[lit-ideas] Re: Books that bite and sting...

  • From: Andy <mimi.erva@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2008 13:44:48 -0700 (PDT)

Negative identity as Berman explains it is not having one's own identity and 
therefore needing to define one's (in this case collective ) sense of self by 
being the opposite of someone or something else.&nbsp; It's apparently 
Hegelian.&nbsp; It's the reason we *needed* a cold war with the SU, which is to 
say, without them we didn't know who we were.&nbsp;&nbsp;(The movie with Matt 
Damon The Good Shepherd explains the CIA's existence that way although at the 
time I saw&nbsp;The Good Shepherd&nbsp;I didn't think of it in those 
terms.)&nbsp; During the cold war we were anti-communists, we had a huge 
industrial military complex (what else do you do with a huge industrial 
military complex?), etc.&nbsp; And in fact, when the SU fell apart, we evolved 
the War on Terror&nbsp;which contrary to popular belief did&nbsp;*not* spring 
full blown out of the head of Zeus.&nbsp; Although as I write this I wonder if 
Berman isn't being generous and saying negative identity
 because it's a lot nicer than a positive identity of a bunch of war 
mongers.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;One of the Kagan brothers, Fred I think wrote the 
book Dangerous Nation along these lines, which I agree with of course and which 
I've thought about reading.

--- On Sun, 6/8/08, Ursula Stange &lt;Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx&gt; wrote:

From: Ursula Stange &lt;Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx&gt;
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Books that bite and sting...
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Sunday, June 8, 2008, 7:58 PM

When you preach to the choir, you only get Amen's in return.  And 
Lit-Ideas rules don't allow them.

As to Berman's book, I haven't read it, but suspect that I, too, would 
find it world-view affirming.  And, yes, that's comforting.  And, yes, 
we all do it.  

I don't quite get the negative-identity thing, though.   Canada is big 
on 'negative-identity', but of a different sort (kinder and gentler, 
don't you know).  We're no longer British and we're sure not
But that's usually as far as it goes.  When I first came to Canada (back 
in '68) there was a whole lot of navel-gazing going on.  Weighty 
questions like why Canada didn't have a national mythology (like the 
U.S.) were debated on the national airwaves and even the odd pub.  Then 
we got busy and forgot about it all. 

Heavier fare next time...
U.S. in Canada


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