Legal animals.

The discourse of legal rights is predicated on the ideal of sovereign, rational beings being [sic] afforded protections and opportunities equal to that of others; it applies an abstract principle to a population of abstracted and selfsame individuals. The discourse of animal rights, however, rejects this notion of an abstract or universal subject that underwrites the humanism that itself legitimates the discourse of rights. In other words, animal rights attempts to mobilize a humanist conceit toward posthumanist ends, disregarding the fact that by calling into question the discourse of humanism they also call into question the discourse of species that explains why certain beings deserve protection to begin with. (xii)

From Lavin, Chad. Eating Anxiety: The Perils of Food Politics. Minneapolis, MN: U Minnesota P, 2013. Print.

The mushy middle.

Those who speak of harmony and consensus should beware of what one might call the industrial chaplain view of reality. The idea, roughly speaking, is that there are greedy bosses on one side and belligerent workers on the other, while in the middle, as the very incarnation of reason, equity and moderation, stands the decent, soft-spoken, liberal-minded chaplain who tries selflessly to bring the two warring parties together. But why should the middle always be the most sensible place to stand? Why do we tend to see ourselves as in the middle and other people as on the extremes? After all, one person’s moderation is another’s extremism. People don’t go around calling themselves a fanatic, any more than they go around calling themselves Pimply. Would one also seek to reconcile slaves and slave masters, or persuade native peoples to complain only moderately* about those who are plotting their extermination? What is the middle ground between racism and antiracism? (200)

From Eagleton, Terry. Why Marx Was Right. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2011. Print.

*Unfortunately, many Canadians would, and do.

This is one of the strongest passages from Eagleton’s Why Marx Was Right, 90% of which delivers instructive, historically conscious refutations of many cherished neoliberal talking points. Unfortunately, the final chapter devolves by times into taking a flimsy-legged defensive stance against postcolonialism and postmodernism – one that steals its talking points from conservative talk radio. I’ve come to expect more from Eagleton than being beaten over the head with the dismissive crutch of “political correctness” (219, 232); hollering “PC” is closer to name-calling than rebuttal. Eagleton goes nine rounds against capitalism with nary a scuff on his boots, but the match turns into a barroom brawl when POCO and POMO show up. Colour me baffled.

The middle path to accountability.

“We tend to think right away about resignation, and falling on your sword, and doing the humble thing,” said Mr. Lee Crowley. “I think that’s terribly important and we don’t do enough of it, but I think there’s an intermediate step, which is the apology. I think we’ve completely lost the art of the apology.” One reason, he said, is a “macho” distaste for the perceived weakness of contrition, and so instead the electorate gets what […] Crowley calls “weasel” apologies, in which the audience is blamed for taking offence.

From: Brean, Joseph. “Considering the scandals plaguing multiple levels of government, it seems accountability as a virtue is on the wane.” National Post. Postmedia Network Inc., 24 May 2013. Web. 25 May 2013.