@JananGanesh on ‘Class Neuroses’ . Old Socialist comments

Mr. Ganesh opens his essay via ‘The Servant’ a movie, cineasts forgive my use of such an unsophisticated American term, just call me a provincial!

The class animus in The Servant was meant to be peculiarly British. 

Wasn’t this more about a celebration of Decadence, rather than the proffered ‘class animus’? Although there is something to be said about – the reader could almost cast this in Hegelian terms, via Kojève’s reading of The Phenomenology of Spirit: Master and Slave fight to the death in his Philosophical Novel. Have I reached to far? Or is that even possible in Ganesh World? Or are Pop Culture references the ultimate limit?

What writer would think that ‘class neuroses’ has any kind of intellectual/political weight? Freud and his epigones, the Neo-Freudians, have faded into a richly deserved obscurity. Except for the practitioners of  a ‘Science’ that has transmogrified into a Metaphysics, or an instance of Jewish Story Telling, and other forms of  an etiolated apologetics. Place this under the rubric of self-rehabilitation.

Let me speculate that Mr. Ganesh has not read the classic books by Karen Horney, The Neurotic Personality of Our Time and Neurosis and Human Growth. A clinic named in her honor is still accepting patients.


Neo-Freudians were the experts on  ‘psychological pathologies’ , while I was coming of age in the 50’s and 60’s America, these two books were part of my self assigned reading, as a pseudo-analysand.

Although the desperation of the practitioners of the ‘Psychoanalytic Method’ has led to a ‘Science’ transmogrified into the afore-mentioned  Metaphysic , or the preposterous notion of the art of Jewish Story Telling, and other such rehabilitative tropes. The reader should direct their attention to the work of Frederick Cruz: ‘Memory Wars’Freud: The Making of an Illusion and his essays at The New York Review of Books.

The Revenge of the Repressed, from the November 17, 1994:

Or his  incendiary biography of Freud, here reviewed by Matthew Hutson in The Washington Post: 


Read Frank Kermode’s essay of 1976 titled ‘Fighting Freud’ a review of Cruz’s ‘Out of My System: Psychoanalysis, Ideology, and Critical Method’ that might just offer a rejoinder, to both mine , and Cruz’s dissent to the Cult of Freud and his epigones.  The Skeptic’s practice of setting two arguments against each other, equipollence, might lead to a valuable reckoning?

Fighting Freud

‘ Neuroses’  as a frame for his latest essay places Mr. Ganesh’s firmly in the territory of anachronism, used maladroitly to discuss  class/racial/ethnic prejudice. Using Marxism, in any of its iterations, to discuss the above triad of vexing moral/political, what to name it conundrums?, is antithetical, or in the interest of candor anathema, to both Mr. Ganesh’s Neo-Liberalism and the editors and readers of this newspaper.

Mr. Ganesh’s last paragraph identifies a kind of tribalism, that looks down upon others as less than themselves.

It reminded me of the awesome pride that people I grew up with felt at not living in a council house, even if they were just one notch better-off. Looking back, my mistake was to think of their obsession with hairline differentials in status as uniquely British. As my life plays out on its fourth continent, I search for traits that hold more or less across the world. Nothing stands out as much as the need to look down on someone.

I recall ,when I was seven or eight, telling my mother I was going to play with a friend from school, who lived in a motel, on the boulevard very near my house. In that time, my sisters and brothers and I walked all over our neighborhood.  I was surprised at her response, which was very negative about him and his mother, for living in a motel. I recall later in my life my mother used the term ‘white trash’: she felt that was the ultimate insult.

Old Socialist





About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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