What's this blog about?

As a result of a combination of factors, culminating in the shameful UCU boycott-in-waiting of Israel, I've grown alienated & silenced, working here in one of the UK's finest universities all the while feeling like a Boycotted British Academic, alone in facing some dilemmas of the moment. In this generally chilling environment, it's hard to speak out and be heard, and hear others...and I find myself writing this blog.

What's it about? At present, it seems to me like a rather tortured articulation of the state of being silenced & mute, beyond words; struggling for the right even to use them, for a voice which can still be heard. When it started, all those successive boycott motions ago, I'd hoped it would function as a blog forum of support & solidarity amongst academics similarly-situated to BBA, to help us break through the boycott movement's silencing strategies. That hope remains notwithstanding this silence... Perhaps it lives in trying to articulate beyond the filter of these coping mechanisms of old (denial, avoidance, withdrawal); by way of this labour of finding the words, this voice...
[A forum of sorts has also arisen in the blog's comments, in which others have adopted the BBA moniker in case of need (e.g.
and here exposing the racist hate speech which masquerades as UCU solidarity activism).]

Sunday, 22 March 2009

BBA's "Tourette's"

OK, I don't really have coprolalia-type Tourette's but sometimes I feel as though I present with similar symptoms, as I endeavour to survive over here by the swamp, a struggle which seems to entail a constant battle to repress a powerful compulsion to make liberal use of the F word - in plentiful permutation. The 'tic' is environmentally-induced and it arises systemically in the circumstances of BBA's existence, for years now harassed, harried even and, why not, also harangued by boycott-agitation and affiliated activity of scapegoating and demonization of the usual, classic subject.

It's a predicament in which this blog has oft found me, for instance, at this point, when I explained how the malaise renders me one pretty damn hopeless player in the game currently prime-entertainment over at the Bigot's Playground. As I observed back then, it feels as though there's nothing left to be said at such a point and no other language will do.

Yet, as we know, BBA represses the compulsion, just as someone with Tourette's can learn to suppress a tic which could be perceived as socially odd or inappropriate or embarrassing - and, often, just too bluntly honest, too raw, too discombobulating, of a kind which leads to discomfort.

BBA, long socialized into silence, says nothing - I bite my tongue and closet the rest, safe in secret, only to emerge behind this veil of anonymity, if at all - if, that is, this can be called emerging, constrictive as this veil has become, with this prevailing resounding silence, even on here, with the veil either too tight or forever more threadbare, featherlight as this sheath of ether is becoming...

For calling out antisemitism when it is observed in the 'activism' taking place on our campuses, and responding to it in the only way which feels right, is not appropriate over here. It's just not OK in Boycotting Britannia, you see, not the done thing at all.

Perhaps in the same way someone with Tourette's learns to 'release' the tic when it feels safe to do so, all this repression in the face of the boycotters seems to have influenced my language, with the word now having somewhat of a tendency to seep out even when I'm communicating with one held most dear - invariably when recounting some obnoxious happening or other over here on this little, if sadly significant, swathe of the swamp.

BBA has come in for reprimand on this account - quite reasonably, I might add...

With this in mind, I was to be found the other day watching this documentary, perhaps in the vain hope of finding a way to answer to this language-detraction, something along the lines that I'm bound to speak in this way as a result of the strictures and pressures of my current employ, the repressions it involves, and the generally sorry state in which I find myself, here, as BBA. No such thing was found (even if a diverting moment was had) but the film did contain an interesting segment in which various politicians were exposed to have made use of the word off-record. I was struck by an apparent correlation between Jews as the subject-matter here and the unguarded use of the F word in the examples which happened best to demonstrate the point being made about how even they do it - Clinton, Nixon, Baker etc. (see here from 2:08 for about 40secs, excerpting some of the segments which caused BBA to make this observation at the time).

Hey, what the F is that about?!


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