Imbued with reactionary ideas
Ophelia Benson has the worst job in the blogosphere. She reads the papers of cultural studies and post-colonial academics - and given their obscurantism she often must be their only reader - and explains how intellectuals who affect a liberal style, are imbued with reactionary ideas.
Some kind reader like Justin or Captain Cabernet will remember the correct Marxist term for this - but isn't being "imbued with reactionary ideas" something of a given until after the revolution?
Here she is on a disgraceful effort by the Cambridge Review of International Affairs to turn a defence of the men who abuse women into a left-wing cause, by denigrating the efforts of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, a feminist group which tries to give Afghan girls education, healthcare and the right not to be forced into "marriage" before they are 16 (as half Afghan girls are).
I have some time for Ophelia Benson. I've certainly got nothing against her, but, if we're going to do the careful reading thing (which seems to be Nick's idea of what Ms Benson does) the paper in question (full details) is -- well here's a clue from the top of the page:
Graduate Theses and Dissertations > Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) 2008+ > View Item
It is NOT a peer reviewed journal article; it is an MA thesis. As such it is the work of one student (Melanie Butler) and not an "effort by the Cambridge Review of International Affairs".
Update 31/3/2010 6:15 am BST Thanks to Ophelia Benson in the comments, it was a published article. This was not obvious from the link, but the mistake was mine alone. I don't believe this injures my argument concerning the content of the thesis/article, though clearly it makes me look like a fool.
I'm not combing through MA theses, I'm happy to say. I was alerted to the article by Lauryn Oates, Projects Director of CW4WAfghan.
Cambridge Review of International Affairs published Butler's thesis. Volume 22 Issue 2 June 2009, pp 217-234.
Somehow Nick's keenness for cutting and pasting not only misses the above, but he manages to ignore what may be the crucial sentences in the abstract which he quotes:
Drawing on post-colonial feminist theory, this paper highlights the implications of CW4WAfghan’s Orientalist discourse on women’s rights, and tackles the difficult question of how feminists can show solidarity with Afghan women without adhering to the oppressive narratives that permeate today’s political climate. It is only by employing alternative models that contextualize the situation of Afghan women in relation, rather than in opposition, to our own, that feminists can begin to subvert the mutually reinforcing narratives that sustain imperialist violence and women’s subordination.
I can't see what there is to object to in "show solidarity with Afghan women" and how this equates to defending forced marriages of girls under 16 (which is where 'pedophilia' [sic] comes in). And for added fun, "adhering to the oppressive narratives that permeate today’s political climate" sounds like a higher-falutin' version of "imbued with reactionary ideas".
I am a person of my time.
You adhere to the oppressive narratives that permeate today’s political climate.
She is imbued with reactionary ideas.
It does sound like a difference of political stance more than anything. And why is Ophelia Benson combing through Masters' theses anyway? Contra Nick - that's not a job at all.
I've downloaded the paper, but not read it yet.
In other 'Standpoint' news, Alex Massie has a few trenchant observations on their "fact gathering."
 My apologies if she has a doctorate and should be referred to as "Dr"; I can't find anything on Butterflies and Wheels to suggest that she has.