On Christine Quinn

Not that anyone particularly cares at this point, but there was a bit of an oh-how-brave reaction when Christine Quinn, who was then running for mayor, released a memoir about her various obstacles: homosexuality, bulimia, and alcoholism (wow, what a trio!)  But if you think carefully, it’s not brave at all, but rather incredibly safe, because it’s following the clear cultural trajectory toward an end where strife is the only worthwhile currency.  I will bet anyone who is willing that it’s not long before a disgraced Republican, who was fervently anti-marriage equality but then was caught tapping his foot in a bathroom, comes out with a memoir, goes on Oprah and cries, and uses it all to launch a new campaign.  (Oh wait… Anthony Weiner kind of did that already, minus the gay part.)

“What makes us authentic, then, as Jews, homosexuals, Hindus, or Chinese, is our sense of trauma, and thus our status as victims, which cannot be questioned.  The vulgar Freudianism of the view is remarkable in an age of debunking Freud.  In fact, Freud’s endeavors were themselves a brilliant product of late-nineteenth century identity politics.  To secular, bourgeois, assimilated German and Austrian Jews, psychoanalysis was a logical route to self discovery.  What Freud did for his Viennese patients is in a way what Edmund White and other identity politicians are now doing for their various ‘communities,’ and real politicians are borrowing their language.”

~Ian Buruma, “The Joys and Perils of Victimhood,” from the New York Review of Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: