I had a comment on a recent post that was so wonderful I had to pause and acknowledge it. Here is the comment in full, originally appended to my post entitled “Whew”:
I am a non-white woman from India and I have been reading your blog for more than two years. As a mother pursuing PhD in her early 40s, I could perhaps be the least noteworthy of all your readers. I decided to post a comment because in your previous post you mentioned that your blogs have very low female/non-white readership. Let me point out, I have finished watching your Youtube lecture series on Kant, ideological critique and Marx. Currently, I am on the third part of the Freud series. I can’t thank you enough for taking the effort and putting those videos out in the public domain. As a person, without any training or knowledge of philosophy and with very limited resources at hand, your lecture series, blogs and even the discussions on comments section have helped me immensely. In fact, I have recommended your lecture series to some of my friends and fellow students. So, I hope you will soon see a spurt in your non-white readership.
Also, I can’t help but mention one point. Maybe it is cultural. I know capitalism is not the most rational form of production. But sometimes, in a caste-ridden society like India, where some people (due to their birth status) are condemned to do certain jobs like picking up garbage and cleaning sewage (with no escape at all for generations), money can help transcend barriers. In that case, a man making millions from trash (as you mentioned in your Marx series) is something to be celebrated. For millions of people out there, it gives hope and a modicum of dignity – the dignity of labour, which is hard to come by. Just a thought.”
I am thrilled beyond description by this, and I thank the anonymous writer most warmly. No writer could ever hope for a better audience! Google counts do not really matter, not when Rosanne Barr gets twenty million viewers for her latest TV show. What matters is that miraculously, I have somehow reached out across half the world and found a reader.
I am of course completely aware of the existence of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of men, women, and children around the world whose only way of surviving is by picking over or collecting or sweeping up the garbage left by the more fortunate. For those of you who have not watched the video, I was trying to illustrate the fact that capitalists are motivated solely by a search for the largest available rate of return on invested capital, regardless of the social status of the investment. I mentioned Louis Wolfson, an American who made a fortune after WW II in the garbage collection industry. My failure to point out the existence of people who have no other choice was sheer thoughtlessness and insensitivity, for which the writer of the comment, in the gentlest possible fashion, quite properly chastised me.
I trust that my hardy band of the usual suspects will not be affronted that I have devoted such attention to this comment, coming from an unexpected source. I love you all!
Anonymous, if I may address you thus, dare I ask the subject of your dissertation? I am delighted to be able to acknowledge your presence in the circle of readers of this blog.