An Open Letter to Prof. Juan Cole

Posted on July 19, 2011


Dear Professor Juan Cole,

You know so much about capitalism and unproductive labor, colonialism and social theory, ‘nativism’ and commerce, corporate privileges and onion ports. I can only assume that you come from a town such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, since you exhibit all the signs of the clever mind who sees through the world and perceives envious and intriguing manikins pulling “the strings” and setting everything in motion behind the passing clouds of ideas and facts. But please don’t flatter yourself, professor – you are not such a small fish!

How did you manage to overcome the hurdle of Marx’s “notion” that the ruling ideas of any age are the ideas of the ruling class? Your assumptions are so strange: “If human history is more like the weather than like the solar system, then individual human actions could reproduce the ‘butterfly effect.’” History for you is just a bad infinity of butterfly effects – “the infinite repetition of an identical situation according to the pattern: ‘something’ becomes ‘something else’, that ‘something else’ is itself ‘something’ which in turn becomes ‘something else’, and so on ad infinitum.” But you of all people should know that we do not listen to meteorologists because they are so good at predicting the weather. So why do you act so surprised that some people are actually listening to what you have to say, even though it too is completely valueless?


Anthony Burton

P.S. Why do you always insert the graphic image of the Conquering Lion next to your name?

Posted in: Notes