In a previous blog I commented on Kyle Kusz’s cultural Marxist analysis of White males in extreme sports. I can’t resist also commenting on Kusz’s outrageous discussion of another one of those oppressive White athletes, Andre Agassi. After Agassi’s redemption as an athlete (where he turned his career around after a long stretch of not taking tennis seriously), Kusz claims that Agassi’s later image of “white masculinity is implicitly invested in notions of personal responsibility, sovereignty, self-determination and the disavowal of structural privileges of any kind. … His response to his episode of suffering [during the period when he was a tennis underachiever] enabled the fantasy of extraordinary will and limitless energy of white men ” (p. 56).
In other words, Agassi’s personal determination to get his tennis career back on track counts for nothing. His career magically got back on track because he was able to take advantage of structural privileges only accorded to White men. Just being White allows one to overcome all obstacles. Hey Kusz: Know any White guys, even rich White guys, who have failed despite all their structural privileges?
Kusz’s cultural Marxism systematically denies any reality to psychological traits and predispositions—part of the “it’s all culture acting on a blank slate” mantra. A psychologist would at least suggest that Agassi is fairly high on conscientiousness/effortful control, a psychological trait that enables personal control over impulsive, reward-oriented behavior and which continues to mature until around age 30. So it’s not surprising that young men have difficulty focusing on career and duty, especially when they are confronted with all the temptations that go along with being rich and famous; but young men tend to become more responsible as the mature and all that wiring in the prefrontal cortex gets straightened out.
But it takes effort. Particularly in a world suffused with all sorts of temptations, all the privileges in the world won’t save someone without the ability to defer gratification and plan for the future. But for Kusz, Agassi’s vaunted physical fitness and his “incredibly strenuous workout regimes” in the later stages of his career are nothing but gratuitous images of White hypermasculinity. White sports announcers are cheerleaders of Agassi’s success and his physical fitness, a phenomenon that Kusz sees only as White males promoting a fantasy image of personal determination in the service of White domination. How about the theory that the announcers appreciate the traditional White athletic culture and its emphasis on training, practice, personal determination and hard work? Such traditionalists were naturally supportive when Agassi turned out to be much more than the talented punk he seemed to be when he first caught the world’s attention.
It’s the same with sensitivity. Examples where Agassi behaves in a sensitive manner toward women could not possibly be due to being high on the personality trait of warmth and affection. Rather, they must be seen as nothing more than an image that allows Agassi to maintain his power over women (pp. 57-58). Kusz concludes his musings on Agassi with the following, almost surreal summary:
Agassi reconfirmed traditional ideas of white men as superior and dominant, and as good providers and family men, and as economically successful. At the same time, Agassi as “the grinder” who finds pleasure in the suffering of training to be the best he can on court and who is supposedly selflessly still playing professional tennis in order to give back to “at-risk” black youth less privileged than himself reveals the extent in which cultural efforts are still being made in the mid-2000s to manage (mask and disavow) notions of white male privilege, while providing justification for why a white male like Agassi is worthy of all the social and economic privileges he “earns” and enjoys.
You just can’t make this stuff up. I particularly like the quotation marks around ‘earn’. No White male ever really earns anything. Even helping “at risk” Black kids isn’t enough to redeem Agassi. (One wonders why Kusz put “at risk” in quotes. I guess the idea of “at risk” Black kids i’s just another myth sprouted by the desperate attempt to prop up White domination.)
I wonder if Kusz would apply his analysis to the fact that he has a privileged position as a tenured professor? Once he learned the boilerplate cultural Marxist analysis of everything from his mentor, Prof. Mosher, he could simply plug Agassi and extreme athletes into the verbiage and win fame and acclaim as an academic. Kusz should look in the mirror when he agonizes about people not earning what they get in life and benefiting from structural privileges in a far left university environment where life is especially easy for non-Whites and where White males like Kusz are required to engage in rituals of self-abnegation like his book. Even an imbecile can learn to parrot this nonsense.
The beauty of this type of analysis is that it completely frees the writer from any need to actually find out what Agassi is really like. All the data one needs can be obtained in the comfort of one’s study without any concern for what the real world is like. Is Agassi really a grinder, a hard worker and a good family man? Any positive image of any White man is automatically nothing more than a propaganda exercise emanating from the hopelessly corrupt and fascist White cultural domination. Nor does he need to provide data showing exactly what these White structural privileges are and how they make things like personal training, sacrifice, and practice irrelevant to athletic success. All one needs is to master the lingo of cultural Marxism and voila, it’s super easy to become a tenured professor. So easy a child can do it.
This makes one think of Mark Rothko, as described in Brenton Sanderson’s recent series on the abstract expressionist painter. Here’s an hypothesis worth investigating with some real data: The entire culture of the left is designed so that people utterly devoid of any talent except self-promotion are able to scale the heights in the academic world, the art scene and the whole panoply of cultural institutions dominated by the left. So far, the hypothesis seems overwhelmingly confirmed.