Avuncularitis is the deference we (want to) pay to older people, especially older white men, who are genial and paternal and considered to be heroes of the movement even when they don’t deserve that deference and are actually power-mad, attention-mad dicks.
|you can explain to a switched on group of fellow cynics about the games that are being played and the disease of avuncularitis||With preparation and with time and patience and support, you can explain to a bunch of people who are a bit in love with a guru that their love is not in anyone’s ultimate benefit, certainly their own, and that there are healthier ways to be||you can spot avuncularitis, when it is still in its sub clinical phase and profit treatments both for the human vector and for those who might have been infected.||You can spot avuncularitis years before any presenting symptoms and inoculate everyone effortlessly. Power mad gurus hate your guts, and that my friend should make you happy.|
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The causes of this not being understood is that we on the progressive left having rejected mainstream or authority walk straight into substituting that with other kinds of authority and charisma, often with people who do deserve it given the work that they’ve done. But it’s also a golden opportunity for narcissists and sociopaths who and grifters who know how to tell people what they want to hear, which buttons to push, how to create sheep, and goats, and to make it all about them all the time, while appearing to give a damn about movement building. And because of that, it can persist.
Because we don’t have a language around avuncularitis, it’s hard to explain to people what’s going on. And individuals can be pathologized and isolated and ignored. And those who have their own misgivings bite down on them and participate in the isolating and the ignoring and the shunning.
The consequences are that opportunities for genuine movement building can be lost because some power mad hack has decided to make it all about them for hours at a time and nobody is willing to stand up to them. And if someone does, they can be shut down.
The fix is to talk about avuncular itis to explain it before it happens, so that everyone is aware of the games that some people play, then we might have a fighting chance, but I don’t fancy our chances.