October 5, 2020:

After 9/11 I invited her to a study group. She's very bright, and because her politics are liberal not Marxist I mistakenly anticipated her participation would add a valuable dimension the group would otherwise lack. Instead it created an ongoing demonstration of ideology as invisibility which surprised me but should have been predictable.

She saw history as unbroken progress toward the better — the old Positivist ideology she could not recognize as ideological because for her its obviousness precluded falsification. She insisted that before the movements against the Vietnam war which she herself had experienced there had never been any similar outpouring of protest, and although we tried to teach her of the huge anti-imperialist movement at the end of the 19th century, the antiwar movements opposing entry into World War One and even the northern antiwar movements during the Civil War — or perhaps more directly analogous, the massive French resistance to the war in Algeria, which in an ambivalent way and unlike its American counterpart actually stopped that war — she was unable to adjust her understanding to fit new facts. We were six minutes from the birthplace of the Black Panthers but she denied there are Americans who consider themselves oppressed.

She was insensitive to the financial circumstances of the students who composed the group. She chose meeting places where the dishes cost three times the student-friendly prices at Au Coquelet, our traditional haunt. She rejected Au Coquelet because the one time she joined us there she found something amiss with her cobb salad.

These experiences contributed directly to my argument that ideologies can be fruitfully studied using Freud's categories of dream-analysis. Displacement, condensation, repression: ideology is a type of story which makes the obvious invisible. She was the living demonstration, where in her example the invisibility was substantially related to narcissism. From her privileged white Marin County comfortably well-off point-of-view, the experiences of those other than herself could not be acknowledged.