Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 31, 2010

Two videos about Bard College

Filed under: bard college — louisproyect @ 1:53 pm

My long time readers are probably aware that I have been using the Internet to criticize the President of Bard College, my alma mater, for more than 15 years over things like the appointment of the wretched Martin Peretz to the board of trustees, the transformation of the school effectively into an arm of George Soros’s Open Society Institute, and most recently the sacking of Joel Kovel for his anti-Zionist writings.

Using new tools at my disposal (IMovie and Vimeo), I have made a couple of videos that should be of interest. Just a word on why I am using Vimeo rather than Youtube. Unlike Youtube, Vimeo does not enforce a 10 minute time limit for uploaded videos, something that was very important to me for the sake of continuity.

The first is an interview I conducted with Joel Kovel where he discusses his experience working at Bard College over a 21 year period. It can be seen at:

The other is something I call “Leon and Me”, which stars yours truly as he takes the viewer on a walking tour of the campus on the occasion of my 45th anniversary reunion weekend. It is a mixture of nostalgia and political commentary with some good jokes, I believe:


  1. Leon and me is great, it is a marked improvement on your Youtube efforts. At times it reminds me of David Byrne’s True Stories. You may have found your vocation on life!

    Comment by Steve — August 31, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  2. Much appreciated, Steve, especially in light of the fact that you have lambasted me so much in the past. Maybe you are encouraging me in that direction so I won’t have time to write Menshevik political analysis?

    Comment by louisproyect — August 31, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

  3. Yeah, this kind of poking and prodding amongst the detritus of Bard’s good intentions becomes ever more necessary as assorted facts come to light. In place of an endowment, Bard is branded: marked, written and over-written by the names of its philanthropists. A new science center, for example, has one set of names for the whole, and several other names for each part, a bundle or fascia of superscriptions that almost appear to put the incest back in palimpsest. As an L&T prof, I’ve sucked the teat of such bounty myself, mixed my metaphors between the rock of wealthy parents and the hard place of necessity. Bard is the garden of Eden, and Adam has been here naming and naming. Hardly a copse or stone or wing or walk but bears the name of benefaction, benefactory. Asleon our lion is in our midst, our champion, but does our trust not falter when we hear of the lengths to which we might be brought by this alignment between corporate town and gown?

    Comment by David Ker Thomson — August 31, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  4. Louis–I thoroughly enjoyed both the interview and the Moore-ish “Leon and Me.” While I have reservations about Kovel’s politics, his soulfulness and authenticity ring out, and are reminders of what it means to be true to your own lights. Your commentary, along those lines, highlights for me many of the points Thoreau makes in CD, but with a certain wryness that gives them a human face. For me, the Bard experience we rooted in a few great teachers I encountered there, most of whom you cite at the end, the deepest of which are Kelly, Kullman and Bleucher, spirits that continue to accompany me. This medium is certainly one suited to your message. Compliments. Paul Pines

    Comment by Paul Pines — August 31, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

  5. Yeah but, did you have trouble getting any union jobs during your turn to industry phase because you didn’t have a high school diploma? I knew this member of a socialist group we’re familiar with who had a hell of time getting into the ironworkers apprenticeship program because he had gone to MIT after 11th grade and therefore did not “graduate high school”. He told them he had graduated from MIT which was something I don’t think they understood; they insisted he prove he was a high school graduate. I think a friend of his who worked in a print shop helped him out with that in the end.

    Comment by Tom Cod — September 2, 2010 @ 12:56 am

  6. Fresh, peppery, smoothness be damned. Go Galatasaray! “Life of the mind”?
    Whose life? Whose mind?

    Comment by Peter Byrne — September 2, 2010 @ 8:08 am

  7. Bard College and in particular Robert Kelly, Bruce Baillie, Paul Arthur… taught me to think of the other fellow first…more’s the pity tho’ that today I still live the illusion of central position. I thoroughly enjoyed the video. Thank you. –Aldonza.

    Comment by Quixote's Whore — September 5, 2010 @ 12:31 am

  8. Not that it matters, but I have a friend who’s going off to study in Sweden this year and as part of the preparation for moving, the Swedish government sent him a beautifully designed brochure. One of the sections inside addresses various “myths” about the country, one of which touches upon the myth about Sweden having an abnormally high rate of suicide. According to them, the reason doesn’t have anything to do with sunlight levels, but that in the 1960s Sweden was one of the few countries in the world that began to honestly calculate suicide statistics, whereas beforehand that sort of thing, as in other countries, was considered taboo (they cite religious reasons). Anyhow, as a result of that effort, it then became used as Cold War propaganda in the US arguing against third-way social democracy like the kind found in Sweden.

    Comment by Bryan — September 7, 2010 @ 12:54 am

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