Dear Dr. Progressive

web posted January 29, 2001

Dear Dr. Progressive is a column designed to give advice to confused and aspirant radicals in the post-communist era. If you have any questions for Dr. Progressive, write Jamie Glazov at jglazov@home.com.

Dear Dr. Progressive,

I have been a dedicated Leftist that has been committed to equality and social justice for a long time. To be truthful with you, I am sick and tired of living in a city that does not allow greater attention to urban difference and specificity. I am simply disgusted by the uniformity of modernist practice, especially in the way it affects the architectural form of the buildings in my social environment. I am tired of the high-rise flats, shopping centres, and standardized plans. This capitalist assault on our consciousness is simply perpetuating the uniformity of urban cultures. I have had enough of going downtown and seeing everything dominated by similar high-rise glass and concrete buildings. If we had a true democratic society, we would see new aesthetic cultural and intellectual forms and practises. But no, the capitalists want us to become tamed and institutionalized. I simply renounce form and always will.

Bill Jennings
A metropolitan city in the U.S.

Dear Bill,

Whatever.


Dear Dr. Progressive,

I have noticed a steady decline in terms of your interest and support of the people that write to you. Your initial columns gave detailed advice about how to be a good radical. Now you seem to just make sarcastic remarks, as if the whole thing is a joke. Why do you even bother having a column if you are not answering the questions put to you? I think this is an important issue, since much evidence shows that we are living in times where a real and true process of democratization might occur. And I mean democratization in the sense that workers might finally grab the means of production from the exploiters' hands.

Cheddy Williams
Detroit

Dear Cheddy,

First of all, try using your real name the next time. Cheddy? Give me a break. You can do better than that. In any case, this is my column, not yours, so don't tell me how to run it. The bottom line is that I don't even want to write this stupid column. Do you know how irritating and depressing it is to receive hundreds of letters everyday from people who are severely disturbed and live their entire lives believing in a fantasy world? But somebody has to try to help these pathetic people now don't they? Are you going to do it? Obviously not, since cowards come easy. I am sick of sitting around, getting drunk out of my mind every day, and watching one Leftist after another stumble into confusion and uncertainty because of how reality nullifies the socialist dream. Someone simply has to help these losers rationalize their delusions, so that they don't have to confront the terrifying prospect of having lived their entire lives based on a lie. So I' m here to do that job. It takes a lot of me, and it is no easy thing when you are polishing off a forty-ouncer of rum everyday, and when you can often hardly even see the words on the computer screen, since everything becomes so blurry when you are half-in-the-bag. The other night I passed out while answering a few letters and I spilled an entire jug of rum and coke into my keyboard. So today I had to buy a new one, which was very frustrating, as it is no easy task buying anything when one is staggering around with no physical balance whatsoever and with a completely incomprehensible slurred speech. In any case, to answer your stupid question: I do this not because I want to, but because I simply feel that it is a must that someone do it. If someone came along to do this job properly, then I would gladly give it up.

But no one has my credentials to do this job. So, to a very large extent, I can be very well be seen as a martyr-figure.


Dear Dr. Progressive,

Whenever our superior cause in the U.S. Capital is struggling for the enactment of progressive programs such as Hillary's Universal Health Care, I write sob story letters to sympathetic editors of major papers in support of progress. I portray myself as a poor and desperate elderly woman with untreated abscesses on my feet who can not afford medicine and food at the same time. In reality, I am a healthy young woman who, by Federal law, could use the local hospital emergency room at no cost if I really was too poor to afford health services. I tell myself that it is honorable to lie when promoting progress, but I can't seem to shake a feeling of guilt for being a liar. How do I overcome this feeling of guilt when I commit a moral wrong to advance the values of our morally superior cause?

Rosie Thompson

Dear Rosie,

You make me sick. If you are a true radical of any kind, and you really believe in building a world of equality, then patriarchal and capitalist notions such as "guilt" and "moral wrongs" should be wiped out of your consciousness. You should be thinking of the class struggle. Oppressive notions about things like "morality" have been socially constructed by those who perpetuate domination and subjugation. A true Leftist never feels a sense of shame about anything - ever, because there is no such thing as shame, since there is no such thing as "morality." There is, however, the class struggle, just as there is the most important thing of all: coveting thy neighbour's goods and taking wealth from people who have worked for it and giving it to those who haven't. So keep writing those letters. Lying and leftism go hand-in-hand. They cannot exist separately - just like two messed-up people in a dysfunctional and co-dependent relationship can't exist separately.


Dear Dr. Progressive,

Your column tends to confuse me. What is your political disposition?

Fred Galloway
Kansas City

Dear Fred,

I prefer not to talk about myself, as I keep a very low profile. I don't like to discuss my personal political views, nor the ingredients of my private life. If you need advice on how to be a good leftist, then ask me. Other than that, don't request anything else. I really and truly wish that this is the last time I have to say anything of this nature. I am simply sick and tired of explaining the specific purpose of this column.

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