Dear Dr. Progressive

By Jamie Glazov
web posted March 5, 2001

(Important Note: Dr. Progressive remains institutionalized in a hospital and is heavily medicated. It is with great regret that we must inform our readers that, several days ago, he was forced into a straight jacket and put into an isolated padded room. The reasons for this development must be kept confidential. Nonetheless, it has become public knowledge that the Dr. has developed a twitch in his eye and now talks to himself. He no longer has access to his lap-top (since he tried to break it by smashing it against a wall) and also does not receive mail personally (for several reasons).

Nonetheless, Dr. Progressive has a volunteer assistant (who wishes to remain anonymous) who sits outside his padded room with a lap-top, reads Dr. Progressive his letters, and then writes Dr. Progressive's verbalized answers for the column. Thus, those wishing to ask questions can still write letters, but it is highly recommended that writers keep their questions short, to the point and respectful. The volunteer needs as few problems as possible, since he is repeatedly verbally abused by Dr. Progressive). Send your letters to

Hey Doc!

I've recently read that one of the main reasons so-called "third-world" countries are fortunate enough to resist capitalist oppression is that the citizens of those nations have no paperwork to prove that they own anything.

The people have plenty of assets, maybe as much as, or more, than the poor in the U.S., but they have no way to prove it. In capitalistic societies there are deeds and titles for land, there are receipts of sales, there are records of surveyed lands... On the leverage of their provable assets, sorry capitalists can borrow money to start businesses, buy more land, buy cars, go to college...then they get jobs and/or more money that gives them an opportunity to build up a quality of life only limited by their own selfish desires and motivations.

Fortunately for the "third-world" nations record keeping on this level does not exist and they will never dream of rising above a basic level of existence provided them by their own proficient and benevolent governments. They are not limited by their own personal goals and actions, but only by the unlimited wealth controlled and distributed by their leaders.

Thank God these people will never have a shot at the so called "American Dream" that oppresses their neighbors and know the comforts and luxuries afforded by something so simple as paperwork...which leads me to one more thought --- I'll keep it brief.

Is this the goal of our tree hugging comrades? If we can eliminate the destruction of trees we can rid ourselves of paper, without paper, eventually, we can rest in the comforting arms our leaders who will make sure none of us rises above the level of another? Hopefully we would look like a progressive nation such as China, before very long!!

I've been faithfully reading your I catching on?

Los Angeles

Dear B.D.,

For now on, I will not answer any letters that address me as "Hey Doc!" This is very rude and disrespectful. I am "Dr. Progressive" to you. Apart from that, I am quite impressed with your letter. You are catching on indeed. Leftists ultimately work for the impoverishment of the people, because they operate from a death wish and a hatred of life itself. You are being a good little Leftist. A very very good little Leftist.

Dear Dr. Progressive,

I am confused by something. If you are a mental basket case and are institutionalized in a hospital, then why do Leftists bother writing to you for advice? Something seems a little bit fishy to me. Overall, I find this whole idea very insulting to the progressive cause. Why would radicals seek advice from a guy sitting in a mental hospital? It makes no sense.

Stanley Kovoritz

Dear Mr. Kovoritz,

Think about it. It makes more sense than you think.

Dear Dr. Progressive,

I have been a dedicated progressive for a long time now. I was hoping you could help with an idea I have been developing for a Ph.D. thesis I am writing. The problem is that my supervisor doesn't seem able to help me. I am a very intelligent person in general, but I don't mind, once in a while, asking for advice. So here we go:

Unlike the linear approach of modernism, the approach of postmodernism is multifaceted. Hence, it makes room for modernism when it chooses. The separation between modernism and postmodernism is the willingness of the latter to embrace multiple, even contradictory, meanings simultaneously; to accept the tension of perpetual uncertainty as a given; and to define truth as specific to time and place. Post-modernism promotes diversity over uniformity.

Now this is when we come to postmodern art. It is absolutely fantastic and revolutionary because (and this is my original idea) it questions not only the notion of Western cultural supremacy, but also the layering of cultural privilege within the West. Thus, borders are artificial and knowledge is best acquired through synthesis. What I am getting at is that it is time to discard form and property.

Now here is my question, and also fear: is there a chance that Anti-Art, as was represented by Dadaists, becomes ultimately meaningless because it eventually ends up being seen as art? How can something be against art if it is seen as art? Now what frightens me is that postmodernism might be so abstract that, in believing that it accepts more diversity, it actually falls into meaninglessness. And by falling into an elusive meaninglessness, it becomes blended into modernism itself. Is there a danger that postmodernism might not have the tools to differentiate itself from its main enemies: modernism and the status quo?

Tom Crane
Ph.D. candidate Sociology


I felt like vomiting when listening to my assistant read your (deleted) stupid letter. Sorry to crush your little day dream, but nothing you said was original by any means, let alone even interesting. This subject has been thoroughly exhausted in academic scholarship. Your question has not only been dealt with over and over again, but it is just plain boring and passe.

I am not surprised that you are a Ph.D. candidate, since never have I met a larger collection of imbeciles than in graduate studies in academia. I feel extremely sorry for your supervisor, who must be a masochist in agreeing to work with you. Let me ask you this: how many people are going to end up reading your thesis? Three? Five? Or four? Oh yeh, wait, the external examiner, so about six. Will anyone else ever hear of you?

Trust me, anyone who sits around and struggles about Dadaism and postmodernism at this stage, especially in the mediocre way that you do, needs to get a real job and have a few beer with a couple guys in the neighbourhood. Oh, but wait, they would probably beat you up within a few minutes of you opening your mouth. They would do so simply out of a natural human instinct. I felt almost a natural instinct to bitch slap you after only just a few seconds of hearing my assistant read your letter. Your voice is a waste of oxygen space. I'll bet any amount of money that you don't have a girlfriend, well at least one that you don't have to keep well-hidden -- since if you do have one she is definitely so hideous looking that you have to hide her from public view. You're the closest thing to an enemy that I'd want to see. (Assistant's note: this letter has been heavily censored and significantly cut down in size due to various reasons)

Dear Dr. Progressive,

How do you suggest that we battle how our capitalist society and the culture industry moulds the monotonous production of sameness? As you know, the capitalist system convinces people that they need to buy things that they really do not need. It's all about the subversion of deception. This is why capitalism is the worst system there has ever been, because it works against the dignity of the subject through the undermining of the autonomy of seeing. It is where seeing becomes dependent on the evidence and persuasion of images. And this amounts to dependence on technology as sight-giving. It fosters a relationship of dependency on the economy of vision produced and maintained in the industrial consortium of state-corporate technocracy in the manipulation of human endeavour. What is the best way to fight this onslaught against humanity?

Anonymous Professor

Dear Anonymous Professor,

I am being very very serious when I say this: GET A LIFE.

Dear Dr. Progressive,

I'm bored. What would you recommend to spice up my life?

Laura Bailey
Dallas, Texas

Dear Laura,

Join the flat earth society.

Jamie Glazov holds a Ph.D. in History and is the author of 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist.

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