Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Obvious versus Banal

Banal means tedious, boring, possibly tautological, unable to shed light on a situation
Obvious describes the blinding insight that you can’t believe you ever didn’t know. Darwin’s natural selection, is obvious once you know it, but a huge leap beforehand. Marian Sawer’s comment about the gendered state- nanny state being hated by those (men) already disoriented by changing sex roles is blindingly obvious and fruitful for thinking with once you know it.

The neo-liberal upsurge of the last twenty years and the neo-liberal case against the welfare state has gained much of its emotional force from a sub-text which is highly gendered. Whereas social liberalism has contained the promise of more autonomy within the private sphere and more caring values in the public sphere, neo-liberalism depicts the results of social liberalism as a loss of self reliance- through ‘over-protection’ by the state in the public sphere and usurpation of male roles in the private sphere. The identification of the welfare state as female (the ‘nanny state’) helps fuel resentment on the part of those already confused by rapidly changing gender roles.
Marian Sawer (1996) Gender, Metaphor and the State Feminist Review No. 52p. 11-134

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