little bit.”
Mooney—fair enough, it is a part of intellectual history and we can mark it that way.
(with a chuckle, perhaps to avoid calling out his guest’s use of this reason for including this as a criticism of the left for some sort of balance(?). That these ideas are held by some, and now fewer, and were dying out, but it influences a certain faction of the intellectual left a little bit.)
This is compared to (balanced against?) the influence of talk radio and cable news, and Glen Beck(!?) on the tendency of politically right-leaning folk’s inclination to accept conspiracy theories?
“The idea that you should give some deference to other peoples construction of reality” is not necessarily an example of postmodernism.
Rather, it may instead be a gentle attempt to encourage people who believe that “there is a RIGHT and a WRONG by GOD and I learned it the right way at or across my Father’s knee” to imagine/understand and maybe even attempt to see how events, actions and such could/would be perceived differently through the lens of another persons world view (e.g. see George Lakoff, strict father vs nuturing parent morality).
sorry for my silly screen name. i did not realize that folk here use ‘real names’. i do not post anywhere often.
i fear that the above will be revealed to be a horribly illiterate and confused attempt to communicate come morning. at least i hope it will be seen as an attempt to communicate.
at least i didn’t mention Hitler.