Prolific blogger Clarissa, who’s been blogging more frequently on her holiday than most people do normally, has recently posted a very interesting piece on ‘closure’. I’ve heard the term bandied about, of course, but I had to Google to be absolutely certain what she was referring to.
It turns out that closure is a rather self-indulgent social ritual — or so it appears to me — where fighting factions meet, and instead of a curt oath of honour to end all bad blood and go about life sensibly for a change, tell each other what marvellously brave and wonderful individuals they are for sitting with the enemy, possibly breaking bread, and trying to assure each other that the trouble, whatever it was, was purely circumstantial and nobody’s fault or responsibility.
Clarissa, characteristically, has a rather provocative theory of cultural difference about the origins of closure. She thinks that “the English-speaking culture sees any kinds of relationships between people as hugely problematic… [and] try to obviate the difficulties they experience in interpersonal communication by creating a series of rules that are supposed to regulate any human contact. The concept of closure is one of those rules.”
This really set off one Charles Rowley, who said
I do not agree with Clarissa at all on this. If Anglo-Saxons have such difficulty in communicating with each other honestly, why did they succeed econonomically by comparison with the trash elsewhere? Decent closure leaves open the possibility of human exchange after the break-up. That is why Britain and the US do so well.
He then went on to ask Clarissa if she thought the Third Reich, the USSR, the Italians, the Hungarians, the Albanians and so on “brought good closure to their predations”, and bade the cluster visit warmer climes. Now, from this, you might be tempted to imagine Rowley as a standard-issue mild white supremacist, airing his views in public, and therefore both ignorant and a fool. It turns out, however, that Charlie is a professor emeritus of Economics*. Oh my! And a classical liberal. Well. No big surprises there.
What really surprised me was Clarissa’s reaction. Usually fire and brimstone to even those dissenting views some might consider mild, Clarissa responds to DocR’s casual labelling of the non A-S world as ‘trash’ and the laughable irrationality of his attempted causality by saying,
I´m talking only about interpersonal relationships here. I´d rather not bring politics into this at all because this kind of analysis where one phenomenon is used to explain the universe does not appeal to me… All I´m talking about is what I perceive as a clumsy relational strategy of managing interpersonal communications.
The hand-wringing servility from a woman who freely uses such epithets as “vile freak” to her readers is rather astounding. Are idiocy and racism — especially amongst those in a position to teach it to hundreds of others — suddenly very ‘meh, whatever’? Why do I never get these memos on time? Or is it Charlie’s prof. em. status, that grants him immunity and oily coddling from Clarissa?
Man, would that be extra incentive to get a doctorate, or what. Free pass to put my brain in a safety deposit, and act like a drunk YouTube commentator. Woohoo.
*What bothers me is a vague suspicion that I’ve been to Rowley’s blog before, and quite enjoyed something he wrote. Extra disappointing 😦 Then again, given my memory, it could be someone else.