Our Imposter Syndrome cancels out our Dunning-Kruger

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Jack Graham

Jack Graham writes and podcasts about culture and politics from a Gothic Marxist-Humanist perspective. He co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper. Support Jack on Patreon.


  1. Jack
    August 17, 2018 @ 11:28 am

    Well played. Well played indeed.


  2. Sean Dillon
    August 17, 2018 @ 12:55 pm

    Holy shit, this is the greatest thing you’ve done so far. This is literally everything I want from a Jack Graham post, and I am at a loss for words as to what to say to this. At most, I’m tempted to quote a Grant Morrison comic about Hitler that has a similar thesis to the opening bit of the post, but that feels wrong given the rest of the post.


  3. Whittso
    August 17, 2018 @ 1:08 pm

    That’s absolutely and rather terrifyingly brilliant.


  4. SatiricalArgentinian
    August 17, 2018 @ 1:56 pm

    After reading this I got chills. This is very much what has happened in Argentina and (most probably although differently) in other Latin American countries.
    As you probably know, in Argentina in the 70s, very much like in Chile and a bunch of other Latin American countries,there was a military coup sponsored by the US that resulted in a civic-military-ecclesiastical dictatorship. This dictatorship disappeared, kidnapped and killed a lot of people, mostly but not exclusively political dissidents, and also introduced economical changes that were the precursors of neoliberal policies that later got implemented around the globe.
    We restored democracy in 1983 (much earlier than in Chile and after the war with England over the Islas Malvinas was a failure) and since then it’s been an uphill struggle for a lot of social movements to denounce all the state terrorism crimes committed during those years as well as the involvement of civic institutions and the church.
    Although the dictatorship is not seen as a good thing in general now, the political discourse over this past 35 years has been very much like what Jack is describing (in a way that seems less satirical the way reality usually is). The comparison to current political climate seems satirical because the Nazi lost in 1945, but in Latin America they most certainly won and much more recently.


  5. Froborr
    August 17, 2018 @ 4:06 pm

    Brilliant and devastating. Some of Jack’s best work, and that is SAYING something.


  6. Andrew
    August 18, 2018 @ 5:00 am

    Such a good post. Keep coming back to it.


  7. Austin G Loomis
    August 18, 2018 @ 2:12 pm

    The opening epigraph reminded me ineluctably of a metaphor used by Daniel Quinn as a passim reference in his first book of Ishmael, a reference he subsequently expanded into the novel A.D.: After Dachau. As a metaphor for the way what he calls “Taker” culture has distorted (where it couldn’t fully suppress) the memory of the “Leavers” it displaced and destroyed, he imagines a world where, when a sufficient amount of time had passed since their victory, the Nazis gradually erased all memory of the Jews, the Slavs, and other alternatives to the Aryan ideal, leaving people with only a vague sense that there was something missing from history.

    As a throwaway line in a novel, it was short and to the point. I’ve not read A.D. because I’m not sure it needed to be told at novel-length, any more than I’m sure How the Grinch Stole Christmas has ever needed expansion to even one feature film, let alone two.


  8. glorianna
    August 18, 2018 @ 2:30 pm

    I take the point but what do “civil rights struggles” even look like after genocide? Integrating schools so dead kids get an education along the living? Who advocates for the culture of the exterminated in your parable is an interesting question.


    • Devin
      August 25, 2018 @ 9:06 pm

      If there were only two kinds of people in the world (Jewish people and True Aryans) this would be on point.

      But of course there are lots of other groups, and be assured a post-Holocaust Nazi regime has the tools to categorize and rank them. Civil rights struggles would be for everyone else. Can a kid with a limp get an education? What about a Catholic? A Greek? Sure, Japanese nationals have formal legal equality as a legacy of the Axis, but they still face discrimination. And so forth.


  9. Voxpoptart
    August 18, 2018 @ 3:31 pm

    Joining the chorus of praise — that was brilliant, Jack. Not sure I want to say “that’s your best ever” because it implies that the other pieces you’ve done that I love (e.g. “Koba the Ape” or your “Gridlock” piece) aren’t. But it’s your most briefly, efficiently powerful.


  10. Tbu
    August 18, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

    Why wouldn’t they continue to portray Jews as grotesque monsters and celebrate their destruction? If someone contradicts them, they look at let them like they just said the world is flat, point to the historical consensus, broken only to a limited degree by a brief period of decadence that led to two world wars, that Jews are grotesque and villainous, and to the incredible rise in living standards across the world in the brief period since their destruction. Don’t you know that since the Jews where exterminated the average lifespan has increased by such and such years, the literacy rate has exploded etc.


    • Tbu
      August 18, 2018 @ 7:15 pm

      I also don’t think they would have very critical or dissident voices on tv or in universities, comedic or not, as I’m under the impression that some one party states and dictatorships today that don’t need to maintain a permanent war footing still effectively censor media. Something like the censorship in present day China where criticism of mao in classrooms and on tv is banned, but by a more powerful and centralized state with a more vicious and authoritarian ideology.


    • Lambda
      August 19, 2018 @ 3:59 pm

      Because moderate vitriol would be enough to do the job?


    • Przemek
      August 20, 2018 @ 7:51 am

      I imagine the official propaganda would aim to present the country as more humane than in the past (if only for PR reasons), hence the compassion for the murdered Jews. But I do think what you wrote is exactly what people would be saying in private, while having a beer at a family meeting, when they could just relax and “say how it really is”.


  11. Przemek
    August 20, 2018 @ 7:55 am

    Very well done.

    I live in Poland and we have Polish neo-Nazis here. It used to shock me. It doesn’t anymore.


  12. Anton B
    August 20, 2018 @ 3:20 pm

    Incredible piece of writing Jack. This hit me hard. One of those illuminating articles that clarifies
    something one’s always felt but couldn’t articulate.

    The real chill for me of course, as a Jew, was the doublethink of pleasure in knowing I would not be there to witness such a world.


  13. John G. Wood
    August 21, 2018 @ 1:33 pm

    So clearly (and succinctly) put – I read it out to my family last night, and everyone agreed it was powerful. Thanks, Jack.


  14. LIC Merchant Guide
    June 6, 2019 @ 11:49 pm

    Thanking you will not be enough. This is really good. You are just exceptional.
    Keep doing the good work


  15. Simon
    September 25, 2021 @ 5:22 am

    Well, we do already have real life control group examples of this in the form of Franco’s Spain and Salazar’s Portugal. Ie Western European fascist states that lasted well past WW2.


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