Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Passion by Rote

In response to Aaron's post, I feel obliged to pass on this delectable analysis that I just cyber-stumpled upon:

Ever since the French Revolution, men have been taught to wear their passions like cockades — as visible political statements. Yet naturally one does not dress oneself by passion; one does so by habit and convention, or by deliberation; and so it is that these displays of passion are often somewhat inauthentic in their putative spontaneity.

(You can find the rest here, at The Joy of Curmudgeonry)

In sum, inauthentic (self-conscious) passion is a self-contradictory phenomenon. Just as Japanese soccer fans have to fake their enthusiasm, many people have to fake their political passions because our current politics sets great store on spontaneous passion.

The post about the French Revolution also raises the intriguing question of the role history plays in inspiring this fake passion. But, that's another post for another day.
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