March 06, 2007

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Accounting or the Argument from Monty-Python I'm getting read to go visit Paul. I leave Wednesday for Ecuador. Saturday we will go to Peru. I'll be gone not quite 2 weeks. To prepare, I got vaccinated for hepatitis and typhoid. My tetanus shot was up to date. I declined the malarial pills because of side effects and the fact that I won't be in a jungle. I purchased bug spray with deet, anti-bacterial towelettes, and immodium, pepto-bismal. I've read that I should not drink the water, avoid ice, refrain from eating uncooked vegetables, avoid milk and dairy products, avoid fresh fish, not swim in fresh water (except, perhaps, for a heavily chlorinated pool), and not eat anything from an open air market. I need to be careful with my wallet, purse, backpack, and all personal items because of theft. Thinking about all these warnings, I started to wonder about my naivete with regard to notions of revolution or emphases on trying to find alternatives to capitalism and democracy. Maybe it's a kind of Monty-Python reasoning along the lines of "what have the Romans done for us"--so, what has capitalism and the liberal-democratic state done for us: "well, we don't really have a problem with malaria and the water is potable." But, then I realized some flaws in the argument from Monty-Python. First, it relies on an implicit 'best of all possible worlds' vision of the US and Europe. Second, in its reliance on a simple and pathetic us/them, primitive/developed, third/first world binary, it disavows the splits...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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